True Christian Religion, by Emanuel Swedenborg, , tr. by John C. Ager  at sacred-texts.com
To adore as God some vicar on earth, or to invoke as God some saint, has no more weight in heaven than to make supplication to the sun, moon, and stars, or to ask for a response from a diviner and believe what he puts forth, which is idle. It would be also like worshiping a temple, and not worshiping God in the temple; it would be like supplicating a king's servant carrying the scepter and crown in his hand, for the honors of glory, instead of the king himself; and this would be as useless as trying to kiss the splendor of purple, renown, light, the golden rays of the sun, or a mere name, apart from their subjects. For those who do such things are these words in John: We abide in the truth in Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols (1 John 20-21).561.
X. ACTUAL REPENTANCE IS EASY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOW AND THEN PRACTISED IT, BUT IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT TASK FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT. Actual repentance is to examine oneself, to recognize one's sins, to confess them before God, and thus to begin a new life; this is in accord with the previous description of it. To the Reformed Christian world (meaning by this all those who are separate from the church of Rome, and also to those attached to that church who have not practiced actual repentance), this repentance is a very difficult task. This is because some are unwilling and some are afraid to practice it; and continued neglect establishes a habit, induces unwillingness, and at length gains the endorsement of the reasoning intellect, and this with some produces sadness, dread, and terror at the thought of repentance. Actual repentance is so extremely difficult in the Reformed Christian world chiefly because of their belief that repentance and charity contribute nothing to salvation, but faith alone, from the imputation of which forgiveness of sins, justification, renovation, regeneration, sanctification, and eternal salvation follow. Moreover, their dogmatic writers say that man's cooperation of himself, or as if of himself, is useless, is an obstacle to Christ's merit, and is repugnant and injurious to it. And this idea is implanted in the minds of the common people, although they are ignorant of the mysteries of that faith, merely by the sayings, that "faith alone saves," and who can possibly do good of himself?" For this reason: repentance among the Reformed is like a nest of young birds deprived of the parent birds, which have been captured and killed by the fowler. To this another reason may be added, that a so-called Reformed Christian is associated in the spiritual world as to his spirit, only with such as are like himself, who introduce such things into the ideas of his thought, and lead him away from the very first step toward self-inspection and self-examination.562.
I have asked many of the Reformed in the spiritual world, why they did not practice actual repentance, when it was enjoined upon them both in the Word and at baptism, as also before the holy communion in all their churches. They made various replies. Some said that contrition with a lip-confession that they were sinners, is sufficient; some that such repentance, because it takes place while man is acting from his own will, is not consistent with the generally accepted faith. Others said, "How can anyone examine himself, when he knows that he is nothing but sin? This would be like casting a net into a lake filled from bottom to top with mud containing noxious worms." Others said, "Who can look into himself so deeply as to see in himself Adam's sin, from which all his actual evils flow? Are not both kinds of evil washed away by the water of baptism, and removed or covered up by the merit of Christ? What then is repentance but a requirement, which sadly disturbs the conscientious? By the Gospel are we not under grace, and not under the hard law of that repentance?" and so on. Some said, that whenever they undertake to examine themselves, dread and terror fill their minds as if they saw a monster near their bed in the morning twilight. From all this the reasons are made clear why actual repentance in the Reformed Christian world has become rusty, as it were, and is discarded.  In the presence of these persons I also asked some who adhered to the Roman Catholic religion about their actual confession to their ministers, whether it was difficult. They replied, that after they had been initiated into it they were not afraid to recount their trespasses to a confessor who was not severe, that they gathered them up with a kind of pleasure, telling the lighter ones cheerfully, and the more serious somewhat timidly; also from habit they freely returned annually to their appointed confession, and, after receiving absolution, to festivity; moreover, that they look upon all who are not willing to disclose the defilements of their hearts, as impure. Hearing this, the Reformed who were present hastened away, some deriding and laughing, some astounded and yet commending.  Afterward some drew near who belonged to that same church, but had lived in Protestant countries, who, according to the usage there established, did not make a special confession, as their brethren do elsewhere, but a general confession to one who held the keys for them. These said that they were utterly unable to examine themselves, to trace out and set forth their actual evils and the secrets of their thoughts; and that they felt this to be as repugnant and terrifying as an attempt to cross a ditch to a rampart where an armed soldier stands and cries, "Keep back." From all this it is now clear that actual repentance is easy to those who at times practice it, but is extremely difficult to those who have not practiced it.563.
It is known that habit is a second nature, and that therefore what is easy for one is difficult for another; and this is true of self-examination and a confession of what is thereby discovered. What is easier for a hired laborer, a porter, or a farmer, than to work with his hands from morning till evening, while a gentleman or a delicate person could not do the same work for half an hour without fatigue and sweating? It is easy for a footman with a staff and easy boots to pursue his way for miles, while one accustomed to ride can hardly run slowly from one street to another. Every mechanic who is attentive to his task goes through it easily and willingly, and when he leaves it, longs to return; while another, who understands the same trade, but is indolent, can scarcely be driven to work. The same is true of everyone, whatever may be his office or pursuit. To one diligent in piety, what is easier than to pray to God? while to one who is a slave to impiety, what is more difficult, and vice versa? What priest, preaching before a king for the first time, does not feel timid? but after doing it frequently he goes through boldly. What is easier for an angelic man than to raise his eyes to heaven, or for a devilish man than to cast them down toward hell? But if the latter becomes a hypocrite, he too can look up to heaven, but his heart is turned away. Everyone becomes imbued with the end he has in view and the habit arising therefrom.564.
XI. ONE WHO HAS NEVER REPENTED OR HAS NEVER LOOKED INTO AND SEARCHED HIMSELF, FINALLY CEASES TO KNOW WHAT DAMNING EVIL OR SAVING GOOD IS. As few in the Reformed Christian world practice repentance, this is here added, that he who has not looked into and searched himself, finally ceases to know what damning evil or saving good is, because he has no religion from which to know it; for the evil that a man does not see, recognize, and acknowledge, remains; and whatever remains becomes more and more enrooted, until it obstructs the interiors of the mind, whereby man becomes first natural, then sensual, and finally corporeal, and in such states he knows not any damning evil or saving good. He becomes like a tree growing on a hard rock, which spreads its roots among the crevices and finally withers away from lack of moisture.  Every man rightly educated is rational and moral; but there are two ways to rationality, one from the world and the other from heaven. He who has become rational and moral from the world only, and not from heaven, is rational and moral in word and gesture only, but is inwardly a beast, and even a wild beast, because he acts as one with those who are in hell, where all are wild beasts. But he who is rational and moral from heaven also, is truly rational and moral, because he is so at once in spirit, word, and body; the spiritual being within these two latter like a soul actuating the natural, sensual, and corporeal; it also acts as one with those who are in heaven. Therefore there can be a spiritual-rational and moral man, and also a merely natural-rational and moral man. These two are not distinguished from each other in the world, especially if the man has by practice become imbued with hypocrisy; but they are distinguished by the angels in heaven as easily as doves from owls or sheep from tigers.  The merely natural man can see good and evil in others, and also rebuke others; but not having looked into and examined himself, he does not see any evil in himself, and if any is discovered by another, he cloaks it by means of his rationality; as a serpent hides his head in the dust, and immerses himself in it, as a hornet buries himself in mud. This is done by the delight of evil, which encompasses him as a fog does a marsh, absorbing and extinguishing the rays of light. Infernal delight is no other. It is exhaled from hell, and flows into every man, into the soles of his feet, his back, and his occiput; and when it is received by the head in the forehead and by the body in the breast, man is made a slave to hell; and for the reason that the human cerebrum is devoted to the understanding and the wisdom it contains, but the cerebellum to the will and its love. This is why there are two brains. But that infernal delight can be corrected, reformed, and inverted solely by the spiritual-rational and moral.565.
There shall now be given a brief description of the merely natural-rational and moral man, who viewed in himself is sensual, and if he goes on, becomes corporeal or fleshly; but the description shall be sketched in separate statements. The sensual is the outmost of the life of man's mind, adherent to and coherent with his five bodily senses. He is called a sensual man who judges of everything from the bodily senses, and believes nothing but what he can see with his eyes and touch with his hands, calling that something real, and rejecting everything else. The interiors of his mind, which have their vision from the light of heaven, are closed, so that he sees nothing of the truth that relates to heaven and the church. Such a man thinks in outermosts, and not interiorly from any spiritual light, because he is in gross natural light; therefore he is interiorly opposed to the things that pertain to heaven and the church, although outwardly he can speak in favor of them, even zealously, in proportion to his hope of gaining power and wealth by means of them. Men of learning and erudition, who have confirmed themselves deeply in falsities, and still more those who have confirmed themselves against the truths of the Word, are more sensual than others.  Sensual men reason acutely and skillfully, because their thought is so near to speech as to be almost in it, as it were, on the lips; also because they ascribe all intelligence to the speech that is from memory alone. Moreover, they can dexterously confirm falsities, and after confirming them they believe them to be true; but their reasoning and confirmation are from the fallacies of the senses, which captivate and persuade the common people. Sensual men are more cunning and malicious than others. The avaricious, adulterous, and crafty are especially sensual, although to the world they seem talented. The interiors of their minds are vile and filthy; by these they communicate with the hells; in the Word they are called dead. Those who are in the hells are sensual, and more so the more deeply they are in them; and the sphere of infernal spirits conjoins itself from behind with man's sensual. In the light of heaven their occiput seems hollow. Those who reasoned from sensual things only, were called by the ancients serpents of the tree of knowledge.  Sensual things ought to occupy the last place, not the first; and in a wise and intelligent man they do occupy the last place, and are subordinate to things interior; but in a foolish man they occupy the first place, and are predominant. When things sensual occupy the last place, a way is opened by means of them to the understanding, and truths are perfected by the method of extraction. Such sensual things stand most near to the world, and admit what flows to them from the world, and, as it were, sift it. By means of sensual things man communicates with the world, and by means of rational things with heaven. Sensual things supply what is of service to the interiors of the mind. There are sensual things that supply what is serviceable both to the intellectual and to the voluntary part. Unless thought is raised above sensual things man has but little wisdom. When man's thought is raised above sensual things, he comes into a clearer light, and at length into heavenly light, and then he has a perception of such things as flow down from heaven. The outmost of the understanding is the natural knowing faculty, and the outmost of the will is sensual delight.566.
