< XI. Merit ^ The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine ^ XIII. Regeneration >

XII. Repentance and the Remission Of Sins

HD 159. He who would be saved must confess his sins, and do the work of repentance.

HD 160. To confess sins, is to know evils, to see them in one‘s self, to acknowledge them, to make himself guilty, and to condemn himself on account of them. When this is done before God, it is the confession of sins.

HD 161. To do the work of repentance, is to desist from sins after he has thus confessed them, and from a humble heart has made supplication for remission, and to live a new life according to the precepts of charity and faith.

HD 162. He who only acknowledges universally that he is a sinner, and makes himself guilty of all evils, and yet does not explore himself, that is, see his own sins, makes confession, but not the confession of repentance; he, because he does not know his own evils, lives afterwards as he did before.

HD 163. He who lives the life of charity and faith does the work of repentance daily; he reflects upon the evils which are with him, he acknowledges them, he guards against them, he supplicates the Lord for help. For man of himself continually lapses, but he is continually raised by the Lord, and led to good. Such is the state of these who are in good. But they who are in evil lapse continually, and are also continually elevated by the Lord, but are only withdrawn from falling into the most grievous evils, to which of themselves they tend with all their endeavor.

HD 164. The man who explores himself that he may do the work of repentance, must explore his thoughts and the intentions of his will, and must there explore what he would do if it were permitted him, that is, if he were not afraid of the laws, and of the loss of reputation, honor, and gain. There the evils of man reside, and the evils which he does in the body are all from thence. They who do not explore the evils of their thought and will, cannot do the work of repentance, for they think and will afterwards as they did before, and yet to will evils is to do them. This is to explore one’s self.

HD 165. Repentance of the mouth and not of the life is not repentance. Sins are not remitted by repentance of the mouth, but by repentance of the life. Sins are continually remitted to man by the Lord, for He is mercy itself, but sins adhere to man, however he may suppose that they are remitted; nor are they removed from him but by a life according to the precepts of true faith. So far as he lives according to them, so far sins are removed; and so far as they are removed, so far they are remitted.

HD 166. It is believed that sins are washed away, or are washed off, as filth is by water, when they are remitted; but sins are not washed away, but they are removed; that is, man is withheld from them when he is kept in good by the Lord; and when he is kept in good, it appears as if he were without them, thus as if they were washed away; and so far as man is reformed, so far he is capable of being kept in good. How man is reformed will be shown in the following doctrinal concerning regeneration. He who believes that sins are in any other manner remitted, is much deceived.

HD 167. The signs that sins are remitted, that is, removed, are these which follow. They whose sins are remitted, perceive a delight in worshiping God for the sake of God, and in serving their neighbor for the sake of their neighbor, thus in doing good for the sake of good, and in speaking truth for the sake of truth; they are unwilling to claim merit by anything of charity and faith; they shun and are averse to evils, as enmities, hatreds, revenges, adulteries, and the very thoughts of such things with intention. But the signs that sins are not remitted, that is, removed, are these which follow. They whose sins are not remitted, worship God not for the sake of God, and serve the neighbor not for the sake of the neighbor, thus they do not do good and speak truth for the sake of good and truth, but for the sake of themselves and the world; they wish to claim merit by their deeds; they perceive nothing undelightful in evils, as in enmity, in hatred, in revenge, in adulteries; and they think of them and concerning them in all license.

HD 168. The repentance which takes place in a free state is of avail, but that which takes place in a state of compulsion is of no avail. States of compulsion are states of sickness, states of dejection of mind from misfortune, states of imminent death, as also every state of fear which takes away the use of reason. He who is evil, and in a state of compulsion promises repentance, and also does good, when he comes into a free state returns to his former life of evil; it is otherwise with the good.

HD 169. After a man has explored himself, and acknowledged his sins, and has done the work of repentance, he must remain constant in good even to the end of life. For if he afterwards relapses into his former life of evil and embraces it, he then profanes, for he then conjoins evil with good; whence his latter state becomes worse than his former, according to the words of the Lord:--

When the unclean spirit goes out from a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, but doth not find; then he saith, I will return into my house whence I went out; and when he cometh and findeth it empty, and swept, and adorned for him, then he goeth away, and adjoineth to himself seven other spirits worse than himself, and, entering in, they dwell there, and the latter things of the man become worse than the first (Matt 12:43-45).


