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

Divine Providence


The angels of heaven are affections of good and thoughts thence of truth because they are recipients of divine love and wisdom from the Lord; for all affections of good are from the divine love and all thoughts of truth are from the divine wisdom. But the spirits of hell are lusts of evil and the imaginations thence of falsity because they are in self-love and their own intelligence, and all lusts of evil come of self-love and imaginations of falsity from one's own intelligence.


The ordering of affections in heaven and of lusts in hell is marvelous, and is known to the Lord alone. They are each distinguished into genera and species, and are so conjoined as to make a unit. As they are distinguished into genera and species, they are distinguished into larger and smaller societies, and as they are so conjoined as to make a unit, they are conjoined as all things in man are. Hence in its form heaven is like a comely man, whose soul is divine love and wisdom, thus the Lord, and hell in its form is like a monstrous man, his soul self-love and self-intelligence, thus the devil. No devil is sole lord there; self-love is so called.


But that the nature of heaven and of hell respectively may be better known, instead of affections of good let enjoyments of good be understood, and enjoyments of evil instead of lusts of evil, for no affections or lusts are without their enjoyments, and enjoyments make one's life. These enjoyments are distinguished and conjoined as we said affections of good and lusts of evil are. The enjoyment of his affection fills and surrounds each angel, the enjoyment common to a society of heaven fills and surrounds each society, and the enjoyment of all the angels together or the most widely shared enjoyment fills and envelops heaven as a whole. Similarly, the pleasure of his lust fills and envelops each spirit of hell, a common enjoyment every society in hell, and the enjoyment of all or the most widely shared enjoyment fills and envelops all hell. Since, as was said, the affections of heaven and the lusts of hell are diametrically opposite to each other, plainly a heavenly joy is so unenjoyable to hell that it is unbearable, and in turn an infernal joy is so unenjoyable to heaven that it is unbearable, too. Hence the antipathy, aversion and separateness.


As these enjoyments constitute the life of each individual and of all in general, they are not sensed by those in them, but the opposite enjoyments are sensed when brought near, especially if they are turned into odors; for every enjoyment corresponds to an odor and in the spiritual world may be converted into it. Then the general enjoyment in heaven is sensed as the odor of a garden, varied according to the fragrance of flowers and fruits; the general enjoyment in hell is sensed as the odor of stagnant water, into which filth of various sorts has been thrown, the odor varied according to the stench of the things decaying and reeking in it. While I have been given to know how the enjoyment of a particular affection of good is sensed in heaven, and the enjoyment of some lust of evil in hell, it would take too long to relate it here.


I have heard many newcomers from the world complain that they had not known that their destiny would be according to the affections of their love. To these, they said, they had given no thought in the world, much less to the enjoyments of the affections, for they loved what they found enjoyable. They had believed that each person's lot would be according to his thoughts from his intelligence, especially according to thoughts of piety and of faith. But they were answered, that they could have known, if they wished, that evil of life is unacceptable to heaven and displeasing to God, but acceptable to hell and pleasing to the devil, and the other way about, that good of life is acceptable to heaven and pleasing to God, but unacceptable to hell and displeasing to the devil; consequently that evil in itself is malodorous and good is fragrant. As they might have known this if they wished, why did they not shun evils as infernal and diabolical, but indulge in them merely because they were enjoyable? Aware now that the enjoyments of evil smell so foully, they might also know that those full of them cannot enter heaven. Upon this reply they betook themselves to those who were in similar enjoyments, for only there could they breathe.


From the idea of heaven and hell just given, it may be evident what the nature of man's mind is. For, as was said, man's mind or spirit is either a heaven or a hell in least form, that is, his interiors are nothing other than affections and thoughts thence, distinguished into genera and species, like the larger and smaller societies of heaven or hell, and so connected as to act as a unit. The Lord governs them as He does heaven or hell. That the human being is either heaven or hell in least form may be seen in the work _Heaven and Hell,_ published at London in 1758.


Now to the subject proposed, that the Lord governs hell by means of opposites, and those in the world who are evil He governs in hell as to their interiors but not as to their exteriors. On the first point, that _the Lord governs hell through opposites,_ it was shown above (nn. 288, 289) that the angels of heaven are not in love and wisdom, or in the affection of good and thence in thought of truth from themselves, but from the Lord, likewise that good and truth flow from heaven into hell where good is turned into evil and truth into falsity because the interiors of the minds of those in heaven and in hell respectively are turned in opposite directions. Inasmuch then as all things in hell are the opposite of all things in heaven, the Lord governs hell by means of opposites.

[2] The second point, that _the Lord governs in hell those in the world who are evil._ This is for the reason that the human being as to his spirit is in the spiritual world and in some society there, in an infernal society if he is evil, in a heavenly one if he is good. For his mind, which in itself is spiritual, cannot be anywhere but among spiritual beings, of whom he becomes one after death. This has also been stated and demonstrated above. A man is not there, however, in the same way as a spirit is who has been assigned to the society, for man is constantly in a state to be reformed, and therefore, if he is evil, is transferred by the Lord from one infernal society to another according to his life and the changes in it. But if he permits himself to be reformed, he is led out of hell and elevated to heaven, and there, too, he is carried from one society to another until his death, after which this does not take place as he is then no longer in a state to be reformed, but remains in the state which is his from his life. When a person dies, therefore, he is assigned his place.

[3] Thirdly, _the Lord governs the evil who are in the world in this way as to their interiors, but in another way as to their exteriors._ The Lord governs the interiors of man's mind in the manner just stated, but governs the exteriors in the world of spirits, which is between heaven and hell. The reason is that commonly man is different in externals from what he is in internals. He can feign outwardly to be an angel of light and yet inwardly be a spirit of darkness. His external is therefore governed in one way, and his internal in another; as long as he is in the world, his external is governed in the world of spirits, and his internal in either heaven or hell. On death one also enters the world of spirits first, therefore, and comes into his external, which he puts off there; having put it off, he is conducted to the place assigned as his. What the world of spirits is and its nature may be seen in the work _Heaven and Hell,_ published at London in 1758, nn. 421-535.



Almost everyone believes that man thinks and wills, hence speaks and acts, from himself. Who of himself can believe otherwise? For the appearance that he does is so strong that it differs not at all from actually thinking, willing, speaking and acting from oneself, which is impossible. In _Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom_ it was shown that there is only one life and that men are recipients of life; also that the human will is the receptacle of love, and the human understanding the receptacle of wisdom; love and wisdom are the one life. It was also demonstrated that by creation and steadily therefore by divine providence this life appears in the human being quite as though it sprang from him and hence was his own, but that this is the appearance so that man can be a receptacle. It was also shown above (nn. 288-294) that no one thinks from himself but from others, nor the others from themselves, but all from the Lord, an evil person as well as a good person. We showed further that this is well known in Christendom, especially to those who not only say but also believe that all good and truth, all wisdom and thus all faith and charity are from the Lord, also that all evil and falsity are from the devil or hell.

[2] One can only conclude from all this that everything which a man thinks and wills flows into him. And since all speech flows from thought as an effect from its cause, and all action flows similarly from the will, it follows that everything which one speaks and does also flows in, albeit derivatively or indirectly. It is undeniable that all which one sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels flows in; why not then what he thinks and wills? Can there be any difference other than this, that entities in the natural world flow into the organs of the external senses or of the body, while entities in the spiritual world flow into the organic substances of the internal senses or of the mind? Hence as the organs of the external senses or of the body are receptacles of natural objects, so the organic substances of the internal senses or of the mind are receptacles of spiritual objects. As this is man's situation, what then is his proprium? It cannot consist in his being such or such a receptacle, for then it would only be the man's manner of reception, not the life's proprium. No one understands by proprium anything else than that he lives of himself and consequently thinks and wills of himself; but that there is no such proprium and indeed cannot be with anyone follows from what was said above.


But let me relate what I have heard from some in the spiritual world. They were of those who believe that one's own prudence is everything and divine providence nothing. I remarked that man has no proprium unless you want to call it his proprium that he is such or such a subject or organ or form. This is not the proprium that is meant, however, for it is only descriptive of the nature of man. No man, I said, has any proprium as the word is commonly understood. At this those who ascribed everything to their own prudence and who may be called the very picture of proprietorship, flared up so that flames seemed to come from their nostrils as they said, "You speak paradox and insanity! Would man not be an empty nothing then? Or an idea or fancy? Or a graven image or statue?"

[2] To this I could only reply that it is paradox and insanity to believe that man has life of himself, and that wisdom and prudence, likewise the good of charity and the truth of faith, do not flow in from God but are in man. To attribute them to oneself every wise person calls insane and also paradoxical. Those who attribute them to themselves are like tenants of another's house and property who persuade themselves by living there that it is their own; or like stewards and administrators who consider all that their master owns to be theirs; or like servants in business to whom their master gave talents and pounds to trade with, but who rendered no account to him but kept all as theirs and thus behaved like robbers.

[3] It may be said of such that they are insane, indeed are nothing and empty, likewise are idealists, since they do not have in them from the Lord good which is the esse itself of life, thus do not have truth, either. They are also called "dead" therefore and "nothing and empty" (Isa 40:17, 23), and elsewhere "makers of images," "graven images" and "statues." More about them in what follows, to be done in this order:

i. What one's own prudence is, and what prudence not one's own is. ii. By his own prudence man persuades himself and confirms in himself that all good and truth are from him and in him; similarly all evil and falsity. iii. All that a man is persuaded of and confirms remains with him as his own. iv. If man believed, as is the truth, that all good and truth are from the Lord, and all evil and falsity from hell, he would not appropriate good to himself and consider it merited, nor appropriate evil to himself and make himself responsible for it.


(i) _What one's own prudence is, and what prudence not one's own is._ Those are in prudence of their own who confirm appearances in themselves and make them truths, especially the appearance that one's own prudence is all and divine providence nothing--unless it is something universal, which it cannot be without singulars to constitute it, as was shown above. They are also in fallacies, for every appearance confirmed as truth becomes a fallacy, and so far as they confirm themselves by fallacies they become naturalists and to that extent believe nothing that they cannot perceive by one of the bodily senses, particularly that of sight, for this especially acts as one with thought. They finally become sensuous. If they confirm themselves in favor of nature instead of God, they close the interiors of their mind, interpose a veil as it were, and then do their thinking below it and not at all above it. Such sense-ridden men were called serpents of the tree of knowledge by the ancients. It is also said of them in the spiritual world that as they confirm themselves they at length close the interiors of their mind "to the nose," for the nose signifies perception of truth, of which they have none. What their nature is will be told now.

[2] They are more cunning and crafty than others and are ingenious reasoners. They call cunning and craftiness intelligence and wisdom, nor do they know otherwise. They look on those who are not like themselves as simple and stupid, especially those who worship God and acknowledge divine providence. In respect of the interior principles of their minds, of which they know little, they are like those called Machiavellians, who make murder, adultery, theft and false witness, viewed in themselves, of no account; if they reason against them it is only out of prudence not to appear to be of that nature.

[3] Of man's life in the world they think it is like that of a beast, and of his life after death that it is like a vital vapor which, rising from the body or the grave, sinks back again and dies. From this madness comes the notion that spirits and angels are airy entities, and with those who have been enjoined to believe in everlasting life that the souls of men also are. They therefore do not see, hear or speak, but are blind, deaf and dumb, and only cogitate in their particle of air. The sense-ridden ask, "How can the soul be anything else? The external senses died with the body, did they not? They cannot be resumed before the soul is reunited with the body." Inasmuch as they could comprehend the state of the soul after death only sensuously and not spiritually, they have fixed upon the state described; otherwise their belief in everlasting life would have perished. Above all, they confirm self-love in themselves, calling it the fire of life and the incentive to various uses in the kingdom. Being of this nature, they are their own idols, and their thoughts, being fallacies and from fallacies, are images of falsity. Indulging in the enjoyments of lusts, they are satans and devils; those who confirm lusts of evil in themselves are satans, and those who live them are called devils.