As to his natural man, man is like a beast; he acquires the image of a beast by means of life. Consequently in the spiritual world there appear about such a man beasts of all kinds, which are correspondences. For man's natural, viewed in itself, is purely animal; but because there is a spiritual superadded, he can become a man; and if he does not become a man from the capacity to become so, he can counterfeit one, although he is then only a talking beast; for he talks from the natural-rational, but thinks from spiritual insanity, and he acts from natural morality, but loves from a spiritual satyriasis. His actions, seen by a spiritually rational man, are but little different from the dance of one bitten by a tarantula, or that called St. Vitus' dance, or the dance of St. Guy. Who does not know that a hypocrite can talk about God, a robber about honesty, an adulterer about chastity, and so on. But unless man had the ability to shut and open the door between his thoughts and his words, and between his intentions and his actions, and unless prudence or cunning were the doorkeeper, he would rush into crimes and cruelties more fiercely than any wild beast. But in every man after death that door is opened; and then what he has been is apparent; but he is kept under restraint by punishments and confinements in hell. Therefore, kind reader, look into yourself, and find out one or another evil that is in you, and from religion dismiss it. If you dismiss evils from any other purpose or end, you do so only that they may not appear before the world.567.
To all this the following Memorable Relations shall be added. First: I was suddenly seized with a disease almost deadly; my whole head was oppressed; a pestilential smoke was let into it from the Jerusalem which is called: Sodom and Egypt (Rev. 11:8). I was half dead with the fierce pain; I expected my end. In this state I lay in my bed for three days and a half. My spirit was brought into that condition, and from it my body. Then I heard about me the voices of some, who said, "Behold, he who preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and Christ as alone man, lies dead in the street of our city." And they asked some of the clergy whether that man was worthy of burial; and they answered, "No; let him lie and be looked at." And they kept going, and coming, and scoffing. Of a truth this so happened to me while explaining the eleventh chapter of The Apocalypse. Then harsh remarks were heard from the scoffers, especially these "How can man repent without faith? How can the man Christ be adored as God? Since we are saved freely without any merit of our own, what need is there of anything except the faith only that God the Father sent the Son to take away the damnation of the law, to impute to us His merit, and so justify us before Him, absolve us from our sins by the declaration of a priest, and then give us the Holy Spirit to work in us all good? Is this not in accordance with Scripture and also in accordance with reason?" At this the crowd that stood by applauded.  I heard this and was unable to reply, because I lay almost dead. But after three days and a half my spirit recovered, and in spirit I went out on the street into the city and said again, "Repent, and believe in Christ, and your sins will be forgiven, and you will be saved; otherwise, you will perish. Did not the Lord Himself preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and that they should believe in Him? Did He not command His disciples to preach the same? Does not complete unconcern about life follow the dogma of your faith?" But they said, "What nonsense! Has not the Son made satisfaction? Does not the Father impute this to us? We who believe this He justifies; thus we are led by the spirit of grace. What then is sin in us, and what is death with us? Preacher of sin and repentance, do you understand this gospel?" Then a voice came forth out of heaven, saying, "What is the faith of an impenitent man but a dead faith? The end has come, the end has come upon you, unconcerned, blameless in your own eyes, justified in your own belief, satans." Then suddenly a chasm was opened in the midst of the city; it widened; house after house fell into it, and they were swallowed up; and straightway water welled up from the wide gulf and overflowed the waste.  When they had thus sunk down and been apparently overflowed, I was wishing to know their lot in the abyss, and I was told from heaven, "You shall see and hear." And then the waters by which they seemed to be overflowed disappeared before my eyes; for waters in the spiritual world are correspondences, and therefore appear about those who are in falsities - I then saw them in the sandy bottom, where heaps of stones were piled, among which they were running about and lamenting that they had been cast out of their great city. They shouted and cried out, "Why has this come upon us? Are we not, by our faith, clean, pure, just, and holy? Are we not, by our faith, cleansed, purified, justified and sanctified?" And others cried out, "Are we not, by our faith, made such that before God the Father we appear, are seen, and are reputed, and before the angels are declared to be clean, pure, just and holy? Have we not been reconciled, propitiated, expiated, and therefore absolved, washed, and cleansed from sin? Has not the condemnation of the law been taken away by Christ? Why, then, have we been cast down into this place as if damned? We heard a bold preacher against sin say in our great city, 'Believe in Christ, and repent.' Have we not believed in Christ, since we have believed in His merit? Have we not, repented, since we have confessed that we are sinners? Why then has this befallen us?"  Then was heard a voice from one side saying to them, "Do you know of anyone sin in which you are? Have you ever examined yourselves, and consequently shunned any evil as a sin against God? He who does not shun evil is in evil. Is not sin the devil? Therefore you are those of whom the Lord says: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk before Thee, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He will say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26, 27; as also those of whom He speaks, Matt. 7:22, 23). Away, therefore, each to his own place. You see openings in the caverns; enter, and to each one of you will be given his own task to be done, and then food in proportion to your work. If you do not, hunger will soon compel you to go in."  Afterward there came a voice out of heaven to some on the earth who were outside of that great city (who also are spoken of in Rev. 11:13), saying loudly, "Beware, beware of affiliation with such spirits. Can you not understand that the evils which are called sins and iniquities render man unclean and impure? How can man be cleansed and purified from them except by actual repentance, and by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?" "Actual repentance is to examine oneself, to recognize and acknowledge one's sins, to hold oneself guilty, to confess sins before the Lord, to pray for help and power to resist them, and thus refrain from them and begin a new life; and all this you must do as if of yourselves. Do so once or twice a year, when you come to the holy communion; and afterward, whenever the sins of which you have found yourselves guilty recur, say to yourselves, 'We will not do this because it is a sin against God.' This is actual repentance.  Who cannot understand that he who does not examine and see his sins remains in them? For every evil is delightful to a man from his birth; it is delightful to him to take revenge, to commit whoredom, to defraud, to blaspheme, and especially to exercise dominion from self-love; and does not this delight prevent your seeing these sins? And if, perchance, you are told that they are sins, do you not from their delight excuse them, and even prove to yourselves by means of falsities that they are not sins? And, therefore, you remain in them, and afterward commit them more frequently than before, and this even until you do not know what sin is, or indeed whether there is any such thing. With anyone who actually repents it is different. His evils, such as he has recognized and acknowledged, he calls sins, and therefore begins to shun them and turn away from them; and finally to feel their delight to be undelightful. And so far as this is done he sees and loves good, and at length feels the delight of good, which is the delight of the angels of heaven. In a word, so far as anyone puts the devil behind him, he is accepted by the Lord, and is taught, led, withheld from evil, and kept in good by Him; and this is the way, and the only way, from hell to heaven."  It is wonderful that with the Reformed there is a certain enrooted objection, repugnance, and aversion to actual repentance, which is so great as to prevent their compelling themselves to examine themselves, to see their sins, and to confess them before God; it is as if horror seized them when this is proposed. In the spiritual world I have asked very many about this, and they all have declared that it was beyond their power. When they have heard that this is still done by the papists, that is, that they examine themselves, and openly confess their sins to a monk, they have been very much astonished, and especially that the Reformed could not even do this in secret before God, although it is equally enjoined upon them before they come to the holy supper. Some there wished to know why this is so; and they found that such a state of impenitence and such a heart are induced by faith alone. Then it was granted them to see that those Roman Catholics who worship Christ and do not invoke saints are saved.  After this, something like thunder was heard, and a voice speaking from heaven, saying, "We are amazed. Say to the assembly of the Reformed, 'Believe in Christ, repent, and you will be saved. '" This I said, adding also, "Is not baptism a sacrament of repentance, and therefore introduction into the church? What do the sponsors promise for him who is about to be baptized, but that he will renounce the devil and his works? Is not the holy supper a sacrament of repentance, and thus introduction into heaven? Are not communicants told by all means to repent before coming to it? Does not the catechism, the doctrine of the entire Christian church, teach repentance? Is it not there said, in the six commandments of the second table, Thou shalt not do this or that evil, and not, Thou shalt do this or that good? From this you may know that so far as anyone renounces evil and turns away from it, so far he is moved by and loves good, and until then does not know what good is, nor even what evil is."568.
