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TCR 509. After treating of Faith, Charity, and Freedom of Choice, next in connection comes Repentance, because without repentance true faith and genuine charity are impossible; and without freedom of choice no man can repent. Repentance is now treated of for the further reason that the subject of Regeneration follows, and no man an be regenerated until the more grievous evils, which render him detestable in the sight of God, are put away, and this is done by means of repentance. What is an unregenerate man but an impenitent one? And is not an impenitent man like one who is in a state of lethargy, who knows nothing of sin, and therefore cherishes it in his bosom, and kisses it every day, as an adulterer kisses a harlot in his bed? But to make clear what repentance is, and what it accomplishes, the treatment of it shall be separated into sections.


TCR 510. The communion called the church consists of all men in whom the church is, and the church enters into man when he is becoming regenerate, and everyone becomes regenerate by abstaining from the evils of sin, and shunning them as one would an infernal horde with torches in hand, endeavoring to overtake him and throw him upon a burning pile. There are many means by which man, as he progresses in his early years, is prepared for the church and introduced into it; but the means whereby the church is established in man are acts of repentance. Acts of repentance are all such things as cause man not to will and consequently not to commit evils, which are sins against God; for until this takes place man stands outside of regeneration, and if any thought respecting eternal salvation should then creep into his mind, he turns toward it, but immediately turns away from it; for it enters the man no further than into the ideas of his thought, and from that goes forth into the words of his speech, and also, it may be, into some gestures conformable to speech. But when such thought enters the will, it is in the man; for the will is the man himself, because in it his love resides, while thought is outside of the man, except when it proceeds from his will, and then will and thought act as one, and both together constitute the man. From this it follows, that, for repentance to be repentance, and to be effective in man, it must be a repentance of the will and from that of the thought, and not of the thought only; therefore that it should be actual repentance, and not merely verbal. That repentance is the first thing of the church, is very evident from the Word. John the Baptist, who was sent beforehand to prepare men for the church which the Lord was about to establish, when he baptized preached at the same time repentance; and therefore his baptism was called the baptism of repentance, for the reason that baptism signified spiritual washing, which is a cleansing from sin. This John did in Jordan, because Jordan signified introduction into the church, for it was the first boundary of the land of Canaan where the church was. The Lord Himself also preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins, teaching thereby that repentance is the first thing of the church, and that so far as man repents, his sins are put away, and so far as they are put away, they are forgiven. And still further, the Lord commanded His twelve apostles, and also the seventy whom He sent forth, to preach repentance. From all this it is clear that the first thing of the church is repentance.

TCR 511. That the church is not in man until the sins in him have been put away, anyone may conclude from reason, and it may be illustrated by the following comparisons: Who can introduce sheep, and kids and lambs into fields or woods where there are all kinds of wild beasts, before he has driven out the beasts? Who can make a garden out of a piece of ground that is overgrown with thorns, briars, and nettles, before he has rooted out those noxious weeds? Who can establish a mode of administering justice according to judicial practices in a city held by hostile forces, and establish citizenship, before he has expelled those forces? It is the same with evils in man. They are like wild beasts, like thorns and briars, and like hostile forces; and the church can no more have a common abode with evils than a man can dwell in a cage where there are tigers and leopards; or sleep in a bed with poisonous herbs strewed upon it and stuffed into the pillows; or sleep at night in a church, beneath the floor of which are sepulchres containing dead bodies. Would not ghosts infest him there like furies?


TCR 512. In the Reformed Christian world a certain kind of anxiety, grief, and terror are spoken of, which they call contrition, which precedes faith in those who are about to be regenerated, and which is followed by the consolation of the Gospel. They claim that this contrition in such persons arises from a fear of that just wrath of God and consequent eternal damnation which inheres in every man, owing to the sin of Adam and the resulting proclivity of man to evil; also, that without that contrition, the faith which imputes to man the merit and righteousness of the Lord the Saviour, is not bestowed; and that those who have obtained this faith, receive the consolation of the Gospel, which is, that they are justified, that is, renewed, regenerated and sanctified, without any cooperation of their own, and are thus transferred from a state of damnation to one of eternal blessedness, which is life eternal. But respecting this contrition the following questions are to be considered:

