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FREEDOM OF CHOICE
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
TCR 463. Before the doctrine of the New Church respecting freedom of choice can be properly set forth, it is necessary to premise what the present church teaches on that subject in its dogmatic books, for unless this is done a man who has sound sense and religion may believe that it is not worth while to write anything new about it. For he would say to himself, "Who does not know that man has freedom of choice in spiritual things? Otherwise, why should priests preach that men should believe in God, should be converted, should live according to the precepts in the Word, should fight against the lusts of the flesh, and should make themselves new creatures?" and so on. Thus he cannot but think within himself that all this would be mere empty words, if there were no freedom of choice in matters of salvation, and that to deny it would be folly, because contrary to common sense. Nevertheless that the present church stands opposed to freedom of choice and banishes it from its temples, may be seen from the following extracts from the book called the Formula Concordiae, which the evangelical churches swear allegiance to. That a like teaching and therefore a like belief respecting freedom of choice prevails with the Reformed, and likewise throughout the entire Christian world, and thus in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England and Holland, is evident from their dogmatic books. The extracts that follow are taken from the Formula Concordiae, the Leipsic edition of 1756.
TCR 464. (i) "The doctors of the Augsburg Confession assert, that owing to the fall of our first parents, man is so thoroughly corrupt, that in spiritual matters, which have regard to our conversion and salvation, he is by nature blind, and neither understands nor is able to understand the Word of God when preached, but regards it as a foolish thing, and never of himself draws nigh unto God; but is rather an enemy of God, and so remains until by the power of the Holy Spirit, operative through the Word preached and heard, out of pure grace, without any co-operation on his part he is converted, gifted with faith, regenerated and renewed" (page 665).
 (ii) "We believe that in spiritual and Divine things, the understanding, heart, and will of the man who has not been born again, are wholly unable, by his own natural powers, to understand, believe, embrace, think, will, begin, finish, act, operate or co-operate; but that as to good he is utterly corrupt and dead, so that in his nature since the fall, before his regeneration, there does not remain the least spark of spiritual power by which he can prepare himself for the grace of God, or grasp it when offered, or adapt himself to it, and of himself be capable of receiving it. Neither can he by his own powers contribute in any way to his own conversion, either in the whole or the half or the smallest part, or act, operate, or co-operate from himself, or as if from himself; but he is a servant of sin and a slave to Satan, by whom he is moved. Consequently his natural freedom of choice, by reason of his corrupted powers and his depraved nature, is active and efficient only in those things that are displeasing to God and opposed to Him" (page 656).
 (iii) "In civil and natural matters man is diligent and intelligent, but in spiritual and Divine matters, which look to the soul's salvation, he is like a stock or a stone, or like the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned, which have not the use of eyes or mouth or any of the senses" (page 661).
 (iv) "Man, however, has the power of locomotion, or of controlling his external members, also the ability to hear the Gospel, and in some measure meditate on it; and yet in his secret thoughts be despises it as a foolish thing, and is unable to believe it; and in this respect he is worse than a stock, unless the Holy Spirit is efficacious in him, enkindling and producing in him faith and other virtues pleasing to God, and also obedience" (page 662).
 (v) "In one sense it may be said that man is not a stone or a stock. A stone or a stock does not resist, neither does it understand or feel what takes place in itself, as man by his will resists God until he has been converted to God. So it is true that before conversion man is a rational creature, endowed with understanding, yet not in Divine things; and with a will, yet not such as wills any saving good. Nevertheless, he is unable to contribute anything to his own salvation, and in this respect is worse than a stock or a stone" (pages 672, 673).
 (vi) "The whole of conversion is the operation, gift, and work of the Holy Spirit alone, who effects and operates it by his own virtue and power through the Word, in the understanding, heart, and will of man as in a passive subject, where the man does nothing, but is purely passive. Nevertheless, this is not done in the same way as a statue is formed from stone, or a seal is impressed upon wax, since the wax has neither knowledge nor will" (page 681).
 (vii) "According to the sayings of some of the fathers and later doctors, `God draws only the willing;' therefore in conversion man's will does something. But this statement is not conformable to sound doctrine, for it confirms a false opinion respecting the powers of human choice in conversion" (page 582).
 (viii) "In external worldly affairs, which are subject to reason, there is still left to man some share of understanding, ability, and faculty; although these wretched remnants are exceedingly feeble; and moreover, insignificant as they are, they are so poisoned and contaminated by hereditary disease, that in the sight of God they are worthless" (page 641).
 (ix) "In conversion, whereby from being a child of wrath man becomes a child of grace, he does not co-operate with the Holy Spirit, since his conversion is the work exclusively and wholly of the spirit" (pages 219, 579 and following; 663 and following; Appendix, page 143). "Nevertheless, the man who is born anew through the power of the Holy Spirit may co-operate, although much infirmity accompanies his co-operation; and he works well so far and so long as he is led, ruled, and guided by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, he does not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the same way as two horses together draw a carriage" (page 674).
 (x) "Original sin is not some wrong that is actually perpetrated, but it is inmostly inherent and fixed in man's nature, substance and essence. It is the fountain of all actual sins, such as depraved thoughts and conversation, and evil deeds" (page 577). "This hereditary disease, by which man's whole nature has been corrupted, is a horrible sin, and is indeed the beginning and head of all sins, from which as a source and fountain all transgressions flow forth" (page 640). "By this sin, as if by a spiritual leprosy, even throughout the inmost parts and deepest recesses of the heart, all of man's nature is in the sight of God wholly infected and corrupted; and on account of this corruption the person of man is by the law of God accused and damned, so that we are by nature children of wrath and bondsmen of death and damnation, unless by the gift of Christ's merit we are delivered and preserved from these evils" (page 639). "For this reason there is a total want or deprivation of the original righteousness or image of God created in connection with man in Paradise, and this is the source of the impotence, folly, and stupidity which render man utterly incompetent in all Divine and spiritual things. In the place of the lost image of God in man, there is the inmost, vilest, deepest inscrutable, and ineffable corruption of his whole nature and of all his powers (especially of the higher and chief faculties of the soul), in mind, understanding, heart, and will" (page 640).
TCR 465. These are the precepts, dogmas, and canons of the present church respecting man's freedom of choice in spiritual and in natural things, as also respecting original sin. They are here presented in order that the precepts, dogmas, and canons of the New Church on these subjects may be been more clearly; for from the two formulas so contrasted the truth appears in the light, just as when an ugly face is placed beside a handsome one in a picture, the two being seen at the same time, the beauty of one and the ugliness of the other are clearly displayed to the eye. The canons of the New Church here follow.
II. THE PLACING OF TWO TREES IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, ONE OF LIFE, AND THE OTHER OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, SIGNIFIES THAT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN THINGS SPIRITUAL HAS BEEN GIVEN TO MAN
TCR 466. It is believed by many that by Adam and Eve in the book of Moses the first created persons are not meant, and in proof of this, arguments respecting Pre-adamites have been brought forward, drawn from the computations and chronologies of some heathen nations, and from the saying of Cain, Adam's firstborn, to Jehovah:--
I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth, so that whosoever findeth me shall slay me. Therefore Jehovah set a sign upon Cain, lest any finding him should slay him (Gen. 4:14, 15).
Afterwards Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, and builded a city (Gen. 4:16, 17).
From this it is claimed that the earth was inhabited before the time of Adam. But that by Adam and his wife the Most Ancient church on this earth is meant has been abundantly shown in the Arcana Coelestia published by me at London; and in that work it is also shown that "the garden of Eden" means the wisdom of the men of that church; "the tree of life," the Lord in man and man in the Lord; "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," man not in the Lord but in what is his own (as he is who believes that he does everything, even good, of himself); and that "eating" from that tree means the appropriation of evil.
TCR 467. "The garden of Eden" in the Word does not mean a garden, but intelligence, nor does "tree" mean any tree, but man. That "the garden of Eden" signifies intelligence and wisdom, can be seen from the following passages:-
In thy wisdom and thine intelligence thou hast made to thyself wealth.
Also in what follows:--
Full of wisdom, thou has been in Eden the garden of God, every precious stone was thy covering (Ezek. 28:4, 12, 13).
This is said of the prince and king of Tyre, of whom wisdom is predicated, because "Tyre" in the Word signifies the church in respect to knowledges of truth and good through which comes wisdom; "the precious stones" which were his covering, also signify knowledges of truth and good: for the prince and the king of Tyre were not in the garden of Eden.
 And again in Ezekiel:--
Asshur a cedar in Lebanon. The cedar, in the garden of God have not hidden it. No tree in the garden of God was like unto it in its beauty. All the trees of Eden in the garden of God envied it (Ezekiel 31:3, 8, 9).
To whom art thou thus become like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? (Ezekiel 31:18).
This is said of Assyria, because in the Word it signifies rationality and intelligence therefrom.
 In Isaiah:--
Jehovah shall comfort Zion, He will turn her desert into Eden, and her wilderness into the garden of Jehovah (Isaiah 51:3).
Here "Zion" means the church, and "Eden" and "the garden of Jehovah" mean wisdom and intelligence. In the Apocalypse:--
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Apoc. 2:7).
In the midst of the street, and on either side of the river, there will be the tree of life (Apoc. 22:2).
 From these passages it is clear that "the garden of Eden" in which Adam is said to have been placed, means intelligence and wisdom, because like things are said of Tyre, Assyria, and Zion. Elsewhere in the Word "garden" signifies intelligence (as in Isaiah 58:11; 61:11; Jer. 31:12; Amos 9:14; Num. 24:6). This spiritual meaning of a garden derives its cause from representations in the spiritual world, where paradises are seen wherever the angels are in intelligence and wisdom; the very intelligence and wisdom which they possess from the Lord cause such things to be present about them; and this comes from correspondence, for all things that exist in the spiritual world are correspondences.
TCR 468. That "tree" signifies man, can be seen from the following passages in the Word:--
And all the trees of the field shall know that I Jehovah humble the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree to bud (Ezek. 17:24).
Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law. He shall be like a tree planted by the streams of waters, that bringeth forth its fruits in its season (Ps. 1:1-3; Jer. 17:3).
Praise Jehovah, fruitful trees (Ps. 148:7, 9).
The trees of Jehovah are full (Ps. 104:16).
The axe is laid unto the root of the tree; every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down (Matt. 3:10; 7:16-21).
Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt (and the fruit corrupt); for the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43, 44).
I will kindle a fire that shall devour every green tree and every dry tree (Ezek. 20:47).
Because "tree" signifies man, it was a statute
That the fruit of a tree not serviceable for food in the land of Canaan should be as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23, 24).
Because an olive tree signifies a man of the celestial church, it is said:--
Of the two "witnesses who prophesied, that they were two olive trees standing near the God of the whole earth (Apoc. 11:4; Zech. 4:3, 11, 12).
And in David:--
I am like a green olive tree in the house of God (Ps. 52:3).
And in Jeremiah:--
Jehovah called thy name, a green olive tree, fair and of goodly fruit (Jeremiah 11:16, 17):
besides other passages which are not here presented on account of their great number.
TCR 469. At this day anyone who is inwardly wise is able to see or divine that what is written of Adam and his wife involves spiritual things, which no one has heretofore known, because the spiritual sense of the Word has not been disclosed until now. Who cannot readily see that Jehovah could not have planted two trees in the garden, and one of them for a stumbling block, except for the sake of some spiritual representation? Again, does it square with Divine justice that because they both ate of that tree they were accursed, and that this curse clings to every man that comes after them, thus that the whole human race was damned for the fault of one man, in which there was no evil arising from lust of the flesh or iniquity of heart? Why did not Jehovah in the first place restrain man from eating of the tree, since He was present and saw the consequences? And why did He not hurl the serpent into Hades before he had persuaded them? But, my friend, God did not do this, because He would thus have deprived man of his freedom of choice, from which man is man, and not a beast. When this is known it is very evident that by these two trees, one of life and the other of death, man's freedom of choice in spiritual things is represented. Moreover, inherited evil is not from that source, but from parents, by whom an inclination to the evil in which they themselves have been is transmitted to their children. The truth of this is clearly seen by anyone who carefully studies the manners, dispositions, and faces of the children, and even of the households that have descended from one father. Nevertheless, it depends on each one in a family whether he will accede to or withdraw from inherited evil, since everyone is left to his own choice. But the particular significance of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has been fully explained in the Memorable Relation recorded above (n. 48), which see.
