See related articles:
Spiritual Geography--Part 1-- Graphic Maps of Consciousness for Regeneration || Spiritual Geography--Part 2: Jacob's Ladder and Other Psycho-Dynamic Applications || Spiritual Genetics--The Building Blocks of Consciousness || Dual Citizenship || Spiritual Psychology || Spiritual Time and Space || De Hemelsche Leer Article || Theistic Science || Religious Psychology
The need for regeneration, according to Swedenborg, arises from both inheritance and one's learned habits. Through inheritance, we have within our motivational structure, an abundance of anti-social and self-destructive tendencies. For example, we persist in an unhealthy lifestyle until we become ill or dysfunctional. Or, within primary relationship figures such as a spouse, we can be negative and destructive. Or, at the national level, we make war on each other. These behavior tendencies betray our inherited delights in destructive behaviors. We add to these inherited inclinations through our own habits of life by allowing ourselves to drift into insensitivity, self-centeredness, and meanness. The result of these negative aspects in our character is the un-regenerate state of a "fallen" race.
According to Swedenborg, our regeneration is effected by God in two distinct stages of cooperation on our part. First, reformation: God leads us to recognize that our state is fallen, to which we are to respond by acknowledging God's leading and giving in to it. Conscience is God's inner voice leading us to reformation.
The second phase is regeneration proper. This takes place through temptations and is a very delicate administration of Divine Psychotherapy, going on within the subconscious. Typically, temptation is brought on at appropriate moments; this is a state of conflict, doubt, anguish, torture. Essentially, we doubt our certainty or we hate what we love. Only those temptations are brought on which can be dealt with victoriously. If one chooses for good, one is victorious in the temptation and a new spiritual-physiological synapse is established. In this way, with repeated temptations on a daily or hourly basis, a new spiritual character is built up, synapse by synapse. This is the regenerating state that goes on until the death of the body. Then it goes on, but in a different form.
In the Christian religion, according to Swedenborg, regeneration is associated with being reborn spiritually from a Fallen state in which our wicked ways prevent us from being associated with God and thus enjoying all the benefits of a happy life in mental Paradise. In Paradise, which is the heavenly state of mind or spirit, we achieve spiritual at-one-ment, i.e., being once again put right with God through acknowledgment and worship of Him as the "Divine Human." The Divine Human is the idea of God as a Person rather than some object, force, energy or animistic principle of the universe.
It is required that this acknowledgment and worship be based on enlightened faith, not blind acceptance based on coercion or persuasion. In other words, each individual is to reason about this relationship to the Divine Human. For in order to be regenerated and live happily forever in Paradise it is required and necessary that we cooperate in the process of character reformation. It cannot be done for us by the Divine.
Regeneration of the spirit is the regeneration of the character, and this is the regeneration of our mind, of our consciousness--see Spiritual Genetics--The Building Blocks of Consciousness.
In Swedenborg's spiritual psychology, regeneration is a process of personality development within a relationship which we can refer to as Divine Psychotherapy. The starting point for this relationship with God is to acknowledge the Divine in a historical context. This means maintaining an idea of God as an Omnipotent Person who intervenes in human affairs out of Love and Rationality. This acknowledgment of the God-human relationship can be made in a variety of ways, depending on civilization, culture, and individual preference. For Christians, the God-human relationship is based on Christ's sacrifice returning us to a heavenly state of spirit and life. For Jews, the long hoped for Messiah will restore the Kingdom of God on earth and make things right again.
All religions allow people to make this first step, namely, being able to acknowledge God as the Omnipotent Person who acts in our lives out of Love. The acknowledgment of a higher Personal power than oneself creates a bulwark of protection against the virus of spiritual insanity. This spiritual insanity is the state of delusion in which we believe and act as if we lived life on our own, without Divine presence and supervision. This spiritual delusion leads to multiple negative consequences in human behavior, as visible in societal conflict and breakdown.
Swedenborg shows that a second step is necessary. It is not enough to acknowledge God's supervision of our lives. It is not enough because Divine Psychotherapy is needed for regeneration. Divine Omnipotence and Love are not sufficient to redeem us from our inherited Fallen character. Swedenborg points out that surely a loving omnipotent Divine Person would bestow the heavenly state on everyone, if it were possible. Why wouldn't God do this? Why? It would not be possible for us to freely serve and love such a Person! Being able to grant us happiness and heaven, but not doing so out of a sense of Righteousness, etc. We could not admire that. We could not love that. So it should be obvious that the heavenly state of mind or spirit cannot be granted by wish or Divine will or desire.
So step two is necessary. Which is our willingness to cooperate with God in the Divine Psychotherapy sessions arranged for us daily in our lives, morning to night, minute by minute. It works this way, as Swedenborg describes it. God arranges the environment and the situation and the event that happens to us, making sure that
So this is what Divine Love and Omnipotence accomplish. The gradual, step by step healing of the spiritual self so that the old habits are bit by bit replaced by the new habits. The new loves replace the old loves. The new thoughts replace the old thoughts. When the process of Divine Therapy is over, the individual is brought into the spiritual world through the death of the body and the immediate resurrection of the spirit body. For example, a plane crash may be the means for bringing on the death of some adults and children. This means that the Divine Psychotherapy has ended for these individuals. While the accident may be a sad event for relatives and friends, for the adults and children who passed on, the event is actually a new and exciting beginning! But why not let all children live till adulthood?
Regeneration is the spiritual growth of a new character which takes place through participating consciously in Divine Psychotherapy. In this relationship, the God we worship brings us daily moment by moment choices of conscience. As we chose right and good, we gradually evolve a heavenly personality that is capable of living in heaven in eternity. As we chose wrong and bad, we gradually evolve a hellish personality which is not capable of living in heavenly states with others. This hellish spirit can only live in hellish states with other hellish spirits. And this forever.
Heaven is a psycho-biological state of our spirit or mind which is not earned by declarations, meritorious acts, or achievement of a certain status. We can reach heavenly states in our mind or spirit only through a regenerated or noble character. This new character must be developed in cooperation with the Divine Human. It cannot be developed in any other way. Cooperation with God means seeing every choice one makes as a response to the Divine Human's Personal request --
This is essential for the success of our regeneration, and thus our future in the afterlife.
If we don't do it for God, as a way of loving the Divine Person, then the process cannot build the new character.
Building the new character means choosing right because God wants me to.
If I choose right because I want to, or because they want me to, etc., then I cannot be regenerated. I must be willing to choose right because God wants me to. When I choose things automatically, without this conscious choosing for God, then I cannot be regenerated. If I think of God at night, before going to bed, and on Sundays in Church, etc., then I cannot be regenerated. I've got to think of God in every choice, minute by minute. If this is too hard for me, then I am unwilling in my spirit. If I try and fail, God will continue to give me new attempts until I succeed. God insures that all who try, succeed. Only those don't succeed who don't try. Not to succeed means not having a new character when we pass on, hence not being able to survive in heavenly paradise, but only in hellish places of the mind full of insanities and daemonic sufferings. This is no joking matter, friends. Everything but everything is at stake here. So listen up.