[4] It has also been granted me to know the nature of the most crafty sensuous men. Their hell is deep down at the back, and they want to be inconspicuous. Therefore they appear to hover about there like spectres, which are their fantasies, and they are called _genii._ Some were sent out from that hell once for me to learn what they are like. They immediately addressed themselves to my neck below the occiput and thus entered my affections, not wanting to enter my thoughts, which they adroitly avoided. They altered my affections one by one with a mind to bend them imperceptibly into their opposites, which are lusts of evil; and as they did not touch my thought at all they would have bent and inverted my affections without my knowledge, had not the Lord prevented it.

[5] Such do they become who do not believe that there can be any divine providence, and who search only for cupidities and cravings in others and thus lead them along until they dominate them. They do this so secretly and artfully that one does not know it, and they remain the same on death; therefore they are cast down into that hell as soon as they enter the spiritual world. Seen in heaven's light they appear to be without a nose, and it is remarkable that although they are so crafty they are more sense-ridden than others.

[6] The ancients called a sensuous man a serpent, and such a man is more cunning and crafty and a more ingenious reasoner than others; therefore it is said,

The serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field (Ge 3:1), and the Lord said:

Be prudent as serpents and simple as doves (Mt 10:16).

The dragon, too, called "that old serpent" and the "devil" and "satin," is described as

Having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns (Apoc 12:3, 9).

Craftiness is signified by the seven heads; the power to persuade by fallacies is meant by the ten horns; and holy things of the Word and the church which have been profaned are signified by the seven crowns.


From the description of one's own prudence and of those who are in it, the nature of prudence not one's own and of those who are in it may be seen. Those have prudence not their own who do not confirm in themselves that intelligence and wisdom are from man. They ask, "How can anyone be wise of himself or do good of himself?" When they speak so, they see in themselves that it is so, for they think interiorly. They also believe that others think similarly, especially the learned, for they are unaware that any-one can think only exteriorly.

[2] They are not in fallacies by any confirmation of appearances. They know and perceive, therefore, that murder, adultery, theft and false witness are sins and accordingly shun them on that account. They also know that wickedness is not wisdom and cunning is not intelligence. When they hear ingenious reasoning from fallacies they wonder and smile to themselves. This is because with them there is no veil between interiors and exteriors, or between the spiritual and the natural things of the mind, as there is with the sensuous. They therefore receive influx from heaven by which they see these things.

[3] They speak more simply and sincerely than others and place wisdom in life and not in talk. Relatively they are like lambs and sheep while those who are in their own prudence are like wolves and foxes. Or they are like those living in a house who see the sky through the windows while those who are in prudence of their own are like persons living in the basement of a house who can look out through the windows only on what is down on the ground. Again they are like persons standing on a mountain who see those who are in prudence of their own as wanderers in valleys and forests.

[4] Hence it may be plain that prudence not one's own is prudence from the Lord, in externals appearing similar to prudence of one's own, but totally unlike it in internals. In internals prudence not one's own appears in the spiritual world as man, while prudence which is one's own appears like a statue, which seems living only because those who are in such prudence still possess rationality and freedom or the capacity to understand and to will, hence to speak and act, and by means of these faculties can make it appear that they also are men. They are such statues because evils and falsities have no life; only goods and truths do. By their rationality they know this, for if they did not they would not feign goods and truths; hence in their simulation of them they possess a vital humanness.

[5] Who does not know that a man is what he is inwardly? Consequently that he is a man who is inwardly what he wishes to appear to be outwardly, while he is a copy who is a man outwardly only and not inwardly. Think, as you speak, in favor of God and religion, of righteousness and sincerity, and you will be a man, and divine providence will be your prudence; you will perceive in others that one's own prudence is insanity.


(ii) _By his own prudence man persuades himself and confirms in himself that all good and truth are from him and in him; similarly all evil and falsity._ Rest the argument on the parallel between natural good and truth and spiritual good and truth. Ask what truth and good are to the sight of the eye. Is not what is called beautiful truth to it, and what is called enjoyable good to it? For enjoyment is felt in beholding what is beautiful. What are truth and good to the hearing? Is not what is called harmonious truth to it, and what is called pleasing good to it? For pleasure is felt in hearing harmonies. It is the same with the other senses. What natural good and truth are is plain, then. Consider now what spiritual good and truth are. Is spiritual truth anything other than beauty and harmony in spiritual matters and objects? And is spiritual good anything other than the enjoyment and pleasure of perceiving the beauty and harmony?

[2] Let us see now whether anything different is to be said of the one from what is said of the other, that is, of the spiritual from what is said of the natural. Of the natural we say that what is beautiful and enjoyable to the eye flows in from objects, and what is harmonious and pleasing to the ear flows in from musical instruments. Is something different to be said in relation to the organic substances of the mind? Of these it is said that the enjoyable and pleasing are in them, while it is said of eye and ear that they flow in. If you inquire why it is said that they flow in, the one answer possible is that distance appears between the objects and the organs. But when one asks why it is said that in the other case they are indwelling, the one possible answer is that no distance appears between the two. Consequently, it is the appearance of distance that results in believing one thing about what one thinks and perceives, and another thing about what one sees and hears. But this becomes baseless when one reflects that the spiritual is not in space as the natural is. Think of sun or moon, or of Rome or Constantinople: do you not think of them apart from distance (provided the thought is not joined to the experience gained by sight or hearing)? Why then persuade yourself that because there is no appearance of distance in thought, that good and truth, as also evil and falsity, are indwelling, and do not flow in?

[3] Let me add to this an experience which is common in the spiritual world. One spirit can infuse his thoughts and affections into another, and the other not know that it is not his own thinking and affection. This is called in that world thinking from and in another. I have witnessed it a thousand times and also done it a hundred times; and it seemed to occur at a considerable distance. As soon as the spirits learned that another was introducing the thoughts and affections, they were indignant and turned away, recognizing then, however, that to the internal thought or sight no distance is apparent unless it is disclosed, as it may be, to the external sight or the eye; as a result it is believed that there is influx.

[4] I will add to this experience an everyday experience of mine. Evil spirits have often put into my thoughts evils and falsities which seemed to me to be in me and to originate from me, or seemed to be my own thought. Knowing them to be evils and falsities, I searched out the spirits who had introduced them, and they were detected and driven off. They were at a great distance from me.

It may be manifest from these things that all evil with its falsity flows in from hell and all good with its truth flows in from the Lord, and that both appear to be in man.


The nature of men who are in prudence of their own, and the nature of those in prudence not their own and hence in the divine providence, is depicted in the Word by Adam and his wife Eve in the Garden of Eden where were two trees, one of life and the other of the knowledge of good and evil, and by their eating of the latter tree. It may be seen above (n. 241) that in the internal or spiritual sense of the Word by Adam and Eve, his wife, the Most Ancient Church of the Lord on this earth is meant and described, which was more noble and heavenly than subsequent churches.

[2] Following is what is signified by other particulars. The wisdom of the men of that church is signified by the Garden of Eden; the Lord in respect to divine providence is signified by the tree of life, and man in respect to his own prudence is meant by the tree of knowledge; his sensuous life and his proprium, which in itself is self-love and pride in one's own intelligence, and thus is the devil and satan, is signified by the serpent; and the appropriation of good and truth with the thought that they are not from the Lord and are not the Lord's, but are from man and are his, is signified by eating of the tree of knowledge. Inasmuch as good and truth are what is divine with man (for everything of love is meant by good, and everything of wisdom by truth), if man claims them as his, he cannot but believe that he is as God. Therefore the serpent said:

In the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God, knowing good and evil (Ge 3:5).

So do those in hell believe, who are in self-love and thence in the pride of their own intelligence.

[3] Condemnation of self-love and self-intelligence is meant by the condemnation of the serpent; the condemnation of the volitional proprium is meant by the condemnation of Eve and the condemnation of the intellectual proprium by the condemnation of Adam; sheer falsity and evil are signified by the thorn and thistle which the earth would produce for Adam; the loss of wisdom is signified by the expulsion from the Garden; the Lord's care lest holy things of the Word and the church be violated is meant by guarding the way to the tree of life; moral truths, veiling men's self-love and conceit, are signified by the fig leaves with which Adam and Eve covered their nakedness; and appearances of truth, in which alone they were, are signified by the coats of skin with which they were later clothed. Such is the spiritual understanding of these particulars. Let him who wishes remain in the sense of the letter, only let him know that it is so understood in heaven.


The nature of those who are infatuated with their own intelligence can be seen from their fancies in matters of interior judgment, as, for example, about influx, thought and life. Their thinking about influx is inverted. They think that the sight of the eye flows into the internal sight of the mind or into the understanding, and that the hearing of the ear flows into the internal hearing, which also is the understanding. They do not perceive that the understanding from the will flows into the eye and the ear, and not only constitutes those senses but also employs them as its instruments in the natural world. As this is not according to the appearance, they do not perceive even if it is only said that the natural does not flow into the spiritual, but the spiritual into the natural. They still think, "What is the spiritual except a finer natural?" And again, "When the eye beholds something beautiful or the ear hears something melodious, of course the mind, which is understanding and will, is delighted." They do not know that the eye does not see of itself, nor the tongue taste, nor the nose smell, nor the skin feel of itself, but that it is the man's mind or spirit which has the perceptions in the sensation and which is affected according to its nature by the sensation. Indeed, the mind or spirit does not sense things of itself, but does so from the Lord; to think otherwise is to think from appearances, and if these are confirmed, from fallacies.

[2] Regarding thought, they say that it is something modified in the air, varied according to topic, and widened by cultivation; thus that the ideas in thoughts are images appearing, meteor-like, in the air; and that the memory is a tablet on which they are imprinted. They do not know that thought goes on in purely organic substances just as much as sight and hearing do. Only let them examine the brain, and they will see that it is full of such substances; injure them and you will become delirious; destroy them and you will die. But what thought and memory are see above at n. 279 end.

[3] Regarding life, they know it only as an activity of nature, which makes itself felt in different ways, as a live body bestirs itself organically. If it is remarked that nature is alive then, they deny this, and say it enables to life. If one asks, "Is life not dissipated then on the death of the body?" they reply that life remains in a particle of air called the soul. Asked "What then is God? Is He not life itself?" they keep silence and do not want to utter what they think. Asked, "Would you grant that divine love and wisdom are life itself?" they answer, "What are love and wisdom?" For in their fallacies they do not see what these are or what God is.

These things have been adduced that it may be seen how man is infatuated by prudence of his own because he draws all conclusions then from appearances and thus from fallacies.


By one's own prudence one is persuaded and confirmed that all good and truth are from man and in man, because a man's own prudence is his intellectual proprium, flowing in from self-love, which is his volitional proprium; proprium inevitably makes everything its own; it cannot be raised above doing so. All who are led by the Lord's divine providence are raised above the proprium and then see that all good and truth are from the Lord, indeed see that what in the human being is from the Lord is always the Lord's and never man's. He who believes otherwise is like one who has his master's goods in his care and claims them himself or appropriates them--he is no steward, but a thief. As man's proprium is nothing but evil, he also immerses the goods in his evil, by which they are destroyed like pearls thrown into dung or into acid.


( iii) _All that a man is persuaded of and confirms remains with him as his own._ Many believe that no truth can be seen by man without confirmations of it, but this is false. In civic and economic matters in a kingdom or republic what is useful and good can be seen only with some knowledge of its numerous statutes and ordinances; in judicial matters only with knowledge of the law; and in natural subjects, like physics, chemistry, anatomy, mechanics and others, only on acquaintance with those sciences. But in purely rational, moral and spiritual matters, truths appear in light of their own, if man has become somewhat rational, moral and spiritual through a suitable education. This is because everyone as to his spirit, which is what thinks, is in the spiritual world and is one among those there, consequently is in spiritual light, which enlightens the interiors of his understanding and, as it were, dictates. For spiritual light in essence is the divine truth of the Lord's divine wisdom. Thence it is that man can think analytically, form conclusions about what is just and right in matters of judgment, see what is honorable in moral life and good in spiritual life, and see many truths, which are darkened only by the confirmation of falsities. Man sees them almost as readily as he sees another's disposition from his face or perceives his affections from the sound of his voice, with no further knowledge than is implanted in one. Why should not man in some measure see from influx the interiors of his life, which are spiritual and moral, when there is no animal that does not know by influx all things necessary to it, which are natural? A bird knows how to build its nest, lay its eggs, hatch its young and recognize its food, besides other wonders which are named instinct.