1. Is it repentance?

2. Is it of any consequence?

3. Is there such a thing?

TCR 513. Whether contrition is repentance or not, may be inferred from the description of repentance given hereafter, where it is shown that repentance is impossible unless man is aware that not only generally but in every least particular he is a sinner; and this no man can know, unless he examines himself, sees the evils that are in him, and condemns himself on account of them. But the contrition that is declared to be necessary to faith, has nothing in common with all this; for it is merely the thought and the confession therefrom, that man is born into the sin of Adam, and into a proclivity to the evils springing from it; consequently, that the wrath of God is upon him, and therefore a well-deserved damnation, doom, and eternal death. From all this it is plain that contrition is not repentance.

TCR 514. The next point is, since that contrition is not repentance, is it of any consequence? It is said to contribute to faith as an antecedent to its consequent, although it does not enter into faith and conjoin itself with it by mingling therewith. But what is the faith that follows it, but that God the Father imputes the righteousness of His Son, and then declares man, while he is yet unconscious of any sin, to be righteous, renewed, and holy, and thus clothes him in a robe washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb? And when man walks in this robe, what are the evils of his life but like stones of sulphur thrown into the depths of the sea? And what is then the sin of Adam but something covered over, or set aside, or carried away by the imputed righteousness of Christ? When man, because of that faith, walks in the righteousness and at the same time in the innocence of God the Saviour, what is the use of that contrition unless to give him the assurance that he is in Abraham's bosom, and may therefore regard those who have not experienced the contrition that precedes faith as miserable in hell, or as dead, since it is said that those who lack contrition have no living faith? Consequently it may be asserted that when those who have experienced such contrition have sunk or are sinking into damnable evils, they pay no more attention to them, and are no more sensible of them, than pigs lying in muddy gutters of the street are sensible of the stench. Evidently, therefore, such contrition, not being repentance, is of no consequence.

TCR 515. The third point to be considered is, Whether apart from repentance there can be any such contrition? In the spiritual world I asked many who had confirmed in themselves a faith imputative of Christ's merit, whether they had experienced any contrition; and they replied, "Why contrition, when from childhood we have believed as a certainty that Christ took away all our sins by His passion? Contrition does not square with this belief; for contrition is a man's casting himself into hell and torturing his conscience, when he knows, nevertheless, that he has been redeemed and thus delivered from hell, and is consequently secure from harm." To this they added, that this law of contrition isa purely fictitious thing accepted in place of the repentance that is so frequently mentioned and also enjoined in the Word; although with the simple, perhaps, who know but little about the Gospel, there is some emotion of mind when they hear or think about the torments of hell. They also said, that the consolation of the Gospel impressed upon their minds from earliest youth so banished contrition, that in their hearts they laughed at the mere mention of it; and that hell could no more strike them with terror than the fires of Vesuvius or Etna could terrify those who live at Warsaw or Vienna, or than the basilisks and vipers in the deserts of Arabia, or the tigers and lions in the forests of Tartary, could terrify those who live in safety, tranquillity, and quiet in some European city; also that the wrath of God excited no more terror or contrition in them than the wrath of the king of Persia would excite in those who live in Pennsylvania. By all this together with rational inferences from their declarations I was convinced that contrition, unless it is repentance such as is hereinafter described, is nothing but a freak of imagination. The reason why the Reformed adopted contrition in place of repentance, was that they might separate themselves from the Roman Catholics, who insist upon repentance and at the same time upon charity; and when they afterward established the doctrine of justification by faith alone, they alleged as their reason for this change, that by repentance, as by charity, something of the man's own, which savored of merit, entered into his faith and blackened it.


TCR 516. On this lip-confession the Reformed who adhere to the Augsburg Confession teach as follows:-

"No man can ever know his sins; wherefore they cannot be enumerated; moreover, they are interior and hidden, so that a confession of them would be false, uncertain, maimed and mutilated; but he who confesses himself to be nothing but sin, includes all sins, excludes none, and forgets none. Still the enumeration of sins, although not necessary, is not to be done away with, out of regard for tender and timid consciences; but this is only a childish and common form of confession for simpler and ruder people" (Formula Concordiae, pages 327, 331, 380).