III. MAN IS NOT LIFE, BUT A RECEPTACLE OF LIFE FROM GOD
TCR 470. It is generally believed that life is in man as his own, thus that he is not only a receptacle of life, but is also life. This general belief is from its so appearing, since man lives, that is, feels, thinks, speaks and acts, wholly as if from himself. Wherefore the statement that man is a receptacle of life, and not life, must needs seem like something unheard of, or like a paradox, because it is opposed to the appearance, and thus to sensual thought. The cause of the fallacious belief that man is also life itself, consequently that life was created in man and afterward generated by parents, I have adduced from the appearance; but the reason why the fallacy is drawn from the appearance, is that most men at the present day are natural, and but few are spiritual, and the natural man judges from appearances and their fallacies, which are diametrically opposed to the truth that man is not life but only a receptacle of life.
 That man is not life but a receptacle of life from God can be seen from these evident proofs, that all created things are in themselves finite, and that man, being finite, could have been created only from things finite. Therefore it is said in the book of Creation, that Adam was made from the earth and its dust, from which he was also named, for "Adam" means the earth's soil; and it is a fact that every man consists only of such things as are in the earth, and from the earth in the atmospheres. Those things that are in the atmospheres from the earth man absorbs by means of his lungs and the pores of his whole body, and the grosser elements he absorbs by means of food composed of earthy substances.
 But in regard to man's spirit, that also is created from finite things. What is man's spirit but a receptacle of the life of the mind? The finite things of which it is composed are spiritual substances, which are in the spiritual world, and are also brought together in our earth and hidden therein. Unless they were therein along with material things no seed could be impregnated from things inmost, and then grow in a wonderful manner undeviatingly from the first shoot even to fruit and to new seed. Neither could any worms be procreated from effluvia from the earth and exhalations from vegetable matters, with which the atmospheres are impregnated.
 Who can think rationally that the infinite can create anything but finite things, and that man, being finite, is anything but a form which the infinite can vivify from the life in itself? And this is what is meant by these words:--
Jehovah God formed man, the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives (Gen. 2:7).
God, because He is infinite, is Life in Himself. This He cannot create and then transfer into man, for that would be to make man God. That this was done was the insane idea of the serpent or the devil, and from him of Adam and Eve; for the serpent said:-
In the day ye eat of the fruit of this tree your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God (Gen. 3:5).
 This dire persuasion that God transfused and transferred Himself into men, was held by the men of the Most Ancient church at its end, when it was consummated. This I have heard from their own mouths; and on account of that horrible belief that they were consequently gods, they lie deeply hidden in a cavern near to which no one can approach without being seized by an inward dizziness which causes him to fall. That the Most Ancient church is meant and described by Adam and his wife, has been made known in the preceding section.
TCR 471. Who does not see, when he is able to think from reason elevated above the sensual things of the body, that life is not creatable? For what is life but the inmost activity of the love and wisdom that are in God and are God, which life, indeed, may be called the essential living force? He who sees this can also see that this life cannot be transferred into any man, except in connection with love and wisdom. Who denies or can deny that every good of love and every truth of wisdom is solely from God, and that so far as man receives these from God he lives from God, and is said to be born of God, that is, regenerated? On the other hand, so far as one does not receive love and wisdom, or what is the same, charity and faith, he does not receive from God the life that is life in itself, but life from hell, and this is no other than inverted life which is called spiritual death.
TCR 472. From the foregoing it can be perceived and concluded that the following things are not creatable, namely:-
1. The infinite is not.
2. Love and wisdom are not.
3. Consequently life is not.
4. Light and heat are not.
5. Even activity itself viewed in itself is not. But organs receptive of these are creatable and have been created. These statements may be illustrated by the following comparisons: Light is not creatable, but its organ, the eye, is; sound, which is an activity of the atmosphere, is not creatable, but its organ, the ear, is; neither is heat, which is the primary active principle, for the reception of which all things in the three kingdoms of nature have been created, and according to this reception are acted upon, but do not act.
 It is from the order of creation, that wherever there are actives there are also passives, and that these two should join themselves together as a one. If actives were creatable as passives are there would have been no need of the sun, and heat and light from it, but all created things would have permanent existence without these. But if these should be taken away the created universe would lapse into chaos.
 The sun itself of this world consists of created substances, the activity of which produces fire. These things are presented for the sake of illustration. It would be the same with man, if spiritual light, which in its essence is wisdom, and spiritual heat, which in its essence is love, did not flow into man and were not received by him. The entire man is nothing but a form organized to receive light and heat, both from the natural world and from the spiritual world, for these two worlds correspond to each other. If it were denied that man is a form receptive of love and wisdom from God, influx would also be denied, and thus that all good is from God. Conjunction with God would also be denied, and consequently, that man can be an abode and temple of God would be an expression devoid of meaning.
TCR 473. But man does not know this from any light of reason, for that light is obscured by fallacies that arise from the appearances pertaining to the external bodily senses, and that are believed in. Man has no other feeling than that he lives from his own life, because the instrumental feels the principal to be its own, and is unable therefore to distinguish between the principal and the instrumental, for these two causes act together as one cause, according to a theory known in the learned world. The principal cause is life, and the instrumental cause is man's mind. The appearance is also that beasts possess life created within them, but this is a similar fallacy; for beasts are organs created to receive light and heat both from the natural world and from the spiritual world. For each species is a form of some natural love, and receives light and heat from the spiritual world mediately through heaven and hell; the gentle beasts through heaven, and the fierce through hell. Man alone receives light and heat, that is, wisdom and love, immediately from the Lord. This is the difference.
TCR 474. That the Lord is Life in Himself, thus Life itself, He teaches in John:--
The Word was with God, and God was the Word; in Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:1, 4).
As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26).
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
He that followeth Me shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
IV. SO LONG AS MAN LIVES IN THE WORLD, HE IS KEPT MIDWAY BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, AND IS THERE IN SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM, WHICH IS FREEDOM OF CHOICE
TCR 475. In order to know what freedom of choice is and the nature of it, it is necessary to know its origin. Especially from a recognition of its origin it can be known, not only that there is such a thing as freedom of choice, but also what it is. Its origin is in the spiritual world, where man's mind is kept by the Lord. Man's mind is his spirit, which lives after death; and his spirit is constantly in company with its like in the spiritual world, and at the same time by means of the material body with which it is enveloped, it is with men in the natural world. Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits, for the reason that the spirits with whom he is in company in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, while his own spirit thinks and speaks naturally so long as he is in the material body; and the natural man cannot understand or perceive spiritual thought and speech, nor the reverse. This is why spirits cannot be seen. But when the spirit of man is in company with spirits in their world, he is also in spiritual thought and speech with them, because his mind is interiorly spiritual but exteriorly natural; therefore by means of his interiors he communicates with spirits, while by means of his exteriors he communicates with men. By such communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If it were not for such communication, man would have no more thought or other thought than a beast, and if all connection with spirits were taken away from him, he would instantly die.
 But to make it comprehensible how man can be kept midway between heaven and hell and thereby in spiritual equilibrium from which he has freedom of choice, it shall be briefly explained. The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell; heaven then is overhead, and hell is beneath the feet, not, however, in the center of the globe inhabited by men, but below the lands of the spiritual world, which are also of spiritual origin, and therefore not extended (spatially), but with an appearance of extension.
 Between heaven and hell there is a great interspace, which to those who are there appears like a complete orb. Into this interspace, evil exhales from hell in all abundance; while from heaven, on the other hand, good flows into it, also in all abundance. It was of this interspace that Abraham said to the rich man in hell:--
Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they who are there cross over to us (Luke 16:26).
Every man, as to his spirit, is in the midst of this interspace, solely for this reason, that he may be in freedom of choice.
 Because this interspace is so large and because it appears to those who are there like a vast orb, it is called the World of Spirits. Moreover, it is full of spirits, because every man after death first goes there, and is there prepared either for heaven or for hell. There he is among spirits, in company with them, as formerly he was among men in the world. There is no purgatory there; that is a fiction invented by the Roman Catholics. But that world has been treated of particularly in the work on Heaven and Hell London, 1758 (HH n. 421-535).
TCR 476. Every man from infancy even to old age is changing his locality or situation in that world. When an infant he is kept in the eastern quarter towards the northern part; when a child, as he learns the first lessons of religion, he moves gradually from the north towards the south; when a youth, as he begins to exercise his own thoughts, he is borne southward; and afterwards when he judges for himself and becomes his own master, he is borne into the southern quarter towards the east, according to his growth in such things as have regard interiorly to God and love to the neighbor. But if he inclines to evil and imbibes it, he advances towards the west. For all in the spiritual world have their abodes according to the quarters; in the east are those who are in good from the Lord, because the sun, in the midst of which is the Lord, is in that quarter; in the north are those who are in ignorance; in the south, those who are in intelligence; and in the west, those who are in evil. Man himself is not kept as to his body in that interspace or middle region, but only as to his spirit; and as his spirit changes its state by advancing towards good or towards evil, so is it transferred to localities or situations in this quarter or in that, and comes into association with those who dwell there. But it must be understood that the Lord does not transfer man to this or that place, but man transfers himself in different ways. If he chooses good, he together with the Lord, or rather the Lord together with him, transfers his spirit towards the east. But if man chooses evil, he together with the devil, or rather the devil together with him, transfers his spirit towards the west. It must be noticed that where the term heaven is here used, the Lord also is meant, because the Lord is the all in all things of heaven; and where the term devil is used, hell also is meant, because all who are there are devils.
TCR 477. Man is kept in this great interspace, and midway therein continually, for the sole purpose that he may have freedom of choice in spiritual things, for this is a spiritual equilibrium, because it is an equilibrium between heaven and hell, thus between good and evil. All who are in that great interspace are, as to their interiors, conjoined either with the angels of heaven or with the devils of hell; or at the present day either with the angels of Michael or with the angels of the dragon. After death every man betakes himself to his own in that interspace and associates himself with those who are in a love similar to his own, for love conjoins everyone there with his like, and causes him to breathe out his soul freely, and to continue in his previous state of life. But the externals that do not make one with his internals are then gradually put off and when this has been done the good man is raised up to heaven, and the evil man betakes himself to hell, each to such as he is at one with as to his ruling love.
TCR 478. This spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be illustrated by various forms of natural equilibrium. It is like the equilibrium of a man bound about his body or at his arms between two men of equal strength, one of whom draws the man between them to the right, and the other to the left, so that the man in the middle can freely turn this way or that as if unrestrained by any force; and if he turns toward the right he draws the man on his left forcibly toward him, even bringing him to the ground. It would be the same with any unresisting person, even if bound between three men on his right, and the same number on his left, of equal power; also if bound between camels or horses.
 Spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be compared to a balance, in each scale of which equal weights are placed; but if a slight weight is then added to either scale, the tongue of the scale begins to vibrate. It is similar with a pole or large beam balanced on its support Each and all things within man, as the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, and the rest, are in such a state of equilibrium; and for this reason each is able to discharge its functions in perfect quiet. It is the same with all the muscles; if they were without such equilibrium all action and reaction would cease, and man would no longer act as a man. Since, then, all things of the body are in such equilibrium, so are all things of the brain, and consequently all things of the mind therein, which relate to the will and understanding.
 There is a freedom also belonging to beasts, birds, fishes and insects; but these are impelled by their bodily senses, prompted by appetite and pleasure. Man would not be unlike these if his freedom to do were equal to his freedom to think. He, too, would then be impelled by his bodily senses, prompted by lust and pleasure. It is otherwise with one who heartily accepts the spiritual things of the church, and by means of them restrains his freedom of choice. Such a man is led by the Lord away from lusts and evil pleasures and his connate avidity for them, and acquires an affection for what is good, and turns away from evil. He is then transferred by the Lord nearer to the east, and at the same time to the south of the spiritual world, and is introduced into heavenly freedom, which is freedom indeed.
V. IT IS CLEARLY MANIFEST FROM THAT PERMISSION OF EVIL IN WHICH EVERY ONE'S INTERNAL MAN IS THAT MAN HAS FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS
TCR 479. That man has freedom of choice in spiritual things must first be confirmed by generals and afterward by particulars which everyone will acknowledge at first hearing. The generals are:
1. That the wisest of mankind, Adam and his wife, suffered themselves to be seduced by a serpent.
2. That their first son Cain slew his brother Abel, and Jehovah God did not hinder them by speaking to them, but only by a curse after the deed.