Note that regeneration is independent of any particular religion. No particular religion has any advantage over any other. God is God to all religions. No particular religious denomination or membership is necessary for regeneration. Regeneration is a medical issue, a psychological issue, a personality development issue. God works with atheists no less than with the faithful. Religion or philosophical beliefs can stand in the way of regeneration if they discourage people from participating consciously in Divine Psychotherapy. Of course when we are in an atheistic phase of mind we laugh at these things relating to regeneration and we refuse to cooperate. Hence we cannot be regenerated in such a phase. If this phase lasts your whole life on earth you arrive in the afterlife (or spiritual world) in very sorry and sad state, devoid of the ability to understand anything rational and true. But in order to live in "Heaven" we must be able to understand rational truth for heaven is made of rational truth. We cannot live in that which we deny. Thus, sadly, we sink down into the corporeal dimensions of the human mind, and there we live in a sorry and horrible state of life forever.
With or without religion, what matters is one's willingness to participate in developing a new character through daily choices for right and good as a way of loving the Divine Person and not for any other reason.
For more details on the process of regeneration, see this article on the spiritual genes.
Regeneration is the operation of the Divine Human on the human race. Every individual must be regenerated in order to attain full humanity, which is life in heaven to eternity. Since the beginning of history God has guided the human race, in general and for each individual, so that the mind may receive appropriate education for its healthy growth. This education of the human race takes place by internal means and external means. The internal means are through the furtherance of the angels who infill our internal mind while we are regenerating and growing the individual organic parts. We are not conscious of this "vertical community" to which we belong (see this article), but we are conscious of an inner voice we call our conscience. God, through the angels, acts into our unconscious inner mind which vivifies the conscience in our external mind where we become aware of it as an urging to act this way rather than that. If we remain deaf to the voice of conscience we experience guild or pain, but over time we can learn to ignore this voice so much so that at last we can no longer hear it or sense it.
The external means by which God operates on our conscious awareness is through revelations from the spiritual world. In most ancient times called the Adamic Church, these revelations were made directly through sensuous consciousness. They had visions into the spiritual world and communicated with the angels there, who were their departed ancestors. They thus had psychic abilities we no longer have. IN subsequent ages this ability was removed or closed down because people began to use it for evil, on which account they precipitated themselves into the hells and could not be regenerated. To protect people from this fate, the psychic ability had to be closed down. Instead of that written revelations were given in the form of Sacred Scriptures called the Word of God. Divine Truths were written down and generation after generation used these writings to learn of rational truths and how they can be regenerated through living a life according to these truths. The chart below shows the various ages of the Churches and how they correspond to the Glorification steps undergone by the Incarnate Divine Human. According to the Writings of Swedenborg, the steps of the Glorification process parallel the steps of the regeneration process, and understanding how they fit is important in understanding our own regeneration. By understanding our regeneration we can more fully cooperate in it--this is the key for our spiritual success.
For explanations on the color code see the article on spiritual genes.
The above chart (matrix 1) shows the progressive evolution of consciousness in the human race, paralleling the Lord's biographical periods while on earth. The Lord's six phases of development in relation to the Incarnation and Glorification each marks a particular consciousness degree through which our regeneration progresses. This chart can be used to gain a deeper understanding of how our regeneration undergoes steps of progression made available by the Lord's Glorification. In the infancy period of our individual development we receive remains as an unmerited advance. It's as if the truth is written on the heart and we have psychic abilities to perceive it. God operates on us directly through the influx of this inner truth. In the childhood phase we have an interior perception of truth from our conscience. In the history of the Churches this phase was known as the Noachic period. Those generations had a Word that was written in correspondences and everyone learned to know these correspondences as an aid in their regeneration. Eventually however the knowledge or science of correspondences was abused and misused, used for obtaining magical powers rather than for regenerating the character. In order to protect future generations therefore, the Word disappeared and the knowledge of correspondences disappeared. A new Word had to be given in the next phase called the Jewish Church.
This new Word, called the Old Testament, was written in a historical language involving natural narratives and the correspondences that were in the Word were not revealed so that no one was aware that these rational truths lay hidden within the literal of the historical narratives. Regeneration by means of this Word was made through external truths only, natural truths, not rational or interior truths. These external truths consisted of commandments and statutes the children if Israel had to follow in order to be regenerated. As long as they followed these commandments because they were Divine they were able to be regenerated. But eventually these representative truths hidden in the sacrifices and statutes they were to blindly follow, lost their spiritual power to regenerate the people. A new Word had to be given. This was done by the Incarnate Word when God appeared to the human race's sensuous consciousness, thus externally, in the natural world. This new Word is known to us as the New Testament.
The New Testament contains natural-spiritual truths in the literal. For example, it is written that God was the Word and the Word became Flesh. This is a natural-spiritual truth. It is an interior natural understanding of God. Another example is the idea that we must love our enemy, that is, treat all human beings with dignity even if they want to harm us. The New Testament contains many such spiritual-natural ideas or truths. By understanding these truths and living according to this understanding, any individual can be regenerated. However, in the course of time these truths in the New Testament Word were also taken away because perverted and misused. For example, the clergy at the time of the Nicene Council in 325 AD came out with the dogma that there were not One Divine Person or God but Three Divine Persons, each a God in their own right and province of action. According to Swedenborg this idea destroyed monotheism and people who confirmed this dogma in their mind were no longer able to be regenerated. Hence a new Word had to be given.
This new Word came as the Writings of Swedenborg and is called the Third Testament (or Last Testament). This Word contains many rational truths in the literal and infinite truths in the hidden inner sense. A discussion of how the hidden meaning is extracted to help our regeneration will be found in this article.
 No one can ever fight against evils and falsities until one has learned to know what evil and falsity are, and therefore not until one has been instructed. We do not know what evil is, still less what falsity is, until we have the full use of our understanding and judgment, which is the reason why we do not come into temptations until we have arrived at adult age...
 Every person combats first of all from the goods and truths one has received through knowledges; and from them and by them one judges about evils and falsities. Every one of us, when we first begin to combat, supposes that the goods and truths from which we combat are our own; that is, we attribute them to ourself, and at the same time attribute to ourself the power by which we resist. This also is permitted for the individual cannot then know otherwise. Until we have been regenerated, we cannot possibly know, so as to be able to say that we know, acknowledges, and believes, that nothing of good and truth is from ourselves, but that all good and truth are from the Divine; or that we cannot resist any evil and falsity from our own power; for we do not know that evil spirits excite and infuse the evils and falsities still less that by means of evil spirits we are in communication with hell; and that hell presses upon us as the sea does upon every part of a dike, which pressure of hell no one can possibly resist by one's own powers. But as until we have been regenerated we cannot but suppose that we resist by our own powers, this also is permitted; and thus we are introduced into combats or temptations; but afterwards we are more and more enlightened.