But by the Reformed, after they had separated from the Roman Catholics, this confession was adopted in place of actual repentance, because it is based upon their imputative faith, which alone apart from charity, and thus apart from repentance also, works the forgiveness of sins and regenerates man; it is based also upon this, which is an inseparable appendix to that faith, that there is no co-operation on man's part with the Holy Spirit in the act of justification; also upon this, that man has no freedom of choice in spiritual things; and again upon this, that all things depend upon mercy apart from means, and nothing whatever is effected mediately by or through man.

TCR 517. Among the many reasons why the mere lip-confession of being a sinner is not repentance, is this, that everyone, an impious man or even a devil, may make that declaration, and this with external devotion, when he thinks of the torments of hell, either those present or impending. But who does not see that this is not from any internal devotion, consequently that it is imaginary and therefore a matter of the lungs, and not a matter of the will from within, and thus of the heart? For an impious man and a devil still burn inwardly with the lusts of the love of doing evil, by which they are moved like windmills driven by strong winds; therefore such a declaration is nothing but a contrivance to cheat God for the sake of deliverance or to deceive the simple. For what is easier than to compel the lips to cry out, and the breath of the mouth to adapt itself thereto, and to turn up the eyes and raise the hands? This is the same as what the Lord says in Mark:--

Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you, hypocrites, This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me (Mark 7:6);

and in Matthew:--

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full with extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter that the outside may be clean also (Matthew 23:25, 26);

and more in the same chapter).

TCR 518. In a like hypocritical worship are those who have confirmed in themselves the faith of the present church, that the Lord by the passion of the cross took away all the sins of the world, meaning thereby the sins of every man, if only they pray according to the formularies about propitiation and mediation. Some of them can pour forth from the pulpit, with loud voices and apparently burning zeal, many holy utterances about repentance and charity, while they deem both of these useless in respect to salvation; for by repentance they mean no other than lip-confession, and by charity that charity only that pertains to public life; but this they do to please the people. It is such who are meant by these words of the Lord:--

Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name? and in Thy name done many mighty works? But then will I profess unto them, I know you not; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:22, 23).

In the spiritual world I once heard a man praying after this manner: "I am full of sores, leprous, unclean from my mother's womb; there is not a sound spot in me from my head to the sole of my foot; I am not worthy to raise my eyes towards God; I am deserving of death and eternal damnation; have mercy upon me for the sake of Thy Son; purify me in His blood; on Thy good pleasure depends the salvation of all; I implore mercy."

Hearing him pray thus, the bystanders asked, "How do you know that you are such?"

He replied, "I know it because I have heard so."

But he was then sent to angelic examiners, before whom he spoke in the same way; and these, after examination, reported that he had spoken the truth about himself, and yet without knowing a single evil in himself, because he had never examined himself, but had believed that after lip-confession evils were no longer evils in the sight of God, both because God turns His eyes away from them, and because He has been propitiated. In consequence of this he had not come to a sense of any evil, although he was a willful adulterer, a thief, a wily detractor, and intensely revengeful; such he was in heart and will, and therefore would be such in word and deed did not the fear of the law and of the loss of reputation restrain him. After he was found to be such, he was judged and sent away to the hypocrites in hell.

TCR 519. The character of such may be illustrated by comparisons. They are like temples where only the spirits of the dragon, and those who are meant by "locusts" in the Apocalypse, are congregated; and they are like the pulpits therein, where the Word is not because it is put beneath the feet. They are like plastered walls with the plaster beautifully colored, but within them when the windows are opened, owls and direful night birds are flying about. They are like whitened sepulchres which contain dead men's bones. They are like coins made of the dregs of oil or of dried dung covered with gold. They are like the bark and wood fiber covering rotten wood; like the garments of Aaron's sons about a leprous body; and even like ulcers containing pus covered over with a thin skin, and supposed to be healed. Who does not know that a holy external and a profane internal do not accord? Such also are more afraid than others to examine themselves; therefore they are no more sensible of the viciousness within them, than they are of the pungent and ill-smelling substances in their stomachs and bowels before they are cast out into the draught. But it must be remembered that those here spoken of are not to be confounded with those who do well and believe rightly, nor with those who repent of some sins, and when worshiping, and still more when in spiritual temptation, speak within themselves or pray from a like oral confession; for such a general confession both precedes and follows reformation and regeneration.