Second Memorable Relation: What pious and wise man does not wish to know his life's lot after death? I will therefore set forth plainly some general truths in order that it may be known. Every man, when, after death, he feels that he is still alive, and that he is in another world, and hears that heaven, where there are eternal joys, is above him, and hell, where there are eternal sorrows, is beneath him, is at first remitted into his externals, in which he was in the former world; and he then believes that he is certainly going to heaven, and talks intelligently and acts prudently. And some then say, "We have lived morally, we have pursued honesty, we have not done evil purposely." Others say, "We have frequented churches, heard masses, kissed sacred images, and on our knees poured out prayers." Others again, "We have given to the poor, helped the needy, read pious books, and also the Word," with other like things.  But when they have said these things, angels approach and say, "All that you have mentioned you have done in externals, but you do not yet know what you are in your internals. You are now spirits in a substantial body, and the spirit is your internal man. It is this in you that thinks what it wills and wills what it loves; and that is the delight of its life. Every man from infancy begins life from externals, and learns to act morally and talk intelligently; and when he begins to gain some idea of heaven and its happiness, he begins to pray, to frequent churches, and to observe the solemnities of worship; and yet when evils spring forth from their native fountain, he hides them in his mind's bosom, and also ingeniously covers them over with reasonings from fallacies to such an extent that he does not even know that evil is evil. And then because the evils are veiled over and covered up as it were with dust, he thinks no more about them, except to guard against their appearing before the world. Thus he endeavors merely to lead a moral life in externals, and thus he becomes a double man, a sheep in externals, and a wolf in internals; and he is like a golden box containing poison, or like a man with a foul breath holding something aromatic in his mouth to prevent those near him from perceiving it; or he is like a mouse's skin that smells of balsam.  You said that you had lived morally, and had followed pious pursuits; but tell me, have you ever examined your internal man and there perceived any lusting after revenge even to murder, after libidinous living even to adultery, after defrauding even to theft, after lying even to false witness? In four of the commandments of the Decalogue it is said, Thou shalt not do these things, and in the two last, Thou shalt not lust after them. Do you believe that in these things your internal man has been like your external? If you do you are perhaps deceived."  To this they replied, "What is the internal man? Is not the internal and the external one and the same? We have heard from our ministers that the internal man is nothing but faith, and that oral piety and a morality of life are the signs of it, because they are its operation." To this the angels answered, "Saving faith is in the internal man, and charity likewise; and from them come Christian fidelity and morality in the external man. But if the above mentioned lusts remain in the internal man, thus in the will and therefrom in the thought, and if in consequence you love these things interiorly, and yet act and speak otherwise in externals, evil is then with you above good, and good below evil; consequently, however you may talk as if from the understanding, and act from love, evil is within and thus is veiled over; and then you are like cunning apes which perform actions like those of men, but the human heart is wholly lacking.  But what your internal man is, of which you know nothing, because you have not examined yourselves and afterwards repented, you will see after a while, when you put off your external man and are let into the internal. When this takes place you will no longer be recognized by your companions, nor even by yourselves. Wicked men, who were moral, I have then seen to be like wild beasts, looking at the neighbor with savage eyes, burning with deadly hatred, and blaspheming God, whom they adored while in the external man." Hearing this they withdrew; and the angels then said, "You will see your life's lot after a little; for your external man will soon be taken away from you, and you will enter into the internal, which is now your spirit."569.
Third Memorable Relation: Every love in man breathes forth a delight by which it makes itself felt. It is breathed forth first into the spirit and from that into the body; and the delight of one's love, together with the pleasantness of thought, constitutes his life. This delight and pleasantness are felt by man only obscurely while he lives in the natural body, because that body absorbs and blunts them; but after death, when the material body is laid aside, and the covering or clothing of the spirit thus removed, man has a full sense and perception of these delights of love and pleasantnesses of thought, and, what is wonderful, sometimes even as odors. Because of this, all in the spiritual world are affiliated according to their loves, those in heaven according to theirs, and those in hell according to theirs.  The odors into which, in heaven, the delights of loves are turned, are all perceived like the fragrances, sweet smells, pleasant exhalations, and delicious sensations that arise from gardens, flower-beds, fields and forests in the mornings in spring. But the odors into which the delights of the loves of those in hell are turned, are perceived like the pungent, fetid and putrid smells that arise from cesspools, dead bodies, and ponds full of rubbish and ordure; and, what is wonderful, the devils and satans there perceive these smells as balsams, aromatics and frankincense, refreshing their nostrils and hearts. In the natural world it is also given to beasts, birds, and worms to be associated according to odors, but not to men until they have laid aside their bodies as exuviae.  On this account heaven is most distinctly arranged in accordance with all the varieties of the love of good, and hell, on the contrary, in accordance with all the varieties of the love of evil. It is owing to this opposition that there is a gulf between heaven and hell which cannot be passed; for those who are in heaven cannot endure any odor from hell, because it excites nausea and vomiting, and threatens them with swooning if they inhale it. The effect is similar upon those who are in hell, if they pass the middle line of that gulf.  I once saw a certain devil, who at a distance had the appearance of a leopard (a few days before he had been seen among the angels of the lowest heaven, having the art to make himself an angel of light), who had passed beyond the middle line and was standing between two olive trees, yet did not perceive any odor offensive to his life, for the reason that there were no angels present. But the moment they approached he was seized with convulsions and fell down rigid in all his limbs; and then he appeared like a great serpent drawing himself up in folds, and at length gliding down through the opening, from which he was taken by his companions and carried into a cavern, and there by the rank odor of his own delight he was revived.  Again, I once saw a satan punished by his companions. I asked why, and was told that with his nostrils stopped up he had gone near to those who were in the odor of heaven, and had returned and brought that odor with him on his clothing. It has often happened that a putrid odor, like that of corpses, from some open cavern in hell, has painfully touched my nostrils and brought on vomiting. From all this it can be seen why in the Word the sense of smell signifies perception, for it is often said that Jehovah smelled a sweet savor from the burnt-offerings; also that the anointing oil and the incense were made of fragrant substances; and on the other hand the children of Israel were commanded to carry out of their camps what was unclean in them, and to dig down and bury their excrements (Deut. 23:12, 13). This was because the camps of Israel represented heaven, and the desert without the camps represented hell.570.