3. That the Israelitish nation worshiped a golden calf in the desert, and yet Jehovah saw this from Mount Sinai, and did not prevent it.
4. That David numbered the people, and a plague was therefore sent upon them, by which so many thousands of men perished; and that God, not before but after the deed, sent Gad the prophet to David, and denounced punishment upon him.
5. That Solomon was permitted to establish idolatrous forms of worship.
6. And many kings after him were permitted to profane the temple and the holy things of the church, and at length that nation was permitted to crucify the Lord.
7. That Mohammed was permitted to establish a religion in many respects not conformable to Sacred Scripture.
8. That the Christian religion is divided into many sects, and each into heresies.
9. That there are so many impious persons in Christendom, and even a glorying in impieties, as also machinations and wiles even against the pious, righteous and sincere.
10. That injustice sometimes triumphs over justice in law and business.
11. That even impious person are exalted to honors, and become leaders in church and state.
12. That wars are permitted, the slaughter of so many men, and the plundering of so many cities, nations, and families; and so on.
Can anyone deduce such things from any other source than the possession of freedom of choice by every man? The permission of evil known throughout the world has no other origin. That the laws of permission are also laws of Divine Providence may be seen in the work on the Divine Providence (DP n. 234-274), where the foregoing examples are explained.
TCR 480. The particulars which prove that man has freedom of choice as much in spiritual things as in natural things, are innumerable. Let anyone, if he wishes, give attention to himself, and see whether he cannot, seventy times a day, or three hundred times a week, think of God, the Lord, the Holy Spirit, and Divine things, which are called the spiritual things of the church; and let him see whether in this he feels any compulsion, whether he is moved to think so by any pleasure, or even by any lust, and this whether he has faith or not. Consider also, in whatever state you may be, whether you are able to think about anything without freedom of choice, either in your conversation, or in your prayers to God, or in preaching, or even in listening. Does not freedom of choice carry every point in these actions? And still further, without freedom of choice in every particular, even to the most minute particulars, you could no more breathe than a statue; for respiration follows thought and speech therefrom in every step. I say, no more than a statue, rather no more than a beast, because a beast breathes from a natural freedom of choice, but man from a freedom of choice both in things natural and in things spiritual; for a man is not born like a beast. A beast is born with all the ideas that are attendant upon its natural love in matters pertaining to nutrition and propagation; but a man is born destitute of connate ideas, having only the capacity to know, understand, and become wise, and an inclination to love both himself and the world, and also the neighbor and God. This is why it is said that if freedom of choice were taken from man in all the particulars of his volition and thought, he could no more breathe than a statue, and why it is not said, no more than a beast.
TCR 481. No one denies that man has freedom of choice in natural things. But this a man has from his freedom of choice in spiritual things; for, as has been shown already, the Lord flows into every man from above or within with the Divine good and truth, and thereby breathes into man a life distinct from the life of beasts, and gives him the power and the will to receive the Divine good and Divine truth and to act from these; and this He never takes away from any. From this it follows that it is the unceasing will of the Lord that man should receive truth and do good, and thus become spiritual, and for this he was born; and to become spiritual without freedom of choice in spiritual things is as impossible as it is to thrust a camel through the eye of a sewing needle, or to touch a star in the firmament with the hand. That the ability to understand truth and to will it is given to every man, even to devils, and is never taken away, has been shown me by living experience. On one occasion one of those who were in hell was brought up into the world of spirits, and was there asked by angels from heaven whether he could understand the things they said to him, which were Divine spiritual things; and he said that he could. He was then asked why he did not accept such things; and he replied that he did not wish for them because he did not love them. He was then told that he could wish for them. He was astonished at this, and said that he could not. Therefore the angels breathed into his understanding the glory of reputation with its pleasantness, receiving which he did wish for them and even loved them. But presently he was sent back into his former state, in which he was a plunderer, an adulterer, and a calumniator of his neighbor; and then he no longer understood those things because he did not wish to do so. From this it is clear that man is man by virtue of his freedom of choice in spiritual things, and that without it he would be like a stock, or a stone, or the statue of Lot's wife.
TCR 482. That man would have no freedom of choice in civil, moral, and natural things, if he had none in spiritual things, is evident from this, that spiritual things, which are called theological, have their seat in the highest region of his mind, like the soul in the body. They have their seat there because there is the door through which the Lord enters into man. Beneath these are things civil, moral, and natural, which in man receive all their life from the spiritual things that have their abode above them. And because life from the highest regions flows in from the Lord, and man's life is an ability to think and will freely, and to speak and act therefrom, it follows that his freedom of choice in political and natural affairs is from that source and no other. From that spiritual freedom man has a perception of what is good and true, and of what is just and right in civil matters; and this perception is the understanding itself in its essence.
 Man's freedom of choice in spiritual things is comparatively like the air in the lungs, which is inhaled, retained and expelled in accordance with all the changes of his thought; and without that freedom he would be worse than one laboring under a nightmare, angina, or asthma. It is also like the blood in the heart; if this began to fail the heart would first palpitate, and then after a few convulsive movements, would cease to beat altogether. It may also be compared to a body in motion, which keeps moving as long as the effort in it continues; but both motion and effort cease at the same time. So also is it with the freedom of choice which man's will possesses. Both of these, freedom of choice and the will, may be called the living effort in man, for when volition ceases, action ceases, and when freedom of choice ceases volition ceases.
 If man were deprived of spiritual freedom, it would be comparatively as if the wheels were taken from machinery, the fans from a windmill, or the sails from a vessel. It would even be as with one who in dying sends forth his last breath; for the life of man's spirit consists in his freedom of choice in spiritual things. The angels weep when they but hear it said that this freedom of choice is denied by many ministers of the church at this day; and they call this denial madness upon madness.
VI. WITHOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS THE WORD WOULD BE OF NO USE, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE CHURCH WOULD BE NOTHING
TCR 483. It is known throughout the Christian world that in the broadest sense the Word means the law, or the book of the laws, in accordance with which man must live to obtain eternal life. And what is there more frequently taught in it than that man should do good and not evil, and should believe in God and not in idols? And it is full of commands and exhortations to do these things, and of blessings and promises of reward for those who do them, and of curses and threats for those who do not. To what purpose is this, if man has no freedom of choice in spiritual things, that is, in such things as relate to salvation and eternal life? Would it not be void of meaning, and subserve no use? And if man were to cling to the idea that he has no power and no liberty in spiritual things, and thus were to be separated from any power of will in spiritual matters, would the Sacred Scriptures then seem to him to be anything more than a blank sheet without a syllable upon it, or like a sheet upon which a whole inkstand had been emptied, or like mere curves and dots without any letters, therefore like an empty volume?
 To confirm this from the Word ought not to be necessary, but as the churches of today have poured themselves forth in mental inanities respecting spiritual things, and to confirm these have brought forth passages from the Word which have been falsely interpreted, it may be well to present others which command man to do and to believe. Such are the following:--
The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43).
Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. And even now the axe is laid unto the root of the tree; every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Luke 3:8, 9).
Jesus said, Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say? everyone who cometh to Me, and heareth My words, and doeth them, is like a man building a house upon a rock. But he that heareth and doeth not, is like unto a man that built a house upon the ground without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49).
Jesus said, My mother and My brethren are those who hear the Word of God and do it (Luke 8:21).
We know that God heareth not sinners; but if one worship God, and do His will, him He heareth (John 9:31).
If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them (John 13:17).
He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and I will love him (John 14:21).
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit (John 15:8).
Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you; I have chosen you, that ye should bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:14, 16).
Make the tree good, the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33).
Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8).
He that is sown upon good ground this is he that heareth the Word, and beareth fruit (Matt. 13:23).
He that reapeth receiveth reward, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36).
Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings; learn to do good (Isa. 1:16, 17).
The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father, and then He shall render unto everyone according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27).
And shall come forth, they that have done goods, unto the resurrection of life (John 5:29).
Their works do follow with them (Apoc. 14:13).
Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his work (Apoc. 22:12).
Jehovah whose eyes are open to give everyone according to his ways. According to our doings, hath He dealt with us (Jer. 32:19; Zech. 1:6).
 The Lord teaches the same in His parables, many of which imply that those who do good will be accepted while those who do evil will be rejected,
As in the parable of the workmen in the vineyard (Matt. 21:33-44).
Of the talents and pounds given to trade with (Matt. 25:14-31; Luke 19:13-25).
So also of Faith; Jesus said,
Whosoever believeth in Me shall never die, but shall live (John 11:25, 26).
This is the will of the Father, that everyone who believeth in the Son may have eternal life (John 6:40).
He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16.)
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40).
But these are only a very few of such passages in the Word, and they are like a few cups of water from the sea.
TCR 484. Who does not see the emptiness (I do not wish to say the foolishness) of the extracts quoted above (n. 464) from the ecclesiastical work entitled Formula Concordiae, when he has read them, together with some passages quoted here and elsewhere from the Word? Would he not think to himself: If it were as there taught, that man has no freedom of choice in spiritual things, what but an idle word would religion be, which is doing good? And what is the church apart from religion but like a bark about a stick which is fit for nothing but to be burned? And he would think, moreover, If there is no church because no religion, what are heaven and hell but the fables of ministers and rulers of the church to ensnare the people, and elevate themselves to higher honors? And this is the source of that detestable saying on the lips of many: Who can do good, or acquire faith of himself? Consequently they disregard these things, and live like pagans.
But my friend, shun evil and do good and believe in the Lord from all your heart and in all your soul, and the Lord will love you, and will give you a love of doing and faith to believe. Then from love you will do good, and from faith, which is trust, you will believe; and if you persevere in so doing, a reciprocal conjunction will be effected, which will be perpetual, and this is salvation itself and eternal life. If man from the powers given him should fail to do good, and from his mind should fail to believe in the Lord, what would he be but a wilderness and a desert, or altogether like dry ground, which does not receive the rain, but throws it off or like a sandy plain where there are sheep without pasture? And he would be like a dried-up fountain, or like stagnant water therein, its course being obstructed; or like an abode where there is neither harvest nor water, where, unless he quickly fled from the place and sought a habitable abode elsewhere, he would perish with hunger and thirst.
VII. WITHOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, THERE WOULD BE NOTHING IN MAN WHEREBY HE COULD IN TURN CONJOIN HIMSELF WITH THE LORD; CONSEQUENTLY THERE WOULD BE NO IMPUTATION, BUT MERE PREDESTINATION, WHICH IS DETESTABLE
TCR 485. That without freedom of choice in spiritual things there would be neither charity nor faith in any man, still less a conjunction of the two, has been fully shown in the chapter on Faith. From this it follows, that without freedom of choice in spiritual things there would be nothing in man whereby the Lord could conjoin Himself to him, and yet, without reciprocal conjunction, no reformation or regeneration, and thus no salvation is possible. That without a reciprocal conjunction of man with the Lord, and of the Lord with man, there would be no imputation, is an irrefragable consequence. The conclusions that follow from confirming the idea that there is any imputation of good and evil without freedom of choice in spiritual things, are numerous, and in the latter part of this work, where it treats of the heresies, paradoxes, and contradictions flowing from the faith of the present day, which imputes to man the merit and righteousness of the Lord God the Saviour, these preposterous conclusions will be exposed.
TCR 486. Predestination is an offspring of the faith of the present church, for it is born from a belief in man's absolute impotence, with no power of choice in spiritual things; it is born from this doctrine and also from the belief in man's conversion as being a dead thing, in that he is like a stock, and has therefore no conscious knowledge whether he is a stock vivified by grace or not. For it is said that election is of the mere grace of God, exclusive of all human action, whether it proceed from the powers of nature or of reason, and that it takes place where and when God wills, thus from His good pleasure. The works that follow faith as evidences thereof, resemble, to a reflecting mind, the works of the flesh; and the spirit which produces them does not make evident their origin, but effects them out of grace or good pleasure, like faith itself.
 From all this it is clear that the dogma of the present church respecting predestination has come forth from this belief like a shoot from its seed; and I may say that it has flowed forth out of it as an almost inevitable consequence. This consequence was first reached by the Predestinarians, then by Gottschalk, afterwards by Calvin and his disciples, and was at length firmly established by the Synod of Dort, and from that was carried forth into the church as the palladium of religion, or rather as the head of Gorgon or Medusa engraved on the shield of Pallas by the Supra-Lapsarians and Infra-Lapsarians.