How this state is changed, however, by confirmations and consequent persuasions will be told now in this order:

1. There is nothing that cannot be confirmed, and falsity is confirmed more readily than truth. 2. Truth does not appear when falsity has been confirmed, but falsity is apparent from confirmed truth. 3. The ability to confirm whatever one pleases is not intelligence but only ingenuity, to be found in the worst of men. 4. Confirmation may be mental and not at the same time volitional, but all volitional confirmation is also mental. 5. Confirmation of evil both volitional and intellectual causes man to believe that one's own prudence is everything and divine providence nothing, but not confirmation solely intellectual. 6. Everything confirmed by the will and at the same time by the understanding, remains to eternity, but not what has been confirmed only by the understanding.

[2] Touching the first, that _there is nothing that cannot be confirmed, and that falsity is confirmed more readily than truth._ What, indeed, cannot be confirmed when atheists confirm that God is not the Creator of the universe but that nature is her own creator; that religion is only a restraint and is for simple and common folks; that man is like the beast and dies like one; that adultery and secret theft, fraud and deceitful schemes are allowable, and that cunning is intelligence and wickedness is wisdom. Everyone confirms his heresy. Volumes are filled with confirmations of the two heresies prevalent in Christendom. Assemble ten heresies, however abstruse, ask an ingenious man to confirm them, and he will confirm them all. If you regard them then solely from the confirmations of them, will you not be seeing falsities as truth? Since all that is false lights up in the natural man from its appearances and fallacies, but truth lights up only in the spiritual man, plainly falsity can be confirmed more readily than truth.

[3] For it to be known that everything false and everything evil can be confirmed even to the point that what is false seems true and what is evil seems to be good, take for example the confirmation that light is darkness and darkness is light. A man may ask: "What is light `in itself'? Is not light only something which appears in the eye according to the eye's condition? What is light when the eye is closed? Do not bats and owls have eyes to see light as darkness and darkness as light? I have heard it said that some persons see in like manner, and that infernal spirits, despite being in darkness, see one another. Does one not have light in his dreams in the middle of the night? Is darkness not light, therefore, and light darkness?" It can be replied, "What of that? Light is light as truth is truth, and darkness is darkness as falsity is falsity."

[4] Take a further example: confirmation that the crow is white. May its blackness not be said to be only a shading which is not the real fact? Its feathers are white inside, its body, too; and these are the stuff of which the bird is made. As its blackness is a shading, the crow turns white as it grows old--some such have been seen. What is black in itself but white? Pulverize black glass and you will see that the powder is white. When you call the crow black, therefore, you are speaking of the shadow and not of the reality. The reply can be, "What of it? All birds should be called white then."

Contrary as they are to sound reason, these arguments have been recited to show that it is possible to confirm falsity that is directly opposite to truth and evil that is directly opposite to good.

[5] Second: _Truth does not appear when falsity has been confirmed, but falsity is apparent from truth confirmed._ All falsity is in darkness and all truth in light. In darkness nothing is seen, nor indeed is it known what anything is except by contact with it, but it is different in the light. In the Word falsities are therefore called darkness, and those who are in falsities are said to walk in darkness and in the shadow of death. In turn, truths are called light in it, and those who are in truths are said to walk in the light and to be the children of light.

[6] There is much to show that when falsity has been confirmed, truth does not appear, but when truth has been confirmed, falsity is apparent. For instance, who would see a spiritual truth unless the Word taught it? Would there not be darkness that could be dispelled only by the light in which the Word is, and only with one who wishes to be enlightened? What heretic can see his falsities unless he welcomes the genuine truth of the church? Until then he does not see them. I have talked with those who confirmed themselves in faith apart from charity and who were asked whether they saw the frequent mention in the Word of love and charity, works and deeds, and keeping the Commandments, and the declaration that the man who keeps the Commandments is blessed and wise, but the man who does not is foolish. They said that on reading these things they saw them only as matters of faith, and passed them by with their eyes closed, so to speak.

[7] Those who have confirmed themselves in falsities are like men who see streaks on a wall, and at twilight fancy that they see the figure of a horseman or just of a man, a visionary image which is dissipated when the daylight floods in. Who can sense the spiritual uncleanness of adultery except one who is in the cleanliness of chastity? Who can feel the cruelty of vengeance except one who is in good from love to the neighbor? What adulterer or what avenger does not sneer at those who call enjoyment in such acts as theirs infernal but the enjoyments of marital love and neighborly love heavenly? And so on.

[8] Third: _The ability to confirm whatever one pleases is not intelligence but only ingenuity, to be found in the worst of men._ Some show the greatest dexterity in confirmation, who know no truth and yet can confirm both truth and falsity. Some of them remark, "What is truth? Is there such a thing? Is not that true which I make true?" In the world they are believed to be intelligent, and yet they are only daubing a wall. 318-1 Only those are intelligent who perceive truth to be truth and who confirm it by verities constantly perceived. Little difference may be seen between the latter and the former because one cannot distinguish between the light of confirmation and the light of the perception of truth. Those in the light of confirmation seem also to be in the light of the perception of truth. Yet the difference is like that between illusory light and genuine. In the spiritual world illusory light is such that it turns into darkness when genuine light flows in. There is such illusory light with many in hell; on being brought out into genuine light they see nothing at all. It is evident, then, that to be able to confirm whatever one pleases is only ingenuity, which the worst of men may have.

[9] Fourth: _Confirmation may be mental and not at the same time volitional, but all volitional confirmation is also mental._ Let an example serve to illustrate this. Those who confirm faith separate from charity and yet live the life of charity, and in general those who confirm a falsity of doctrine and yet do not live according to it, are in intellectual confirmation but not at the same time volitional. On the other hand, those who confirm falsity of doctrine and live according to it are in volitional and at the same time in intellectual confirmation. For the understanding does not flow into the will, but the will into the understanding. Hence it is plain what falsity of evil is, and what falsity not of evil is. Falsity which is not of evil can be conjoined with good, but falsity of evil cannot be. For falsity which is not of evil is falsity in the understanding but not in the will, while falsity of evil is falsity in the understanding which comes of evil in the will.

[10] Fifth: _Confirmation of evil, both volitional and intellectual, but not confirmation only intellectual, causes man to believe that his own prudence is everything and divine providence nothing._ Many confirm their own prudence in themselves on the strength of appearances in the world, and yet do not deny divine providence; theirs is only intellectual confirmation. But in others, who deny divine providence at the same time, there is volitional confirmation; this, together with persuasion, is found chiefly in worshipers of nature and also in worshipers of self.

[11] Sixth: _Everything confirmed by the will and at the same time by the understanding remains to eternity, but not what is confirmed only by the understanding._ For what pertains to the understanding alone is not within man but outside him; it is only in the thought. Nothing enters man and is appropriated to him except what is received by the will; then it comes to be of his life's love. This, it will be shown in the next number, remains to eternity.


Everything confirmed by both the will and the understanding remains to eternity because everyone is his own love, and love attaches to the will; also because everyone is his own good or his own evil, for that is called good or evil which belongs to the love. Since man is his own love he is also the form of his love, and may be called the organ of his life's love. It was stated above (n. 279) that the affections of man's love and his resulting thoughts are changes and variations of the state and form of the organic substances of his mind. What these changes and variations are and their nature will be explained now. Some idea of them may be obtained from the alternating expansions and compressions or dilations and contractions in the heart and lungs, called in the heart systole and diastole, and in the lungs respirations. These are reciprocal extensions and retractions or expansions and contractions of their lobes. Such are the changes and variations in the state of the heart and lungs. Such changes and variations occur in the other viscera of the body and in their parts, too, by which the blood and the animal juices are received and transmitted.

[2] Similar changes and variations take place in the organic forms of the mind, which, as we showed above, are the substances underlying man's affections and thoughts. There is a difference. Their expansions and compressions or reciprocal activities in comparison have so much greater perfection that they cannot be described in words of natural language, but only in words of spiritual language, which can sound only as saying that the changes and variations are vortical gyrations in and out, after the manner of perpetually winding spirals wonderfully massed into forms receptive of life.

[3] Now to tell the nature of these purely organic substances and forms in the evil and in the good respectively: in the good the spiral forms travel forward, in the evil backward; the forward-traveling are turned to the Lord and receive influx from Him; the retrogressive are turned towards hell and receive influx from hell. It should be known that in the measure in which they turn backward these forms are open behind and closed in front; and on the other hand in the measure in which they turn forward, they are open in front and closed behind.

[4] This can make plain what kind of form or organ an evil man is and what kind of form or organ a good man is, and that they are turned in opposite directions. As the turning once established cannot be twisted back it is plain that man remains to eternity such as he is at death. The love of man's will is what effects this turning, or is what either converts or inverts, for, as was said above, each person is his own love. Hence, on death, everyone goes the way of his love, the man in a good love to heaven, and the man in an evil love to hell, nor does he rest except in that society where his ruling love is. Marvelous it is that each knows the way; it is as though he scents it.


(iv) _If man believed, as is the truth, that all good and truth are from the Lord and all evil and falsity from hell, he would not appropriate good to himself and consider it merited, nor evil and make himself responsible for it._ This is contrary to the belief of those who have confirmed in themselves the appearance that wisdom and prudence come from man and do not flow in according to the state of the organization of the mind, treated of above (n. 319). It must therefore be demonstrated, and to be done clearly, it will be done in this order:

1. One who confirms in himself the appearance that wisdom and prudence are from man and thus in him as his, must take the view that otherwise he would not be a man, but either a beast or a statue; yet the contrary is true. 2. To believe and think, as is the truth, that all good and truth are from the Lord and all evil and falsity from hell, seems impossible, yet is truly human and hence angelic. 3. So to believe and think is impossible to those who do not acknowledge the divine of the Lord and that evils are sins, but possible for those who make these two acknowledgments. 4. Those who make the two acknowledgments alone reflect on the evils in themselves, and so far as they flee them and are averse to them, they send them back to hell from which they come. 5. So divine providence appropriates neither evil nor good to anyone, but one's own prudence appropriates both.


These propositions will be explained in the order proposed. First: _One who confirms in himself the appearance that wisdom and prudence are from man and thus in him as his, must take the view that otherwise he would not be a man, but either a beast or a statue; yet the contrary is true._ It comes from a law of divine providence that man is to think as it were from himself and act prudently as of himself, but still acknowledge that he does so from the Lord. It follows that one who thinks and acts prudently as of himself and acknowledges at the same time that he does so from the Lord, is a man, but that person is not who confirms in himself the idea that all he thinks and does is from himself. Neither is he a man who, knowing that wisdom and prudence are from God, keeps awaiting influx. This man becomes like a statue, the other like a beast. One who waits for influx is obviously like a statue; he is sure to stand or sit motionless, his hands dropped, his eyes closed or, if open, unblinking, and neither thinking nor breathing. What life has he then?

[2] Plainly, too, one who believes that everything he thinks and does is from himself is not unlike a beast. For he thinks only from the natural mind which man has in common with beasts, and not from the spiritual, rational mind which is the truly human mind; for this mind acknowledges that God alone thinks from Himself and that man does so from God. Therefore one who thinks only from the natural mind knows no difference between man and animal except that man speaks and a beast makes sounds, and he believes they die alike.

[3] Something further is to be said about those who await influx. They receive none, except for a few who desire it with the whole heart. These at times receive some response through a living perception in thought or by tacit utterance but rarely by an explicit one, and this then is that they should think and act as they determine and are able, and that one who acts wisely is wise and one who acts foolishly is foolish. They are never instructed what to believe or do, in order that human rationality and liberty may not perish, that is, in order that everyone shall act in freedom according to reason in all appearance as of himself. Those who are told by influx what they are to believe or do are not being instructed by the Lord, nor by any angel of heaven, but by some spirit, an Enthusiast, Quaker or Moravian, and are being misled. All influx from the Lord is effected by enlightenment of the understanding and by an affection of truth, and passes by the latter into the former.