TCR 520. That every man is born (with an inclination) to evils, so that he is nothing but evil from his mother's womb, is well known in the church; and it has become known because it has been handed down by the councils and leaders of the churches, that the sin of Adam was transmitted to all his posterity; and that for this sin alone every man after him has been damned along with him; and that it is this sin that is inherent in every man by birth. On this assertion, moreover, other things taught by the churches are based, as that the washing of regeneration, which is called baptism, was instituted by the Lord in order that this sin might be removed; that this was the reason for the Lord's coming; and that faith in His merit is the means whereby it is removed, besides other doctrines which have been based by the churches upon this assertion. But that there is no inherited evil from that origin can be seen from what has been shown above (n. 466), that Adam was not the first man, but that the story of Adam and his wife representatively describes the first church on this earth,-the garden of Eden its wisdom, the tree of life its looking to the Lord who was to come, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil its looking to self and not to the Lord. That this church is what is representatively described by the first chapters of Genesis has been clearly proven by many parallel passages from the Word in the Arcana Coelestia, published at London. When these things are understood and accepted the opinion heretofore entertained that the evil innate in man from his parents is from that source falls to the ground, for that evil has a different origin. In the chapter on Freedom of Choice it has been fully shown that the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are in every man, and that they are said to be located in a garden to signify man's freedom of choice to turn to the Lord or to turn away from Him.

TCR 521. But, my friend, parents are the only source of inherited evil; not the evil itself which a man actually commits, but the inclination thereto. everyone who combines reason and experience will acknowledge that this is so. Who does not know that children are born with a general resemblance to their parents in features, manners, and disposition, and even grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a resemblance to grandparents and great-grandparents; also that many are able thus to distinguish families from each other, and even nations, as Africans from Europeans, Neapolitans from German, Englishmen from Frenchmen, and so on? Who does not recognize a Jew by his face, eyes, speech and gestures? And if you were sensible of the sphere of life flowing out from the native genius of everyone, you would in like manner be convinced of the resemblance of dispositions and minds.

[2] From all this it follows, that man is not born into actual evils, but only into an inclination to evils, but with a greater, or less proclivity towards particular evils; consequently after death man is not judged from any inherited evil, but from the actual evils which he himself has committed. This is also evident from the following statute of the Lord:--

The father shall not die for the son, and the son shall not die for the father; everyone shall die for his own sin (Deut. 24:16).

This was made certain to me in the spiritual world from the state of those who die in infancy; in that they have only an inclination to evils, and thus favor them in will, but do not commit them; for they are educated under the auspices of the Lord and are saved.

[3] The aforesaid inclination and proclivity to the evils that are transmitted by parents to children and their posterity, are broken only by the new birth from the Lord, which is called regeneration. Without this, that inclination not only continues uninterrupted, but is also increased by successive parents, and becomes a stronger proclivity to evil, and at length a proclivity to every kind of evil. It is from this that the Jews are still images of their father Judah, who took a Canaanitish woman to wife, and committed adultery with Tamar his daughter-in-law, and thus begat three branches of them. Therefore, this inherited disposition has in process of time so increased in them that they are still unable to embrace the Christian religion with a hearty faith. They are said to be unable to do so, because the interior will of their minds is adverse thereto, and this adverse will is the cause of their inability.

TCR 522. That all evil, unless removed, remains in man, and that man cannot be saved if he remains in his evils, follows of itself. That no evil can be removed except by the Lord, and except in those who believe in Him and love the neighbor, can be clearly seen from what has already been said, especially from the following in the chapter on Faith.

The Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding, and if they are divided, each perishes like a pearl reduced to powder.