 When we are in such a state that we suppose good and truth to be from ourselves, and that the power of resisting is our own, then the goods and truths from which we combat against evils and falsities are not goods and truths, although they appear so; for there is what is our own in them, and we place self-merit in victory, and glories as if it were us who had overcome the evil and falsity, when yet it is the Divine alone who combats and overcomes. That this is really the case, none can know but they who are being regenerated by means of temptations.
TCR 602. It needs to be known that a person as regards his understanding can rise almost into the light enjoyed by the angels of heaven. But if he does not also rise as regards his will, he is still the old person, not a new one. I showed earlier how the understanding raises the will to an even higher level to match itself. Regeneration, therefore, is primarily a matter of the will, secondarily of the understanding. For a person's understanding resembles light in the world, his will heat there. It is well known that light without heat does not make things live and grow, but only light combined with heat. In respect of the lower region of the mind the understanding really is enlightened by the light of the world, but in respect of the upper region by the light of heaven. Therefore unless the will is raised from the lower region to the upper and is there linked to the understanding, it remains in the world. Then the understanding swoops up and down, but every night sinks down to the will and rests there; and they couple like a man with a whore, and bring forth offspring with two heads. These facts too make it plain that unless a person acquires a new will and a new understanding, he has not been regenerated.
TCR 603. The human mind is divided into three regions. The lowest is called the natural, the middle the spiritual, the highest the celestial. Regeneration has the effect of raising a person from the lowest or natural region to the higher or spiritual one, and through this to the celestial one. It will be proved in the next section [607-610] that there are three regions in the mind. This then is why a person who is not regenerated is called natural, and one who is regenerated is called spiritual. It is obvious from this that the mind of a regenerated person is raised to the spiritual region, and from its higher position there it can see what is going on in the lower or natural mind. The existence of a lower and a higher region of the mind can be seen and acknowledged by anyone who pays the slightest attention to his own thoughts. For he can see what he is thinking, so he says that he thought or thinks this or that. This would be impossible if there were no interior thought, called perception, which looks down to the lower level called thought.
 When a judge has heard or read a long series of cases compiled by an advocate, he groups them together to form a single view in the upper region of his mind, so as to make a universal principle; then he lowers his gaze to the lower region of natural thought, and there arranges his arguments in due order, giving his judgment and sentence in accordance with the upper region of his mind. Is anyone unaware that a person can in one or two moments think about and reach a conclusion on matters which would take him as much as an hour to spell out by means of his lower thought? These instances are quoted to show that the human mind is divided into lower and higher regions.
TCR 604. As for the new will, this stands above the old one in the spiritual region; and likewise the new understanding, which is with the will, and the will is with it, They are linked in that region and jointly look into the old or natural one, so arranging everything there as to be obedient. Can anyone fail to see that if the human mind had only one region, and what is evil and what is good, together with falsities and truths, were put together and mixed up there, there would be a conflict, as if wolves and sheep were put together into one cage, or tigers and calves, or hawks and doves? The result would inevitably be savage butchery, and the tame animals would be torn apart by the wild beasts. For this reason provision has been made that what is good together with the relevant truths should be gathered into the upper region, where they can be kept safe, repelling the attacks of and subduing by chains and other means evils and the relevant falsities, finally dispersing them. This is what was meant in the previous section by saying that the Lord by means of heaven controls what concerns the world in the case of a regenerate person. The higher or spiritual region of the human mind is a small-scale heaven, the lower or natural region a small-scale world. That is why the ancients called man a microcosm; and he can also be called a microuranos*.
TCR 605. A regenerate person, that is, one who is renewed in will and understanding, enjoys the heat of heaven, which is its love, together with the light of heaven, which is its wisdom, while in the contrary case one who is not regenerate experiences the heat of hell which is its love, together with the darkness of hell which is its madness; this is a fact which at the present time is known but still ignored. The reason is that the church as it exists at the present time has made regeneration an adjunct to its faith, and faith something which must not be subjected to reason, and consequently the same applies to anything belonging to its adjunct; and, as I said before, this includes regeneration and renewal. For them these, together with faith itself, are like a house with its doors and windows shut, so that no one knows what is in the house, whether it is merely empty or full of genii from hell or of angels from heaven. A second reason is that confusion has been introduced by the fallacy that a person can by his understanding climb almost into the light of heaven, and use his resulting intelligence to think and talk about spiritual matters, irrespective of what the love of his will is like. Ignorance of the truth about this has also prevented everything to do with regeneration and renewal being known.
TCR 606. These facts allow us to reach the conclusion that a person who is not regenerated is like someone who seeing phantoms by night thinks they are people. Then when he is being regenerated he is like someone who sees at daybreak that what he saw in the night was a delusion, and later, when he has been regenerated and is in full daylight, he sees that they were hallucinations. The person who has not been regenerated is like a dreamer; one who has, is like someone wide awake. In the Word too natural life is likened to sleep, spiritual life to wakefulness. It is the unregenerate person who is meant by the foolish virgins who had lamps, but no oil. The regenerated person is meant by the wise virgins who had lamps and also oil. Lamps mean things to do with the understanding, oil things to do with love. Regenerated persons are like the lights of the lampstand in the Tabernacle; and like the bread of the Presence and the incense placed on it there. These are the people who 'will shine like the radiance of the firmament, and be bright as stars for an age and for ever', as described in Daniel (12:3).
 The person who is not regenerated is like someone in the Garden of Eden who eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and is therefore expelled from the garden; in fact he is that very tree. But a regenerated person is like someone in that garden who eats of the tree of life. These words in Revelation establish that it is permissible to eat of that tree.
To him who overcomes I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev. 2:7.
The Garden of Eden means intelligence in spiritual matters arising from the love of truth; see APOCALYPSE REVEALED 90. In short, the unregenerate is the 'son of the evil one', and the regenerate is the 'son of the kingdom' (Matt. 13:38). 'Son of the evil one' there is the son of the devil, 'son of the kingdom' the son of the Lord.
TCR 608. It should be known that there are three heavens, distinguished in accordance with the three degrees of love and wisdom, and in proportion as a person is regenerated he is in touch with angels from the three heavens. This too is the reason the human mind is divided into three degrees or levels to answer to the heavens. On the three heavens and how they differ according to the three degrees of love and wisdom, see My HEAVEN AND HELL (29ff) and also the tract THE INTERACTION OF SOUL AND BODY* (16, 17). Here I can only use a simile to illustrate the nature of the three degrees which distinguish the heavens. They are like the head, trunk and feet in the human body. The highest heaven makes up the head, the middle heaven the trunk, the lowest the feet. For the whole of heaven is in the Lord's sight like one human being. I have had the truth of this revealed to me by seeing for myself, for I have been permitted to see a community in heaven containing thousands all at one time looking like a single human being. Why then should not the whole of heaven look like this to the Lord? On this direct experience see my book HEAVEN AND HELL (59ff).