[4] Second: _To believe and think, as is the truth, that all good and truth are from the Lord and all evil and falsity from hell, seems impossible, yet is truly human and hence angelic._ To believe and think that all good and truth are from God seems possible, if no more is said, for it falls in with a theological belief contrary to which it is not allowable to think. But to believe and think also that all evil and falsity are from hell seems impossible, for in that belief man would not think at all. But man still thinks as from himself though it is from hell, for the Lord grants to everyone that his thought, wherever it is from, shall appear to be his own in him. Else man would not live as a human being, nor could he be led out of hell and brought into heaven, that is, be reformed, as we have shown many times.

[5] Therefore the Lord also grants man to know and consequently to think that when he is in evil he is in hell, and that if he thinks evil he thinks from hell. He likewise grants him to think of the means by which he can escape from hell and not think from hell, but enter heaven and in heaven think from the Lord, and He grants man the freedom to choose. From all this it may be seen that man can think evil and falsity as if from himself and also think that this or that is evil or false; consequently that it is only an appearance that he does so of himself, an appearance without which he would not be man. To think from truth is what is human itself and consequently angelic itself; it is a truth that man does not think from himself, but is granted by the Lord to think from himself to all appearance.

[6] Third: _So to believe and think is impossible to those who do not acknowledge the divine of the Lord and that evils are sins, but possible to those who make the two acknowledgments._ It is impossible to those who do not acknowledge the divine of the Lord, for the Lord alone gives man to think and will; and those who do not acknowledge the divine of the Lord, being separated from Him believe that they think for themselves. It is impossible also to those who do not acknowledge evils to be sins, for they think then from hell, and in hell everyone supposes that he thinks from himself. That it is possible, however, to those who make the two acknowledgments can be seen from what was set forth fully above (nn. 288-294).

[7] Fourth: _Only those who live in the two acknowledgments reflect on the evils in themselves, and so far as they shun and are averse to them, they send them back to hell from which they come._ All know or can know that evil is from hell and good is from heaven. Who then cannot know that so far as man shuns and is averse to evil he shuns and is averse to hell? He can know then, too, that so far as he shuns and is averse to evil, he wills and loves what is good, and consequently is so far released from hell by the Lord and led to heaven. Every rational person may see these things provided he knows that heaven and hell exist, where good and evil have their respective origins. If, now, he reflects on the evils in him, which is the same thing as examining himself, and shuns them, he disengages himself from hell, puts it behind him, and brings himself into heaven, where he beholds the Lord before him. Man does this, we say, but he does it as of himself and from the Lord now. When a man acknowledges this truth out of a good heart and in a devout faith, it lies inwardly hidden in all that he thinks and does afterwards as of himself. It is like the prolific force in a seed which remains in it even until new seed is produced, and like the pleasure in one's appetite for food the wholesomeness of which one has learned; in a word, like heart and soul in all he thinks and does.

[8] Fifth: _So divine providence appropriates neither evil nor good to anyone, but one's own prudence appropriates both._ This follows from all that has been said. Good is the objective of divine providence; it purposes good in all its activity, therefore. Accordingly, it does not appropriate good to anyone, for then this would become self-righteous; nor does it appropriate evil to anyone, for so it would make him responsible for evil. But man does both by his proprium, for this is nothing but evil. The proprium of the will is self-love and that of the understanding is the pride of self-intelligence, and of these comes man's own prudence.



Sound reason dictates that all are predestined to heaven and none to hell, for all are born human beings and consequently God's image is in them. God's image in them consists in their ability to understand truth and to do good. The ability to understand truth comes from the divine wisdom, and the ability to do good from the divine love. This ability, which is God's image, remains in any sane person and is not eradicated. Hence it is that he can become a civil and moral man, and one who is civil and moral can also become spiritual, for the civil and moral is a receptacle of what is spiritual. He is called a civil man who knows and lives according to the laws of the kingdom of which he is a citizen; he is called a moral man who makes those laws his ethics and his virtues and from reason lives by them.

[2] Let me say how civil and moral life is the receptacle of spiritual life. Live these laws not only as civil and moral laws but also as divine laws, and you will be a spiritual man. There is hardly a nation so barbarous that it has not by law prohibited murder, adultery, theft, false witness and damage to what is another's. The civil and moral man keeps these laws that he may be, or seem to be, a good citizen. If he does not consider them divine laws also he is only a civil and moral natural man, but if he considers them divine also, he becomes a civil and moral spiritual man. The difference is that the latter is a good citizen both of an earthly kingdom and of a heavenly, while the former is a good citizen only of the earthly kingdom and not of the heavenly. They are distinguishable by the good they do. The good done by civil and moral natural men is not in itself good, for man and the world are in it; the good done by civil and moral spiritual men is in itself good, because the Lord and heaven are in it.

[3] From all this it may be seen that every person, because he is born able to become a civil and moral natural being, is also born able to become a civil and moral spiritual man. He has only to acknowledge God and not commit evils because they are against God, but do good because good is siding with God. Then spirit enters into his civil and moral actions and they live; otherwise there is no spirit in them and hence they are not living. Therefore the natural man, however much he acts like a civil and moral being, is spoken of as dead, but the spiritual man is spoken of as living.

[4] Of the Lord's divine providence every nation has some religion, and primary in every religion is the acknowledgment that God is, else it is not called a religion. Every nation that lives its religion, that is, does not do evil because this is contrary to its God, receives something spiritual in its natural life. Who, on hearing a Gentile say he will not do this or that evil because it is contrary to his God, does not say to himself, "Is this person not saved? It seems, it cannot be otherwise." Sound reason tells him this. On the other hand, hearing a Christian say, "I make no account of this or that evil. What does it mean to say that it is contrary to God?" one says to himself, "This man is not saved, is he? It would seem, he cannot be." Sound reason dictates this also.

[5] Should someone say, "I was born a Christian, have been baptized, have known the Lord, read the Word, observed the Sacrament of the Supper," what does this amount to when he does not count as sins murder, or the revenge breathing it, adultery, stealing, false witness, or lying, and different sorts of violence? Does such a person think of God or of eternal life? Does he think they exist? Does sound reason not dictate that such a man cannot be saved? This has been said of a Christian, for a Gentile in his life gives more thought to God from religion than a Christian does. But more is to be said on these points in what follows in this order:

i. The goal of creation is a heaven from mankind. ii. Of divine providence, therefore, every man can be saved, and those are saved who acknowledge God and live rightly. iii. Man himself is in fault if he is not saved. iv. Thus all are predestined to heaven, and no one to hell.


(i) _The goal of creation is a heaven from mankind._ It has been shown above and in the work, _Heaven and Hell_ (London, 1758), that heaven consists solely of those who have been born as human beings. Since heaven consists of no others, it follows that the purpose of creation is a heaven from mankind. This has been shown above (nn. 27-45), it is true, but will be seen more clearly still with explanation of the following:

1. Everyone is created to live forever. 2. Everyone is created to live forever in a blessed state. 3. Thus every person has been created to enter heaven. 4. The divine love cannot but will this, and the divine wisdom cannot but provide it.


One can see from these points that divine providence is none other than predestination to heaven and cannot be altered into anything else. We must now demonstrate, therefore, in the order proposed, that the goal of creation is a heaven from the human race. First: _Everyone has been created to live to eternity._ In the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ Parts III and V, it was shown that there are three degrees of life in man, called natural, spiritual and celestial, that they are actually in everyone, and that in animals there is only one degree of life, which is like the lowest degree in man, called the natural. The result is that by the elevation of his life to the Lord man is in such a state above that of animals that he can comprehend what is of divine wisdom, and will what is of divine love, in other words, receive what is divine; and he who can receive what is divine, so as to see and perceive it within him, cannot but be united with the Lord and by the union live to eternity.

[2] What would the Lord do with all the created universe if He had not also created images and likenesses of Himself to whom He could communicate His divine? What would He exist for, otherwise, except to make this and not that or bring something into existence but not something else, and this merely to be able to contemplate from afar only incidents and constant changes as on a stage? What would there be divine in these unless they were for the purpose of serving subjects who would receive the divine more intimately and see and sense it? The divine is of an inexhaustible glory and would not keep it to itself, nor could. For love wants to communicate its own to another, indeed to impart all it can of itself. Must not divine love do this, then, being infinite? Can it impart and then take away? Would that not be to give what will perish, what in itself is nothing, coming to nothing when it perishes? What really _is_ is not in it. But divine love imparts what really _is_ or what does not cease to be, and this is eternal.

[3] In order that a man may live forever, what is mortal with him is taken away. This mortal of his is his material body, which is taken away by its death. His immortal, which is his mind, is thus laid bare and he becomes a spirit in human form; his mind is this spirit. Ancient sages and wise men perceived that man's mind cannot die. They asked how the mind could die when it is capable of wisdom. Few today know the interior idea they had in this. It was the idea, slipping into their general perception from heaven, that God is wisdom itself, of which man partakes, and God is immortal or eternal.

[4] Since it has been granted me to speak with angels, I will say something from experience. I have spoken with those who lived many ages ago, with some who lived before the Flood and some who lived after it, with some who lived at the time of the Lord and with one of His apostles, and with many who lived in the centuries since. They all seemed like men of middle age and said that they do not know what death can be unless it is condemnation. Further, all who have lived well, on coming into heaven, come into the state of early manhood in the world and continue in it to eternity, even those who had been old and decrepit in the world. Women, too, although they had become shrunken and old, return into the bloom and beauty of their youth.

[5] That man lives after death to eternity is manifest from the Word, where life in heaven is called eternal life, as in Mt 19:29, 25:46; Mk 10:17; Lu 10:25, 18:30; Jn 3:15, 16, 36, 5:24, 25, 39, 6:27, 40, 68, 12:50; also called simply life (Mt 18:8, 9; Jn 5:40, 20:31). The Lord also told His disciples,

Because I live, you will live also (Jn 14:19),

and concerning resurrection said that

God is God of the living and not God of the dead, and that they cannot die any more (Lu 20:38, 36).

[6] Second: _Everyone is created to live forever in a blessed state._ This naturally follows. He who wills that man shall live forever also wills that he shall live in a blessed state. What would eternal life be without this? All love desires the good of another. The love of parents desires the good of their children, the love of the bridegroom and the husband desires the good of the bride and the wife, and love in friendship desires the good of one's friends. What then must divine love desire! What is good but enjoyment, and divine good but eternal blessedness? All good is so named for its enjoyableness or blessedness. True, anything one is given or possesses is also called good, but again, unless it is enjoyable, it is a barren good, not in itself good. Clearly, then, eternal life is also eternal blessedness. This state of man is the aim of creation; that only those who come into heaven are in that state is not the Lord's fault but man's. That man is in fault will be seen in what follows.

[7] Third: _Thus every person has been created to come into heaven._ This is the goal of creation, but not all enter heaven because they become imbued with the enjoyments of hell, the opposite of heavenly blessedness. Those who are not in the blessedness of heaven cannot enter heaven, for they cannot endure doing so. No one who comes into the spiritual world is refused ascent into heaven, but when one ascends who is in the enjoyment of hell his heart pounds, his breathing labors, his life ebbs, he is in anguish and torment and writhes like a snake placed near a fire. This happens because opposites act against each other.

[8] Nevertheless, having been born human beings, consequently with the faculties of thought and volition and hence of speech and action, they cannot die, but they can live only with those in a similar enjoyment of life and are sent to them, those in enjoyments of evil to their like, as those in enjoyments of good are to their like. Indeed, everyone is granted the enjoyment of his evil provided that he does not molest those who are in the enjoyment of good. Still, as evil is bound to molest good, for inherently it hates good, those who are in evil are removed lest they inflict injury and are cast down to their own places in hell, where their enjoyment is turned into joylessness.

[9] But this does not alter the fact that by creation and hence by birth man is such that he can enter heaven. For everyone who dies in infancy enters heaven, is brought up there and instructed as one is in the world, and by the affection of good and truth is imbued with wisdom and becomes an angel. So could the man become who is brought up and instructed in the world; the same is in him as in an infant. On infants in the spiritual world see the work _Heaven and Hell,_ London, 1758 (nn. 329-345).

[10] This does not take place, however, with many in the world because they love the first level of their life, called natural, and do not purpose to withdraw from it and become spiritual. The natural degree of life, in itself regarded, loves only self and the world, for it keeps close to the bodily senses, which are to the fore, also, in the world. But the spiritual degree of life regarded in itself loves the Lord and heaven, and self and the world, too, but God and heaven as higher, paramount and controlling, and self and the world as lower, instrumental and subservient.