 But what more pernicious thing could have been devised, or could anything more cruel be believed of God, than that some of the human race are damned by predestination? For would it not be a cruel creed, that the Lord, who is love itself and mercy itself, should desire a multitude to be born for hell, or that myriads of myriads should be born doomed, that is, devils and satans; also that from His Divine wisdom, which is infinite, He should not have provided and does not provide, that those who live well and acknowledge God should not be cast into eternal fire and torment? He is ever the Lord, the Creator and Saviour of all, and He alone leads all, and desires not the death of any. Therefore, what more infamous thing could be believed or thought than that whole nations and peoples should, under His auspices and oversight, be handed over by predestination to the devil as his prey, to satisfy his voracity? But this is an offspring of the faith of the present church; the faith of the New Church abhors it as a monster.
TCR 487. I had thought that such senseless doctrine never could have been sanctioned by any Christian, much less have found utterance and a public promulgation; and yet this was done by many chosen men of the clergy at the Synod of Dort, in Holland, and the creed was afterward elegantly written and given to the public; and because of this and to remove my doubts, some of those who aided in framing the decrees of that synod were sent to me.
When they appeared standing near me, I said, "Who from any sound reason can reach the conclusion that predestination is true doctrine? Can it be that any but cruel ideas of God and shameful ideas of religion should flow from it? When anyone has engraved predestination on his heart by means of confirmations must he not think of all that pertains to the church as destitute of meaning, and the same of the Word? And must he not think of God, who has predestined to hell so many myriads of men, as a tyrant?"
 At these remarks they looked at me with a satanic expression, and said, "We were among those chosen to form the Synod of Dort, and we then confirmed ourselves and have since continued to do so still more in many ideas respecting God, the Word, and religion, which we have not dared to make public; but when we have spoken on these subjects and taught them, we have twisted and woven a web of various colored threads, and over it strewed feathers borrowed from the wings of peacocks." But because they still wished to do the same, the angels, by power given them by the Lord, closed the externals of their minds and opened the internals, and from these they were compelled to speak. And then they said, "Our faith, which we have formed by conclusions, one following from another, was and still is as follows:-
1. "That there is no Word of Jehovah God, but some windy afflatus from the mouths of the prophets. This we have thought, because the Word predestines all to heaven, and teaches that man alone is in fault if he does not walk in the ways that lead thither.
2. That religion exists because it is necessary; but it is like a strong wind bearing a fragrant odor for the vulgar; therefore that it ought to be taught by ministers, both small and great, and from the Word too, because the Word is accepted. This we have thought, because where there is predestination there religion is a nullity.
3. That the civil laws of justice are religion; but predestination is not determined by a life in accord with those laws, but by the pure good pleasure of God, as with a king in whose mere glance there is absolute power.
4. The all that the church teaches ought to be exploded as vanity, and rejected as rubbish, except that there is a God.
5. That spiritual things, which are so cried up, are nothing but ethereal substances beneath the sun, which induce upon man, if they penetrate deeply into him, vertigo and stupor, and make him a detestable monster in the sight of God."
6. When they were asked about faith (from which they deduced predestination), whether they believed it to be spiritual, they said that it was effected according to predestination, but when it is given men were like stocks. From this they are indeed vivified, but not spiritually.
 After these horrible sayings they wished to go away; but I said to them, "Wait a little longer, and I will read you something from Isaiah;" and I read the following:--
Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of thee, because the rod that smiteth thee is broken; for out of the serpent's root hath gone forth a cockatrice, whose fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent (Isaiah 14:29).
And this I explained by the spiritual sense, showing that "Philistia" means the church separate from charity; that the "cockatrice" that had gone forth from the serpent's root means its doctrine of three Gods and of imputative faith applied to each singly; and that its "fruit," which is a fiery flying serpent, means no imputation of good and evil, but immediate mercy, whether man lives well or ill.
 Hearing this, they said, "It may be so; but from that volume which you call the Holy Word select something on predestination." And I opened the book, and in the same Prophet I came upon the following passage, which suited the purpose:--
They hatched viper's eggs and wove the spider's web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth; and when one is crushed it breaketh out into a viper (Isa. 59:5).
Hearing this, they could not endure the explanation; but some of those who had been sent to me (there were five) hurried away into a cave, round about which appeared a dusky burning, a sign that they had neither faith nor charity. Evidently, therefore, the decree of that synod respecting predestination is not only an insane but a cruel heresy; and ought, therefore, to be so rooted out from the brain that not a single vestige of it shall be left.
TCR 488. The inhuman belief that God predestinates man to hell, may be likened to the inhumanity of fathers among certain barbarous races, who cast their sucklings and infants into the streets; or to the inhumanity of some warriors who throw their slain into forests to be devoured by wild beasts. It may also be likened to the cruelty of a tyrant, who divides a people he has subdued into classes, giving some of them to the hangman, throwing some into the depths of the sea, and some into the fire. It may also be likened to the fury of some wild beasts, which devour their own young; and also to the madness of dogs that fly at the reflection of themselves in a mirror.
VIII. IF THERE WERE NO FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, GOD WOULD BE THE CAUSE OF EVIL AND THUS THERE WOULD BE NO IMPUTATION
TCR 489. That God is the cause of evil follows from the prevailing belief, which was first hatched by those who held council in the city of Nice. There was concocted and established the still persistent heresy, that there were from eternity three Divine persons, each one a God by Himself. This egg being hatched, the adherents of the belief must needs approach each Person separately as God. They compiled a creed that imputed to men the merit or righteousness of the Lord God the Saviour; and that no man might share with the Lord in that merit, they took away from man all freedom of choice in spiritual things, and decreed the utmost impotence as to that faith. And as they deduced everything spiritual pertaining to the church from that faith alone, they asserted a like impotence with reference to everything that the church teaches concerning salvation. Hence sprung, one after another, direful heresies based upon that faith and man's impotence in spiritual things, and also that most pernicious heresy, predestination, which was treated of in the preceding section; all of which imply that God is the cause of evil, or that He created both good and evil. But, my friend, put faith in no council, but in the Lord's Word, which is above councils. What have not Roman Catholic councils produced? Or that of Dort, from which came forth that terrible viper, predestination? It may be thought that giving to man freedom of choice in spiritual things was the mediate cause of evil; consequently, that if such freedom of choice had not been given him, he could not have transgressed. But, my friend, pause here, and consider whether any man could have been so created as to be a man without freedom of choice in spiritual things. If deprived of that, he would be no longer a man but only a statue. What is freedom of choice but the power to will and do, and to think and speak to all appearance as if of oneself? Because this power was given to man in order that he might live as a man, two trees were placed in the garden of Eden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and this signifies that because of the freedom given him, man is able to eat of the fruit of the tree of life or of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
TCR 490. That everything that God created was good, appears from the first chapter of Genesis where it is said (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25), "God saw that it was good;" and from the statement that "God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good (Genesis 1:31);" also from man's primeval state in paradise. But that evil has its origin in man, is plain from Adam's state succeeding the fall, or after it, in that he was expelled from paradise. From this it is clear that unless freedom of choice in spiritual things had been given to man, not man, but God Himself, would have been the cause of evil, and thus God would have been the creator both of good and of evil. But to think that God created evil is abominable. Because God gave man freedom of choice in spiritual things He did not create evil, neither does He ever inspire any evil into man, for the reason that He is good itself, and in that good is omnipresent, continually urging and importuning to be received; and even when not received, He does not withdraw; for if He were to withdraw, man would instantly die, nay, would lapse into non-entity; for man's life, and the subsistence of all things of which he consists, are from God. God did not create evil, but evil was introduced by man himself, since man turns the good which is continually flowing in from God into evil, whereby he turns himself away from God and toward himself; and when this is done, delight in good remains, but then becomes delight in evil; for unless a delight seemingly similar remained, man could not continue to live; since delight constitutes the life of his love. Nevertheless these two kinds of delight are diametrically opposite to each other; but man does not know this so long as he lives in the world; but he will know it after death and will have a clear perception of it, for then delight of the love of good is turned into heavenly blessedness, while delight of the love of evil is turned into infernal horror. From the foregoing it is evident that every man was predestined to heaven, and no one to hell; but that man gives himself over to hell by the abuse of his freedom of choice in spiritual things, whereby he embraces such things as exhale from hell. For, as before said, every man is kept midway between heaven and hell, that he may be in a state of equilibrium between good and evil, and consequently in freedom of choice in spiritual things.
TCR 491. That God has implanted freedom not only in man, but also in every beast, and an analogue of it even in things inanimate, enabling each to receive it according to its nature, as He also provides what is good for them all; but that the objects themselves turn the good into evil, may be illustrated by comparisons. The atmosphere gives to every man the ability to breathe, and in like manner to every beast tame or wild, also to every bird, the owl and dove alike; it also gives the ability to fly, and yet it is not the atmosphere that causes its gifts to be received by creatures of contrary genius and nature. The ocean furnishes in itself an abode and also offers nourishment, to every fish; but the ocean does not cause one fish there to devour another; or the crocodile to turn its food into poison with which it kills men. The sun provides heat and light for all things; but objects, such as the various vegetable productions of the earth, receive these diversely, a good tree and a good shrub in one way, and the thorn and thistle in another; or a harmless herb in one way, and a poisonous herb in another. The rain falls from the higher region of the atmosphere upon all parts of the earth; and the earth administers the waters therefrom to every shrub, herb, and grass, and each one of them takes to itself according to its need. This is what is called an analogue of freedom of choice, because they drink in the rain freely through their little mouths, pores, and ducts, which stand open in the warm seasons, the earth merely supplying the fluids and elements, and the plants partaking of them from a certain kind of hunger and thirst. The like is true of men, in that the Lord flows into every man with spiritual heat, which in its essence is good of love, and with spiritual light, which in its essence is the truth of wisdom; but man receives these according to whether be turns towards God or towards self. Therefore the Lord, in teaching about love towards the neighbor, says:--
That ye may be the children of the Father, who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45).
And elsewhere He says:-
That He desires the salvation of all.
TCR 492. To the foregoing I add this Memorable Relation:-
Several times I have heard expressions respecting good of charity made to descend from heaven, which passed through the world of spirits and penetrated into hell, even to its depths; and in their progress these expressions were turned into such as were directly contrary to good of charity, and finally into expressions of hatred of the neighbor; a sign that everything that goes forth from the Lord is good, and that it is turned into evil by the spirits in hell. The same was done with certain truths of faith, which in their progress were turned into the opposite falsities. For it is the recipient form itself that turns whatever enters into it into what is in accord with itself.
IX. EVERYTHING SPIRITUAL OF THE CHURCH THAT ENTERS INTO MAN IN FREEDOM, AND IS RECEIVED WITH FREEDOM, REMAINS; BUT NOT THE REVERSE
TCR 493. That which is received by man with freedom remains in him, because freedom belongs to his will; and because it belongs to his will it also belongs to his love. That the will is the receptacle of love has been shown elsewhere. That everything belonging to love is free, and also is of the will everyone understands when it is said, "This I will, because I love it;" and on the other hand, "Because I love this I will it." But man's will is two-fold, interior and exterior, that is, it belongs to the internal and to the external man; therefore a deceiver may act and talk before the world in one way and with his familiar friends in another way. Before the world he acts and talks from the will of his external man, but with his familiar friends from the will of his internal man; but the will here meant is that of the internal man, where his ruling love dwells. From these few remarks it is clear that the interior will is the man himself, for in it is the very being and essence of his life; while the understanding is the form thereof whereby the will renders its love visible. Everything that man loves and wills from love is free; for whatever proceeds from the love of the internal will is his life's delight; and because this is the being of his life, it is also his very own (proprium); and this is why that which is received with the freedom of this will, remains, for it adds itself to what is his own. On the contrary, anything that is introduced into man when he is not in freedom is not thus received. But of this in what follows.
TCR 494. But it must be well understood that the spiritual things of the Word and church which man imbibes from love, and which his understanding confirms are what remain in him, but not so things civil and political; because spiritual things ascend into the highest region of the mind, and there take form. This is because the Lord's entrance into man with Divine truths and goods is there, and that region is like a temple in which He resides. But because things civil and political belong to the world, they occupy the lower regions of the mind, and some of them become there like little buildings around that temple, and some like vestibules through which there is entrance. Another reason why the spiritual things of the church dwell in the highest region of the mind, is that they belong to the soul, and have regard to its eternal life; and the soul is in things highest, and derives its nourishment from no other than spiritual food. This is why the Lord calls Himself "Bread," for He says:--
I am the living bread which came down out of heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever (John 6:51).