 This too makes it plain how we must understand the fact well known in the Christian world, that the church makes up the Body of Christ, and that Christ is the life of that body. It will also serve as an illustration of the fact that the Lord is the all in all of heaven, since He is the life in that body. Likewise the Lord is the church for those who acknowledge Him alone as the God of heaven and earth and believe in Him. He Himself teaches that He is the God of heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18); and that He is to be believed in (John 3:15, 16, 36; 6:40; 11:25, 26).
TCR 609. The three degrees into which the heavens, and consequently the human mind, are divided, can to some extent be illustrated by comparisons with materials in this world. The three degrees are like the degrees of nobility which distinguish gold, silver and copper; and there is a comparison drawn between them in the description of Nebuchadnezzar's statue (Dan. 2:31ff). The three degrees are distinguished as ruby, sapphire and agate are in purity and quality; and as the olive-tree, the vine and the fig-tree, and so on. In the Word too gold, ruby and the olive stand for celestial good, the good of the highest heaven; silver, sapphire and the vine for spiritual good, the good of the middle heaven; and copper, agate and the fig-tree for natural good, the good of the lowest heaven. I said before that there are three degrees, celestial, spiritual and natural.
One final point: to the extent that a person is regenerated, that is, in so far as his regeneration advances towards perfection, to that extent he ceases to attribute to himself any good or truth, that is, any charity and faith, but attributes these to the Lord. For the truths that he absorbs one after the other plainly teach that lesson.
TCR 611. X In so far as a person is regenerated, so far are his sins removed; this removal is the forgiveness of sins.
The reason why so far as a person is regenerated, so far are his sins removed, is that regeneration consists in controlling the flesh so that it does not take control, in taming the former man and his lusts so that he cannot rise again and destroy the faculty of understanding; for if this is destroyed, there is no further possibility of the person being reformed. This reformation cannot occur, unless the person's spirit, which is above the flesh, is instructed and advanced towards perfection. No one, whose understanding is still unimpaired, can fail to conclude from this that such events cannot take place in an instant, but do so one after another, just as a person is conceived, carried in the womb, born and brought up, in the sequence demonstrated above. The properties belonging to the flesh or the former man are inherent from birth. They build the first home for his mind, the dwelling-place of lusts, which are like wild beasts in their cages. They live at first in the forecourts, and little by little creep into the rooms of that house below ground level, and afterwards climb the stairs and make rooms for themselves. This happens by stages as the child grows, becomes a boy and then a youth; then he begins to use his own understanding to think and his own will to act.
 Anyone can see that a house built thus far in the mind, where lusts like ochim, ghoim* and satyrs hold hands to dance, cannot be destroyed in a moment, and a new house built in its place. Of course the lusts holding hands and so disporting themselves must first be banished, and new desires for good and truth be brought in to replace the lusts for evil and falsity. Any wise person can see that such things cannot take place in an instant from the single consideration, that every evil is the product of countless lusts, resembling a fruit that below the surface is full of maggots with black heads and white bodies. Evils too, he will realize, are numerous and closely linked, like the offspring of a spider just hatched from its belly. So unless one evil after another is brought out, and the process continues until the link is broken, a person cannot become new. These considerations have been presented in order to make it known that in so far as anyone is regenerated, so far are his sins removed.
TCR 612. From birth everyone has a propensity to evils of every kind, and this makes him long for them and do them so far as he is free to do so. For from birth he longs to control others and possess other people's property, the two things which shatter love toward the neighbor. Then he hates anyone who opposes him, and his hatred breathes revenge, a feeling inwardly nursing thoughts of murder. This too is why he makes light of adultery and cheating, which is secret theft, as well as of blasphemy, which includes false witness. Anyone who pays no heed to all these is an atheist at heart.
That is what a person is like from birth, and it is plain from this that he is a hell on the smallest scale. Now since a person is born, as far as the interiors of his mind are concerned, to be spiritual, as animals are not, and since he is consequently born to go to heaven, yet his natural or external man is, as I have just said, a hell on the smallest scale, it follows that heaven cannot be planted in hell, but this must be removed.
TCR 613. If anyone knows the relationship of heaven and hell, and how one is removed from the other, he can tell how a person is regenerated, as well as what a regenerated person is like. To make this intelligible I must first make the brief revelation that all in heaven turn their faces towards the Lord and look at Him, while all in hell turn their faces away from the Lord. So if one looks down from heaven into hell, one sees nothing but the backs of heads and people's backs. Indeed they even appear upside down like the people of the Antipodes, who have their feet up and their heads down, despite the fact that they walk upon their feet and can screw their faces round. It is the reverse direction in which the interiors of their minds face that produces this appearance. I can report these surprising facts from my own observation.
 By this means it was revealed to me how regeneration takes place, exactly as hell is removed and is thus separated from heaven. For, as I said before, a person as regards his first nature, which he has from birth, is a hell on the smallest scale, and as regards his second nature, which he gets from being born again, is a heaven on the smallest scale. It follows from this that the evils in a person are removed and separated just as hell and heaven are on the large scale. As evils are removed they turn away from the Lord, and by stages turn upside down. This happens to the extent that heaven is planted in the person, so that he becomes a new man. For the sake of illustration I shall add that each evil in the person has a link with those in hell who have the same evil, and on the other hand each good in the person has a link with those in heaven who possess similar good.
TCR 614. What has been said can serve to establish that the forgiveness of sins is not their rooting out or wiping away, but their removal and so separation. All the evil remains that a person has by his deeds made his own. Since the forgiveness of sins is their removal and separation, it follows that a person is held back from evil and kept in good by the Lord. This is the gift he receives by regeneration.
I once heard someone in the lowest heaven say that he was free from sins because they had been wiped away, 'by the blood of Christ' he added. But since he was inside heaven, and made this mistake through ignorance, he was plunged into his own sins, and as they recurred to him, he acknowledged them. This led him to accept a new belief, that everyone, man as well as angel, is held back from evils and kept in good by the Lord.
 This makes it plain what the forgiveness of sins is, not an instantaneous event, but the consequence of regeneration, advancing in step with it. The removal of sins, what is called their being forgiven, can be compared with the casting out of filth from the Children of Israel's camp in the desert, which lay all around them; for their camp represented heaven, the desert hell. It can also be compared with the removal of the nations in the land of Canaan by the Children of Israel, and the removal of the Jebusites from Jerusalem; they were not cast out, but separated. It can also be compared with the fate of Dagon, the god of the Philistines; when the Ark was brought in, it first of all lay face down on the ground, and afterwards lay on the threshold with its head and the palms of its hands cut off; so it was not cast out, but removed.
