< XIII. Regeneration ^ The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine ^ XV. Baptism >

XIV. Temptation

HD 187. Those only who are being regenerated, undergo spiritual temptations; for spiritual temptations are pains of mind induced by evil spirits, with those who are in goods and truths. While those spirits excite the evils which are with them, there arises the anxiety of temptation. Man does not know whence this anxiety comes, because he does not know his origin.

HD 188. For there are both evil and good spirits with every man; the evil spirits are in his evils, and the good spirits in his goods. When the evil spirits approach they draw forth his evils, while the good spirits, on the contrary, draw forth his goods; whence arise collision and combat, from which the man has interior anxiety, which is temptation. Hence it is plain that temptations are not induced by heaven, but by hell; which is also the faith of the church, which teaches that God tempts no one.

HD 189. Interior anxieties are also experienced by those who are not in goods and truths; but they are natural, not spiritual anxieties; the two are distinguished by this, that natural anxieties have worldly things for their objects, but spiritual anxieties, heavenly things.

HD 190. In temptations, the dominion of good over evil, or of evil over good, is contended for. Evil which wills to have dominion, is in the natural or external man, and good is in the spiritual or internal man. If evil conquers, the natural man has dominion; if good conquers, the spiritual has dominion.

HD 191. These combats are carried on by the truths of faith which are from the Word. From these man must combat against evils and falsities; for if he combats from any other principles, he cannot conquer, because in these alone the Lord is present. Because this combat is carried on by the truths of faith, therefore man is not admitted into it until he is in the knowledges of good and truth, and has thence obtained some spiritual life; therefore such combats do not take place till man has arrived at years of maturity.

HD 192. If man succumbs in temptation, his state after it becomes worse than before, because evil has acquired power over good, and falsity over truth.

HD 193. Since at this day faith is rare because there is no charity, for the church is at its end, therefore few at this day are admitted into any spiritual temptations; hence it is scarcely known what they are, and to what they are conducive.

HD 194. Temptations conduce to acquire for good dominion over evil, and for truth dominion over falsity; also to confirm truths, and conjoin them to goods, and at the same time to disperse evils and the falsities thence derived. They serve also to open the internal spiritual man, and to subject the natural man to it; as also to break the loves of self and the world, and to subdue the lusts which proceed from them. When these things are effected, man acquires enlightenment and perception as to what are truth and good, and what falsity and evil are; whence man obtains intelligence and wisdom, which afterwards increase continually.

HD 195. The Lord alone combats for man in temptations. If man does not believe that the Lord alone combats and conquers for him, he undergoes only external temptation; which is not serviceable to him.


HD 196. Before a summary is given of what is written in the Arcana Coelestia, respecting temptations, something shall first be said concerning them, in order that it may be known still more clearly from whence they proceed. It is called spiritual temptation when the truths of faith which a man believes in his heart, and according to which he loves to live, are assaulted within him, especially when the good of love, in which he places his spiritual life, is assaulted. Those assaults take place in various ways; as by influx of scandals against truths and goods into the thoughts and the will; also by a continual drawing forth, and bringing to remembrance, of the evils which one has committed, and of the falsities which he has thought, thus by inundation of such things; and at the same time by an apparent shutting up of the interiors of the mind, and, consequently, of communication with heaven, by which the capacity of thinking from his own faith, and of willing from his own love, are intercepted. These things are effected by the evil spirits who are present with man; and when they take place, they appear under the form of interior anxieties and pains of conscience; for they affect and torment man‘s spiritual life, because he supposes that they proceed, not from evil spirits, but from his own interiors. Man does not know that such assaults are from evil spirits because he does not know that spirits are present with him, evil spirits in his evils, and good spirits in his goods; and that they are in his thoughts and affections. These temptations are most grievous when they are accompanied with bodily pains; and still more so, when those pains are of long continuance, and no deliverance is granted, even although the Divine mercy is implored; hence results despair, which is the end. Some particulars shall first be adduced from the Arcana Coelestia, concerning the spirits that are with man, because temptations proceed from them. Spirits and angels are with every man (AC 697, 5846-5866). They are in his thoughts and affections (AC 2888, 5846, 5848). If spirits and angels were taken away, man could not live (AC 2887, 5849, 5854, 5993, 6321). Because by spirits and angels man has communication and conjunction with the spiritual world, without which he would have no life (AC 697, 2796, 2886, 2887, 4047, 4048, 5546-5866, 5976-5993). The spirits with man are changed according to the affections of his love (AC 5851). Spirits from hell are in the loves of man’s proprium (AC 5852, 5979-5993). Spirits enter into all things of man‘s memory (AC 5853, 5857, 5859, 5860, 6192, 6193, 6198, 6199). Angels are in the ends from which and for the sake of which man thinks, wills, and acts thus and not otherwise (AC 1317, 1645, 5844). Man does not appear to spirits, nor spirits to man (AC 5885). Thence spirits cannot see what is in our solar world through man (AC 1880). Although spirits and angels are with man, in his thoughts and affections, yet still he is in freedom of thinking, willing, and acting (AC 5982, 6477, 8209, 8307, 10777); and in the work on Heaven and Hell, where the Conjunction of Heaven with the Human Race is treated of (HH 291-302).