Fourth Memorable Relation: I once talked with a novitiate spirit who, when in the world, had meditated much upon heaven and hell. By novitiate spirits are meant men who have recently died, and who are called spirits because they are then spiritual men. As soon as this spirit entered the spiritual world, he began to meditate in the same manner on heaven and hell, and when thinking about heaven seemed to himself to be glad, and when thinking about hell to be sad. As soon as he recognized that he was in the spiritual world he asked where heaven and hell were, what they were, and what was the nature of each. They answered, "Heaven is over your head, and hell beneath your feet; for you are now in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell; but what they are, and what the nature of each is, we cannot describe in few words." Then, as he ardently wished to know, he threw himself upon his knees and devoutly prayed to God that he might be instructed. And lo, an angel appeared at his right hand and raised him up, and said, "You have prayed to be instructed about heaven and hell; inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know." As soon as the angel had said this, he was taken up.  The novitiate spirit then said to himself, "What does this mean? 'Inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know what heaven and hell are, and their nature.'" Leaving that place immediately, he wandered around, and asked those he met, "Pray, tell me, if you please, what delight is." And some said, "What sort of a question is that? Who does not know what delight is? Is it not joy and gladness? Delight is delight. One is the same as the other. We know no difference." Others said, "Delight is the mind's laughter; for when the mind laughs the countenance is merry, the speech is jocular, the gestures are playful, and the whole man is in delight." Others said, "Delight is nothing but feasting and eating rich things, drinking generous wine and getting drunk, and then chatting about various things, especially the sports of Venus and Cupid."  Hearing these remarks, the novitiate spirit being indignant, said to himself, "These answers are boorish, not those of well-bred persons. Such delights are neither heaven nor hell. Would that I could find some wise men." And he went away from these persons and asked, "Where are the wise men?" He was then seen by an angelic spirit, who said, "I perceive that you have an ardent desire to know what the universal of heaven is, and what the universal of hell is; and as this is delight, I will conduct you to a hill where there is a daily meeting of those who inquire into effects, of those who investigate causes, and of those who search out ends. Those who inquire into effects are there called spirits of knowledge, abstractly, knowledges; those who investigate causes, are called spirits of intelligence, abstractly, intelligences, and those who search out ends, are called spirits of wisdom, abstractly, wisdoms. Directly above these in heaven are angels who from ends see causes, and from causes see effects; from these angels those three companies have enlightenment."  Then taking the novitiate spirit by the hand, he led him to the top of the hill, and to the assembly that was composed of those who search out ends and are called wisdoms. The novitiate spirit said to them, "Pardon my coming up to you; I did so, because from my childhood I have meditated about heaven and hell. I have lately come to this world; and some who were then associated with me said that heaven is here above my head, and hell beneath my feet; but they did not say what either one or the other is or the nature of it; therefore, becoming anxious from constantly thinking about them, I prayed to God; and then an angel came to me and said, 'Inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know.' I have inquired, but thus far in vain. I therefore beg that you will teach me, if it please you, what delight is."  To this the wisdoms replied, "Delight is the all of life, to all in heaven, and to all in hell. To those in heaven, it is the delight of good and truth, but to those in hell, it is the delight of evil and falsity; for all delight belongs to love, and love is the being [esse] of man's life. Therefore, as man is man in accord with what his love is, so is he man in accord with what his delight is. The activity of love is what gives the sense delight; in heaven its activity is with wisdom, and in hell with insanity, but in both cases the activity produces the delight in its subjects. But the heavens and hells are opposite delights; the heavens are in love of good, and the consequent delight of doing good; but the hells are in the love of evil, and in the consequent delight of doing evil. If, therefore, you know what delight is, you know what heaven and hell are, and their nature.  "But inquire and learn still further what delight is from those who investigate causes, and are called intelligences. They are off toward the right." And he left them and drew near to that assembly, and told them the reason of his coming, and begged them to teach him what delight is. And pleased with the question, they said, "It is true that he who knows what delight is knows what heaven and hell are and their nature. The will, from which man is man, is not moved in the slightest degree except by delight; for the will, viewed in itself, is nothing but the affection of some love, thus some delight; for it is some pleasure and consequent satisfaction that causes volition. And since the will moves the understanding to think, not the least thought is possible except from an influent delight of the will. This is so for the reason that the Lord by influx from Himself actuates all things of the soul, and all things of the mind, in angels, spirits, and men, and in these He actuates by an influx of love and wisdom; and this influx is the activity itself from which comes all delight. In its origin this is called bliss, happiness, and felicity, and in its derivation, delight, pleasantness, and pleasure, and in a universal sense, Good. But infernal spirits invert everything in themselves, thus turning good into evil, and truth into falsehood, the delight remaining without interruption; for without permanence of delight they would have no will, no sensation, and thus no life. This makes clear what the delight of hell is, and its nature and source; also what the delight of heaven is, and its nature and source."  Having heard this, he was conducted to the third assembly, where those were who inquire into effects and are called knowledges; and they said, "Descend to the lower earth, and ascend to the higher; you will there perceive and feel the delights of both heaven and hell." And lo, at that moment the earth opened at a distance, and through the chasm three devils came up, who seemed to be on fire with their love's delight; and as the angels accompanying the novitiate spirit perceived that these three had come up out of hell providentially, they called out to the devils, "Do not come nearer, but from where you are tell us something about your delights. " They replied, "Know this, that everyone, whether he is called good or evil, is in his own delight, the so-called good man in his, and the so-called evil man in his." The angels asked, "What is your delight?" They said that it was delight in whoredom, revenge, fraud, and blasphemy. Again the angels asked, "What is the nature of those delights with you?" They said that they were felt by others like the fetid smells from dung, the putrid smells from dead bodies, and the pungent smells from stagnant urine. The angels then asked, "Are these things delightful to you?" They answered, "Most delightful." "Then," said the angels, "you are like the unclean beasts that live in such things." They replied, "If we are, we are; but such things are grateful to our nostrils." The angels then asked, "What more?" They answered, "Everyone is allowed to be in his own delight, even the most unclean, as they call it, provided he does not infest good spirits and angels; but as on account of our delight, we cannot help infesting them, we are cast into work-houses where we suffer terribly. The prohibition and withdrawal of our delights there is what is called the torment of hell; it is also interior pain." The angels asked, "Why did you infest the good?" They answered, "We could not help it; it is as if a fury seized us whenever we see an angel, and feel the Lord's Divine sphere about him." To this we said, "Then you also are like wild beasts." Then, as soon as they saw the novitiate spirit with the angels, fury came upon them, which appeared like the fire of hatred; so to prevent their doing harm they were cast back to hell. After this the angels appeared who from ends saw causes, and through causes effects, and who were in a heaven above those three assemblies; these angels appeared in a shining white light, which rolling down in spiral curves brought with it a circular wreath of flowers, and placed it upon the head of the novitiate spirit. And then a voice issued therefrom, saying to him, "This laurel wreath is given you because you have from childhood meditated upon heaven and hell."571.
CHAPTER 10 REFORMATION AND REGENERATION. After treating of Repentance, Reformation and Regeneration come next in order, because they follow repentance, and by means of it advance step by step. There are two states that man must enter upon and pass through, when from being natural he is becoming spiritual. The first state is called Reformation, and the second Regeneration. In the first man looks from his natural to his spiritual state and longs for that state; in the second state he becomes spiritual-natural. The first state is formed by means of truths, which must be truths of faith, and through these he looks to charity; the second state is formed by means of the goods of charity, and by these he enters into the truths of faith. Or what is the same, the first is a state of thought from the understanding, and the second a state of love from the will. When this latter state begins and is progressing, a change takes place in the mind; the mind undergoes a reversal, the love of the will then flowing into the understanding, acting upon it and leading it to think in accord and agreement with its love; and in consequence so far as the good of love comes to act the first part and the truths of faith the second, man is spiritual and is a new creature; and he then acts from charity and speaks from faith; he feels the good of charity and perceives the truth of faith; and he is then in the Lord, and in peace, and thus regenerate. The man who while in the world has entered upon the first state, after death can be introduced into the second; but he who has not entered into the first state while in the world, cannot after death be introduced into the second, thus cannot be regenerated. These two states may be compared to the progression of light and heat during the days of spring; the first to the dawn or cock-crowing, the second to the morning or sunrise; and the progress of this second state may be compared to the advance of the day to noon, and thus into light and heat. There may also be a comparison with a field of grain, which is at first in the blade, then grows into the ear or head, in which the grain is afterward formed; also with a tree, which first grows out of the ground from a seed, then it becomes a stem from which branches go out, and these are adorned with leaves; at length it blossoms, and from the inmost of the blossoms the fruit begins to form, and this, as it matures, produces new seeds, like a new generation. The first state, which is that of reformation, may also be compared to the state of a silk-worm, when it draws out and evolves from itself filaments of silk, and after finishing its industrious labor, flies forth into the air, nourishing itself, not by leaves as before, but by the juices of flowers.572.
I. UNLESS A MAN IS BORN AGAIN, AND, AS IT WERE, CREATED ANEW, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. That unless a man is born again he cannot enter into the kingdom of God, is the Lord's doctrine in the following passages from John: Jesus said to Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God; and again, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God; That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit (3:3, 5, 6). "The kingdom of God" means both heaven and the church, for the church is the kingdom of God on earth. So in other places, where the kingdom of God is mentioned (as in Matt. 11:11; 12:25; 21:43; Luke 4:43; 6:20; 8:1, 10; 9:11, 60, 62; 17:21; and elsewhere). "To be born of water and the spirit" signifies to be born by means of truths of faith and a life in accordance with them. That "water" signifies truths, may be seen in the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 50, 614, 615, 685, 632); that "spirit" signifies a life in accordance with Divine truths is clear from the Lord's Words in John (6:63). "Verily, verily" [or "Amen, amen"], signifies that this is the truth; and the Lord used that expression so frequently because He was the truth itself. He Himself is also called "the Amen" (Apoc. 3:14). In the Word the regenerate are called "Sons of God" and "born of God," and regeneration is described by "a new heart and a new spirit."573.
The expression "born again," which means, as it were, created anew, is here used because "to be created" signifies to be regenerated. That this is the signification of "to be created" in the Word can be seen from the following passages: Create for me a clean heart, O God; and renew a firm spirit in the midst of me (Ps. 51:10). Thou openest Thy hand, they are satisfied with good; Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created (Ps. 104:28, 30). A people that shall be created shall praise Jah (Ps. 102:18). Behold I will create Jerusalem a rejoicing (Isa. 65:18). Thus hath said Jehovah, Thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel, I have redeemed thee. Everyone that is called by My name, into My glory have I created him (Isa. 43:1, 7). That they may see, know, consider and understand, that the Holy One of Israel hath created it (Isa. 41:20). (And elsewhere. ) Also where the Lord is called Creator, Former and Maker. This makes clear what is meant by these words of the Lord to His disciples: Going into all the world, preach ye the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15); "creatures" meaning all who are capable of regeneration. (So also in Apoc. 3:14; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17. )574.