And from this:-

The Lord is charity and faith in man, and man is charity and faith in the Lord.

But it is asked, How can man enter into this union? The reply is, that he cannot, unless to some extent he removes his evils by repentance. It is said that man must remove them, because this is not done by the Lord directly, apart from man's co-operation; which is also fully shown in that same chapter, and in that following on Freedom of Choice.

TCR 523. It is asserted that no man can fulfil the law, and the less so, since he who trespasses against one commandment of the Decalogue trespasses against all. But the meaning of this assertion is different from its sound, for it is to be understood thus, that he who purposely or deliberately acts contrary to one commandment, acts contrary to the rest, since to so act from purpose and deliberation is to deny utterly that it is sin, and when it is said to be sin, to reject the statement as of no account; and he who so denies and rejects the idea of sin gives no thought to anything that is called sin. Those who are unwilling to hear anything about repentance come into this fixed attitude of mind; but on the other hand, those who by repentance have removed some evils that are sins, come into a settled purpose to believe in the Lord and love the neighbor. Such are kept by the Lord in the purpose to refrain from other evils; and if therefore from ignorance or some over-powerful lust, they are led to commit sin, it is not imputed to them, because they did not commit it deliberately, and do not confirm it in themselves. This may be confirmed by the following facts: In the spiritual world I have met with many who in the natural world had lived like others, dressing finely, feasting delicately, making money by trading like others, attending theaters, joking about lovers as if from licentiousness, and doing other like things; and yet the angels charged these things upon some as evils of sin, and not upon others, declaring the latter innocent, but the former guilty. Being asked the reason of this, since all had done the same things, they replied, that all are viewed by them from their purpose, intention, and end, and are distinguished accordingly; and therefore they excuse or condemn those whom the end excuses or condemns, since good is the end of all in heaven, and evil the end of all in hell.

TCR 524. But these statements shall be illustrated by comparisons: The sins an impenitent man holds fast to may be compared to various diseases in him, from which, he dies unless remedies are applied and the malignities thereby removed. They may be compared especially to the disease called gangrene, which unless healed in time, spreads, and causes inevitable death; in like manner to imposthumes and abscesses, unless they break out or are opened; for from them empyemata or collections of pus will be diffused into the neighboring parts, from these into adjoining viscera, and finally into the heart, from which comes death.

[2] These sins may also be compared to tigers, leopards, lions wolves, and foxes, which unless kept in dens or bound with chains or ropes, would attack the flocks and herds and kill them as the fox does poultry; also to poisonous serpents, which unless held tight with sticks, or deprived of their teeth, would inflict deadly wounds upon man. A whole flock, if left in fields where there are poisonous herbs, instead of being led by the shepherd to safe pastures; would perish. So the silk-worm would perish, and all silk with it, unless other worms were kept from the leaves of its tree.

[3] These sins may also be compared to grain in granaries or barns, which would be rendered musty and rotten and thus useless, if the air were not permitted to pass freely through it, and remove whatever is injurious. If a fire were not quenched at the very outset, it might lay waste a whole city or forest. Thorns, briars, and thistles would take full possession of a garden unless rooted out. Gardeners know that a tree sprung from a bad seed and root conveys its bad sap to the branch of a good tree budded or engrafted upon it, and that the bad sap which comes up is turned into good sap, and produces useful fruit. And the like takes place in man through the removal of evil by means of repentance; for man is thereby engrafted into the Lord as a branch into a vine, and bears good fruit (John 15:4-6).


TCR 525. No man in the Christian world can be without recognition of sin, for everyone is taught from infancy what evil is, and from childhood what the evil of sin is. All youths learn this from parents and teachers, also from the Decalogue (which is the primary instruction given to all within Christendom), also, in their subsequent progress, from preaching at church and instruction at home, and in fulness from the Word; and furthermore from the civil laws of justice, which teach the same things as are taught in the Decalogue and other parts of the Word. For the evil of sin is no other than evil against the neighbor, and evil against the neighbor is also evil against God, which is sin. But recognition of sin effects nothing until a man examines the actions of his life, and sees whether he has secretly or openly done any such thing. Until then, there is nothing but knowledge, and what the preacher then says is a mere sound going in at the left ear and out at the right, and finally it becomes a mere matter of thought and something devout in the breathing, and with many merely imaginative and chimerical. But it is wholly different if man, according to what he recognizes as sin, examines himself, discovers something in himself, says to himself, "This evil is a sin," and from fear of eternal punishment abstains from it. Then what has been said in churches in the way of instruction and devotion is first received by both ears, is communicated to the heart, and from a pagan the man becomes a Christian.