HD 197. Whence and of what quality temptations are. Temptations exist from the evil spirits who are with man, who inject scandals against the goods and truths which a man loves and believes, and likewise they also excite the evils which he has done and the falsities which he has thought (AC 741, 751, 761, 3927, 4307, 4572, 5036, 6657, 8960). Then evil spirits use all sorts of cunning and malice (AC 6666). The man who is in temptations is near to hell (AC 8131). There are two forces which act in temptations, a force from the interior from the Lord, and a force from the exterior from hell (AC 8168). The ruling love of man is assaulted in temptations (AC 847, 4274). Evil spirits attack those things only which are of man’s faith and love, thus those things which relate to his spiritual life; wherefore at such times it is about his eternal life (AC 1820). A state of temptations compared with the state of a man among robbers (AC 5246). In temptations angels from the Lord keep man in the truths and goods which are with him, but evil spirits keep him in the falsities and evils which are with him, whence arises a conflict and combat (AC 4249). Temptation is a combat between the internal or spiritual man, and the external or natural man (AC 2183, 4256). Thus between the delights of the internal and external man, which are then opposite to each other (AC 3928, 8351). It takes place on account of the disagreement between those delights (AC 3928). Thus it is concerning the dominion of one over the other (AC 3928, 8961). No one can be tempted unless he is in the acknowledgment, and likewise in the affection of truth and good, because there is otherwise no combat, for there is nothing spiritual to act against what is natural, thus there is no contest for dominion (AC 3928, 4299). Whoever has acquired any spiritual life, undergoes temptations (AC 8963). Temptations exist with those who have conscience, that is, with those who are in spiritual love; but more grievous ones with those who have perception, that is, with those who are in celestial love (AC 1668, 8963). Dead men, that is they who are not in faith and love to God, and in love towards the neighbor, are not admitted into temptations, because they would fall (AC 270, 4274, 4299, 8964, 8968). Therefore very few at this day are admitted into spiritual temptations (AC 8965). But they have anxieties on account of various causes in the world, past, present, or future, which are generally attended with infirmity of mind and weakness of body, which anxieties are not the anxieties of temptations (AC 762, 8164). Spiritual temptations are sometimes attended with bodily pains, and sometimes not (AC 8164). A state of temptation is an unclean and filthy state, inasmuch as evils and falsities are injected, and also doubts concerning goods and truths (AC 5246). Also, because in temptations there are indignations, pains of the mind, and many affections that are not good (AC 1917, 6829). There is also obscurity and doubt concerning the end (AC 1820, 6829). And likewise concerning the Divine Providence and hearing, because prayers are not heard in temptations as they are out of them (AC 8179). And because man when he is in temptation, seems to himself to be in a state of damnation (AC 6097). Because man perceives clearly what is doing in his external man, consequently the things which evil spirits inject and call forth, according to which he thinks of his state; but he does not perceive what is doing in his internal man, consequently the things which flow in by means of angels from the Lord, and therefore he cannot judge of his state therefrom (AC 10236, 10240). Temptations are generally carried to desperation, which is their ultimate (AC 1787, 2694, 5279, 5280, 6144, 7147, 7155, 7166, 8165, 8567). The reasons (AC 2694). In the temptation itself there are also despairings, but that they terminate in a general one (AC 8567). In a state of despair a man speaks bitter things, but the Lord does not attend to them (AC 8165). When the temptation is finished, there is at first a fluctuation between the truth and falsity (AC 848, 557). But afterwards truth shines, and becomes serene and joyful (AC 3696, 4572, 6829, 8367, 8370). They who are regenerated undergo temptations not once only, but many times, because many evils and falsities are to be removed (n 8403). If they who have acquired some spiritual life do not undergo temptations in the world, they undergo them in the other life (AC 7122). How temptations take place in the other life, and where (AC 537-539, 699, 1106-1113, 1122, 2694, 4728, 4940-4951, 6119, 6928, 7090, 7122, 7127, 7186, 7317, 7474, 7502, 7541, 7542, 7545, 7768, 7990, 9331, 9763). Concerning the state of enlightenment of those who come out of temptation, and are raised into heaven, and their reception there (AC 2699, 2701, 2704). The quality of the temptation from lack of truth, and the desire thereof at the same time (AC 2682, 8352). The temptation of infants in the other life, whereby they learn to resist evils, their quality (AC 2294). The difference between temptations, infestations, and vastations (AC 7474).