All reason shows that man must be regenerated, for he is born into evils of every kind derived from his parents; and these evils have their seat in his natural man, which of itself is diametrically opposed to the spiritual man. Nevertheless man is born for heaven; although he does not enter heaven unless he becomes spiritual, and he can become spiritual only by means of regeneration. From this it follows of necessity that the natural man with its lusts must be subdued, subjugated, and inverted, and that otherwise man cannot approach a single step toward heaven, but sinks deeper and deeper into hell. Who cannot see this, if he believes that he has been born into evils of every kind and acknowledges the existence and contrariety of good and evil, and believes in a life after death, a hell and a heaven, and that evil is what constitutes hell and good is what constitutes heaven? Viewed in himself the natural man in no way differs in his nature from the nature of beasts. Like them he is wild; but it is as to his will that he is such; in understanding he differs from beasts, in that the understanding can be elevated above the lusts of the will, and not only see but also moderate them; and for this reason man is able to think from understanding, and speak from thought, which beasts cannot do. What man is by birth, and what he would be if not regenerated, can be seen from fierce animals of every kind; that be would be a tiger, a panther, a leopard, a wild hog, a scorpion, a tarantula, a viper, a crocodile, and so on; consequently if he were not transformed by regeneration into a sheep, what would he be but a devil among devils in hell? And in that state, if not restrained by civil laws, would not men from innate ferocity, rush upon one another and slaughter each other, and plunder each other even of the last scrap of clothing? How many are there of the human race who are not born satyrs and priapi or four-footed lizards; and who among these, if not regenerated, does not become an ape? External morality is required, for the sake of covering up their internals; and it does that.575.
What man is when not regenerated can be still further made clear by the following comparisons and similitudes from Isaiah: The pelican and the porcupine shall possess it, and the owl and the raven shall dwell in it; and he shall stretch out over it the line of emptiness, and the plummet of devastation. And thorns shall come up upon her altars, the thistle and bramble in her fortresses; and she shall become a habitation of dragons, and a court for the daughters of the owl; the Tziim shall meet with the Ijim, and the satyr shall meet his fellow; the night monster shall rest there. There shall the merula make her nest, and gather and hatch under her shadow; there shall the vultures also be gathered, everyone with her mate (Isa. 34:11-15).576.
II. THE NEW BIRTH OR CREATION IS EFFECTED BY THE LORD ALONE THROUGH CHARITY AND FAITH AS THE TWO MEANS, MAN CO-OPERATING. That regeneration is effected by the Lord through charity and faith, follows from what was set forth in the chapters on Charity and Faith, especially from this, That the Lord, Charity and Faith make one, like Life, Will and Understanding in man, and if they are divided, each of them perishes like a pearl reduced to powder. These two, charity and faith, are called the means, because they are what conjoin man with the Lord, causing charity to be charity, and faith to be faith; and this conjunction cannot be effected unless man has part in his regeneration; and this is why it is said, man co-operating. In the preceding chapters man's co-operation with the Lord has been several times treated of; but as the human mind is such as to be incapable of perceiving otherwise than that man effects this by his own power, the subject shall be illustrated again. In all motion, and consequently in all action, there is an active and a passive; that is to say, the active acts, and the passive acts from the active, so that from both one action arises; comparatively as a mill is moved by its wheel, a carriage by its horse, as motion is from effect, an effect from its cause, a dead force from a living force, and in general, as the instrument is moved by the principal. Everyone knows that these two together produce one action. As to charity and faith, the Lord acts and man acts from the Lord, for the Lord's active is in man's passive; therefore the power to act aright is from the Lord, and the will to act therefrom is as if it were man's, because he has the freedom of choice, whereby he is able to act as one with the Lord and thus conjoin himself with Him, or to act from the power of hell which is an extraneous power, and thus to separate himself from the Lord. It is man's action in harmony with the Lord's action that is here meant by co-operation. To give a clearer perception of this, it shall be still further illustrated by comparisons which follow.577.
From the foregoing it also follows, that the Lord is unceasingly in the act of regenerating man, because He is unceasingly in the act of saving him, and no one can be saved unless he is regenerated, according to the Lord's own words in John: Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:5-6). Regeneration, therefore, is the means of salvation, while charity and faith are the means of regeneration. To say that regeneration follows the faith of the present church, which leaves out man's co-operation, is vanity of vanities.  The action and cooperation here described may be seen in everything that is in any state of activity and mobility. Such is the action and cooperation of the heart and of every artery thereof; the heart acts, and the arteries by their sheaths or coats cooperate; hence circulation. It is the same with the lungs. The air acts by its incumbent weight according to the height of the atmosphere, and at first the ribs cooperate with the lungs, and immediately after the lungs with the ribs; from which there is respiration in every membrane of the body. Thus the meninges of the brain, the pleura, the peritoneum, the diaphragm and the other parts which cover the viscera and enter into their composition, act and are acted upon, and thus they cooperate; for they are elastic; and from this is their existence and subsistence. It is the same in every fiber and nerve, and in every muscle, and even in every cartilage; in everyone of these, as is known, there is action and cooperation.  There is such a cooperation also in every sense; for the sensories of the body, like the motor organs, consist of fibers, membranes, and muscles; but to describe the co-operative action of each, is needless; for it is known that light acts upon the eye, sound upon the ear, odor upon the nostrils, and taste upon the tongue, and that the organs adapt themselves thereto; from which there is sensation. Who cannot see from all this, that unless there were such action and cooperation with the influent life in the spiritual organism of the brain, will and thought could not exist? For life from the Lord flows into that organism, and because of this cooperation, man has a perception of what he thinks, and in like manner of what is there considered, concluded upon, and defined into act. If life were to act merely, and man were not to co-operate as if of himself, he could no more think than a stock, or than a temple while the minister is preaching in it. The temple may indeed, owing to the reverberation of the sound from its doors, have a sense, as it were, of the echo, but not of the discourse. So would man be, did he not co-operate with the Lord in respect to charity and faith.578.
What man would be if he did not cooperate with the Lord, may also be illustrated by comparisons: When he had a perception and sense of anything spiritual pertaining to heaven and the church, it would be as if something distasteful or discordant flowed in, like an offensive smell entering the nose, a discordant sound the ear, a monstrous sight the eye, or a foul taste affecting the tongue. If a delight of charity or a pleasure of belief were to flow into the spiritual organism of the mind of those whose delight is in evil and falsity, if such delight and pleasure were thrust upon them, they would be in anguish and torture, and finally would fall into a swoon. Because that organism consists of perpetual helices, in such a case it would coil itself up in spirals, and writhe like a serpent on an ant-hill. The truth of this has been proved to me by much experience in the spiritual world.579.
III. SINCE ALL HAVE BEEN REDEEMED, ALL MAY BE REGENERATED EACH ACCORDING TO HIS STATE. That this may be understood, something must be premised respecting redemption. The Lord came into the world chiefly for these two purposes, to remove hell from angel and from man, and to glorify His Human. For before the Lord's coming hell had grown up so far as even to infest the angels of heaven, and also, by interposing itself between heaven and the world, to intercept the Lord's communication with men on earth, so that no Divine truth and good could pass from the Lord to men. Consequently a total damnation threatened the whole human race, and the angels of heaven could not have long continued to exist in their integrity.  And thus, in order that hell might be cleared away, and this impending damnation be thereby removed, the Lord came into the world, and dislodged hell, subjugated it, and thus opened heaven; so that He could henceforth be present with men on earth, and save those who live according to His commandments, and consequently could regenerate and save them, for those who are regenerated are saved. This is how it is to be understood, that, since all have been redeemed they may be regenerated, and because regeneration and salvation make one, all may be saved. So the teaching of the church, that without the Lord's coming no man could have been saved, is to be understood in this way, that without the Lord's coming no one could have been regenerated.  In respect to the other purpose for which the Lord came into the world, namely, to glorify His Human, this was because He thereby became the Redeemer, Regenerator and Savior forever. For it is not to be believed that by redemption once wrought in the world, all men had been thereby redeemed, but that the Lord is perpetually redeeming those who believe in Him and who obey His words. But on these points more may be seen in the chapter on Redemption.580.
Every man may be regenerated, each according to his state; for the simple and the learned are regenerated differently; as are those engaged in different pursuits, and those who fill different offices; those who search into the external things of the Word, and those who search into its internals; those who are principled in natural good from their parents, and those who are in evil; those who from their infancy have entered into the vanities of the world, and those who sooner or later have withdrawn from them; in a word, those who constitute the Lord's external church are regenerated differently from those who constitute His internal church, and this variety, like that of men's features and dispositions, is infinite; and yet everyone, according to his state, may be regenerated and saved.  The truth of this can be seen in the heavens, to which all the regenerate go, in that there are three heavens, a highest, a middle, and a lowest; and those who by regeneration acquire love to the Lord enter the highest heaven, those who acquire love to the neighbor, enter the middle heaven, and those who merely practice external charity, but at the same time acknowledge the Lord as God the Redeemer and Savior, enter the lowest heaven. All these are saved but in different ways.  All may be regenerated and thus saved, because the Lord with His Divine good and truth is present with every man; this is the source of everyone's life and his ability to understand and will, together with freedom of choice in spiritual things; in no man are these lacking. And the means to these are also given, for Christians in the Word, and for Gentiles in their religions, which teach that there is a God, and which furnish precepts respecting good and evil. From all this it follows that everyone may be saved; consequently that it is not the Lord's fault if man is not saved, but man's, because he does not co-operate.581.