 It can be compared with the demons the Lord sent into the swine, which afterwards drowned themselves in the sea; here and elsewhere in the Word the sea stands for hell. It can also be compared with the dragon's crowd, which when separated from heaven first invaded the earth, and afterwards was cast down into hell. Another comparison can be made with a wood full of wild beasts of many kinds; if it is cut down, the beasts take refuge in the surrounding thickets, and then when the ground has been leveled, the area contained within it is cultivated to make agricultural land.
TCR 615. XI Regeneration is impossible without free will in spiritual matters.
Anyone who is not stupid can see that without free will in spiritual matters no one can be regenerated. Without that he could not approach the Lord and acknowledge Him as Redeemer and Saviour, and as the God of heaven and earth, as He Himself teaches (Matt. 28:18). Can anyone without that free will believe, that is, look to and worship Him from faith, devoting himself to receiving from Him the means to and benefits of salvation, and co-operating in receiving them from Him? Can anyone without free will do any good to his neighbor and show charity, not to mention absorbing into thought and will many other features of faith and charity, and drawing upon them to put them into effect? Otherwise regeneration would be nothing but a meaningless expression which dropped from the Lord's lips (John chapter 3), something which penetrates no further than the ear, or if it falls from the lips as the result of the thought which is closest to speech, is merely an articulate sound composed of eleven letters*. This sound has no meaning by which it can be raised to any higher level in the mind, but it falls upon empty air and is lost.
TCR 616. Tell me, if you can, whether there can ever be such blind stupidity about regeneration as that displayed by those convinced of present-day faith. This is a belief that faith is poured into a person while he is like a block of wood or a stone, and that infusion is followed by justification, which is the forgiveness of sins, regeneration and many other gifts; and that any activity on the person's part is to be utterly ruled out in order to avoid doing any damage to Christ's merit. To establish this dogma even more securely, they have snatched away from people any free will in spiritual matters, making them totally powerless in this respect; as if God would then act alone on His part, and no power would be given to the person to co-operate on his part, and so to link himself with God. If that were so, what would a person be as regards regeneration but tied hand and foot like the slaves chained in galleys?* If he got free from his manacles and leg-irons, he would, like the slaves, be punished and condemned to death - that is, if he used his free will to do good to his neighbor, and believed in God of his own accord so as to be saved.
 If a person were to convince himself of such beliefs, although he piously hoped to go to heaven, he would be nothing but a ghost, standing waiting to see whether that faith with the benefits it conveys had been poured into him, or if not, whether it was being poured in; and likewise whether God the Father had shown mercy, or whether His Son had interceded, or whether the Holy Spirit was too busy elsewhere to act on him. In the end he would in his total ignorance about this go away and console himself with this reflection: 'Perhaps that grace may be present in the moral behavior I adopt in life and in which I continue as formerly, so that in me it is holy, but in those who have not acquired that faith, unholy. So to ensure that holiness remains in my moral behavior, I shall take care in future not to exercise faith or charity of my own accord' - and more of the same sort. Such a ghost, or if you prefer such a pillar of salt, is what everyone becomes who thinks about regeneration unaccompanied by free will in spiritual matters.
TCR 617. A person who believes that regeneration is possible without any free will in spiritual matters, and so without any co-operation, becomes as regards all the church's truths as cold as a rock; and if he is hot, he is like a blazing log on a fire, which burns because of the combustible material it contains, because of his lusts. To employ a comparison, he becomes like a palace sinking into the ground up to its roof and being flooded with muddy water; after this he lives on the bare roof, and there builds himself a shelter of reeds from the marshes. Finally the roof too sinks below the surface and he is drowned.
 He is also like a ship laden with precious goods of every kind taken from the treasury of the Word. But these are gnawed by mice and grubs, or thrown overboard by the sailors, so that the merchants are cheated out of their wares. Those who are learned or rich in the mysteries of that faith are like salesmen in shops selling statues of idols, fruit and flowers made of wax, sea-shells, vipers in bottles and such like. Those who, because of the lack of any spiritual power applied and given by the Lord, are unwilling to look up, are in fact like animals which keep their heads down to look, as they seek their food in the woods. If they come into gardens, they are like caterpillars which eat the leaves of trees: and if they catch sight of fruits, and more so if they handle them, they fill them with maggots. Finally they become like scaly snakes, for their fallacies rustle and glitter like the scales of snakes. And so one might continue with comparisons.
TCR 618. XII Regeneration is impossible without truths through which faith may be formed, and with which charity may link itself.
There are three means by which a person is regenerated: the Lord, faith and charity. These three would lie as deeply hidden as the choicest gems buried underground, if they were not exposed by Divine truths from the Word. In fact they would be hidden from the sight of those who deny man's co-operation, even if they read the Word a hundred or a thousand times; yet there they stand out in bright light.
As regards the Lord, can anyone who has convinced himself of present-day faith open his eyes to see the following doctrines in it: that the Lord and the Father are one, and that He is the God of heaven and earth, and that it is the Father's will that people should believe in Him, as well as countless similar statements in both Testaments? The reason is that they are not in possession of truths, and so not in light which could make things of this sort plain to see. Even if they were given light, still their falsities would snuff it out, and then the truths would be passed over like phrases deleted, or like subterranean passages which people walk over and cross. These remarks have been made to make it known that without truths this first step towards regeneration could not be seen.
 As regards faith, neither is that possible without truths, for faith and truth make a single entity. Good is like the soul of faith, and truths make up its body. So to talk of believing or having faith without knowing any of its truths is like pulling the soul out of the body and carrying on a conversation with that invisible object. Moreover, all the truths which make up the body of faith emit light, illuminating it and making its face visible. It is much the same with charity. This emits heat, with which the light of truth combines, just as in the world heat is combined with light in springtime, and this combination makes animals and plants on earth resume reproduction. It is much the same with spiritual heat and light. These likewise combine in a person, when he is in possession of the truths of faith and at the same time the kinds of good which make up charity. For, as I said before in the chapter on faith, there flows from each truth an illuminating light, and from each kind of good a heat which sets on fire. Spiritual light is in its essence intelligence, and spiritual heat is in its essence love. It is the Lord alone who combines these two when He regenerates a person. For the Lord said:
The words which I speak are spirit and life. John 6:63.
Believe in the light, so that you may be sons of light. I have come a light to the world. John 12:36, 46.
In the spiritual world the Lord is the sun, the source of all spiritual light and heat. That is the light which illuminates, the heat that sets on fire; and a person is quickened and regenerated by them both being combined.
TCR 619. These facts can establish that there is no knowing the Lord without truths; and without truths there is no faith and so no charity. It follows that without truths there cannot be any theology, and in its absence there cannot be any church either. Such at the present time is the case with the mass of peoples who call themselves Christians, claiming to be in the light of the Gospel, when in fact they are in utter darkness. For the truths lie as deeply hidden under falsities as gold, silver and precious stones buried among the bones in the valley of Hinnom.* This was made plain to me from the spheres in the spiritual world which flow and radiate from the Christians of the present day.