That region is also the seat of man's love, which is the source of his happiness after death; and there too his freedom of choice in spiritual things chiefly resides, and from this descends all the freedom that man possesses in natural things; and such being the origin of this freedom it enters into all forms of freedom of choice in natural things, and by means of these the ruling love, which occupies the highest region, takes on whatever is conducive to its own ends. The communication between these is like that between a spring and the waters that flow from it, or like the communication between the prolific principle itself of a seed and each and all parts of the tree, especially the fruit, in which it renews itself. But when anyone denies freedom of choice in spiritual things, and thus rejects it, he makes for himself another fountain, and opens a channel from that; and this changes spiritual freedom into merely natural, and finally into infernal, freedom. And infernal freedom becomes like the prolific principle of a seed, freely traversing the trunk and branches to the fruit, which owing to its origin is inwardly rotten.
TCR 495. All freedom that is from the Lord is freedom indeed, but that which is from hell, and in man therefrom, is bondage. Yet to one who is in infernal freedom spiritual freedom must needs appear like bondage, because the two are opposite. But all who are in spiritual freedom not only know, but also see, that infernal freedom is bondage; and the angels therefore turn away from that freedom as from a cadaverous stench, while infernal spirits draw it in like an aromatic odor. It is known from the Lord's Word that worship from freedom is truly worship, and that spontaneity is pleasing to the Lord; therefore it is said David:--
I will freely sacrifice unto God (Ps. 54:6).
The willing ones of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham (Ps. 47:9).
Therefore there were free will offerings among the children of Israel; their sacred worship consisted chiefly of sacrifices, and because of God's pleasure in what is spontaneous, it was commanded:--
That every man whose heart impelled him, and everyone whose willing spirit moved him, should bring an offering to Jehovah for the work of the tabernacle (Ex. 35:5, 21, 29).
And the Lord says:--
If ye abide in My Word, ye are truly My disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be truly free. But everyone that committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:31-36).
TCR 496. That which a man receives with freedom remains, because his will accepts it and appropriates it, and because it enters his love, and the love acknowledges it as its own, and by means of it is formed. This shall be illustrated by comparisons, in which, because they are taken from natural things, heat will be substituted for love. It is well known that by means of heat, and according to the amount of it, the doors are opened in every plant, and as these are opened the plant inwardly returns into the form of its nature, spontaneously partakes of its proper nutriment, retains what is suitable, and grows. It is the same with a beast; all that it selects and eats from the love of nutrition which is called appetite, is added to its body, and thus remains. That which is suitable is continually added to the body, because all its components are perpetually renewed. This is known to be so, although by few.
 Also with beasts heat opens all parts of the body, and causes their natural love to act freely. This is why in spring and summer they enter and return into the instinct of propagating and rearing their young, which they do from the utmost freedom, because to do so belongs to the ruling love implanted in them by creation for the sake of preserving the universe in the state in which it was created.
 The freedom of love may be illustrated by this freedom induced by heat, because love produces heat, as is evident from its effects, for man is enkindled, heated and inflamed as love is exalted to zeal, or to a blaze of anger. The heat of the blood or the vital heat of men, and of animals in general, is from no other source. It is because of this correspondence that it is by heat that the bodily parts are adapted to receive freely those things to which the love aspires.
 In such equilibrium and consequent freedom are all things that are within man. In such freedom the heart propels its blood upward and downward alike, the mesentery distributes its chyle, the liver does its work for the blood, the kidneys secrete, the glands filter and so on. If this equilibrium were to suffer the member would sicken, and would labor under a paralysis or loss of strength; and herein equilibrium and freedom are one. There is not a substance in the created universe that does not tend to equilibrium, in order that it may be in freedom.
X. MAN'S WILL AND UNDERSTANDING ARE IN THIS FREEDOM OF CHOICE; NEVERTHELESS IN BOTH WORLDS, THE SPIRITUAL AND THE NATURAL, THE DOING OF EVIL IS RESTRAINED BY LAWS; BECAUSE OTHERWISE SOCIETY IN BOTH WORLDS WOULD PERISH
TCR 497. Every man can know that he has freedom of choice in spiritual things merely by observing his own thought. Is not any man able to think in freedom about God, the Trinity, charity and the neighbor, faith and its operation, and about the Word and all its teachings, and, when he has studied theology, about the particulars of these subjects? And who cannot think and even draw conclusions, and teach and write, either for or against these things? If man were deprived of this freedom for a single moment, could he continue to think; would not his tongue be dumb, and his hand powerless? Therefore, my friend, you may if you choose, by merely observing your own thought, reject and detest that absurd and hurtful heresy, which at this day has induced upon Christendom a lethargy respecting the heavenly doctrine of charity and faith, and of salvation thereby, and eternal life.
 The reasons why this freedom of choice resides in man's will and understanding are the following:
1. Because these two faculties must first be instructed and reformed, and then by means of these the two faculties of the external man, which cause him to speak and act.
2. Because these two faculties of the internal man constitute his spirit which lives after death, and which is subject only to Divine law, the primary thing of which is, that man should think of the law, should practise and obey it of himself, although from the Lord.
 3. Because, as to his spirit, man is midway between heaven and hell, thus between good and evil, and therefore in equilibrium, and in consequence of this he has freedom of choice in spiritual things, (n. 475). But so long as man lives in the world, he is as to his spirit in equilibrium between heaven and the world, and then he is scarcely aware that so far as he withdraws from heaven and draws nearer to the world, he draws near to hell. He is aware of this and yet not aware, in order that even in this respect he may be in freedom, and may be reformed.
 4. Because these two, the will and the understanding, are the two receptacles of the Lord, the will the receptacle of love and charity, the understanding the receptacle of wisdom and faith; and each one of these is made active by the Lord while man is in complete freedom, in order that there may be a mutual and reciprocal conjunction between them, whereby salvation is effected.
5. Because all the judgment that is effected in man after death is in accord with the use he has made of freedom of choice in spiritual things.
TCR 498. The conclusion from all this is that freedom of choice itself in spiritual things resides in the soul of man in all perfection, and from that it flows, like a stream into a fountain, into his mind, into the two parts of it, which are the will and the understanding, and through these into the bodily senses, and into speech and actions. For in man there are three degrees of life, the soul, the mind, and the sentient body; and all that is included in the higher degree is more perfect than that which is in a lower degree. It is this freedom of man, through which, in which, and with which, the Lord is present in him, and unceasingly urgent to be received; but He in no way sets aside or takes away this freedom, since, as said above, whatever man does in spiritual things, that is not done from freedom, does not endure. It may therefore be said that the Lord's abode in man is this freedom of man which is in his soul.
 It is evident without explanation that the doing of evil, in both the spiritual and the natural world, is restrained by laws, since otherwise society would everywhere cease to exist. Nevertheless, it must be made clear that without such external bonds, not only would society cease to exist, but the whole human race would perish. For man is enticed by two loves, the love of ruling over all, and the love of possessing the wealth of all. These loves, if uncurbed, rush onward to infinity. The hereditary evils into which man is born have arisen principally from these two loves; nor was the sin of Adam any other than a desire to become as God, which evil the serpent infused into him, as it is written; therefore in the curse pronounced upon him it is said:--
That the earth should bring forth the thorn and the thistle to him (Gen. 3:5, 18);
which means all evil and falsity therefrom. All who are enslaved by these loves, look upon themselves as the one only object, in which and for which all others exist. Such have no pity, no fear of God, no love for the neighbor; consequently they are unmerciful, inhuman and cruel, and are possessed by an infernal lust and greed for robbing and plundering, and by craft and cunning in working out their purposes. Such evils are not innate in the beasts of the earth; these do not slaughter and devour each other, except from the love of satisfying their hunger or defending themselves. Therefore a wicked man, viewed with reference to these loves, is more inhuman, fiercer, and worse than any beast.
 That man is inwardly such, is manifest in seditious disturbances when the bonds of law are loosed, and also in massacres and pillaging, when the signal is given to soldiers that they are free to satiate their fury upon the conquered or besieged; from which scarcely anyone desists until the drum beats the order to do so. From all this it is clear that if no fear of legal penalties restrained men, not only society, but the whole human race, would be destroyed. But none of these evils can be removed except by the true use of freedom of choice in spiritual things, and this is done by directing the mind to reflection upon the state of life after death.
TCR 499. But this shall be still further illustrated by comparisons, as follows: Without some kind of freedom of choice in all created things, both animate and inanimate, no creation could have taken place; for without freedom of choice in natural things for beasts there would be no choice of food conducive to their nourishment, and no propagation and preservation of offspring; thus, no beasts. If the fishes of the sea and the shellfish at its bottom, had no such freedom, there would be no fish or shell-fish. In like manner, unless this freedom were in every insect, there would be no silk-worm yielding silk, no bee furnishing wax and honey, no butterfly sporting with its consort in the air, feeding on the juices of flowers, and representing, after he has shed his exuviae as a worm, the happy state of man in the heavenly realm.
 Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in the earth's soil, in the seed sown in it, in all parts of the tree that has grown out of it, and in its fruit, and again in the new seed, there would be no plant life. Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in every metal, and in every stone both precious and common, there would be no metal or stone, or even a grain of sand; for even this freely absorbs the ether, emits its natural exhalations, throws off its worn-out elements and restores itself with new. From this there is a magnetic sphere about the magnet, an iron sphere about iron, a coppery one about copper, a silver sphere about silver, a golden one about gold, a stony sphere about stone, a nitrous sphere about niter, a sulphur sphere about sulphur, and a different sphere about every particle of dust. From this sphere the inmost of every seed is impregnated, and its prolific principle vegetates; for without such an exhalation from every least particle of the earth's dust, there would be no beginning of germination and no continuance of it. How could the earth, except by what is exhaled from it, penetrate with dust and water to the inmost center of a grain sown in it, as into a grain of mustard seed, for example:--
Which is less than all seeds, but when it is grown, it is greater than herbs, and becometh a tree? (Matt. 13:32; Mark. 4:30-32).
 Since freedom has been thus implanted in all created subjects, in each according to its nature, why should not freedom of choice have been implanted in man according to his natures. that he may become spiritual? This is the reason that free will in spiritual things is given to man, from the womb to the last hour of his life in the world, and afterward to eternity.
XI. IF MEN HAD NOT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD MIGHT IN ONE DAY BE LED TO BELIEVE IN THE LORD; BUT THIS CANNOT BE DONE, BECAUSE THAT WHICH IS NOT RECEIVED BY MAN WITH FREEDOM OF CHOICE DOES NOT REMAIN
TCR 500. That God could, in one day, if freedom of choice in spiritual things had not been given to man, lead all the inhabitants of the world to believe in Him, follows as a true conclusion from the Divine omnipotence when not rightly understood. Those who do not understand the Divine omnipotence, may suppose either that there is no such thing as order, or that God can act contrary to order as well as according to it; when yet, without order, no creation was possible. The primary thing of order is for man to be an image of God, consequently, that he be continually perfecting in love and wisdom, and thus becoming that image more and more. To this end God is working continually in man; but this would be in vain, for it would be impossible, if man were destitute of freedom of choice in spiritual things, whereby he could turn to God and reciprocally conjoin himself with God. For them is an order from which and according to which the whole universe, with each and all things in it, was created; and because all creation was effected from that order and according to it God is called Order itself. Thus it is the same whether we say, acting contrary to order, or acting contrary to God. God Himself, even, cannot act contrary to His own Divine order, since this would be to act contrary to His very Self; and therefore He leads every man according to that order which is Himself, guiding the wandering and the fallen into it, and the resisting toward it. If man could have been created without freedom of choice in spiritual things, what would have been more easy for an omnipotent God than to lead all the inhabitants of the world to believe in the Lord? Could He not have implanted this faith in everyone, both without means and by means, without means by His absolute power and its irresistible operation, which is unceasing in its efforts to save man; or by means, through torments brought upon man's conscience, or through mortal convulsions of the body and awful threats of death, if he did not receive that faith; or still further, by the opening of hell and the presence of devils therefrom holding frightful torches in their hands, or by calling forth therefrom the dead whom they had known, in the forms of fearful specters? But to all this there is a reply in the words of Abraham to the rich man in hell,
If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead (Luke 16:31).