HD 198. How and when temptations take place. Spiritual combats chiefly take place by the truths of faith (AC 8962). Truth is the first of combat (AC 1685). The men of the spiritual church are tempted as to the truths of faith, wherefore with them the combat is by truths; but the men of the celestial church are tempted as to the goods of love, wherefore with them the combat is by goods (AC 1668, 8963). Those who are of the spiritual church, for the most part, do not combat from genuine truths, but from such as they believe to be true from the doctrinals of their church; which doctrinals however ought to be such, as to be capable of being conjoined with good (AC 6765). Whoever is regenerated must undergo temptations, and he cannot be regenerated without them (AC 5036, 8403); and temptations therefore are necessary (AC 7090). The man who is regenerating comes into temptations, when evil endeavors to gain dominion over good, and the natural man over the spiritual man (AC 6657, 8961). And he comes into them when good ought to have the precedence (AC 4248, 4249, 4256, 8962, 8963). They who are regenerated, are first let into a state of tranquillity, then into temptations, and afterwards return into a state of tranquillity of peace, which is the end (AC 3696).

HD 199. What good is effected by temptations. The effect of temptations, a summary (AC 1692, 1717, 1740, 6144, 8958-8969). By temptations the spiritual or internal man acquires dominion over the natural or external man; consequently good over evil, and truth over falsity; because good resides in the spiritual man, which cannot exist without it, and evil resides in the natural man (AC 8961). Since temptation is a combat between them, it follows that dominion is the object of the contest, that is, whether the spiritual man shall have dominion over the natural man, thus whether good shall have dominion over evil, or vice versa; consequently, whether the Lord or hell shall have dominion over man (AC 1923, 3928). The external or natural man, by means of temptations, receives truths corresponding to the affection thereof in the internal or spiritual man (AC 3321, 3928). The internal spiritual man is opened and conjoined with the external by means of temptations, in order that man as to each may be elevated, and look to the Lord (AC 10685). The internal spiritual man is opened and conjoined with the external by means of temptations, because the Lord acts from the interior, and flows in thence into the external, and removes and subjugates the evils therein, and at the same time subjects and renders it subordinate to the internal (AC 10685). Temptations take place for the sake of the conjunction of good and truth, and the dispersion of the falsities which adhere to truths and goods (AC 4572). Consequently that good is conjoined to truths by temptations (AC 2272). The vessels recipient of truth are softened by temptations, and put on a state receptive of good (AC 3318). Truths and goods, thus the things which belong to faith and charity, are confirmed and implanted by temptations (AC 8351, 8924, 8966, 8967). And evils and falsities are removed, and room made for the reception of goods and truths (AC 7122). By temptations the loves of self and the world, from whence proceed all evils and falsities, are broken (AC 5356). And thus man is humbled (AC 8966, 8967). Evils and falsities are subdued, separated, and removed, but not abolished, by temptations (AC 868). By temptations corporeal things with their lusts are subdued (AC 357, 868). Man by temptations learns what good and truth are, even from their relation to their opposites, which are evils and falsities (AC 5356). He also learns that of himself he is nothing but evil, and that all the good with him is from the Lord, and from His mercy (AC 2334). By the temptations in which man conquers, evil spirits are deprived of the power of rising up against him any further (AC 1695, 1717). The hells dare not rise up against those who have suffered temptations and have conquered (AC 2183, 8273). After temptations in which man has conquered, there is joy arising from the conjunction of good and truth, although the man does not know that the joy is thence (AC 4572, 6829). There is then the enlightenment of the truth which is of faith, and the perception of the good which is of love (AC 8367, 8370). Thence he has intelligence and wisdom (AC 8966, 8967). Truths after temptations increase immensely (AC 6663). And good has the precedence, or is in the first place, and truth in the second (AC 5773). And man, as to his internal spiritual man, is admitted into the angelic societies, thus into heaven (AC 6611). Before a man undergoes temptations, the truths and goods which are with him are arranged in order by the Lord, that he may be able to resist the evils and falsities which are with him, and are excited from hell (AC 8131). In temptations the Lord provides good where the evil spirits intend evil (AC 6574). After temptations the Lord reduces truths with goods into a new order, and arranges them in a heavenly form (AC 10685). The interiors of the spiritual man are arranged into a heavenly form, see the work on Heaven and Hell, in the chapter on the Form of Heaven, according to which are the consociations there (HH 200, 212). They who fall in temptations, come into damnation, because evils and falsities conquer, and the natural man prevails over the spiritual man, and afterwards has the dominion; and then the latter state becomes worse than the former (AC 8165, 8169, 8961).