HD 170. Of Sin or Evil. There are innumerable kinds of evil and falsity (AC 1188, 1212, 4818, 4822, 7574). There is evil from falsity, there is falsity from evil, and evil and falsity again from thence (AC 1679, 2243, 4818). The nature and quality of the evil of falsity (AC 2408, 4818, 7272, 8265, 8279). The nature and quality of the falsity of evil (AC 6359, 7272, 9304, 10302). Of blamable evils, and of those which are not so blamable (AC 4171, 4172). Of evils from the understanding and of evils from the will (AC 9009). The difference between transgression, iniquity and sin (AC 6563, 9156). All evils adhere to man (AC 2116). Evils cannot be taken away from man, but man can only be withheld from them, and kept in good (AC 865, 868, 887, 894, 1581, 4564, 8206, 8393, 8988, 9014, 9333, 9446-9448, 9451, 10057, 10059). To be withheld from evil and kept in good, is effected by the Lord alone (AC 929, 2406, 8206, 10060). Thus evils and sins are only removed, and this is effected successively (AC 9334-9336). This is done by the Lord by means of regeneration (AC 9445, 9452-9454, 9938). Evils shut out the Lord (AC 5696). Man ought to abstain from evils, that he may receive good from the Lord (AC 10109). Good and truth inflow in proportion as man is withheld from evils (AC 2388, 2411, 10675). To be withheld from evil and kept in good, constitutes remission of sins (AC 8391, 8393, 9014, 9444-9450). The signs whether sins are remitted or not (AC 9449, 9450). It is a consequence of the remission of sins to look at things from good and not from evil (AC 7697). Evil and sin are a separation and turning away from the Lord; and this is signified by "evil" and "sin" in the Word (AC 4997, 5229, 5474, 5746, 5841, 9346); they are and signify separation and aversion from good and truth (AC 7589). They are and signify what is contrary to Divine order (AC 4839, 5076). Evil is damnation and hell (AC 3513, 6279, 7155). It is not known what hell is, unless it be known what evil is (AC 7181). Evils are as it were heavy, and fall of themselves into hell; and so also falsities that are from evil (AC 8279, 8298). It is not known what evil is unless it be known what the love of self and the love of the world are (AC 4997, 7178, 8318). All evils are from those loves (AC 1307, 1308, 1321, 1594, 1691, 3413, 7255, 7376, 7488, 7489, 8318, 9335, 9348, 10038, 10742). All men whatever are born into evils of every kind, even so that their proprium is nothing but evil (AC 210, 215, 731, 874-876, 987, 1047, 2307, 2308, 3518, 3701, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10283, 10284, 10731). Man must therefore be born again regenerated, in order to receive a life of good (AC 3701). Man casts himself into hell when he does evil from consent, afterwards from purpose, and at last from delight (AC 6203). They who are in evil of life, are in the falsities of their own evil, whether they know it or not (AC 7577, 8094). Evil would not be appropriated to man, if he believed, as is really the case, that all evil is from hell, and all good from the Lord (AC 4151, 6206, 6324, 6325). In the other life evils are removed from the good and goods from the evil (AC 2256). All in the other life are let into their interiors, thus the evil into their evils (AC 8870). In the other life evil contains its own punishment, and good its own reward (AC 696, 967, 1857, 6559, 8214, 8223, 8226, 9048). Man is not punished in the other life for hereditary evils, as he is not to blame for these, but for his actual evils (AC 966, 2308). The interiors of evil are foul and filthy, however they may appear otherwise in an external form (AC 7046). Evil is attributed in the Word to the Lord, and yet nothing but good proceeds from Him (AC 2447, 6071, 6991, 6997, 7533, 7632, 7677, 7926, 8227, 8228, 8632, 9306). So also anger (AC 5798, 6997, 8284, 8483, 9306, 10431). Why it is so said in the Word (AC 6071, 6991, 6997, 7632, 7643, 7679, 7710, 7926, 8282, 9010, 9128). What is signified by "bearing iniquity," where it is predicated of the Lord (AC 9937, 9965). The Lord turns evil into good with the good who are infested and tempted (AC 8631). To leave man from his own liberty to do evil, is permission (AC 1778). Evils and falsities are governed by the laws of permission by the Lord; and they are permitted for the sake of order (AC 7877, 8700, 10778). The permission of evil by the Lord is not as of one who wills, but as of one who does not will, but who cannot bring aid on account of the end (AC 7877).

HD 171. Of Falsity. There are innumerable kinds of falsity, namely, as many as there are evils, and evils and falsities are according to their origins, which are many (AC 1188, 1212, 4729, 4822, 7574). There is falsity from evil, or the falsity of evil; and there is evil from the falsity, or the evil of falsity; and falsity again from thence (AC 1679, 2243). From one falsity that is assumed as a principle, falsities flow in a long series (AC 1510, 1511, 4717, 4721). There is falsity from the lusts of the love of self and of the world; and there is falsity from the fallacies of the senses (AC 1295, 4729). There are falsities of religion; and there are falsities of ignorance (AC 4729, 8318, 9258). There is falsity which contains good, and falsity which does not contain good (AC 2863, 9304, 10109, 10302). There is what is falsified (AC 7318, 7319, 10648). The quality of the falsity of evil (AC 6359, 7272, 9304, 10302). The quality of the evil of falsity (AC 2408, 4818, 7272, 8265, 8279). The falsities from evil appear like mists, and impure waters over the hells (AC 8138, 8146, 8210). Such waters signify falsities (AC 739, 790, 7307). They who are in hell speak falsities from evil (AC 1695, 7351, 7352, 7357, 7392, 7699). They who are in evil cannot do otherwise than think what is false when they think from themselves (AC 7437). There are falsities of religion which agree with good, and falsities which disagree (AC 9258). Falsities of religion, if they do not disagree with good, do not produce evil but with those who are in evil of life (AC 8318). Falsities of religion are not imputed to those who are in good, but to those who are in evil (AC 8051, 8149). Every falsity may be confirmed, and then it appears like truth (AC 5033, 6865, 8521, 8780). Care should be taken lest falsities of religion be confirmed, since the persuasion of falsity principally arises from thence (AC 845, 8780). How hurtful the persuasion of falsity is (AC 794, 806, 5096, 7686). A persuasion of falsity is perpetually exciting such things as confirm falsities (AC 1510, 1511, 2477). They who are in the persuasion of falsity are interiorly bound (AC 5096). In the other life, they who are in a strong persuasion of falsity, when they approach others, close up their rational, and as it were suffocate it (AC 3895, 5128). Truths which are not genuine, and also falsities, may be consociated with genuine truths; but falsities which contain good, and not falsities in which is evil (AC 3470, 3471, 4551, 4552, 7344, 8149, 9298). Falsities which contain good are received by the Lord as truths (AC 4736, 8149). The good which has its quality from falsity is accepted by the Lord, if there is ignorance, and therein is innocence and a good end (AC 7887). Evil falsifies truth, because it draws aside and applies truth to evil (AC 8094, 8149). Truth is said to be falsified, when it is applied to evil by confirmations (AC 8602). Falsified truth is contrary to truth and good (AC 8602). For further particulars respecting the falsification of truth (AC 7318, 7319, 10648).