 One of these spheres concerns the Lord. It spreads its influence from the southern quarter, where the learned among the clergy and educated laymen live. Wherever it reaches, it sneaks into people's ideas, and in many cases carries away their belief in the divinity of the Lord's Human; in many other cases it weakens it, and in many others turns it to foolishness, The reason is that it introduces at the same time a belief in three Gods, and this produces confusion.
 A second sphere which carries away** faith is like a dark cloud in wintertime, which darkens the day, turns rain into snow, lays bare the trees, freezes waters and deprives sheep of all pasture. This sphere combined with the previous one injects a sort of lethargy concerning one God, regeneration and the means of salvation.
 A third sphere concerns the linking of faith and charity. It is so strong as to be irresistible. But at the present time it is appalling, and like a plague it infects anyone who catches a breath of it, tearing apart every bond between the two means of salvation established from the creation of the world and made whole by the Lord. This sphere also attacks people in the natural world and quenches the torches*** which celebrate the marriage between truth and good. I have felt this sphere, and then when I thought about the linking of faith and charity, it intervened between them and attempted violently to separate them.
 The angels complain about these spheres, and pray the Lord to have them dispersed. But they received the reply that they cannot be dispersed, so long as the dragon is upon the earth, since they proceed from the followers of the dragon. For it is said of the dragon that it was cast out into the earth, and then
For this reason rejoice, heavens, and woe to those that live on the earth. Rev. 12:12.
 These three spheres are like atmospheres driven by a gale and coming from the air-holes of dragons; and because they are spiritual, they attack people's minds and compel them. The spheres concerned with spiritual truths are up to now few there, at any rate in the new heaven and with those below heaven who are separated from the followers of the dragon. This is the reason why those truths are at the present time so hard to see among people in the world, just as ships sailing the eastern ocean are to the ship-masters and navigators sailing the western ocean.
TCR 620. Some comparisons may be made to illustrate the fact that regeneration is impossible without the truths by means of which faith is formed. This can no more exist than a human mind without an understanding, since the understanding is formed by means of truths and so can teach us what should be believed and done, what regeneration is and how it is effected. Regeneration without truths is no more possible than it is for animals to have life or trees to grow without sunlight. For if the sun did not give light at the same time as it gives heat, it would become like a sack made of hair, as described in Revelation (6:12), and it would be darkened (Joel 2:10, 31). Thus there would be total darkness on earth (Joel 3:15). The same would happen to a person if he were without truths that emit light. The sun from which the light of each truth radiates is the Lord in the spiritual world. If spiritual light from this source did not flow into human minds, the church would be in total darkness or in the shadow of a permanent eclipse.
 Regeneration, which must take place through faith and charity, without truths to teach and guide would be like sailing on a broad ocean without a tiller, or without a ship's compass and charts. It would also be like riding a horse in a dark wood by night. The internal vision of the minds of those who possess not truths but falsities, which they believe to be true, can be compared with the sight of people whose optic nerves are blocked; the eye appears to be intact and seeing, while in fact it sees nothing. This is the form of blindness physicians call amaurosis or gutta Serena. Their rational or intellectual faculty is blocked above and only open downwards. As a result the light of reason becomes like the light of the eye, so that all judgments are mere imagination and strung together out of pure fallacies. Then people would stand around like astrologers with long telescopes, standing in public squares issuing empty prophecies. This is what would happen to all students of theology, if the Lord did not open to them genuine truths from the Word.
TCR 621. At this point I shall insert some accounts of experiences, of which this is the first.
I saw a gathering of spirits all on their knees praying God to send them angels, with whom they could talk face to face, and open to them the thoughts of their hearts. When they got up, three angels dressed in fine linen were to be seen standing before them. 'The Lord Jesus Christ,' they said, 'has heard your prayers and has therefore sent us to you. Open to us the thoughts of your hearts.'
 'Our priests have told us,' they answered, 'that in theological matters it is not the understanding but faith which is effective; and that faith based on the understanding is no help in such matters, because it derives from and smacks of man, not of God. We are English, and we have heard a lot from our ministers of religion, which we believed. But when we talked with others, who also called themselves Reformed, and with others who called themselves Roman Catholics, and even with members of sects, they all appeared to be learned, yet on many subjects there was not one who agreed with another. All the same, they all said, "Believe us," and some said, "We are God's ministers, and we know." But we know that the Divine truths, which are called the truths of faith and are possessed by the church, do not come to anyone from his native soil or by heredity, but from God out of heaven; and they show the way to heaven, entering a person's life together with the good of charity, and so leading to everlasting life. So we became worried, and prayed on our knees to God.'
 'Read the Word,' the angels said to this, 'and believe in the Lord, and you will see truths which will be your guides to faith and life. All Christian people draw their doctrines from the Word as being their one and only source.' But two of the gathering said, 'We have read it, but not understood it.'
'You did not approach the Lord,' replied the angels, 'and He is the Word. Also you had first convinced yourselves of falsities.' The angels went on: 'What is faith without light, and what is thinking without understanding? This is not how human beings act. Ravens and jays can learn to talk without understanding too. We can assure you that every person whose soul so desires can see the truths of the Word in light. There does not exist an animal which does not know the food it needs to live on, when it sees it. Man is a rational and spiritual animal, so he knows the food not so much his body as his soul needs to live on. That is the truth of faith, provided he is hungry for it and begs the Lord for it.
 'Moreover, anything that the understanding does not take in is not retained by the memory as a fact, but merely as words. So when we looked down on the world from heaven, we could see nothing, but only heard sounds, which were for the most part discordant. But we shall mention some things which the learned among the clergy have banished from the understanding, being unaware that there are two routes to the understanding, one from the world and the other from heaven. The Lord withdraws the understanding from the world, as He enlightens it. But if religion dictates that the understanding is to be shut off, the route to it from heaven is shut off, and then one sees no more in the Word than a blind man. We have seen many such people fall into pits, and be unable to get out of them again.
 'Let us give some examples to illustrate this. Surely you can understand what charity and faith are - that charity is doing good to the neighbor, and faith is having a correct idea of God and the essential doctrines of the church? And as a result, that a person who does good and has a correct idea, that is to say, who lives a good life and has a correct belief, is saved?' They said that they understood this.
 The angels went on to say that for a person to be saved he must repent of his sins, and unless he does so, he remains in the sins to which he was born. Repentance consists in not willing evils because they are sins against God; and once or twice a year examining oneself, seeing one's evils and confessing them to the Lord, asking for help, desisting from those evils and starting a new life. So far as a person does this and believes in the Lord, so far are his sins forgiven. 'We understand this,' said some of the gathering, 'and so we know what the forgiveness of sins is.'