[11] Fourth: _Divine love cannot but will this, and divine wisdom cannot but provide it._ It was fully shown in the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom_ that the divine essence is divine love and wisdom, and it was also demonstrated there (nn. 358-370) that in every human embryo the Lord forms two receptacles, one of the divine love and the other of the divine wisdom, the former for man's future will and the latter for his future understanding, and that in this way the Lord has endowed each human being with the faculty of willing good and the faculty of understanding truth.

[12] Inasmuch as man is endowed from birth with these two faculties by the Lord, and the Lord then is in them as in what is His own with man, it is manifest that His divine love cannot but will that man should come into heaven and His divine wisdom cannot but provide for this. But since it is of the Lord's divine love that man should feel heavenly blessedness in himself as his own, and this cannot be unless man is kept in the appearance that he thinks, wills, speaks and acts of himself, the Lord can therefore lead man only according to the laws of His divine providence.


(ii) _Of divine providence, therefore, every man can be saved, and those are saved who acknowledge God and live rightly._ It is plain from what has been demonstrated above that every human being can be saved. Some persons suppose that the Lord's church is to be found only in Christendom, because only there is the Lord known and the Word possessed. Still many believe that the Lord's church is general, that is, extends and is scattered throughout the world, existing thus with those who do not know the Lord or possess the Word. They say that those men are not in fault and are without means to overcome their ignorance. They believe that it is contrary to God's love and mercy that any should be born for hell who are equally human beings.

[2] Inasmuch as many Christians, if not all, have faith that the church is common to many--it is in fact called a communion--there must be some very widely shared things of the church that enter all religions and that constitute this communion. These most widely shared factors are acknowledgment of God and good of life, as will be seen in this order:

1. Acknowledgment of God effects a conjunction of God and man; denial of God causes disjunction. 2. Each one acknowledges God and is conjoined with Him in accord with the goodness of his life. 3. Goodness of life, or living rightly, is shunning evils because they are contrary to religion, thus to God. 4. These are factors common to all religions, and by them anyone can be saved.


To clarify and demonstrate these propositions one by one. First: _Acknowledgment of God brings conjunction of God and man; denial of God results in disjunction._ Some may think that those who do not acknowledge God can be saved equally with those who do, if they lead a moral life. They ask, "What does acknowledgment accomplish? Is it not merely a thought? Can I not 'acknowledge God when I learn for certain that God there is? I have heard of Him but not seen Him. Let me see Him and I will believe." Such is the language of many who deny God when they have an opportunity to argue with one who acknowledges God. But that an acknowledgment of God conjoins and denial disjoins will be clarified by some things made known to me in the spiritual world. In that world when anyone thinks of another and desires to speak with him, the other is at once present. The explanation is that there is no distance in the spiritual world such as there is in the natural, but only an appearance of distance.

[2] A second phenomenon: as thought from some acquaintance with another causes his presence, love from affection for another causes conjunction with him. So spirits move about, converse as friends, dwell together in one house or in one community, meet often, and render one another services. The opposite happens, also; one who does not love another and still more one who hates another does not see or encounter him; the distance between them is according to the degree in which love is wanting or hatred is present. Indeed, one who is present and recalls his hatred, vanishes.

[3] From these few particulars it may be evident whence presence and conjunction come in the spiritual world. Presence comes with the recollection of another with a desire to see him, and conjunction comes of an affection which springs from love. This is true also of all things in the human mind. There are countless things in the mind, and its least parts are associated and conjoined in accord with affections or as one thing attracts another.

[4] This is spiritual conjunction and it is the same in things large and things small. It has its origin in the conjunction of the Lord with the spiritual world and the natural world in general and in detail. It is manifest from this that in the measure in which one knows the Lord and thinks of Him from knowledge of Him, in that measure the Lord is present, and in the measure in which one acknowledges Him from an affection of love, in that measure the Lord is united with him. On the other hand, in the measure of one's ignorance of the Lord, in that measure He is absent; and so far as one denies Him, so far is He separated from one.

[5] The result of conjunction is that the Lord turns man's face towards Himself and thereupon leads him; the disjunction results in hell's turning man's face to it and it leads him. Therefore all the angels of heaven turn their faces towards the Lord as the Sun, and all the spirits of hell avert their faces from the Lord. It is plain from this what the acknowledgment of God and the denial of God each accomplish. Those who deny God in the world deny Him after death also; they have become organized as described above (n. 319); the organization induced in the world remains to eternity.

[6] Second: _Everyone acknowledges God and is conjoined with Him according to the goodness of his life._ All who know something of religion can know God; from information or from the memory they can also speak about God, and some may also think about Him from the understanding. But this only brings about presence if a man does not live rightly, for despite it all he can turn away from God and towards hell, and this takes place if he lives wickedly. Only those who live rightly can acknowledge God with the heart, and these the Lord turns away from hell and towards Himself according to the goodness of their life. For these alone love God; for in doing what comes from Him they love what is divine. The precepts of His law are divine things from Him. They are God because He is His own proceeding divine. As this is to love God, the Lord says:

He who keeps my commandments is he who loves me . . . But he who does not keep my commandments does not love me (Jn 14: 21, 24).

[7] Here is the reason why there are two tables of the Decalog, one having reference to God and the other to man. God works unceasingly that man may receive what is in His table, but if man does not do what he is bidden in his own table he does not receive with acknowledgment of heart what is in God's table, and if he does not receive this he is not conjoined. The two tables were joined, therefore, to be one and are called the tables of the covenant; covenant means conjunction. One acknowledges God and is conjoined to Him in accord with the goodness of his life because this good is like the good in the Lord and consequently comes from the Lord. So when man is in the good of life there is conjunction. The contrary takes place with evil of life; it rejects the Lord.

[8] Third: _Goodness of life, or living rightly, is shunning evils because they are contrary to religion, thus to God._ That this is good of life or living rightly is fully shown in _Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem,_ from beginning to end. To this I will only add that if you do good aplenty, build churches for instance, adorn them and fill them with offerings, spend money lavishly on hospitals and hostels, give alms daily, aid widows and orphans, diligently observe the sanctities of worship, indeed think and speak and preach about them as from the heart, and yet do not shun evils as sins against God, all those good deeds are not goodness. They are either hypocritical or done for merit, for evil is still deep in them. Everyone's life pervades all that he does. Goods become good only by the removal of evil from them. Plainly, then, shunning evils because they are contrary to religion and thus to God is living rightly.

[9] Fourth: _These are factors common to all religions, and anyone can be saved by them._ To acknowledge God, and to refrain from evil because it is contrary to God, are the two acts that make religion to be religion. If one is lacking, it cannot be called religion, for to acknowledge God and to do evil is a contradiction; so it is, too, to do good and yet not acknowledge God; one is impossible apart from the other. The Lord has provided that there should be some religion almost everywhere and that these two elements should be in it, and has also provided that everyone who acknowledges God and refrains from doing evil because it is against God shall have a place in heaven. For heaven as a whole is like one man whose life or soul is the Lord. In that heavenly man are all things to be found in a natural man with the difference which obtains between the heavenly and the natural.

[10] It is a matter of common knowledge that in the human being there are not only forms organized of blood vessels and nerve fibres, but also skins, membranes, tendons, cartilages, bones, nails and teeth. These have a smaller measure of life than those organized forms, which they serve as ligaments, coverings or supports. For all these entities to be in the heavenly humanity, which is heaven, it cannot be made up of human beings all of one religion, but of men of many religions. Therefore all who make these two universals of the church part of their lives have a place in this heavenly man, that is, heaven, and enjoy happiness each in his measure. More on the subject may be seen above (n. 254).

[11] That these two are primary in all religion is evident from the fact that they are the two which the Decalog teaches. The Decalog was the first of the Word, promulgated by Jehovah from Mount Sinai by a living voice, and also inscribed on two tables of stone by the finger of God. Then, placed in the ark, the Decalog was called Jehovah, and it made the holy of holies in the tabernacle and the shrine in the temple of Jerusalem; all things in each were holy only on account of it. Much more about the Decalog in the ark is to be had from the Word, which is cited in _Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem_ (nn. 53-61). To that I will add this. From the Word we know that the ark with the two tables in it on which the Decalog was written was captured by the Philistines and placed in the temple of Dagon in Ashdod; that Dagon fell to the ground before it, and afterward his head, together with the palms of the hands, torn from his body, lay on the temple threshold; that the people of Ashdod and Ekron to the number of many thousands were smitten with hemorrhoids and their land was ravaged by mice; that on the advice of the chiefs of their nation, the Philistines made five golden hemorrhoids, five golden mice and a new cart, and on this placed the ark with the golden hemorrhoids and mice beside it; with two cows that lowed before the cart along the way, they sent the ark back to the children of Israel and by them cows and cart were offered in sacrifice (1 Sa 5 and 6).

[12] To state now what all this signified: the Philistines signified those who are in faith separated from charity; Dagon signified that religiosity; the hemorrhoids by which they were smitten signified natural loves which when severed from spiritual love are unclean, and the mice signified the devastation of the church by falsification of truth. The new cart on which the Philistines sent back the ark signified a new but still natural doctrine (chariot in the Word signifies doctrine from spiritual truths), and the cows signified good natural affections. Hemorrhoids of gold signified natural loves purified and made good, and the golden mice signified an end to the devastation of the church by means of good, for in the Word gold signifies good. The lowing of the kine on the way signified the difficult conversion of the lusts of evil of the natural man into good affections. That cows and cart were offered up as a burnt offering signified that so the Lord was propitiated.

[13] This is how what is told historically is understood spiritually. Gather all into a single conception and make the application. That those who are in faith severed from charity are represented by the Philistines, see _Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about Faith_ (nn. 49-54), and that the ark was the most holy thing of the church because of the Decalog enclosed in it, see _Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem_ (nn. 53-61).


(iii) _Man himself is in fault if he is not saved._ As soon as he hears it any rational man acknowledges the truth that evil cannot issue from good nor good from evil, for they are opposites; consequently only good comes of good and only evil of evil. When this truth is acknowledged this also is: that good can be turned into evil not by a good but by an evil recipient; for any form changes into its own nature what flows into it (see above, n. 292). Inasmuch as the Lord is good in its very essence or good itself, plainly evil cannot issue from Him or be produced by Him, but good can be turned into evil by a recipient subject whose form is a form of evil. Such a subject is man as to his proprium. This constantly receives good from the Lord and constantly turns it into the nature of its own form, which is one of evil. It follows that man is in fault if he is not saved. Evil is indeed from hell but as man receives it from hell as his and appropriates it to himself, it is the same whether one says that evil is from man or from hell. But whence there is an appropriation of evil until finally religion perishes will be told in this order:

1. Every religion declines and comes to an end in the course of time. 2. It does so through the inversion of God's image in man. 3. This takes place through a continual increase of hereditary evil over the generations. 4. Nevertheless the Lord provides that everyone may be saved. 5. It is also provided that a new church shall succeed in place of the former devastated church.


These points are to be demonstrated in the order given. First: _Every religion declines and comes to an end in the course of time._ There have been several churches on this earth, one after another, for wherever mankind is, a church is. For, as was shown above, heaven, which is the goal of creation, is from mankind, and no one can enter heaven unless he is in the two universal marks of the church which, as was shown just above (n. 326), are the acknowledgment of God and living aright. It follows that there have been churches on this earth from the most ancient times to the present. These churches are described in the Word, but not historically except the Israelitish and Jewish church. There were churches before it which are only described in the Word under the names of nations and persons and in a few items about them.

[2] The first, the Most Ancient Church, is described under the names of Adam and his wife Eve. The next church, to be called the Ancient Church, is described by Noah, his three sons and their posterity. This church was widespread and extended over many of the kingdoms of Asia: the land of Canaan on both sides of the Jordan, Syria, Assyria and Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Arabia, Tyre and Sidon. These had the Ancient Word _(Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about Sacred Scripture,_ nn. 101-103). That this church existed in those kingdoms is evident from various things recorded about them in the prophetical parts of the Word. This church was markedly altered by Eber, from whom arose the Hebrew church, in which worship by sacrifices was first instituted. From the Hebrew church the Israelitish and Jewish church was born and solemnly established for the sake of the Word which was composed in it.