TCR 501. It is asked at the present day, why miracles do not take place as formerly; for it is believed that if they were to occur, there would come from everyone a hearty acknowledgment. But miracles are not now wrought as formerly because they compel (belief) and take away man's freedom of choice in spiritual things, and make man natural instead of spiritual. everyone in the Christian world, since the Lord's coming, has the ability to become spiritual, and he becomes spiritual solely from the Lord through the Word; but the capacity to become so would perish if man were led to believe through miracles, because, as just said, miracles compel and deprive man of freedom of choice in spiritual things; and everything that is compulsory in such matters betakes itself to the natural man, and closes the door, as it were, to the spiritual man, which is the truly internal man, depriving it of all power to see any truth in clear light, with the result that man then reasons about spiritual things from the natural man alone, which sees everything truly spiritual inversely.
 But before the Lord's coming miracles were wrought because the men of the church were then natural men, to whom spiritual things, which belong to an internal church, could not be disclosed; for if these had been disclosed they would have been profaned. Therefore all their worship consisted in rituals which represented and signified the internal things of the church; and they could be led to observe these rituals only by means of miracles; and not even, indeed, by means of miracles, because those representatives had in them a spiritual internal, as is evident from the children of Israel in the desert, who, although they had seen so many miracles in Egypt, and afterward that greatest of miracles upon Mount Sinai, still, after Moses' absence for a month, danced around a golden calf, and shouted that it had led them out of Egypt. In the land of Canaan they acted in a like manner, although they witnessed the great miracles wrought by Elijah and Elisha, and finally the truly Divine miracles by the Lord.
 Miracles are not wrought at the present day, especially for the reason that the church has deprived man of all freedom of choice. This it has done by decreeing that man is unable to contribute anything whatever toward the acquisition of faith or toward conversion, or in general toward salvation (n. 464). The man who accepts this belief becomes more and more natural; and the natural man, as said above, looks at everything spiritual inversely, and consequently thinks in opposition to it. In this case the higher region of the man's mind, where freedom of choice in spiritual things has its primary seat is thereby closed up and the spiritual things which miracles seemingly confirm occupy the lower region of the mind, which is merely natural, and the falsities respecting faith, conversion, and salvation, thus remain above this region, and in consequence it comes to pass that satans have their abode above and angels below, like hawks above chickens. Then after a little while the satans break down their bars, and rush forth with fury upon the spiritual things which hold a place below them, not only denying these, but also blaspheming and profaning them; and the result is that the latter state of man becomes worse than the former.
TCR 502. The man who by means of falsities respecting the spiritual things of the church has become natural, must needs think of the Divine omnipotence as superior to order, and thus of a Divine omnipotence without order, in consequence of which he would fall into the following insane thoughts: Why the Lord's advent into the world, and why was redemption effected in that way, when by His omnipotence God could have accomplished the same thing out of heaven as well as upon the earth? Why might He not by redemption have saved the whole human race without an exception? How is it that the devil has since been able to prevail over the Redeemer in man? Why is there a hell? Could not God have blotted out hell by His omnipotence, and cannot He now do so, or else deliver all men from it, and make them angels of heaven? Why a last judgment? Cannot God transfer all the goats from His left to His right, and make them sheep? Why did He cast down the angels of the dragon and the dragon himself from heaven, instead of changing them into angels of Michael? Why does He not to all of these impart faith and impute His Son's righteousness, and thus forgive their sins, and justify, and sanctify them? Why does He not cause the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea to talk, give them intelligence, and introduce them along with men into heaven? Why did He not, or does He not, make the whole world a paradise, with no tree of the knowledge of good and evil and no serpent in it; and where all the hills would flow with generous wine and produce gold and silver naturally, so that all might live therein with jubilee and song, and thus in perpetual festivity and joy, as images of God? Would not such things be worthy of an omnipotent God? Besides other like questions. But, my friend, this is all idle talk. The Divine omnipotence is not without order; God is Himself Order; and all things were created from order, in order, and for order, because they were created from God. There is an order into which man was created, namely, that blessing or curse depends for him upon his freedom of choice in spiritual things; for, as said above, it is impossible to create a man without freedom of choice, nor even a beast, a bird, or a fish. But beats have only a natural freedom of choice, while man has not only natural freedom of choice but also spiritual freedom of choice.
TCR 503. To the foregoing these Memorable Relations shall be added: First:-
I heard that an assembly was convoked, which was to deliberate on man's freedom of choice in spiritual things. This was in the spiritual world. There were present learned men from every quarter, who had thought upon that subject in the world in which they had formerly lived, also many who had been present at the greater and smaller councils both before and after that of Nice. They were assembled in a kind of circular temple like the temple at Rome called the Pantheon, which was formerly consecrated to the worship of all the gods, and afterward dedicated by the Papal chair to the worship of all the holy martyrs.
In this temple near the walls were what seemed to be altars, but near them were low benches, and upon these the assembly reclined, resting their elbows on the altars, as upon so many tables. No president was appointed to act as primate among them, but each one, when the desire seized him, rushed forth into their midst, poured out what he had at heart, and delivered his opinion; and what I wondered at, all who were in the assembly were full of proofs of man's utter impotence in spiritual things, and ridiculed the idea of freedom of choice in such matters.
 As soon as they had all come together one of them sprang up suddenly into the midst, and with a loud voice harangued them as follows: "Man has no more freedom of choice in spiritual things than Lot's wife had after she had been turned into a pillar of salt. If man had any more freedom of choice than that, he would surely of himself arrogate to himself the faith of our church, which faith is, that God the Father bestows faith gratuitously to whom He will and when He will, out of His entire freedom and good pleasure. This good pleasure and gratuitousness would be impossible to God, if man from any freedom or good pleasure could arrogate that faith to himself, and thus indeed, our faith, which is like a star shining before us night and day, would be dissipated like a meteor in the air."
 After him another sprang up from his bench and said, "Man has no more freedom of choice in spiritual things than a beast, or even a dog; for if he had, he would do good of himself, when yet all good is from God, and man can take to himself nothing that is not given him from heaven."
After him another sprang up from his seat into the middle space and raised his voice, saying, "Man has no more freedom of choice in spiritual things, not even in the discernment of them, than an owl has in the day time, or even a chicken still hidden in the shell; in these things he is as wholly blind as a mole; for if he were lynx-eyed in his clear perception of matters of faith, salvation, and eternal life, he would still believe that he could regenerate and save himself, and would endeavor to do so, and thus would profane his thoughts and deeds by adding merit to merit."
Again another ran out into the middle space and delivered this speech: "The man who imagines-himself to be able, since Adam's fall, to will or understand anything spiritual is insane, and becomes a maniac, since he would then believe himself to be a little god or a kind of deity, possessing a share of the Divine power in his own right."
 After him another rushed panting to the middle space carrying under his arm a book called the Formula Concordiae, by the orthodoxy of which, as he called it, the Evangelicals now swear. This he opened, and from it read the following: "Man is wholly corrupt and dead to good, so that in his nature since the fall, before regeneration, there does not remain or abide even a spark of spiritual power, whereby he is able to be prepared for the grace of God, or to apprehend it when offered, or from and by himself to be receptive of it, or in spiritual things to understand, believe, embrace, think, will, begin, finish, act, operate, co-operate, or apply or adapt himself to receive grace, or to do anything of himself toward his conversion, either in the half or in the smallest part. And in spiritual things, which regard the salvation of the soul, man is like the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned, or like a lifeless stock or stone, having no use of eyes, or mouth, or any of the senses. Nevertheless, he has the power of locomotion, or of directing his external members, to attend public meetings, and hear the Word and the Gospel." This is found in my edition, on pages (656, 658, 661-663, 671-673.)
After this they all crowded together and together exclaimed, "This is true orthodoxy."
 I stood near and listened intently to all that had been said; and my spirit being aroused, I asked with a loud voice, "If you make man in spiritual things a pillar of salt, a beast, blind, and irrational, what is your theology? Is not each and all things of that spiritual?"
To this, after a period of silence, they replied: "In our whole theology there is nothing spiritual whatever that the reason comprehends. The only thing spiritual in it is our faith; but that we keep strictly closed up, that no one may look into it; and we have taken care that not a single ray of spirituality shall escape therefrom and appear before the understanding. Moreover, man does not contribute thereto the least particle from any choice of his own. Charity also we have removed from everything spiritual, and have made it merely moral; likewise the Decalogue. Respecting justification, the forgiveness of sins, regeneration, and salvation thereby, we teach nothing spiritual; we say that these are wrought by faith, but how, we are utterly ignorant. In place of repentance, we have put contrition, and lest this should be believed to be spiritual, we have removed it from faith, even as to any least touch. Respecting redemption we have adopted none but purely natural ideas, which are, that God the Father included the whole human race in a sentence of damnation, and that His Son took that damnation upon Himself, suffered Himself to be hanged upon a cross, and thus moved His Father to compassion; besides other like ideas, in which you will find nothing spiritual, but only what is natural."
 But at this my former indignation continued, and I said, "If man had no freedom of choice in spiritual things, what would he be but a brute? Is it not by means of that that he is above brute beasts? Without that, what is the church but the black face of a fuller, with a white speck only in his eyes? Without it, what is the Word but an unmeaning volume? What is more frequently declared and commanded therein, than that man should love God and should love the neighbor, and should also believe; and again, that he has life and salvation in the measure of his love and faith? Is there any man who has not the ability to understand and do what is commanded in the Word and in the Decalogue? How could God have given such precepts and commandments to men without an ability to do them?
 Tell any rustic whose mind has not been blocked up by fallacies in theological matters, that he has no more ability to understand and will in matters of faith and charity, and of salvation therefrom, than a stock or a stone and no ability to adapt or conform himself to them; will he not most heartily laugh at you and say, `What can be more irrational? What then have I to do with the priest and his preaching? What is a church more than a stable? And what is worship more than ploughing? What madness to speak so! It is folly upon folly. Who denies that all good is from God? Is it not given to man to do good of himself from God? It is the same with believing.'"
Hearing this they all cried out, "We spoke from orthodoxy in an orthodox way; but you from rustic notions in a rustic way."
Then suddenly lightning fell from heaven, and lest it should consume them, they rushed out in troops and fled away, each to his own home.
TCR 504. Second Memorable Relation:-
I was once in that interior spiritual sight in which the angels of the superior heaven are, but I was then in the world of spirits. And I saw two spirits not far away, standing apart from each other; and I perceived that one of them loved good and truth, and was thereby in conjunction with heaven, while the other loved evil and falsity, and was thereby in conjunction with hell. I approached and called them; and from their tones and their replies, I gathered that one could perceive truths as well as the other, could acknowledge them when perceived, could thus think from the understanding, could direct his intellectual faculties as he pleased, and his voluntary faculties as he wished; consequently that they were in like freedom of choice in rational matters. I observed, moreover, that from that freedom there appeared in their minds a lucidity extending from their first sight, which was that of perception, to their last, which was that of the eye.
 But when the one who loved evil and falsity was left to his own thought, I noticed that a kind of smoke arose from hell, and extinguished that lucidity which was above the memory, so that there was a thick darkness in him there like that of midnight; and also that the smoke ignited and burned like a flame, which illuminated the region of his mind below the memory, and this caused him to think enormous falsities arising from the evils of the love of self. But when the other, who loved good and truth, was left to himself, I saw, as it were, a gentle flame flowing down from heaven, which illuminated the region of his mind above the memory, and also the region below it even to the eye; also that the light from that flame shone brighter and brighter, in proportion as from the love of good he had a perception and thought of the truth.
From seeing this, it was made clear to me that every man, good and evil alike, has spiritual freedom of choice, but that hell sometimes extinguishes it in the wicked, while heaven exalts and enkindles it in the good.
 Afterward I talked with both of them, first with the one who loved evil and falsity, and when, after a few words about his lot, I mentioned freedom of choice, he fired up, and said, "What madness it is to believe that man has freedom of choice in spiritual things! What man can acquire faith of himself, or do good of himself? Does not the priesthood of to-day teach from the Word that no man can receive anything unless it be given him from heaven? And the Lord Christ said to His disciples, `Apart from Me ye can do nothing.' To which I will add, that no man can move hand or foot to do any good, or move his tongue to speak any truth from good. Therefore the church by her wise men has concluded that man can no more will, understand or think anything spiritual, or even adapt himself to willing, understanding, or thinking truth, than a statue, a stock or a stone; and therefore it is God who according to His good pleasure inspires faith, to whom alone belongs most free and unlimited power; and this faith, without any labor or power of ours, under the operation of the Holy Spirit, produces all that the unlearned ascribe to man."