That redemption and the passion of the cross are two distinct things and by no means to be confounded, and that by means of both the Lord took to Himself the power to regenerate and save men, has been shown in the chapter on Redemption. From the accepted faith of the church of today respecting the passion of the cross, as being redemption itself, have sprung throngs of horrible falsities respecting God, faith, charity and other things that in a continuous chain depends on these three; as, respecting God, that He had determined upon the damnation of the human race, and that He was willing to be brought back to mercy by the imposition of that damnation upon His Son, or by the Son's taking it upon Himself, and that only those were saved who by foreknowledge or predestination have Christ's merit bestowed upon them. From this fallacy another belonging to that faith has been hatched, namely, that those upon whom that faith has been bestowed, are at the same time regenerated without any cooperation on their part; and even that they have thus been absolved from the condemnation of the law, and are no longer under the law, but under grace, and this although the Lord has said, That He did not take away one tittle of the law (Matt. 5:18, 19; Luke 16:17), and also commanded His disciples: To preach repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 24:47; Mark 6:12). He also said: The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15); "the gospel" meaning that they can be regenerated and thus saved, which they could not have been unless the Lord had wrought redemption, that is, had deprived hell of its power by combats against it and victories over it, and unless He had glorified His Human, that is, had made it Divine.582.
Think rationally and say what the entire human race would be if the faith of the present church were to continue; this faith being that men are redeemed by the passion of the cross alone, and that those upon whom that merit of the Lord has been bestowed are not under the condemnation of the law; and again, that this faith (whether or not it is in him man not knowing at all), remits sins and regenerates, and that man's co-operation in the act thereof, that is, when it is being given and entering, would defile it, and at the same time deprive him of salvation, since he would thereby commingle his own merit with that of Christ. Think rationally, I say, and tell me whether the whole Word would not be thus rejected, where regeneration by means of the spiritual washing away of evils, and by the exercise of charity is especially taught. What would the Decalogue, the starting point of reformation, then be, more than the paper that is sold in small shops and used to wrap up spices? What would religion then be, but a kind of lamentation that one is a sinner, and supplication to God the Father to be merciful on account of the passion of His Son, thus a matter of the mouth and lungs only, and not of anything done from the heart? What would redemption then be but a papal indulgence; or what more than a monk's flagellation of himself for the sake of the whole assembly, as is sometimes done? If faith alone regenerated man, repentance and charity doing nothing, what would the internal man (which is the man's spirit that lives after death), be like, but a burnt city, the ruins of which form the external man; or a field or plain laid waste by caterpillars and locusts? Such a man appears to the angels altogether like one who cherishes a serpent in his bosom, and tries to conceal it under his garments; or like one sleeping like a lamb with a wolf; or like one sleeping under beautiful bed-clothing in a night-gown made of spider's webs. Or seeing that all are arranged in heaven according to the different degrees of their regeneration, and all in hell according to the different degrees in which they have rejected it, what would the life after death be but a life of the flesh, and so like that of a fish or a crab?583.
IV. REGENERATION IS EFFECTED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO THAT IN WHICH MAN IS CONCEIVED, CARRIED IN THE WOMB, BORN AND EDUCATED. In man there is a perpetual correspondence between what takes place naturally and what takes place spiritually, or between what takes place in his body and what takes place in his spirit. This is because man as to his soul is born spiritual, and is clothed with what is natural, which forms his material body. Therefore when this body is laid aside, his soul, clothed with a spiritual body, enters a world where all things are spiritual, and is there affiliated with its like. Since then, the spiritual body must be formed in a material body, and is formed by means of truths and goods which flow in from the Lord through the spiritual world, and are inwardly received by man in such things in him as are from the natural world, which are called civil and moral, the way in which its formation is effected is evident; and since, as before said, there is in man a constant correspondence between what takes place naturally and what takes place spiritually, it follows that this formation is like conception, gestation, birth, and education. It is for this reason that natural births in the Word mean spiritual births, which are births of good and truth; for whatever is mentioned in the sense of the letter of the Word, which is natural, involves and signifies what is spiritual. That in each and all things of the sense of the letter of the Word there is a spiritual sense is fully shown in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture. That the natural births mentioned in the Word involve spiritual births is very obvious from the following passages: We have conceived, we have travailed, we have as it were brought forth; we have not wrought salvation (Isa. 26:18). At the presence of the Lord the earth bringeth forth (Ps. 114:7). Hath the earth travailed for one day? Shall I break forth and not bring forth? Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut up? (Isa. 66:7-10). Sin shall travail, and No shall be rent asunder (Ezek. 30:16). The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon Ephraim; he is a son not wise, because he doth not stay his time in the womb of sons (Hos. 13:12, 13). (So also in many other places. ) As natural generations in the Word signify spiritual generations, and these are from the Lord, He is called the Maker and the former from the womb, as appears from the following: Jehovah thy Maker and thy Former from the womb (Isa. 44:2). Thou art He that took me out of the womb (Ps. 22:9). Upon Thee have I been laid from the womb; Thou art He that took me out of my mother's bowels (Ps. 71:6). Attend unto me, carried from the womb, borne from the matrix (Isa. 46:3). (Besides other passages.) For this reason the Lord is called, Father (as in Isa. 9:6; 63:16; John 10:30; 14:8, 9). And those who are in goods and truths from Him are called, Sons, and born of God, and brethren to each other (Matt. 23:8, 9). And again the church is called, Mother (Hos. 2:2, 5; Ezek. 16:45).584.
From all this it is now clear that there is a correspondence between natural generations and spiritual generations; and because of this correspondence it follows that conception, gestation, birth, and education may not only be predicated of the new birth, but that they actually exist. In this chapter on Regeneration the nature of these are being presented to view in their proper order; here let it be said merely that man's semen is conceived interiorly in the understanding, and is given form in the will; is transferred therefrom to the testicle where it clothes itself with a natural covering, and is thus conducted into the womb and enters the world. Moreover, there is a correspondence of man's regeneration with all things in the vegetable kingdom; therefore in the Word man is also pictured by a tree, his truth by its seed and his good by its fruit. That an evil tree may be born anew, as it were, and afterward bear good fruit and good seed, is evident from grafting and budding, for although the same sap ascends from the root through the trunk to the graft or bud, it is then changed into good sap and makes the tree good. It is the same in the church with those who are engrafted into the Lord, as He teaches in these words: I am the Vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered; and is cast into the fire (John 15:5-6).585.
It has been taught by many of the learned that the processes of plant growth, not only of trees but also of all shrubs, correspond to human prolification. I will, therefore, add something on this subject by way of appendix. In trees and in all other subjects of the vegetable kingdom there are not two sexes, a masculine and a feminine, but everything there is masculine; the earth alone or the soil is the common mother, and is thus as it were feminine; for it receives the seeds of all fruits, opens them, carries them as it were in a womb, and then nourishes them and brings them forth, that is, ushers them into the light of day, and afterward clothes and sustains them.  When a seed is first opened by the earth it begins with the root, which is a kind of heart; from this it emits and transmits sap like blood, and so forms as it were a body provided with limbs; its body is the trunk itself, while the branches and their branchlets are its limbs. The leaves which it puts forth immediately after its birth serve as lungs; for as the heart without the lungs produces no motion or sensation, and it is by means of these that man is made alive, so the root without leaves does not cause a tree or shrub to vegetate. The blossoms which precede the fruit are means for purifying the sap, the tree's blood, for separating its grosser from its purer elements, for forming a new little trunk for the influx of these purer elements contained in the bosom of this sap, through which trunk the purified sap may flow in and thus initiate and gradually form the fruit (which may be compared to the testicles), in which the seed is perfected. The vegetative soul which inmostly governs in every particle of sap, or which is its prolific essence, is from no other source than the heat of the spiritual world; and as this heat is from the spiritual sun there, it aspires to nothing but generation, and a continuance of creation thereby; and because it essentially aspires to the generation of man, it induces upon whatever it generates a certain resemblance to man.  That no one may be astonished at the statement, that the subjects of the vegetable kingdom are masculine only, and that the earth alone or the soil is like a common mother, or is like the feminine, let it be illustrated by something similar among bees. According to the observation of Swammerdam, reported in his Book of Nature, bees have only one common mother, from which the offspring of the entire hive is produced. As there is but one common mother for these little insects, why not the same for all plants?  That the earth is a common mother may also be illustrated spiritually; and is so illustrated by the fact that in the Word "the earth" signifies the church, and the church is a common mother, and is so called in the Word. As to the earth's signifying the church, consult the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 285, 902), where it is shown. But the earth or the soil can enter into the inmost of a seed even to its prolific principle, calling this forth and giving it circulation, because every least particle of dust or powder exhales from its essence a kind of subtle penetrating effluvium, which is an effect of the active force of the heat from the spiritual world.586.
That man can only be regenerated gradually, may be illustrated by each and all things that come into existence in the natural world. A tree cannot reach its full growth in a day, but there is first growth from the seed, then from the root, and then from the shoot, which becomes the trunk, and from this go forth branches and leaves, and finally blossoms and fruit. Wheat or barley does not ripen for the harvest in a day; a house is not built in a day, nor does a man acquire his full stature in a day, still less wisdom; a church is not established and perfected in a day, nor is there any progression to an end except from a beginning. Those who have a different conception of regeneration know nothing of charity and faith, nor of the growth of either according to man's cooperation with the Lord. From all this it is clear that regeneration is effected in a manner analogous to that in which man is conceived, carried in the womb, born and educated.587.