[3] These four churches are meant by the statue seen by Nebuchadnezzar in a dream, the head of which was of pure gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, and the legs and feet of iron and clay (Da 2:32, 33). Nor is anything else meant by the golden, silver, copper and iron ages mentioned by ancient writers. Needless to say, the Christian church succeeded the Jewish. It can be seen from the Word that all these churches declined in the course of time, eventually coming to an end, called their consummation.

[4] The consummation of the Most Ancient Church, brought about by the eating of the tree of knowledge, meaning by the pride of one's own intelligence, is depicted by the Flood. The consummation of the Ancient Church is depicted in the various devastations of nations mentioned in the historical as well as the prophetical Word and especially by the expulsion of the nations from the land of Canaan by the children of Israel. The consummation of the Israelitish and Jewish church is understood by the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem and by the carrying away of the people of Israel into permanent captivity and of the Jewish nation to Babylon, and finally by the second destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem at the same time, and by the dispersion of that nation. This consummation is foretold in many places in the Prophets and in Daniel 9:24-27. The gradual devastation of the Christian church even to its end is pictured by the Lord in Matthew (24), Mark (13) and Luke (21), but the end itself in the Apocalypse. Hence it may be manifest that in the course of time a church declines and comes to an end; so does a religion.

[5] Second: _Every religion declines and comes to an end through the inversion of God's image in man._ It is known that the human being was created in the image and after the likeness of God (Ge 1:26), but let us say what the image and the likeness of God are. God alone is love and wisdom; man was created to be a receptacle of both love and wisdom, his will to be a receptacle of divine love and his understanding a receptacle of the divine wisdom. These two receptacles, it was shown above, are in man from creation, constitute him, and are formed in everyone in the womb. Man's being an image of God thus means that he is a recipient of the divine wisdom, and his being a likeness of God means that he is a recipient of the divine love. Therefore the receptacle called the understanding is an image of God, and the receptacle called the will is a likeness of God. Since, then, man was created and formed to be a receptacle, it follows that he was created and formed that his will might receive love from God and his understanding wisdom from God. He receives these when he acknowledges God and lives according to His precepts, receiving them in lesser or larger measure as by religion he has some knowledge of God and of His precepts, consequently according to his knowledge of truths. For truths teach what God is and how He is to be acknowledged, also what His precepts are and how man is to live according to them.

[6] The image and likeness of God have not been destroyed in man, but seem to have been; they remain inherent in his two faculties called liberty and rationality, of which we have treated above at many places. They seem to have been destroyed when man made the receptacle of divine love, namely, his will, a receptacle of self-love, and the receptacle of divine wisdom, namely, his understanding, a receptacle of his own intelligence. Doing this, he inverted the image and likeness of God and turned these receptacles away from God and towards himself. Consequently they have become closed above and open below, or closed in front and open behind, though by creation they were open in front and closed behind. When they have been opened and closed contrariwise, the receptacle of love, the will, receives influx from hell or from one's proprium; so does the receptacle of wisdom, the understanding. Hence worship of men arose in the churches instead of the worship of God, and worship by doctrines of falsity instead of worship by doctrines of truth, the latter arising from man's own intelligence, and the former from love of self. Thence it is evident that religion falls away in the course of time and is ended by the inversion of God's image in man.

[7] Third: _This takes place as a result of a continual increase of hereditary evil over the generations._ It was said and explained above that hereditary evil does not come from Adam and his wife Eve by their having eaten of the tree of knowledge, but is derived and transmitted successively from parents to offspring. Thus it grows by continual increase from generation to generation. When evil increases so among many, it spreads to many more, for in all evil there is a lust to lead astray, in some burning with anger against goodness--hence a contagion of evil. When the contagion reaches leaders, rulers and the prominent in the church, religion has become perverted, and the means of restoring it to health, namely truths, become corrupted by falsifications. As a result there is a gradual devastation of good and desolation of truth in the church on to its end.

[8] Fourth: _Nevertheless the Lord provides that everyone may be saved._ He provides that there shall be religion everywhere and in it the two essentials for salvation, acknowledgment of God and ceasing from evil because it is contrary to God. Other things, which pertain to the understanding and hence to the thinking, called matters of faith, are provided everyone in accord with his life, for they are accessory to life and if they have been given precedence, do not become living until they are subsidiary. It is also provided that those who have lived rightly and acknowledged God are instructed by angels after death. Then those who were in the two essentials of religion while in the world accept such truths of the church as are in the Word, and acknowledge the Lord as God of heaven and of the church. This last they receive more readily than do Christians who have brought with them from the world an idea of the Lord's human nature parted from His divine. It is also provided by the Lord that all are saved who die as infants, no matter where they have been born.

[9] Furthermore, every person is given the opportunity after death of amending his life if possible. All are instructed and led by the Lord by means of angels. Knowing now that they live after death and that heaven and hell exist, they at first receive truths. But those who did not acknowledge God and shun evils as sins when in the world soon show a distaste for truths and draw back, and those who acknowledged truths with the lips but not with the heart are like the foolish virgins who had lamps but no oil and begged oil of others, also went off and bought some, but still were not admitted to the wedding. "Lamps" signify truths of faith and "oil" signifies the good of charity. It may be evident then that divine providence sees to it that everyone can be saved and that man is himself in fault if he is not saved.

[10] Fifth: _It is also provided that a new church shall succeed in place of a former devastated church._ It has been so from the most ancient days that on the devastation of a church a new one followed. The Ancient Church succeeded the Most Ancient; the Israelitish or Jewish Church followed the Ancient; after this came the Christian Church. And this, it is foretold in the Apocalypse, will be followed by a new church, signified in that book by the New Jerusalem descending from heaven. The reason why a new church is provided by the Lord to follow in place of a former devastated church may be seen in _Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about Sacred Scripture_ (nn. 104-113).


(iv) _Thus all are predestined to heaven, and no one to hell._ In the work _Heaven and Hell_ (London, 1758) we showed at nn. 545-550 that the Lord casts no one into hell; the spirit himself does this. So it happens with every evil and impious person after death and also while he is in the world, with the difference that while he is in the world he can be reformed and can embrace and avail himself of the means of salvation, but not after departure from the world. The means of salvation are summed up in these two: that evils are to be shunned because they are contrary to the divine laws in the Decalog and that it be acknowledged that God exists. Everyone can do both if he does not love evils. For the Lord is constantly flowing into his will with power for shunning evils and into his understanding with power to think that God there is. But no one can do the one without doing the other; the two are joined together like the two tables of the Decalog, one relating to God and the other to man. In accordance with what is in His table the Lord enlightens and empowers everyone, but man receives power and enlightenment so far as he does what he is bidden in his table. Until then the two tables appear to be laid face to face and to be sealed, but as man acts on the biddings in his table they are unsealed and opened out.

[2] Today is not the Decalog like a small, closed book or document, opened only in the hands of children and the young? Tell someone farther along in years, "Do not do this because it is contrary to the Decalog" and who gives heed? He may give heed if you say, "Do not do this because it is contrary to divine laws," and yet the precepts of the Decalog are the divine laws themselves. Experiment was made with a number in the spiritual world, who at mention of the Decalog or Catechism rejected it with contempt. This is because in the second table, which is man's, the Decalog teaches that evils are to be shunned, and one who does not do so, whether from impiety or from the religious tenet that deeds effect nothing, only faith does, hears mention of the Decalog or Catechism with disdain, as though it was a child's book he heard mentioned, no longer of use to adults.

[3] These things have been said in order that it may be known that a knowledge of the means by which one can be saved is not lacking to anyone, nor power if he wants to be saved. It follows that all are predestined to heaven and no one to hell. Since, however, a belief in a predestination not to salvation but to damnation has prevailed with some, and this belief is damaging and cannot be broken up unless one's reason sees the insanity and cruelty in it, it is to be dealt with in this order:

1. Predestination except to heaven is contrary to divine love and its infiniteness. 2. Predestination other than to heaven is contrary to divine wisdom and its infiniteness. 3. That only those born in the church are saved is an insane heresy. 4. That any of mankind are condemned by predestination is a cruel heresy.


That it may be apparent how damaging the belief is in predestination as this is commonly understood, these four arguments are to be taken up and confirmed. First: _Predestination except to heaven is contrary to divine love and its infiniteness._ In the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom_ we demonstrated that Jehovah or the Lord is divine love, is infinite, and is the esse of all life; also that the human being was created in God's image after God's likeness. As everyone is formed in the womb by the Lord into that image and after that likeness, as was also shown, the Lord is the heavenly Father of all human beings and they are His spiritual children. So Jehovah or the Lord is called in the Word, and so human beings are. Therefore He says:

Do not call your father on earth your father, for One is your Father, who is in the heavens (Mt 23:9).

This means that He alone is the Father with reference to the life in us, and the earthly father is father of the covering on life, which is the body. In heaven, therefore, no one but the Lord is called Father. And from many passages in the Word it is clear that those who do not pervert that life are said to be His sons and to be born from Him.

[2] Plainly, then, the divine love is in every man, an evil man as well as a good man, and the Lord who is divine love cannot act otherwise than a father on earth does with his children, infinitely more lovingly because divine love is infinite. Furthermore, He cannot withdraw from anyone because everyone's life is from Him. He appears to withdraw from those who are evil, but it is they who withdraw, while He still in love leads them. Thus the Lord says:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it shall be opened to you . . . What man of you, if his son shall ask bread, will give him a stone? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more shall your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to those who ask Him (Mt 7:7-11),

and in another place,

He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust (Mt 5:45).

It is also known in the church that the Lord desires the salvation of all and the death of no one. It may be seen from all this that predestination except to heaven is contrary to divine love.

[3] Second: _Predestination other than to heaven is contrary to divine wisdom, which is infinite._ By its divine wisdom divine love provides the means by which every man can be saved. To say that there is any predestination except to heaven is therefore to say that divine love cannot provide means to salvation, when yet the means exist for all, as was shown above, and these are of divine providence which is boundless. The reason that there are those who are not saved is that divine love desires man to feel the felicity and blessedness of heaven for himself, else it would not be heaven to him, and this can be effected only as it seems to man that he thinks and wills of himself. For without this appearance nothing would be appropriated to him nor would he be a human being. To this end divine providence exists, which acts by divine wisdom out of divine love.

[4] But this does not do away with the truth that all are predestined to heaven and no one to hell. Were the means to salvation lacking, it would; but, as was demonstrated above, the means to salvation have been provided for everyone, and heaven is such that all of whatever religion who live rightly have a place in it. Man is like the earth which produces fruits of every kind, a power the earth has as the earth. That it also produces evil fruits does not do away with its capability of producing good fruits; it would if it could only produce evil fruits. Or, again, man is like an object which variegates the rays of light in it. If the object gives only unpleasing colors, the light is not the cause, for its rays can be variegated to produce pleasing colors.

[5] Third: _That only those who have been born in the church are saved is an insane heresy._ Those born outside the church are human beings equally with those born within it; they have the same heavenly origin, and like them they are living and immortal souls. They also have some religion by virtue of which they acknowledge God's existence and that they should live aright. One who acknowledges God and lives aright becomes spiritual in his measure and is saved, as we showed above. It may be protested that they have not been baptized, but baptism does not save any who are not washed spiritually, that is, regenerated, of which baptism is a sign and reminder.

[6] It is also objected that the Lord is not known to them and that there is no salvation without Him. But salvation does not come to a person because the Lord is known to him, but because he lives according to the Lord's precepts. Moreover, the Lord is known to everyone who acknowledges God, for He is God of heaven and earth, as He Himself teaches (Mt 28:18 and elsewhere). Furthermore, those outside the church have a clearer idea about God as Man than Christians have, and those who have a concept of God as Man and live rightly are accepted by the Lord. They also acknowledge God as one in person and essence, differently from Christians. They also give thought to God in their lives, for they regard evils as sins against God, and those who do this regard God in their lives. Christians have precepts of religion from the Word, but few draw precepts of life from it.