 I then talked with the other, who loved good and truth; and when, after a few remarks about his lot, I mentioned freedom of choice, he said, "What madness it is to deny man's freedom of choice in spiritual things! Who is not able to will and do good, and think and speak what is true of himself from the Word, thus from the Lord who is the Word? For He has said, `Make the fruit good,' and `Believe in the right,' and `Love one another,' and `Love God,' and also, `Whosoever heareth My precepts and doeth them, loveth Me, and I will love him;' besides thousands of like sayings throughout the Word. What then is the Word good for, if man has no power to will and think, and from that to do and say what is there commanded? Without that power in man, what would religion in the church be but like a wrecked vessel lying at the bottom of the sea, with the captain standing on the very top of the mast and crying out, `I can do nothing;' while he sees the crew in the small boats with sails spread and sailing away? Was there not given to Adam the freedom to eat of the tree of life, and also of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? And because from his freedom he ate of this latter tree, smoke from the serpent, that is, from hell, entered his mind, on account of which he was cast out of Paradise and cursed. And still he did not lose his freedom of choice, for we read that the way to the tree of life was guarded by a cherub, and unless this had been done, he might still have wished to eat of it."
 At these remarks the other, who loved evil and falsity, said, "What I have heard, I pass by; what I before advance I still adhere to. But who does not know that God alone is alive and thus active, while man is of himself dead and therefore merely passive? How can a being who is in himself dead and merely passive take to himself anything living and active?"
To this I replied, "Man is an organ of life, and God alone is life; and God pours His life into the organ and into every least part of it; as the sun pours its heat into a tree and every least part of it. It is also God's gift that man should feel that life in himself as if it were his own, and it is God's will that he I should so feel it, in order that man as if of himself may live in accordance with the laws of order, which are as numerous as the precepts of the Word, and thus may dispose himself for the reception of God's love. Nevertheless, God perpetually holds with his finger the perpendicular above the scales, and moderates man's freedom of choice, but never violates it by compulsion.
 A tree cannot receive anything that the heat of the sun brings to it through its roots, unless it grows warm and is heated in every least fiber; nor can the elements rise up through its roots, unless every least fiber gives out heat from that which it has received, and thus contributes to the passage of those elements. Man does likewise from the heat of life that he receives from God; but unlike a tree, man feels the heat as his own, and yet it is not his own; and while so far as he believes that it is his and not God's, he receives the light of life, he does not receive the heat of love from God, but the heat of love from hell; and this being gross obstructs and closes the purer branchlets of the organism, as impure blood clogs the capillary vessels of the body. Thus man from being spiritual makes himself merely natural.
 Man's freedom of choice is from this, that any life in himself is felt as his own, and that God leaves him so to feel in order that a conjunction may be effected between them, which is not possible unless it is reciprocal; and it becomes reciprocal when man acts from freedom altogether as if of himself. If God had not left this to man, he would not be man, neither would he have eternal life; for reciprocal conjunction with God is the cause that man is man, and not a beast, and also that he lives after death to eternity. This is the effect of freedom of choice in spiritual things."
 After hearing this, the evil spirit removed to a distance, and then I saw upon a certain tree a flying serpent, such as is called a fiery serpent, which held out to somebody fruit from the tree. I then drew near in spirit to the place, and instead of the serpent a monstrous man was seen there, his face so covered with beard that only his nose was visible; and instead of the tree there was a burning stump, near which stood the man whose mind the smoke had formerly entered, and who had afterwards rejected the idea of freedom of choice in spiritual things. And just then a similar smoke came out of the stump, and enveloped them both; and as they were thus taken out of my sight, I went away. But the other spirit, who loved good and truth, and held that man has freedom of choice in spiritual things, accompanied me home.
TCR 505. Third Memorable Relation:-
I once heard a grating sound like that of two mill-stones grinding on each other; I approached the sound and it ceased.
Then I saw a narrow gate leading obliquely downward to a kind of vaulted house, in which were several chambers containing cells, and in each cell sat two persons, who were collecting from the Word proofs of justification by faith alone; one collecting the proofs, and the other writing them down, and this by turns.
I approached one cell, which was near the door, and asked, "What are you collecting and writing?"
They said, "Concerning the Act of Justification, or Faith in Act, which is faith itself justifying, vivifying and saving, and is the chief doctrine of the church in our part of Christendom.
I then said to him, "Tell me some sign of that act, when than faith is brought into the heart and soul of man."
He replied, "The sign of that act appears at the moment that man is overcome by conviction that he is damned, and when in that state of contrition he thinks of Christ as having taken away the condemnation of the law, and lays hold upon this merit of Christ with confidence, and with it in his thought approaches God the Father and prays."
 Then I said, "Thus is the act accomplished, and that is the moment of its accomplishment. But," I asked, "How am I to understand what is said of this act, namely, that nothing pertaining to man concurs in it, any more than if he were a stock or a stone; and in respect to the act man is incapable of beginning, willing, understanding, thinking, operating, co-operating, or applying and adapting himself thereto? Tell me how this agrees with your remarks, that the act takes place when man thinks of the claims of the law, of its condemnation having been taken away by Christ, of the trust with which he lays hold on that merit of Christ's, and with it in his thought, approaches God the Father and prays? Is not all this done by man?"
He answered, "It is not done by man actively, but passively."
 I answered, "How can any man think, trust and pray passively? Take away from man activity and operation, and do you not also take away receptivity, thus everything, and with everything the act itself? What does your act then become but a purely ideal thing, such as is called an entity of reason? I hope that you do not believe with some, that such an act takes place in the predestined only, who know nothing whatever of the infusion of faith into them. They may throw dice, and in that way determine whether faith has been infused into them or not. Therefore, my friend, believe that man with regard to faith and charity is active of himself from the Lord, and without this activity of man, your act of faith, which you have called the chief doctrine of the church in Christendom, is nothing more than the statue of Lot's wife composed of mere salt, which tinkles when scratched by a scribe's pen or finger nail (Luke 17:32). This I have said, because as to that act of faith you make yourselves like statues."
When I said this, he picked up his candlestick, intending to throw it with all his might in my face; but the light going out suddenly, he struck the forehead of his companion, and I went away laughing.
TCR 506. "Fourth Memorable Relation:-
There appeared in the spiritual world two flocks, one of goats and the other of sheep. I wondered who they were, as I knew that the animals seen in the spiritual world were not animals, but correspondences of the affections, and the thoughts therefrom, of those who are there. I therefore drew nearer, and as I approached, the animal forms vanished, and in place of them men were seen; and it became manifest that those who formed the flock of goats were such as had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone, while those who made up the flock of sheep were those who believed that charity and faith are one, as good and truth are one.
 I then spoke with those who appeared as goats, and said, "Why are you thus gathered together?" Most of them were of the clerical order, who gloried in their reputation for learning, because the knew the mysteries of justification by faith alone.
They said that they had assembled to hold a council, because they had heard (that some were claiming) that Paul's saying,
That a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Rom. 3:28),
was not rightly understood, for by faith here [it was claimed] Paul did not mean the faith of the present church, which is a faith in three Divine persons from eternity, but faith in the Lord God the Saviour Jesus Christ; also that by "the deeds of the law," he did not mean the deeds of the law of the Decalogue, but the deeds of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews; thus that by a wrong interpretation of those few words, two enormous falsities had been established, one, that Paul here meant the faith of the present church, and the other, that he meant the deeds of the law of the Decalogue. It is clearly evident [these claimed] that Paul meant the works of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews, and not the works of the Decalogue, from what he said to Peter, whom he accused of Judaizing, although he knew
That no one is justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:14-16);
"the faith of Jesus Christ" meaning faith in Him and from Him (as may be seen above, n. 338). And because by "the deeds of the law" Paul meant the deeds of the Mosaic law, be distinguished between the law of faith and the law of works, and between the Jews and the Gentiles, or "circumcision" and "uncircumcision," "circumcision" signifying Judaism here as everywhere else. Moreover, Paul closes with these words:--
Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid; but we establish the law (saying this in connection with the foregoing), (Rom. 3:27-31).
Likewise in the preceding chapter:--
Not the hearers of a law shall be justified before God, but the doers of a law shall be justified (Rom. 2:13);
God will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6);
For we must all be made manifest before the judgement-seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done through the body, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10);
besides other passages in his writings. From all this it is clear that Paul rejected faith without works, just as James did (James 2:17-26).
 That Paul meant the deeds of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews, these were still further convinced from the fact that all the statutes written for the Jews in uses are called "the law," thus, "the deeds of the law," as can be seen from the following:--
This is the law of the meal-offering (Lev. 6:14, 18).
This is the law for the burnt-offering, for the meat-offering, and for the sin-offering, and for the guilt-offering, and for the consecrations (Lev. 7:37).
This is the law of the beast and of the fowl (Lev. 11:46).
This is the law for her that beareth a son or a daughter (Lev. 12:7).
This is the law of leprosy (Lev. 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57).
This is the law of him that hath an issue (Lev. 15:32).
This is the law of jealousy (Num. 5:29, 30).
This is the law of the Nazarite (Num. 6:13, 21).
This is the law of cleansing (Num. 19:14).
This is the law respecting the red heifer (Num. 19:2).
The law for the king (Deut. 17:15-19).
Indeed, the whole book of Moses is called "the book of the law," (Deut. 31:9, 11, 12, 26); also in (Luke 2:22; 24:44; John 1:45; 7:22, 23; 8:5).
 To this they have also added, that they saw in Paul that men should live according to the law of the Decalogue, and that the law is fulfilled by charity (Rom. 13:8-11); and that he also says:--
That these are three, faith, hope, charity, and that the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor. 13:13),
not faith therefore. For these reasons they said that they had been assembled.
But lest I should disturb them I withdrew; and again they appeared at a distance like goats, and sometimes as if lying down, sometimes as if standing, but they turned away from the flock of sheep. They seemed to be lying down when they were deliberating, and to be standing when they had formed their conclusions.
But I kept my sight fixed on their horns; and I wondered that those in their foreheads seemed at one time to reach forward and upward, at another to bend backward towards their backs, and finally to turn entirely back. Just then they turned towards the flock of sheep, but still retained the appearance of goats. I therefore approached them again and asked, "What now?"
They said they had decided that faith alone produces the goods of charity, as a tree produces fruit.
Then thunder was heard, and lightning was seen overhead; and immediately an angel appeared standing between the two flocks; and he cried out to the flock of sheep, "Do not listen to them; they have not receded from their former faith, which is, that faith alone justifies and saves, and actual charity contributes nothing whatever thereto. Faith is not the tree, but man is the tree. But repent, and look to the Lord, and you will have faith. Before that, faith is not a faith that has anything living in it."
Then the goats, with their horns turned back, wished to approach the sheep. But the angel standing between them separated the sheep into two flocks; and he said to those on the left, "Join the goats; but I tell you that a wolf is coming, that will carry them off, and you along with them."
 But when the two flocks of sheep had been separated, and those on the left had heard the threatening words of the angel, they looked at one another and said, "Let us speak to our former companions."
The left-hand flock then spoke to the right, saying, "Why did you desert our shepherds? Are not faith and charity one, as a tree and its fruit are one? For the tree through its branches is continued into the fruit. Tear from the branch that through which the tree by continuity flows into the fruit, will not the fruit perish, and with it all the seed of any tree to be reproduced from it? Ask our priests if it is not so."
They asked the priests, who looked round upon the rest, and these were winking at them to have them say that they had spoken rightly. And the priests then answered, "You have well said; but as to the continuation of faith into good works, like that of a tree into the fruit, we know many mysteries which must not be made known here. In the chain or thread of faith and charity there are many knots, which we priests only are able to untie."
 Then one of the priests from among the sheep on the right arose and said, "They have told you that this is so, but they tell their own that it is not so, because they think differently."
Therefore they asked, "How then do they think? Do they not think as they teach?"