 Then they asked the angels to tell them more, and this time about God, the immortality of the soul, regeneration and baptism.
'We shall not say anything,' the angels replied, 'which you cannot understand. If we did, our words would be like rain falling on a desert and the seeds it holds, which, despite being watered from heaven, still wither away and die.'
On the subject of God they said: 'All who come to heaven are allotted their place, and thus have everlasting joy, depending upon the idea they have of God, because it is this idea which is universally dominant in every detail of worship. To think of God as a spirit, if a spirit is believed to be like the ether or the wind, is meaningless. But to think of God as Man is a correct notion, because God is Divine love and Divine wisdom, with all their attributes; and that of which love and wisdom can be predicated is man, not ether or wind. In heaven they think of God as the Lord the Saviour; as He taught us, He is the God of heaven and earth. Make your idea of God like ours, and we shall welcome you into our company.' When they said this, the faces of the others lit up.
 On the immortality of the soul they said: 'Man lives for ever, because by means of love and faith he can be linked with God. Every single person has this capacity. And if you think a little more deeply about it, you can understand that this capacity constitutes the immortality of the soul,'
 On regeneration: 'Anyone can see that any person is free to think about God or not to think about Him, so long as he has been taught that there is a God. So anyone has just as much freedom in spiritual as in social or natural matters. The Lord continually grants this to all; so a person is to blame, if he fails to think about God. It is this capacity which makes man a man, and its absence makes an animal an animal. Man can therefore reform and regenerate himself as if of himself, so long as he acknowledges in his heart that this comes from the Lord. Everyone who repents and believes in the Lord is reformed and regenerated. A person should do both as if of himself, but this as if of himself comes from the Lord. It is true that a person cannot from himself contribute anything, not in the slightest, to that process. Yet you have not been created statues; you were created human beings, so that you could do it from the Lord as if of yourselves. It is this and this alone which is the reciprocal offering of love and faith, which the Lord expressly wills should be made to Him by man. In short, act from yourselves and believe that it is from the Lord; that is how to act as if of yourselves.'
 Then they asked whether acting as if of oneself was implanted in man from creation. The angel replied: 'It is not implanted, because acting from himself is an attribute only of God. But it is continually given, that is to say, it is continually being applied; and then so far as a person does good and believes truth as if of himself, he is an angel of heaven. But so far as he does evil and thus believes falsity, and this too is as if of himself, so far is he a spirit of hell. You may be surprised that this too is as if of oneself, but still you can see this, when you pray to be protected from the devil seducing you, from him entering into you as he did into Judas, from filling you with every wickedness and destroying you both soul and body. But everyone becomes responsible, if he believes he is acting of himself, whether it is good or evil that he does. But he does not incur guilt, if he believes he is acting as if of himself. For if he believes that he does good of himself, he is claiming for himself what belongs to God; and if he believes that he does evil of himself, he is attributing to himself what belongs to the devil.'
 On baptism they said that it was a spiritual washing, and this is reformation and regeneration. 'A child is reformed and regenerated when on growing up he does what his godparents pledged on his behalf, the two promises of repentance and faith in God. For they first pledge that he will renounce the devil and all his works, and secondly, that he will believe in God. All children in heaven are taught those two promises, but for them the devil is hell and God is the Lord. Moreover, baptism is a sign visible to the angels that a person belongs to the church.' When they heard this, some in the gathering said: 'We understand this.'
 But at this point a voice was heard from one side shouting: 'We do not understand;' and another: 'We do not want to understand.' They made enquiry to discover whose voices these were, and discovered that they came from those who had convinced themselves of false beliefs, and wanted to be believed like oracles, so receiving worship.
'Do not be surprised,' said the angels, 'there are many like this at the present time. To us seeing them from heaven they look like carved images so cunningly made that they can move their lips and make noises, like musical instruments. But they are quite unaware whether the breath that makes them sound blows from hell or from heaven, because they do not know whether a thing is false or true. They keep on reasoning and producing proofs, yet cannot see whether anything is so or not. But you should know that the human brain can prove anything it wants, so that it really appears to be so. So this is something heretics or irreligious people can do; in fact atheists can prove that God does not exist, only nature.'
 After this the gathering of Englishmen was fired with a desire for wisdom and said to the angels: 'Such varying ideas are expressed regarding the Holy Supper, tell us what is the truth.'
'The truth is,' the angels answered, 'that a person who looks to the Lord and repents is by that most holy act linked to the Lord and brought into heaven.'
But people in the gathering said: 'This is a mystery.' 'It is a mystery,' the angels replied, 'but one that can be understood. The bread and wine do not bring this about; there is nothing holy about them. But material bread and spiritual bread correspond to each other, and so do material wine and spiritual wine. Spiritual bread is the holiness of love, spiritual wine the holiness of faith. Both of these are from the Lord, and both are the Lord. Thus there is a linking of the Lord with man, and of man with the Lord. It is not with the bread and wine, but with the love and faith of the man who has repented. Being linked with the Lord is also being brought into heaven.'
Now that the angels had taught them something about correspondence, some in the gathering said: 'Now for the first time we can understand this.' As soon as they said this, a flaming radiance came down from heaven and joined them to the angels' company, and they loved one another.
This section is repeated with modifications from AR 224.
DP 326. These propositions must now be examined and demonstrated one by one. First: The acknowledgment of God brings about the conjunction of God with man and of man with God, and the denial of God causes their separation. Some may think that those who do not acknowledge God can be saved just as well as those who do, provided they lead a moral life. They say, What does acknowledgment accomplish? Is it not mere thought? Can I not easily acknowledge God when I know for certain that there is a God? I have heard of Him but I have not seen Him. Make me see Him and I will believe. Such is the language of many who deny God when they have an opportunity to reason freely with one who acknowledges God. However, that the acknowledgment of God conjoins and the denial of Him separates will be illustrated by some things made known to me in the spiritual world. In that world when anyone thinks about another and desires to converse with him, the other is immediately present. This is general there and never fails. The reason is that in the spiritual world there is no distance as in the natural world, but only an appearance of distance.
 Another fact is that as thought from some knowledge of another causes his presence so love from any affection for another causes conjunction with him. Thus it comes to pass that people go about and converse in a friendly way, live together in one house or in one society, frequently meet and render mutual services. The opposite also happens; thus he who does not love another, and still more, he who hates another, does not see or meet him; and the distance they are apart is according to the degree that love is wanting or hate is present. Indeed, should he come into the other's presence and remember his hatred he becomes invisible to him.
 From these few particulars it may be evident how presence and conjunction are brought about in the spiritual world; namely, that presence arises from recalling another with a desire to see him and that conjunction arises from an affection which springs from love. It is the same with all the things that are in the human mind. In it there are innumerable things and the several particulars are there associated and conjoined according to affections, or as one thing is attracted to another.