HD 172. Of the Profane and Profanation, spoken of above at (AC 169). Profanation is a commixture of good and evil, as also of truth and falsity in man (AC 6348). None can profane goods and truths, or the holy things of the church and the Word, except those who first acknowledge, believe, and still more live according to them, and afterwards recede from and do not believe, and who live to themselves and the world (AC 593, 1008, 1010, 1059, 3398, 3399, 3898, 4289, 4601, 8394, 10287). He who believes truths in his childhood, and afterwards does not believe them, profanes lightly; but he who confirms truths in himself and after that denies them, profanes grievously (AC 6959, 6963, 6971). They who believe truths, and live evilly, commit profanation; as also they who do not believe truths and live holily (AC 8882). If man, after repentance of heart, relapses to his former evils, he profanes, and then his latter state is worse than his former (AC 8394). Those in the Christian world who defile the holy things of the Word by unclean thoughts and discourses, profane (AC 4050, 5390). There are various kinds of profanation (AC 10287). They who do not acknowledge holy things cannot profane them, still less they who do not know them (AC 1008, 1010, 1059, 9188, 10287). They who are within the church, can profane holy things, but not they who are out of it (AC 2051). The Gentiles, because out of the church, and who do not have the Word, cannot profane (AC 1327, 1328, 2051, 9021). Neither can the Jews profane the holy interior things of the Word and the church, because they do not acknowledge them (AC 6963). Therefore interior truths were not revealed to the Jews, for if they had been revealed and acknowledged, they would have profaned them (AC 3398, 3479, 6963). Profanation is meant by the words of the Lord above quoted at (n. 169):--

When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, but finding none; then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I went out; and when he comes and finds it empty, and swept, and garnished, then he goes away, and takes to himself seven other spirits worse than himself, and entering in they dwell there, and the latter things of the man become worse than the first (Matt 12:43-45).

"The unclean spirit going out of a man," signifies the repentance of him who is in evil; his "walking through dry places and not finding rest," signifies, that, to such a person, a life of good is of that quality; "the house" into which he returned, and which he found empty, swept, and garnished, signifies the man himself, and his will, as being without good. "The seven spirits" which he took to himself and with whom he returned, signify evil conjoined to good; "his state then being worse than his former," signifies profanation. This is the internal sense of these words, for the Lord spoke by correspondences. The same thing is meant by the words of the Lord to the man whom He healed in the Pool of Bethesda:--

Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee (John 5:14).

Also by these words of the Lord:--

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them (John 12:40).

"To be converted and healed," signifies to profane, which takes place when truth and good are acknowledged, and afterwards rejected, which would have been the case if the Jews had been converted and healed. The lot of profaners in the other life is the worst of all, because the good and truth which they have acknowledged remain, and also the evil and falsity; and because they cohere, a tearing asunder of the life takes place (AC 571, 582, 6348). The greatest care is therefore taken by the Lord, to prevent profanation (AC 2426, 10287). Therefore man is withheld from acknowledgment and faith, if be cannot remain therein to the end of life (AC 3398, 3402). On this account also man is rather kept in ignorance, and in external worship (AC 301-303, 1327, 1328). The Lord also stores up the goods and truths which man has received by acknowledgment, in his interiors (AC 6595). Lest interior truths should be profaned, they are not revealed before the church is at its end (AC 3398, 3399). Wherefore the Lord came into the world, and opened interior truths, when the church was wholly vastated (AC 3398). See what is added on this subject in The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed (LJ 73, 74). In the Word "Babel" signifies the profanation of good, and "Chaldea," the profanation of truth (AC 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1306-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326). These profanations correspond to the prohibited degrees, or foul adulteries, spoken of in the Word (AC 6348). Profanation was represented in the Israelitish and Jewish church by eating blood, wherefore this was so severely prohibited (AC 1003).

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