HD 200. The Lord combats for man in temptations. The Lord alone combats for man in temptations, and man does not combat at all from himself (AC 1692, 8172, 8175, 8176, 8273). Man cannot by any means combat against evils and falsities from himself, because that would be to fight against all the hells, which the Lord alone can subdue and conquer (AC 1692). The hells fight against man, and the Lord for him (AC 8159). Man combats from truths and goods, thus from the knowledges and affections thereof which are with him; but it is not man who combats, but the Lord by them (AC 1661). Man thinks that the Lord is absent in temptations, because his prayers are not heard as they are out of them, but nevertheless the Lord is then more present with him (AC 840). In temptations man ought to combat as from himself, and not to hang down his hands and expect immediate help; but nevertheless he ought to believe that it is from the Lord (AC 1712, 8179, 8969). Man cannot otherwise receive a heavenly proprium (AC 1937, 1947, 2882, 2883, 2891). The quality of that proprium, that it is not man‘s, but the Lord’s with him (AC 1937, 1917, 2882, 2883, 2891, 8497). Temptation is of no avail, and productive of no good, unless a man believes, at least after the temptations, that the Lord has fought and conquered for him (AC 8969). They who place merit in works, cannot combat against evils, because they combat from their own proprium, and do not permit the Lord to combat for them (AC 9978). They who believe they have merited heaven by their temptations, are with much difficulty saved (AC 2273). The Lord does not tempt, but liberates, and leads to good (AC 2768). Temptations appear to be from the Divine, when yet they are not (AC 4299). In what sense the petition in the Lord‘s prayer, "Lead us not into temptations," is to be understood, from experience (AC 1875). The Lord does not concur in temptations by permitting them, according to the idea which man has of permission (AC 2768). In every temptation there is freedom, although it does not appear so, but the freedom is interiorly with man from the Lord, and he therefore combats and is willing to conquer, and not to be conquered, which he would not do without freedom (AC 1937, 1947, 2881). The Lord effects this by means of the affection of truth and good impressed on the internal man, although the man does not know it (AC 5044). For all freedom is of affection or love, and according to its quality (AC 2870, 3158, 8987, 8990, 9585, 9591).

HD 201. Of the Lord’s temptations. The Lord endured the most grievous and dreadful temptations, which are but little described in the sense of the letter of the Word, but much in the internal sense (AC 1663, 1668, 1787, 2776, 2786, 2795, 2814, 9528). The Lord fought from the Divine love towards the whole human race (AC 1690, 1691, 1812, 1813, 1820). The love of the Lord was the salvation of the human race (AC 1820). The Lord fought from His own power (AC 1692, 1813, 9937). The Lord alone was made justice and merit, by the temptations, and victories which He gained therein from His own power (AC 1813, 2025-2027, 9715, 9809, 10019). By temptations the Lord united the Divine itself, which was in Him from conception, to His Human, and made this Divine, as He makes man spiritual by temptations (AC 1725, 1729, 1733, 1737, 3318, 3381, 3382, 4286). The temptations of the Lord were attended with despair at the end (AC 1787). The Lord, by the temptations admitted into Himself, subjugated the hells, and reduced to order all things in them, and in heaven, and at the same time glorified His Human (AC 1737, 4287, 9315, 9528, 9937). The Lord alone fought against all the hells (AC 8273). He admitted temptations into Himself from thence (AC 2816, 4295). The Lord could not be tempted as to the Divine, because the hells cannot assault the Divine, wherefore He assumed a human from the mother, such as could be tempted (AC 1414, 1444, 1573, 5041, 5157, 7193, 9315). By temptations and victories He expelled all the hereditary from the mother, and put off the human from her, until at length He was no longer her son (AC 2159, 2574, 2649, 3036, 10830). Jehovah, who was in Him from conception, appeared in His temptations as if absent (AC 1815). This was His state of humiliation (AC 1785, 1999, 2159, 6866). His last temptation and victory, by which He fully subjugated the hells, and made His Human Divine, was in Gethsemane and on the cross (AC 2776, 2803, 2813, 2814, 10655, 10659, 10828). "To eat no bread and drink no water for forty days," signifies an entire state of temptations (AC 10686). "Forty years," "months," or "days," signify a plenary state of temptations from beginning to end; and such a state is meant by the duration of the flood, "forty days"; by Moses abiding "forty days" upon Mount Sinai; by the sojourning of the sons of Israel "forty years" in the desert; and by the Lord‘s temptation in the desert "forty days" (AC 730, 862, 2272, 2273, 8098).

Previous: XIII. Regeneration Up: The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine Next: XV. Baptism