[7] Roman Catholics do not read the Word, and the Reformed who are in faith apart from charity do not attend to those utterances in it which concern life, only to those which concern faith, and yet the Word as a whole is nothing else than a doctrine of life. Christianity obtains only in Europe; Mohammedanism and Gentilism are found in Asia, the Indies, Africa and America, and the people in these parts of the globe are ten times more numerous than those in the Christian part, and in this part few put religion in life. What then is more mad than to believe that only these latter are saved and the former condemned, and that a man has heaven on the strength of his birth and not on the strength of his life? So the Lord says:

I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out (Mt 8:11, 12).

[8] Fourth: _That any of mankind are condemned by predestination is a cruel heresy._ For it is cruel to believe that the Lord, who is love itself and mercy itself, suffers so vast a throng of persons to be born for hell or so many myriads of myriads to be born condemned and doomed, that is, to be born devils and satans, and that He does not provide out of His divine wisdom that those who live aright and acknowledge God should not be cast into everlasting fire and torment. The Lord is still the Creator and the Savior of all men and wills the death of no one. It is cruel therefore to believe and think that a vast multitude of nations and peoples under His auspices and care should be handed over as prey to the devil by predestination.



It was shown in _Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom_ that the Lord is divine love and wisdom, and that these are being itself and life itself from which everything is and lives. It was also shown that they proceed from Him, so that the proceeding divine is the Lord Himself. Paramount in what proceeds is divine providence, for this is constantly in the end for which the universe was created. The operation and progress of the end through means is what is called divine providence.

[2] Inasmuch as the proceeding divine is the Lord Himself and paramount in it is divine providence, to act contrary to the laws of His divine providence is to act contrary to Himself. One can also say that the Lord is providence just as one says that God is order, for divine providence is the divine order with reference primarily to the salvation of men. As order does not exist without laws, for they constitute it, and each law derives from order that it, too, is order, it follows that God, who is order, is also the law of His order. Similarly it is to be said of divine providence that as the Lord is providence Himself, He is also the law of His providence. Hence it is clear that the Lord cannot act contrary to the laws of His divine providence because to do so would be to act contrary to Himself.

[3] Furthermore, there is no activity except on a subject and on the subject by means; action is impossible except on a subject and on it by means. Man is the subject of divine providence; divine truths by which he has wisdom, and divine goods by which he has love, are the means; and by these means divine providence pursues its purpose, which is the salvation of man. For he who wills the purpose, wills the means. Therefore when he who wills the purpose pursues it, he does so through means. But these things will become plainer on being examined in this order:

i. The activity of divine providence to save man begins at his birth and continues to the close of his life and afterwards to eternity. ii. The activity of divine providence is maintained steadily out of pure mercy through means. iii. Instantaneous salvation by direct mercy is impossible. iv. Instantaneous salvation by direct mercy is the flying fiery serpent in the church.


(i) _The activity of divine providence to save man begins at his birth and continues to the close of his life and afterwards to eternity._ It was shown above that a heaven from mankind is the very purpose of the creation of the universe; that this purpose in its operation and progress is the divine providence for the salvation of man; and that all which is external to man and available to him for use is a secondary end in creation--in brief, all that is to be found in the three kingdoms, animal, vegetable and mineral. When all this constantly proceeds according to laws of divine order fixed at the first of creation, how can the primary end, which is the salvation of the human race, fail to proceed constantly according to laws of its order, which are the laws of divine providence?

[2] Observe just a fruit tree. It springs up first as a slender shoot from a tiny seed, grows gradually into a stalk, spreads branches which become covered with leaves, and then puts forth flowers and bears fruit, in which it deposits fresh seed to provide for its perpetuation. This is also true of every shrub and of every herb of the field. Do not each and all things in tree or shrub proceed constantly and wonderfully from purpose to purpose according to the laws of their order of things? Why should not the supreme end, a heaven from the human race, proceed in similar fashion? Can there be anything in its progress which does not proceed with all constancy according to the laws of divine providence?

[3] As there is a correspondence of man's life with the growth of a tree, let us draw the parallel or make the comparison. His infancy is relatively like the tender shoot of the tree sprouting from seed out of the ground; his childhood and youth are like the shoot grown to a stalk with its small branches; the natural truths with which everyone is imbued at first are like the leaves with which the branches are covered ("leaves" signify precisely this in the Word); man's first steps in the marriage of good and truth or the spiritual marriage are like the blossoms which the tree puts forth in the springtime; spiritual truths are the petals in these blossoms; the earliest signs of the spiritual marriage are like the start of fruit; spiritual goods, which are goods of charity, are like the fruit (they are also signified in the Word by "fruits"); the procreations of wisdom from love are like the seed and by them the human being becomes like a garden or paradise. Man is also described in the Word by a tree, and his wisdom from love by a garden; nothing else is meant by the Garden of Eden.

[4] True, man is a corrupt tree from the seed, but still a grafting or budding with shoots taken from the Tree of Life is possible, by which the sap drawn from the old root is turned into sap producing good fruit. The comparison was drawn for it to be known that when the progression of divine providence is so constant in the growth and rebirth of trees, it surely must be constant in the reformation and rebirth of human beings, who are of much more value than trees; so the Lord's words:

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, yet not one of them is forgotten by God? But even the hairs of your head are all numbered; fear not therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Which of you moreover can by taking thought add a cubit to his stature? .. . if then you are unable to do what is least, why do you take thought for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow . . . If then God so clothed the grass, which is in the field today and is cast into an oven tomorrow, how much more will he clothe you, 0 men of little faith? (Lu 12: 6, 7, 25-28).


The activity of divine providence for man's salvation is said to begin with his birth and continue to the close of his life. For this to be understood, it should be known that the Lord sees what a man's nature is and foresees what he wills to be and thus what he will be. For him to be man and thus immortal, his freedom of will cannot be taken away. The Lord therefore foresees his state after death and provides for it from the man's birth to the close of his life. With the evil He makes the provision by permitting and withdrawing from evils, in the case of the good by leading to good. Divine providence is thus continually acting for man's salvation, but more cannot be saved than are willing to be saved, and those are willing who acknowledge God and are led by Him. Those are not willing who do not acknowledge God and who lead themselves. The latter give no thought to eternal life and to salvation, the former do. The Lord sees the unwillingness but still He leads such men, and does so in accordance with the laws of His divine providence, contrary to which he cannot act, for to act contrary to them would be to act contrary to His divine love and wisdom, and this is to act contrary to Himself.

[2] Inasmuch as the Lord foresees the states of all after death, and also foresees the places in hell of those who do not desire to be saved and the places in heaven of those who do desire to be saved, it follows that He provides their places for the evil by the permitting and withdrawing of which we spoke, and their places for the good by leading them. Unless this was done steadily from birth to the close of life neither heaven nor hell would remain standing, for apart from this foresight and providence neither would be anything but confusion. It may be seen above (nn. 202, 203) that everyone has his place provided for him by the Lord through this foresight.

[3] A comparison may throw light on this. If a javelin thrower or a marksman should aim at a target, from which a line was drawn straight back for a mile and should err in aim by only a finger's breadth, the missile or the bullet at the end of the mile would have deviated very far from the line. So would it be if the Lord did not, at every moment and even the least fraction of a moment, look to what is eternal in foreseeing and making provision for one's place after death. But this the Lord does: the entire future is present to Him, and the entire present is to Him eternal. That divine providence looks in all it does to what is infinite and eternal, may be seen above, nn. 46-49, 214 ff.


As was said also, the activity of divine providence continues to eternity, for every angel is being perfected in wisdom to eternity, each, however, according to the degree of affection of good and truth in which he was when he left this world. It is this degree that is perfected to eternity; what is beyond that is outside the angel and not in him, and what is external to him cannot be perfected in him. This perfecting is meant by the "Good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over" which will be given into the bosom of those who forgive and give to others (Lu 6:37, 38), that is, those who are in the good of charity.


(ii) _The activity of divine providence is maintained steadily out of pure mercy through means._ Divine providence has means and methods. Its means are the things by which man becomes man and is perfected in will and understanding; its methods are the ways this is accomplished. The means by which man becomes man and is perfected in understanding are collectively called truths. In the thought they become ideas, are called objects of the memory, and in themselves are forms of knowledge from which information comes. All these means, viewed in themselves, are spiritual, but as they exist in what is natural, they seem by reason of their covering or clothing to be natural and some of them seem to be material. They are infinite in number and variety, and more or less simple or composite, and also more or less imperfect or perfect. There are means for forming and perfecting natural civil life; likewise for forming and perfecting rational moral life; as there are for forming and perfecting heavenly spiritual life.

[2] These means advance, one kind after another, from infancy to the last of man's life, and thereafter to eternity. As they come along and mount, the earlier ones become means to the later, entering into all that is forming as mediate causes. From these every effect or conclusion is efficacious and therefore becomes a cause. In turn what is later becomes means; and as this goes on to eternity, there is nothing farthest on or final to make an end. For as what is eternal is without end, so a wisdom that increases to eternity is without end. If there were an end to wisdom for a wise man, the enjoyment of his wisdom would perish, which consists in the perpetual multiplication and fructification of wisdom. His life's enjoyment would also perish; in its place an enjoyment of glory would succeed, in which by itself there is no heavenly life. The wise man then becomes no longer like a youth but like an old man, and at length like a decrepit one.

[3] Although a wise man's wisdom increases forever in heaven, angelic wisdom cannot approximate the divine wisdom so much as to touch it. It is relatively like what is said of a straight line drawn about a hyperbola, always approaching but never touching it, and like what is said about squaring a circle. Hence it may be plain what is meant by the means by which divine providence acts in order that man may be man and be perfected in understanding, and that these means are called by the common term truths. There are an equal number of means by which man is formed and perfected as to his will. These are called collectively goods. By them man comes to have love, by the others wisdom. The conjunction of love and wisdom makes the man, for what he is is in keeping with the nature of this conjunction. This conjunction is what is called the marriage of good and truth.


The methods by which divine providence acts on and through the means to form and perfect the human being are also infinite in number and variety. They are as numerous as the activities of divine wisdom from divine love to save man, and therefore as numerous as the activities of divine providence in accordance with its laws, treated of above. That these methods are most secret was illustrated above by the activities of the soul in the body, of which man knows so little it is scarcely anything--how, for instance, eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin sense things; how the stomach digests; how the mesentery elaborates the chyle and the liver the blood; how the pancreas and the spleen purify the blood, the kidneys separate it from impure humors, the heart collects and distributes it, and the lungs purify it and pass it on; how the brain refines the blood and vivifies it anew; besides innumerable other things which are all secret, and of which one can scarcely know. Clearly, the hidden activities of divine providence can be entered into even less; it is enough to know its laws.


Divine providence acts in all things out of pure mercy. For the divine essence is itself pure love; this love acts through divine wisdom and its activity is what is called divine providence. This pure love is pure mercy because 1. It is active with all men the world over, who are such that they can do nothing of themselves. 2. It is active with the evil and unjust and the good and just alike. 3. It leads the former in hell and rescues them from it. 4. It strives with them there perpetually and fights for them against the devil, that is, against the evils of hell. 5. To this end pure love came into the world and endured temptations even to the last of them, which was the passion of the Cross. 6. It acts continually with the unclean to make them clean and with the unsound to make them sound in mind. Thus it labors incessantly out of pure mercy.


(iii) _Instantaneous salvation by direct mercy is impossible._ We have just shown that the activity of divine providence to save man begins at his birth and continues to the close of his life and afterwards to eternity; also that this activity is continually pursued out of pure mercy through means. It follows that there is neither instantaneous salvation nor unmediated mercy. But as many, not thinking from the understanding about things of the church or of religion, believe that they are saved by immediate mercy and hence that salvation is instantaneous, and yet this is contrary to the truth and in addition is a pernicious belief, it is important that it be considered in due order:

1. Belief in instantaneous salvation by direct mercy has been assumed from man's natural state. 2. This belief comes from ignorance of the spiritual state, which is completely different from the natural state. 3. The doctrines of all churches in Christendom, viewed interiorly, are opposed to instantaneous salvation by direct mercy, but external men of the church nevertheless maintain the belief.