He answered, "No, they think that any good of charity, which is called a good work, that is done by man for the sake of salvation and eternal life, is not good in the least degree, for the reason that it is the man's wish to save himself by work that he does of himself, appropriating to himself the merit and righteousness of the one Saviour; and they claim that it is so with every good work in which man is sensible of his own will. Therefore they assert that there is no conjunction whatever between faith and charity; and that faith is not even retained and preserved by good works."
 But those of the left flock said, "You tell lies about them. Do they not openly preach to us charity and the works of charity, which they call works of faith?"
He replied, "You do not understand their preaching; only a clergyman who may be present attends to it and understands it. They mean moral charity only, and its civil and political good works, those they call the works of faith, although they are nothing of the kind, for an atheist may do them in the same manner and under the same form. Therefore with one accord they declare that no one is saved by any works, but by faith only. But let this be illustrated by comparisons: An apple tree produces apples; but if a man does good for the sake of salvation, as the tree produces those apples by continuity, then such apples are inwardly rotten and full of worms. They also say that a vine produces grapes; but that if a man were to do spiritual good works as the vine produces grapes, he would produce wild grapes."
 Then they asked, "What is the nature of their goods of charity or works, which are the fruits of faith?"
He replied, "They regard them, perhaps, as something imperceptible, located somewhere near faith, but having no connection with it, being like the shadow that follows a man when he faces the sun, which shadow he does not notice unless he turns around; or I may say, they are like horses' tails, which are now cut off in many countries; for the people say, What is the use of them? They are good for nothing; if they remain on, they are quickly befouled."
Hearing this, one from the left flock said, indignantly, "There is certainly some conjunction; otherwise, how can they be called the works of faith? Perhaps the goods of charity are insinuated by God into man's voluntary works by some influx, as by some affection, aspiration, inspiration, incitement, or excitement of the will by tacit perception in thought and exhortation therefrom, by contrition and thus conscience, and the urging thereof, by obedience to the Decalogue and the Word, such as is rendered by a child or a wise man, or by some other similar means. Otherwise, how can they be called the fruits of faith?"
To this the priest replied, "Not so; and if they claim that anything is done by such means, they still in their sermons overload it with words which make out that such works are not from faith. Nevertheless, some teach such works, although as signs of faith, and not as the bonds connecting it with charity. And some have divined a conjunction by means of the Word."
Some then said, "Is not conjunction so effected?"
But he replied, "They do not think that; but only that it is effected by the hearing of the Word; for they maintain that everything of man's rationality and volition in matters of faith is impure and tainted with a sense of merit, since man in spiritual things is no more able to understand, will, operate, or cooperate, than a stock."
 But when one of them heard that man is believed to be such in all things pertaining to faith and salvation, he said, "I heard a man say, `I have planted a vineyard; now I will drink wine until I am drunk.' But another asked him, `Will you drink the wine from your own cup by your own right hand?' He answered, `No; but from an unseen cup by an unseen hand.' And the other replied, `You will certainly not get drunk.'"
Presently the same man said, "I pray you, listen to me; I advise you to drink wine from the Word understood. Do you not know that the Lord is the Word? Is not the Word from the Lord? Is He not in it therefore? Consequently, if you do good from the Word, are you not doing it from the Lord, from His lips and will? And if you then look to the Lord, He Himself will lead and teach you, and you will do that good of yourselves from the Lord. Who that does something at the word and mandate of a king, can say, `This I do from my own word or mandate, and from my own will?'"
 He then turned toward the clergy, and said "Ministers of God, do not mislead the flock."
Hearing these remarks, the greater part of the flock on the left withdrew, and united with the flock on the right.
Then some of the clergy said, "We have heard what we never heard before; we are the shepherds; we will not leave the sheep." And they withdrew also; and they said, "This man spoke a true word. Who that acts from the Word, thus from the Lord, from his lips and will, can say, `This I do from myself?' Who that acts from the word and will of a king can say, `This I do from myself?' Now we behold the Divine Providence, why it is that a conjunction of faith and good works, acknowledged by an ecclesiastical society, has not been found. It could not be found, because it could not exist, for there has been no faith in the Lord, who is the Word, and therefore there has been no faith from the Word."
But the other priests, who belonged to the flock of goats, went away, waving their caps and shouting, "Faith alone! Long live faith alone!"
TCR 507. Fifth Memorable Relation:-
Once when conversing with the angels, I finally spoke of the lust of evil which is in every man from his birth. One said, "In the world where I am, those who are in lust seem to us angels as if they were infatuated; but to themselves they seem to be consummately wise. Therefore, in order to withdraw them from their infatuation, they are let alternately into it and into the rationality which they possess in externals; but in this latter state although they see, acknowledge, and confess their folly, they long to return from their rational to their foolish state, and they "let themselves down into that state as if they were exchanging what is compulsory and disagreeable for what is free and delightful. Thus it is lust and not intelligence that gives them interior delight.
 There are three universal loves, of which every man is by creation composed; love of the neighbor, which is also a love of performing uses, which love is spiritual; love of the world, which is also a love of possessing wealth, which love is material; and love of self, which is also a love of ruling over others, which love is corporeal. Man is truly a man, when love of the neighbor, or love of performing uses, constitutes the head; and love of the world, or love of possessing wealth constitutes the chest and abdomen; while love of self or of ruling over others, forms the feet and the soles of the feet. But when love of the world forms the heed, man is merely hunchbacked; while if love of self forms the head, he is not like a man standing on his feet, but like one standing on the palms of his hands with his head down and his posteriors in the air.
 When a love of doing forms the head, and the other two form the body and feet in their order, the man appears in heaven with an angelic face and a beautiful rainbow about his head; but if the love of the world or of wealth forms the head, he appears from heaven with a face pale like that of a corpse, and a yellowish circle about the head; and if love of self, or of ruling over others, forms the head, he appears from heaven with a dusky-glowing face and a white circle about the head."
Thereupon I asked, "What do the circles about the head represent?"
They replied, "They represent intelligence; the white circle about the head with the dusky-glowing face represents that the intelligence of that man is in externals or round about him, while in his internals or within him there is folly; and furthermore, such a man is wise when in the body, but foolish when in the spirit; and no man is wise in spirit except from the Lord, and he becomes such when he is born and created anew by the Lord."
 After these remarks the earth was opened toward the left, and I saw rising up through the opening a devil with a dusky glowing face and a white circle about his head; I asked, "Who are you?"
He said, "I am Lucifer, the son of the morning; and because I made myself like unto the Most High, I was cast down, as I am described in the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah." He was not that Lucifer, but he believed that he was.
I said, "Since you have been cast down, how can you rise again out of hell?"
He replied, "There I am a devil; but here I am an angel of light. Do you not see that my head is girt with a white band? You shall also see, if you wish, that I am moral among the moral, rational among the rational, and even spiritual among those who are spiritual. I have also been able to preach."
I asked, "How did you preach?"
He replied, "Against defrauders, adulterers, and all infernal loves; and then being Lucifer, I even called myself the devil, and against myself I accursed him; and for so doing I was borne up to heaven with praises. That is why I have been called the son of the morning. And what astonished myself, when I was in the pulpit I had no thought but what I was speaking rightly and truly. But the cause of this was disclosed to me; namely, that I was in externals, and these were then separated from my internals. But although this was disclosed to me, still I could not change, because I had exalted myself above the Most High, and set myself up against Him."
 Finally I asked, "How could you talk so, when you yourself are a defrauder and an adulterer?"
He replied, "I am one thing when in externals or in the body, and another when in internals or in spirit. In the body I am an angel, but in spirit a devil; for in the body I am in understanding, but in spirit I am in the will; and the understanding carries me upward, while the will carries me downward. While I am in the understanding a white band encompasses my head but when the understanding gives itself up wholly to the will, and becomes the will's, which is our final lot, then the band grows black and disappears, and when this takes place, I am no longer able to ascend into this light."
But all at once, as he saw the angels with me, his face grew red and his voice excited, and even the band about his head became black, and he sank down to hell through the opening by which he had arisen.
From what they had seen and heard, the bystanders came to this conclusion, that a man's quality is such as his will is, not such as his understanding is, since the will easily draws the understanding over to its side and enslaves it.
 I then asked the angels, " Whence have the devils rationality?"
And they said, "It is from the glory of the love of self, for the love of self is encompassed with a glory, this glory being the resplendence of its fire, and it exalts the understanding almost into the light of heaven. For the understanding in every man is capable of elevation according to his knowledges; but the will can be elevated only by a life according to the truths of the church and of reason. Hence it is that even atheists, who are in the glory of fame from self-love, and thereby in the pride of self-intelligence, enjoy a loftier rationality than many others; but that is when they are in the thought of the understanding, not in the love of the will, and the love of the will possesses the internal man, but the thought of the understanding the external." The angel furthermore explained why man is composed of three loves, namely, the love of use, the love of the world: and the love of self; it is in order that man may think from God, yet wholly as if of himself. He said that the highest things of man's mind were turned upward towards God, the intermediate outward towards the world, and the lowest downward into the body; and because these latter are turned downward, although man thinks from God, he thinks wholly as of himself.
TCR 508. Sixth Memorable Relation:-
One day there appeared to me a magnificent temple, square in form, the roof of which was crown-shaped, arched above and raised round about; its walls were continuous windows of crystal; its door was of a pearly substance. Within, on the south side, towards the west was a pulpit, on the right-hand side of which lay the open Word enveloped in a sphere of light, the splendor of which surrounded and illuminated the whole pulpit. In the center of the temple was a sanctuary, before which there was a veil, at that time raised, and there a golden cherub stood with a sword turning hither and thither in his hand.
 While I looked at these things, the significance of each one of them flowed into my meditation: The temple signified the New Church; the door of pearly substance, entrance into it; the windows of crystal, the truths that enlighten it; the pulpit, the priesthood and preaching; the Word lying open upon the pulpit and illuminating the upper part of it, signified the revelation of the internal sense of the Word, which is spiritual; the sanctuary in the center of the temple signified the conjunction of that church with the angelic heaven; the golden cherub therein, the Word in the sense of the letter; the sword waving in his hand signified that this sense can be turned in any direction, provided it is done in adaptation to some truth; the veil before the cherub being raised, signified that the Word is now laid open.
 Afterward, when I drew nearer, I saw this inscription above the door, Nunc Licet-It is now permitted-which signified that it is now permitted to enter understandingly into the mysteries of faith. From seeing this inscription it came into my thought that it is exceedingly dangerous to enter with the understanding into dogmas of faith that are concocted out of self-intelligence, and therefore out of falsities, and still more so to confirm them from the Word; by this means the understanding is closed above, and gradually below as well, to such a degree that theology is not only despised but also obliterated from the mind, as writing on paper is by worms, or the wool of a garment by moths. Then the understanding abides only in political matters, which have regard to man's life under the government where he is, and in the civil matters pertaining to his employment, and in the domestic affairs of his own house. And in all these things he constantly kisses nature, and owing to the allurements of her pleasures, loves her as an idolater loves the golden image in his bosom.
 Since then, the dogmas of the present Christian churches have not been formed from the Word, but from self-intelligence, and therefore from falsities, and also have been confirmed by certain passages from the Word; by the Lord's Divine Providence the Word among the Roman Catholics has been taken from the laity, and among Protestants has been opened, and yet has been closed by their common declaration that the understanding must be held in obedience to their faith.
 But in the New Church the contrary is the case; there it is permitted to enter with the understanding and penetrate into all her secrets, and to confirm them by the Word, because her doctrines are continuous truths laid open by the Lord by means of the Word, and confirmations of these truths by rational means cause the understanding to be opened above more and more, and thus to be raised into the light in which the angels of heaven are. That light in its essence is truth, and in that light acknowledgment of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth shines in its glory. This is what is meant by the inscription Nunc Licet over the door of the temple, and also by the veil of the sanctuary before the cherub being raised. For it is a canon of the New Church, that falsities close the understanding, and that truths open it.
 After this I saw above my head something like an infant, holding in his hand a paper. As he drew near to me, he increased to the stature of a medium-sized man. He was an angel from the third heaven, where all at a distance look like infants. When he came to me, he handed me the paper; but as the writing was in rounded letters, such as they have in that heaven, I returned the paper, and asked him to explain to me the meaning of the words there written, in terms adapted to the ideas of my thought.
He replied, "This is what is here written: Enter hereafter into the mysteries of the Word, which has been heretofore shut up; for the particular truths therein are so many mirrors of the Lord."
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