V. THE FIRST ACT IN THE NEW BIRTH IS CALLED REFORMATION, WHICH PERTAINS TO THE UNDERSTANDING, AND THE SECOND IS CALLED REGENERATION, WHICH PERTAINS TO THE WILL AND THEREFROM TO THE UNDERSTANDING. As reformation and regeneration are treated of here and in what follows, and reformation is ascribed to the understanding and regeneration to the will, it is necessary that the distinctions between the understanding and will should be known, which distinctions are described above (n. 397); therefore it is advisable to read first what is there said, and afterwards this section. It has also been shown there that the evils into which man is born are generated in the will of the natural man, and that the will causes the understanding to favor it by thinking in agreement with it. For this reason, that man may be regenerated, it is necessary that his regeneration be effected by means of the understanding as the mediate cause; and this is done by means of the various kinds of instruction that the understanding receives, first from parents and teachers, afterward by reading the Word, by preaching, books, and conversation. The things which the understanding receives from these sources are called truths; it is the same, therefore, whether reformation is said to be effected by means of the understanding, or by means of the truths which the understanding receives; for truths teach man in whom he ought to believe, and what he ought to believe, also what he ought to do, thus how he ought to will; for whatever one does he does from the will in accordance with his understanding. Since then, man's will itself is evil by birth and the understanding teaches what good and evil are, and man can will either good or evil, it follows that he must be reformed by means of the understanding; and so long as anyone sees and mentally acknowledges that evil is evil, and good is good, and thinks that the good ought to be chosen, he is in what is called the state of reformation; but when his will leads him to shun evil and do good, the state of regeneration begins.588.
For the sake of this end there has been given to man the ability to elevate his understanding almost into the light in which the angels of heaven are, that he may see what he must will and must do therefrom, that he may be prosperous in the world for a time and blessed after death to eternity. He becomes prosperous and blessed if he acquires for himself wisdom, and keeps his will in obedience thereto; but he becomes unprosperous and unhappy if he makes his understanding subservient to his will. This is because the will by birth inclines to evils, even to enormities; therefore unless it is held in check by means of the understanding, man left to the freedom of his will would rush into great wickedness, and from the ferine nature inherent in him would plunder and slaughter for his own sake all who did not favor him and indulge his cupidities. Moreover, if man were not able to perfect his understanding separately, and to perfect his will by means of it, he would not be a man, but a beast; for without that separation, and without the ascent of the understanding above the will, he would not be able to think, and from thought to speak, but would be able to express his affections by sounds only; nor would he be able to act from reason, but only from instinct; still less could he recognize what relates to God, and thereby God Himself, and thus be conjoined with Him and live for ever. For man exercises thought and will as if of himself; and this as if of himself, is the reciprocal element in conjunction, for conjunction without reciprocation is impossible, as there can be no conjunction of an active with a passive without adaptation or application. God alone acts; man permits himself to be acted upon, and cooperates to all appearance as if of himself, although interiorly from God. But from a right perception of these things, it can be seen what the love of man's will is when it is elevated by means of the understanding; also what it is when not elevated; thus what man is.589.
It must be known that the ability to elevate the understanding even to the intelligence in which the angels of heaven are, is by creation inherent in every man, the wicked as well as the good, and even in every devil in hell, for all who are in hell have been men. This has been frequently shown to me by living experience. But such are not intelligent but insane in spiritual things, because they do not will good but evil, consequently they are averse to knowing and understanding truths, for truths favor good and oppose evil. From all this it is clear that the first step in the new birth is a reception of truths by the understanding, and the second is the will to act in accordance with truths, and finally to practice them. No one, however, can be said to be reformed by mere knowledges of truth; for man is able to acquire these and to talk about, teach, and preach them through his ability to elevate his understanding, above the love of his will. But he is a reformed man who has an affection for truth for the sake of truth; for this affection conjoins itself with the will, and if it goes on it conjoins the will to the understanding, and then regeneration begins. But how regeneration afterward advances and is perfected, will be told in what follows.590.
But the nature of the man whose understanding has been elevated, but not the will's love by means of it, shall be illustrated by comparisons. He is like an eagle flying on high, but as soon as he sees food below, as hens, young swans, or even young lambs, he darts down in a moment and devours them. He is also like an adulterer who hides a harlot in a room below, and in turn ascends to the highest story of his house, and there in the presence of his wife talks wisely with visitors about chastity, and again steals away from the company and satiates his lust with the harlot below. He is also like marsh flies that fly in a body over the head of a running horse, but when the horse stops settle down and immerse themselves in their marsh. Such is the man who is elevated as to the understanding, while the will's love remains down at the foot, immersed in the uncleannesses of nature and the libidinous propensities of the senses. But because such men shine as if with wisdom in the understanding, while the will is in opposition to wisdom, they may also be likened to serpents with shining skins, and to the Spanish flies that glisten as if made of gold, or to the ignis fatuus in marshes, or to shining rotten wood and phosphorescent substances. There are among them some who can counterfeit angels of light, both among men in the world and after death among the angels of heaven; but these, after a brief examination, are deprived of their clothing, and cast down naked. This cannot be done in the world, because there the spirit of such is not open, but is covered over by a mask like that used by actors in theaters. In countenance and with the lips they are able to counterfeit angels of light, which is both an effect and a proof of their ability to elevate the understanding, as has been said, above the love of the will almost to angelic wisdom. Since then, man's internal and external can run thus counter to each other, and since the body is cast aside while the spirit remains, a dark spirit may evidently dwell behind a bright face, and a fiery one behind a bland mouth. Therefore, my friend, form your opinion of a man not from his mouth but from his heart, that is, not from his words but from his deeds; for the Lord says: Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:15-16).591.
THE INTERNAL MAN MUST FIRST BE REFORMED, AND BY MEANS OF IT THE EXTERNAL; AND THUS IS MAN REGENERATED. That the internal man must first be regenerated, and by means of it the external, is generally conceded in the church at the present day; but "internal man" suggests nothing to the thought but faith, which faith is that God the Father imputes to men the merit and righteousness of His Son, and sends the Holy Spirit. It is believed that this faith constitutes the internal man, and that from the internal the external flows forth, which is the moral natural man, this being an appendage to the former, comparatively like the tail of a horse or cow, or like the tail of a peacock or bird of paradise which extends to the feet without being connected with them; for it is said that while charity follows that faith, the faith perishes if charity from man's will comes in. But this being the only internal man recognized in the church at the present day, there is no internal man, for no one knows whether such a faith has been bestowed upon him or not; moreover, as has been shown above, it is an impossible thing and therefore purely imaginary. From this it follows, that at the present day, among those who are confirmed in that faith there is no other internal man than that natural man which from birth overflows in evils of every kind. To this it may be added, that regeneration and sanctification are said to follow that faith of themselves, and that man's co-operation, which is the only means by which regeneration is effected, must be excluded. Therefore it is that no knowledge of regeneration in the present church is possible, when yet the Lord says that he who is not regenerated cannot see the kingdom of God.592.
But the internal and external man of the New Church are wholly different. The internal man pertains to the will, from which man thinks when left to himself, as when he is at home; but the external man is his actions and words, such as come forth from the internal when man is with others, thus when abroad. Consequently, the internal man is both charity, because this pertains to the will, and faith, which pertains to thought. Before regeneration these two constitute the natural man, which is thus divided into an internal and an external. This is shown in the fact that it is not permissible for man to act and speak in company or abroad as when alone or at home. The cause of this division is, that civil laws prescribe punishments for those who act wickedly, and rewards for those who act rightly, consequently men compel themselves to separate the external from the internal man; for no one wishes to be punished, and everyone wishes to be rewarded, which is done by riches and honors; and man attains to neither of these unless he lives according to those laws. It results from this that morality and benevolence exist in externals even with those who have none internally. And from the same source is all hypocrisy, flattery, and simulation.593.
As to the division of the natural man into two forms, it is an actual division both of will and of thought therein; for every action of man goes forth from his will, and every word from his thought; consequently another will is formed by man beneath the first, and likewise another thought; but the two still constitute the natural man. This will which is being formed by the man, may be called a bodily will, because it impels the body to make a show of moral activities, and that thought may be called pulmonary thought, because it impels the tongue and lips to utter such things as belong to the understanding. This outer thought and will taken together may be likened to the inner bark that adheres to the outer bark of a tree, or to the membrane that adheres to the shell of an egg. Within these is the internal natural man, who, if evil, may be likened to a tree the wood of which is rotten, but about which the aforesaid outer and inner barks seem sound; as also to a rotten egg in a white shell. But something shall also be said about what the internal natural man is by birth. Its will inclines to evils of every kind and the thought therefrom is inclined to falsities of every kind. This then is the internal man that is to be regenerated, for unless it is regenerated it is nothing but hatred against everything that belongs to charity, and consequent rage against all things belonging to faith. From this it follows that this natural internal man must first be regenerated, and by means of it the external; for this is according to order; while to regenerate the internal by means of the external would be contrary to order; for the internal is like a soul in the external, not only in general but also in every particular, consequently it is in every least word one speaks; it is present in these beyond what man knows. Because of this the angels, from a single action of a man, can perceive what his will is, and from a single word what his thought is, whether infernal or heavenly. Thus they know the entire man; from the tone of his voice they have a perception of his thought's affection, and from the gesture or the form of his action they have a perception of his will's love. And this they have, however he may simulate a Christian or a moral citizen.594.