TCR 526. Can there be anything better known in the Christian world than that man ought to examine himself? For everywhere in empires and kingdoms, whether in those adhering to the Roman Catholic or to the Evangelical religion, before approaching the holy supper, men are taught and admonished to examine themselves, to recognize and acknowledge their sins, and to live a new and different life. In the English dominions this exhortation is accompanied with fearful threatenings, where, from the address preceding the communion, the following is read and proclaimed by the priest from the altar:-

"The way and means" to become a worthy partaker of the holy supper, "is first to examine the deeds and conversations of your life by the rule of God's commandments, and whereinever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinful nature, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God but also against your neighbor, then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto him, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other, and being likewise ready to forgive others that have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offences at God's hand; for otherwise the receiving of the holy communion does nothing else but increase your damnation Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, a hinderer or slanderer of His Word, an adulterer, or be in malice or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent ye of your sin, or else come not to that holy table, lest after the taking of that holy sacrament, the devil enter into you as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquity, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul."

TCR 527. Yet there are some who cannot examine themselves, such as infants, boys and girls before they arrive at the age when they are capable of self-examination, also the simple minded, who are not capable of reflection; and again, all those who have no fear of God, and beside these some who are sick in mind and body; and above all those who are confirmed in the doctrine of justification by faith alone, which imputes Christ's merit to man, and who have persuaded themselves, that by such examination and repentance something of man would enter, which would destroy faith, and thus would banish and reject salvation from its one only abiding-place. To all such a mere lip-confession is serviceable. That this is not repentance has been shown above in this chapter.

[2] But those who know what sin is, and still more those who know many things from the Word and teach them, and yet do not examine themselves, and consequently see no sin in themselves, may be likened to those who scrape up wealth and lay it up in chests and coffers, making no further use of it than to look at it and count it; also to those who gather into their treasuries jewels of gold and silver, or hide them in vaults, for the mere sake of being rich.

Such are like the trader who hid his talent in the earth, and like him who hid his pound in a napkin (Matt. 25:25; Luke 19:20).

They are also like the hard wayside and the stony places upon which the seed fell (Matt. 13:4, 5).

Also like fig-trees full of leaves but bearing no fruit (Mark. 11:13).

They are the hearts of adamant, which do not become hearts of flesh (Zech. 7:12).

They are like the partridges which gather and bring not forth; they get riches, but not with judgment; they leave them in the midst of their days, and at their end become fools (Jer. 17:11).

They are like the five virgins who had lamps but no oil (Matt. 25:1-12).

[3] Those who acquire from the Word much about charity and repentance, and who have abundant knowledge of its teachings, and yet do not live in accordance therewith, may be compared to gluttons, who stuff their food into their mouths in chunks, and swallow it without chewing, so that it remains undigested in the stomach, and when it passes out vitiates the chyle, and brings on lingering diseases, from which they finally die a miserable death. And as such are without spiritual heat, however much light they may possess, they may be called winters, frozen grounds, arctic climates, and even fields of snow and ice.


TCR 528. That man ought by all means to repent, and that his salvation depends thereon, is evident from many passages and plain sayings of the Lord in the Word, from among which the following shall at present be mentioned:--

John preached the baptism of repentance, and said, Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Luke 3:3, 8; Mark 1:4).

Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent (Matt. 4:17).

And He said, Because the kingdom of God is at hand, Repent ye (Mark 1:14, 15).


Except ye repent, ye shall all perish (Luke 13:5).

Jesus commanded His disciples, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations (Luke 24:47; Mark 6:12).

Therefore Peter preached repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Luke 2:38).