[2] First: _Belief in instantaneous salvation by direct mercy has been assumed from man's natural state._ From his state the natural man does not know otherwise than that heavenly joy is like worldly joy and that it flows in and is received in the same way; that, for example, it is like a poor man's becoming rich and from a sad state of poverty coming into a happy one of plenty, or like a lowly person's being raised to honors and passing thus from contempt to renown; or like one's going from a house of mourning to happy nuptials. As these states can be changed in a day and as there is a like idea of man's state after death, it is plain whence it comes that instantaneous salvation by direct mercy is believed in.

[3] In the world, moreover, many can join in one group or in one civic community and enjoy the same things, yet all differ in mind; this is true of the natural state. The reason is that the external of one person can be accommodated to that of another, no matter how unlike their internals are. From this natural situation it is also concluded that salvation is merely admission among angels in heaven, and that admission is by direct mercy. It is also believed, therefore, that heaven can be given to the evil as well as to the good, and that their association then is similar to that in the world, with the difference that it is filled with joy.

[4] Second: _This belief comes from ignorance of the spiritual state, which is altogether different from the natural state._ The spiritual state, which is man's state after death, has been treated of in many places above. It has been shown that everyone is his own love, that no one can live with others than those who are in a like love, and that if he comes among others he cannot breathe his own life. For this reason everyone comes after death into a society of his own people, that is, who are in a like love, and recognizes them as relatives and friends, and what is remarkable, on meeting and seeing them it is as if he had known them from infancy. Spiritual relationship and friendship bring this about. What is more, in a society no one can dwell in any other house than his own. Everyone in a society has his own home, which he finds prepared for him as soon as he enters the society. He may be in close company with others outside his home, but he cannot dwell elsewhere. Again, in somebody else's apartment one can sit only in his own place; seated elsewhere he becomes frustrated and mute. And it is remarkable that on entering he knows his own place. This is as true in temples he enters and in any companies in which people gather.

[5] It is plain from this that the spiritual state is altogether different from the natural state, and is such that no one can be anywhere but where his ruling love is to be found. For there the enjoyment of one's life is, and everyone desires to be in the enjoyment of his life. A man's spirit cannot be anywhere else because that enjoyment constitutes his life, his very breathing, in fact, and his heartbeat. It is different in the natural world; there man's external is taught from infancy to simulate in look, speech and bearing other enjoyments than those of his internal man. Accordingly, no conclusion can be formed about man's state after death from his state in the natural world. For after death everyone's state is spiritual and is such that he cannot be anywhere except in the enjoyment of his love, an enjoyment that he has acquired in the natural world by his life.

[6] Hence it is quite plain that no one who is in the enjoyment of hell can be admitted into the enjoyment of heaven, commonly called heavenly happiness, or what is the same, no one who is in the enjoyment of evil can be admitted into the enjoyment of good. This can be concluded still more plainly from the fact that after death no one is denied going up to heaven; he is shown the way, has the opportunity given him, and is admitted, but as soon as he enters heaven and inhales its enjoyment, he begins to feel constricted in his chest and racked at heart, and falls into a swoon, in which he writhes as a snake does brought near a fire. Then with his face turned away from heaven and towards hell, he flees headlong and does not stop until he is in a society of his own love. Hence it may be plain that no one reaches heaven by direct mercy. Consequently, just to be admitted is not enough, as many in the world suppose. Nor is there any instantaneous salvation, for this presupposes unmediated mercy.

[7] When some who had believed in the world in instantaneous salvation by direct mercy became spirits, they wanted their infernal enjoyment or enjoyment of evil changed by both divine omnipotence and divine mercy into heavenly enjoyment or enjoyment in the good. As they ardently desired this, permission was given for it to be done by angels, who proceeded to remove their infernal enjoyment. But as this was the enjoyment of their life's love and consequently their life, they thereupon lay as if dead, devoid of all feeling and movement; nor could any life be breathed into them except their own, because all things of mind and body which had been turned backward could not be reversed. They were therefore revived by letting in the enjoyment of their life's love. They said afterwards that in that state they had experienced something dreadful and horrible, which they did not care to divulge. There is a saying in heaven, therefore, that it is easier to change an owl into a turtle-dove or a serpent into a lamb than an infernal spirit into an angel of heaven.

[8] Third: _The doctrines of all churches in Christendom, viewed interiorly, are opposed to instantaneous salvation by direct mercy, but still some external men of the church maintain the idea._ Viewed interiorly, the doctrines of all the churches teach life. Is there a church whose doctrine does not teach that man ought to examine himself, see and acknowledge his sins, confess them, repent and then live a new life? Who is admitted to Holy Communion without this admonition and precept? Inquire and you will be assured of it. Is there a church whose doctrine is not based on the precepts of the Decalog? The precepts of the Decalog are precepts of life. What man of the church, in whom there is anything of the church, does not, on hearing it, acknowledge that he who lives rightly is saved and he who lives wickedly is condemned? In the Athanasian Creed, which is also the doctrine received in the whole Christian world, it is therefore said:

The Lord will come to judge the quick and the dead; and then those who have done good will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil into everlasting fire.

[9] It is clear, then, that the doctrines of all churches, when viewed interiorly, teach life, and teaching life they teach that salvation is according to the life. Man's life is not breathed into him in a moment but is formed gradually, and it is reformed as the man shuns evils as sins, consequently as he learns what sin is, recognizes and acknowledges it, does not will it but desists from it, and also learns the helps that come with a knowledge of God. By all these means man's life is formed and reformed, and they cannot be given on the instant. For hereditary evil, in itself infernal, has to be removed, and good, in itself heavenly, implanted in its place. Because of his hereditary evil man may be compared to an owl as to the understanding and to a serpent as to the will, but when he has been reformed, he may be compared to a dove as to the understanding and to a sheep as to the will. Instantaneous reformation and hence salvation would be like changing an owl at once into a dove or a serpent at once into a sheep. Who that knows anything about man's life does not see the impossibility of this? Salvation is impossible unless the owl and serpent nature is removed and the nature of the dove and sheep implanted instead.

[10] Moreover, it is common knowledge that every intelligent person can become more intelligent than he is, and every wise man wiser than he is, and that intelligence and wisdom in man may increase and do so in some men from infancy to the close of life, and that man is thus continually perfected. Why should not spiritual intelligence and wisdom increase as well? These rise by two degrees above natural intelligence and wisdom, and as they ascend become angelic intelligence and wisdom, which are ineffable. These in turn increase to eternity with the angels. Who cannot understand, if he will, that what is being perfected to eternity cannot possibly be made perfect in an instant?


Thence it is evident now that all who give thought to salvation for their life's sake do not think of an instantaneous salvation by immediate mercy. Their thought is about the means to salvation, on and by which the Lord acts in accord with the laws of His divine providence, and thus by which man is led by the Lord out of pure mercy. Those, however, who do not think of salvation for their life's sake presume an instantaneousness in salvation and an immediacy in mercy, as do those who, separating faith from charity (charity is life), presume that faith can be instantaneous, at the final hour of death, if not earlier. Those do this, too, who believe remission of sins without any repentance to be absolution from sins and thus salvation, when attending the Holy Supper. So again those do who trust to indulgences of monks, their prayers for the dead, and the dispensations they grant by the authority which they claim over the souls of men.


(iv) _Instantaneous salvation by unmediated mercy is the flying fiery serpent in the church._ By a flying fiery serpent evil aglow with infernal fire is meant, as it is by the flying fiery serpent in Isaiah:

Rejoice not, all Philistia, that the rod which smote you is broken, for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a basilisk, whose fruit is a flying fiery serpent (14:29).

Evil of the kind is flying about in the church when belief is put in instantaneous salvation by immediate mercy, for this 1. abolishes religion; 2. induces security; and 3. charges condemnation to the Lord.

[2] First: _It abolishes religion._ Two things are the essentials and at the same time the universals of religion, namely, acknowledgment of God, and repentance. Neither has meaning for those who believe that they are saved out of mercy alone no matter how they live. What need then to do more than cry, "Have mercy on me, O God"? In all else pertaining to religion they are in darkness, even loving the darkness. In regard to the first essential of the church, which is an acknowledgment of God, they only think, "What is God? Who has seen Him?" If told that God is, and is one, they say that He is one; if told there are three, they also say there are three, but the three must be called one. Such is their acknowledgment of God.

[3] Touching the church's second essential, namely, repentance, they give this no thought, nor thought to any sin, and finally do not know that there is such a thing as sin. Then they hear and drink in with pleasure that the law does not condemn them because a Christian is not under its yoke. If only you say, "Have mercy on me, 0 God, for the sake of the Son," you will be saved. This is repentance in their life. If, however, you take away repentance, or what is the same thing, separate life from religion, what is left except the words, "Have mercy on me"? They are therefore sure to maintain that salvation is instantaneous, accomplished by these words, even if uttered at the hour of death, if not before. What does the Word become to them then but an obscure and cryptic utterance issuing from a tripod in a cave, or like an incomprehensible response from the oracle of an idol? In a word, if you remove repentance, that is, sever life from religion, what is human nature then but evil aglow with infernal fire or a flying fiery serpent in the church? For without repentance man is in evil, and evil is hell.

[4] Second: _By the belief in instantaneous salvation out of pure mercy alone security of life is induced._ Security of life arises either from the belief of the impious man that there is no life after death, or from the belief of one who separates life from salvation. Although the latter may believe in eternal life, he still thinks, "whether I live rightly or wickedly, I can be saved, for salvation is by outright mercy, and God's mercy is universal, for He does not desire the death of anyone." If it occurs to him that mercy should be implored in the words of the traditional faith, he can think that this can be done, if not earlier, just before death. Everyone who feels this security, makes light of adultery, fraud, injustice, acts of violence, blasphemy and revenge, and gives a free rein to body and spirit for committing all these evils; nor does he know what spiritual evil, or the lust of evil, is. Should he hear something about it from the Word, it is like something falling on ebony and rebounding, or falling into a ditch and being swallowed up.

[5] Third: _By this belief condemnation is charged to the Lord._ If the Lord can save anybody out of pure mercy, who is not going to conclude that if man is not saved, it is not he but the Lord who is in fault? If it is asserted that faith is the medium of salvation, what man cannot have this faith? For it is only a thought, and this can be imparted, along with confidence, in any state of the spirit withdrawn from the mundane. Man may also declare "I cannot acquire this faith of myself." Hence if it is not vouchsafed him and he is condemned, what else can he think except that the Lord is in fault who could have given him the faith but would not? Would this not amount to calling the Lord unmerciful? Moreover, in the fervor of his belief he may ask, "How can God see so many condemned in hell when He can save them all in an instant from pure mercy?" And more such things, which can only be called an atrocious indictment of the Divine. From the above it may be evident that belief in instantaneous salvation out of sheer mercy is the flying fiery serpent in the church.

[6] Excuse the addition of what follows to fill the remainder of the sheet.

Certain spirits were permitted to ascend from hell who said to me, "You have written much from the Lord; write something from us, too." I asked, "What shall I write?" They said, "Write that every spirit, good or evil, has his own enjoyment; a good spirit is in the enjoyment of his good, and an evil spirit in the enjoyment of his evil." I then asked, "What is your enjoyment?" They answered that it was the enjoyment of committing adultery, stealing, defrauding and lying. Again I inquired, "What is the nature of those enjoyments?" They replied, "By others they are perceived as offensive odors from excrement and as the putrid smell from dead bodies and as the reeking stench from stagnant urine." I then said, "Do you find them enjoyable?" "Most enjoyable," they said. I remarked, "Then you are like unclean beasts which live in such filth." They replied to this, "If we are, we are; but such things are delightful to our nostrils."

[7] I asked, "What more shall I write from you?" They said, "Write this. Everyone is allowed to be in his own enjoyment, even the most unclean, as it is called, provided he does not infest good spirits and angels, but as we could not but infest them, we were driven off and cast into hell, where we suffer fearful things." I asked, "Why did you infest the good?" They replied that they could not help it; a fury seems to seize them when they see an angel and feel the divine sphere around him. Then I said, "So you are also like savage beasts!" On hearing this, a fury came over them which appeared like the fire of hate, and lest they inflict some injury, they were drawn back into hell. On enjoyments sensed as odors or as stenches in the spiritual world, see above (nn. 303-305, 324).


318-1 Cf. Ezekiel 13:10, 11 and _Arcana Caelestia_ n. 739(2), Apocalypse Explained nn. 237(5) and 644(25). Tr.