Man's regeneration is described in Ezekiel by the "dry bones" which were clothed with sinews, then with flesh and skin, and at last had spirit breathed into them, whereby they lived again (37:1-14). That regeneration was represented by those things, is evident from what is there said: These bones are the whole house of Israel (Ezek. 37:11). A comparison is also there made with graves, for it is written, That Jehovah would open their graves, and cause the bones to come up out of their graves, and put spirit in them, and bring them together into the land of Israel (Ezek. 37:12-14). "The land of Israel" there and elsewhere means the church. Regeneration was here represented by bones and graves, because the unregenerate man is called dead, and the regenerate alive; for in the latter there is spiritual life, but in the former spiritual death.595.
In every created thing in the world, whether living or dead, there is an internal and an external; one never exists without the other, as there is no effect without a cause; and every created thing is esteemed according to its internal goodness, or is deemed base if internally malignant, as external goodness is when within it there is internal malignity. Every wise man in the world and every angel in heaven so judges. But the nature of the unregenerate man and of the regenerate, may be illustrated by comparisons. The unregenerate man who simulates a moral citizen or a Christian, may be likened to a corpse wrapped in aromatics, which nevertheless exhales a putrid odor that infects the aromatics, insinuates itself into the nostrils, and injures the brain. He may also be likened to a mummy, gilded or placed in a silver coffin, upon looking beneath the covering of which a hideously black body comes to view.  Again, he may be likened to bones or skeletons in a sepulchre that is adorned with lapis lazuli and other gems; also to the rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, but whose internal was nevertheless infernal (Luke 16:19). Still again he may be likened to sweet-tasting poison, to a poison hemlock in flower, to fruit with a bright skin, but inwardly worm-eaten, and also to an ulcer covered first with a plaster and then with a thin skin, but with nothing within but foul matter. In the world only those who have no internal goodness, and who therefore judge by the appearance, can estimate the internal by the external; but in heaven it is otherwise. For when the body which is moveable about the spirit and easily directed from evil to good, is separated by death, the internal remains, for this constitutes the man's spirit; and then at a distance he looks like a serpent that has shed his skin, or like rotten wood stripped of its bark or covering in which it looked so well.  But with the regenerate man it is different. His internal is good, and his external resembles the external of the other. And yet his external differs from that of the unregenerate as heaven differs from hell, since the soul of good is in it, and it matters not to him whether he is a great man, who dwells in a palace, and goes surrounded by attendants, or lives in a cottage and is waited upon by a boy; or even whether he is a primate clad in a purple robe and wearing the cap of his rank, or the shepherd of a few sheep in a wood, clothed in a loose rustic frock and wearing a little cap on his head.  Gold is still gold, whether it flashes before the fire or has its surface blackened by the smoke; whether it is melted into a beautiful form like that of an infant, or into an ugly one like that of a mouse. Mice made of gold and placed beside the ark, were acceptable and pleasing (1 Sam. 6:3-5); for gold signifies internal good. Diamonds and rubies obtained from whatever matrix, lime or clay, are in like manner esteemed according to their internal goodness, the same as those in the necklace of a queen; and so on. From all this it is clear that the external is estimated from the internal, and not the reverse.596.
VII. WHEN THIS TAKES PLACE A CONFLICT ARISES BETWEEN THE INTERNAL AND THE EXTERNAL MAN, AND THEN THE ONE THAT CONQUERS RULES OVER THE OTHER. A conflict then arises because the internal man is reformed by means of truths; and from truths he sees what is evil and false, which evil and falsity are still in the external or natural man; consequently disagreement first springs up between the new will, which is above, and the old will, which is below; and as the disagreement is between the two wills, it is also between their delights; for the flesh, it is well known, is opposed to the spirit and the spirit to the flesh, and the flesh with its lusts must be subdued before the spirit can act and man become new. After this disagreement of the two wills a conflict arises; and this is called spiritual temptation. This temptation or conflict does not take place between goods and evils, but between the truths of good and the falsities of evil. For good cannot fight from itself but fights by means of truths; nor can evil fight from itself but by means of its falsities; just as the will cannot fight from itself but by means of the understanding where its truths reside.  Man is not sensible of that conflict except as in himself, and as remorse of conscience; and yet it is the Lord and the devil (that is, hell) that are fighting in man, and they are fighting for dominion over him, or to determine who shall possess him. The devil or hell attacks man and calls out his evils, while the Lord protects him and calls out his goods. Although that conflict takes place in the spiritual world, still it takes place in man between the truths of good and the falsities of evil that are in him; therefore man must fight wholly as if of himself, for he has the freedom of choice to act for the Lord, and also to act for the devil; he is for the Lord, if he abides in truths from good, and for the devil, if he abides in falsities from evil. From this it follows that whichever conquers, the internal man or the external, that one rules over the other; precisely like two hostile powers contending as to which shall be master of the other's kingdom-the conqueror takes possession of the kingdom, and places all in it under obedience to himself. In this case, therefore, if the internal man conquers, he obtains dominion and subjugates all the evils of the external man, and regeneration then goes on; but if the external man conquers, he obtains the dominion, and dissipates all the goods of the internal man, and regeneration perishes.597.
While it is known at the present day, that there are temptations, hardly anyone knows whence and what they are and what good they effect. Whence and what they are has just been explained, also the good they effect, which is, that when the internal man conquers, the external is subjugated, and as this is subjugated lusts are dispersed, and affections for good and truth are implanted in their place, and are so arranged that the goods and truths which a man wills and thinks he may also do, and may speak them from the heart; and furthermore that by victory over the external man man becomes spiritual, and is then affiliated by the Lord with the angels of heaven, who are all spiritual. Heretofore temptations have not been understood, and scarcely anyone has known whence and what they are and the good they effect, because heretofore the church has not been in truths. No man is in truths unless he approaches the Lord directly, rejects the former faith and accepts the new. And this is why no one has been admitted into any spiritual temptation during the centuries that have passed since the Nicene Council introduced a belief in three Gods; for if anyone had been, he would have succumbed immediately, and thus would have precipitated himself more deeply into hell. The contrition which is said to precede the present faith is not temptation. I have questioned very many about it, and they have declared that it is nothing but a word, except perhaps with the simple there might be some timorous thoughts about hell-fire.598.
When man has passed through temptations he is as to his internal man in heaven, while by means of the external man he is in the world; thus by means of temptations there is a conjunction of heaven and the world effected in man; and then the Lord in him rules his world from heaven according to order. The contrary takes place if man remains natural; he is then eager to rule heaven from the world. Such does everyone become who is in the love of ruling from the love of self. If interiorly examined, such a man believes in himself only and not in God; and after death he believes him to be God who can exercise dominion over others. Such madness prevails in hell, and it even proceeds to such a length that some call themselves God the Father, some God the Son, some God the Holy Spirit, and among the Jews some call themselves the Messiah. This shows clearly what man becomes after death if the natural man is not regenerated, and therefore to what length his fantasies would carry him if a New Church, in which genuine truths are taught, had not been established by the Lord. This is what is meant by these words of the Lord: In the consummation of the age [that is, at the end of the present church], there shall be such affliction as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be; and except those days be shortened, no flesh would be saved (Matt. 24:21, 22).599.
In the conflicts or temptations of men the Lord works a particular redemption; as He wrought a total redemption when in the world. By conflicts and temptations in the world the Lord glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine; in like manner now with man individually, when he is in temptations, the Lord fights for him, conquers the evil spirits who are infesting him, and after temptation glorifies him, that is, renders him spiritual. After His universal redemption the Lord reduced to order all things in heaven and in hell; with man after temptation He does in like manner, that is, He reduces to order all the things of heaven and the world that are in him. After redemption the Lord established a new church; in like manner He also establishes what pertains to the church in man, and makes him to be a church in particular. After redemption the Lord bestowed peace upon those who believed on Him, for He said: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you (John 14:27). Likewise He gives to man after temptation a sense of peace, that is, gladness of mind and consolation. From all this it is clear that the Lord is the Redeemer forever.600.
A regenerated internal man without a regenerated external also, may be likened to a bird flying in the air with no resting place on dry land except in a marsh, where it is attacked by serpents and frogs, so that it flies away and dies. It may be likened also to a swan swimming in mid-ocean, which cannot reach the shore and make her nest, so that the eggs she lays sink in the water, where they are eaten by fishes. It may be likened also to a soldier on a wall which is pulled down under him, so that he falls headlong and dies amid the ruins. Again it may be likened to a beautiful tree transplanted into filthy soil where troops of worms eat up its roots, so that it withers and dies. It may also be likened to a house without a foundation, or to a column without a pedestal. Such is the internal man when it alone is reformed and not the external also; for it then has no means of determining itself to doing good.