 This is spiritual conjunction, which is the same in general things and in particular things. This spiritual conjunction has its origin from the conjunction of the Lord with the spiritual world and with the natural world, in general and in particular. From this it is clear that so far as one knows the Lord and from this knowledge thinks about Him, so far the Lord is present; and so far as anyone acknowledges Him from an affection of love, so far the Lord is conjoined to him: but on the other hand, so far as anyone does not know the Lord so far the Lord is absent; and so far as anyone denies Him, so far is He separated from him.
 The result of conjunction is that the Lord turns a man's face to Himself and then leads him; while the result of separation is that hell turns a man's face to itself and leads him. Therefore all the angels of heaven turn their faces to the Lord as the Sun, and all the spirits of hell turn their faces away from the Lord. Hence it is evident what results from the acknowledgment of God, and what from the denial of Him. Those who deny God in the world deny Him after death, and they become organisms according to the description given above (n. 319); and the organization induced in the world remains for ever.
 Second: Everyone acknowledges God and is conjoined to Him according to the good of his life. All can have a knowledge of God who know anything from religion. They can also speak of God from knowledge (scientia), that is, from what is in the memory, and some may also think about Him from the understanding. However, if one does not live well, this only brings about presence; for he can nevertheless turn himself away from God towards hell; and this happens if he lives wickedly. But only those can acknowledge God in their heart who live well; and these according to the good of their life the Lord turns away from hell and towards Himself. The reason is that these alone love God, for they love Divine things, which are from Him, in doing them. The Divine things which are from God are the precepts of His Law. These are God because He is His own Divine going forth: this is to love God, and therefore the Lord says:
He that keepeth my commandment, he it is that loveth me....But he that keepeth not my commandments loveth me not. John xiv. 21, 24.
 This is the reason why there are two tables of the Decalogue, one relating to God and the other relating to man. God works unceasingly that man may receive what is in his own table; but if man does not do the things that are in his table he does not receive with acknowledgment of heart the things that are in God's table; and if he does not receive them he is not conjoined. Therefore those two tables were so joined together as to be one, and were called the tables of the covenant, for covenant signifies conjunction. Everyone acknowledges God and is conjoined to Him according to the good of his life because the good of life is like the good that is in the Lord, and consequently that originates from the Lord. Therefore when man is in the good of life conjunction is effected. The contrary is the case with evil of life; for this rejects the Lord.
 Third: The good of life, that is, living well, is shunning evils because they are contrary to religion, thus contrary to God. That this is the good of life, or living well, is fully shown in THE DOCTRINE OF LIFE FOR THE NEW JERUSALEM, from beginning to end. To this I will merely add that if you do good to the fullest extent, for example, if you build churches, adorn them and fill them with votive offerings; if you expend money lavishly on hospitals and guest-houses for strangers, give alms daily, succor widows and orphans; if you diligently observe the holy things of worship, indeed, if you think about them, speak and preach about them as from the heart, and yet do not shun evils as sins against God, all those goods are not good. They are either hypocritical or meritorious, for there is still evil interiorly within them, since the life of everyone is in all things that he does, in general and in particular. Goods only become good by the removal of evil from them. Hence it is clear that shunning evils because they are contrary to religion, thus contrary to God, is living well.
 Fourth: These are the general principles of all religions by which everyone can be saved. To acknowledge God and to refrain from doing evil because it is against God are the two things which make religion to be religion. If one of them is wanting it cannot be called religion, since to acknowledge God and to do evil is a contradiction; so also is to do good and yet not acknowledge God, for one is not possible without the other. It has been provided by the Lord that almost everywhere there should be some form of religion, and that in every religion there should be these two principles; and it has also been provided by the Lord that everyone who acknowledges God and refrains from doing evil because it is against God should have a place in heaven. For heaven in the complex resembles one Man whose life or soul is the Lord. In that heavenly Man there are all things which are in a natural man with that difference which exists between things heavenly and things natural.
 It is well known that in man there are not only forms, organized from blood vessels and nerve fibers, called viscera, but also skins, membranes, tendons, cartilages, bones, nails and teeth, which have life in a less degree than the organized forms themselves which they serve as ligaments, coverings and supports. The heavenly Man, which is heaven, in order that all these things may be in it, cannot be composed of men all of one religion but of men of many religions. Therefore, all who make these two universal principles of the Church part of their life have a place in that heavenly Man, that is, heaven, and there enjoy happiness in their own degree. More on this subject may be seen above (n. 254).
 That these two are the primary principles in every religion may be evident from the fact that they are the two which the Decalogue teaches. The Decalogue was the principal constituent of the Word, and, promulgated by Jehovah by a living voice from Mount Sinai, was written upon two tables of stone by the finger of God. It was then placed in the ark and was called Jehovah, and constituted the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, and formed the shrine in the temple at Jerusalem, and all the things there derived their sanctity from it alone. There are many more details from the Word concerning the Decalogue in the ark set forth in THE DOCTRINE OF LIFE FOR THE NEW JERUSALEM (n. 53-61), and to these I will add the following: It is well known from the Word that the ark containing the two tables on which the Decalogue was written was taken by the Philistines and placed in the temple of Dagon in Ashdod; and that Dagon fell to the earth before it, and afterwards his head with the palms of his hands torn from his body lay upon the threshold of the temple; and that the people of Ashdod and Ekron, to the number of many thousands, were smitten with emerods on account of the ark, and their land was ravaged by mice; also that the Philistines, on the advice of the chiefs of their nation, made five golden emerods and five golden mice, and a new cart on which they placed the ark with the golden emerods and mice beside it; and, drawn by two cows that lowed on the way before the cart, they sent the ark back to the Children of Israel; and by them the cows and the cart were offered up in sacrifice (see 1 Sam. V and VI).
 It will now be stated what all these things signified. The Philistines signified those who are in faith separated from charity. Dagon represented that form of religion. The emerods with which they were smitten signified natural loves which, when separated from spiritual love, are unclean, and the mice signified the devastation of the Church by the falsification of truth. The new cart on which they sent back the ark signified new but natural doctrine, for chariot in the Word signifies doctrine from spiritual truths, and the cows signified good natural affections. The golden emerods signified natural loves purified and made good, and the golden mice signified the vastation of the church ended by means of good, for gold in the Word signifies good. The lowing of the cows on the way signified the difficult conversion of the lusts of evil of the natural man into good affections, and the offering of the cows with the cart as a burnt offering signified that in this way the Lord was propitiated.
 This is what is spiritually meant by these things in This historical narrative. Connect them together in one sense and make the application. That the Philistines represented those who are in faith separated from charity may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING FAITH (n. 49-54); and that the ark:, because the Decalogue was contained within it, was the most holy thing of the Church, may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF LIFE FOR THE NEW JERUSALEM (n. 53-61).
I would be delighted to know your reactions.
Back to Glossary of Swedenborg Related Concepts
Back to Leon James Home Page
Swedenborg Home Page Hawaii