And he also said:--

Repent ye and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19).

Paul preached that they should all everywhere repent (Acts 17:30).

Paul also declared in Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance (Acts 26:20).

Again he testified both to Jews and to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

The Lord said to the church at Ephesus:--

I have against thee, that thou hast left thy first charity; repent, but if not I will move thy lampstand out of its place, except thou repent (Apoc. 2:4, 5).

To the church at Pergamos:--

I know thy works, repent (Apoc. 2:13, 16).

To the church at Thyatira:--

I will cast her into great affliction, except they repent of their works (Apoc. 2:19, 22, 23).

To the church of the Laodiceans:--

I know thy works, be zealous, and repent (Apoc. 3:15, 19).

There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth (Luke 15:7).

(Beside other passages). From all this it is clear that men ought by all means to repent; but the quality and mode of their repentance shall be shown in what follows.

TCR 529. Cannot any man understand, from the reason given him, that the mere lip-confession of being a sinner is not repentance, or the recounting of various particulars in regard to it, as the hypocrite did who was mentioned above (n. 518)? For what is easier for a man when he is in trouble and agony, than to utter sighs and groans from his lungs and lips, and also to beat his breast and make himself guilty of all sins, and still not be conscious of any sin in himself? Do the diabolical horde who then occupy his loves, depart along with his sighs? Do they not rather hiss at those things, and remain in him as before, as in their own house? From this it is clear that such repentance is not what is meant in the Word; but repentance from evil works, as is said.

TCR 530. The question therefore is, How ought man to repent? And the reply is, Actually; that is to say, he must examine himself, recognize and acknowledge his sins, pray to the Lord, and begin a new life. That without examination repentance is not possible, has been shown in the preceding section. But of what use is examination except that one may recognize his sins? And why should he recognize his sins, except that he may acknowledge that they are in him? And of what use are these three things, except that man may confess his sins before the Lord, pray for help, and then begin a new life, which is the end sought? This is actual repentance. That man ought so to proceed and do, everyone may know (after he has passed the first period of life, and more and more as he comes under his own control and into the exercise of his own reason) first, from his baptism, the washing of which means regeneration; for in baptism his sponsors have promised for him that he will reject the devil and all his works, and also from the holy supper, for all are forewarned that before they can worthily approach it, they must repent of their sins, turn to God, and enter upon a new life; and still further, from the Decalogue or Catechism which is in the hands of all Christians, where, in six of the commandments nothing is commanded but that they should not do what is evil. And unless evils are removed by repentance, man cannot love his neighbor, still less God; yet on these two commandments hang the law and the prophets, that is, the Word, consequently salvation. If at recurring seasons there is actual repentance, as often, for instance, as a man prepares for the communion of the holy supper, and if he afterward abstains from one or another sin which he then discovers in himself, this is sufficient to initiate him into the actuality [of the repentance], and when he is in that he is on the way to heaven, for he then from being natural begins to be spiritual, and to be born anew from the Lord.

TCR 531. This may be illustrated by the following comparisons. Before repentance man is like a desert where there are terrible wild beasts, dragons, owls of various kinds, vipers and poisonous serpents, and in the thickets are the ochim and the tziim, and there satyrs dance. But when these have been cast out by the industry and labor of man, that desert may be ploughed and made ready for planting, and sown first with oats, beans, and flax, and afterward with barley and wheat. Man before repentance may also be compared to the wickedness that reigns so largely among men where the wicked are not corrected according to law and punished by stripes or death, in which case no city, nor any kingdom even, could continue. Man is like a miniature society; unless he deals with himself in a spiritual manner, as the wicked in society at large are dealt with in a natural manner, after death he will be corrected and punished until he ceases to do evil for fear of the penalty, although he can never be brought to do good from the love of good.


TCR 532. True repentance is examining, not only the actions of one's life, but also the intentions of one's will, for the reason that the acts are done by the understanding and will; for man speaks from his thought, and acts from his will; therefore speech is the thought speaking, and action is the will acting. And this being the source of words and deeds, it follows indubitably that it is will and thought that sin when the body sins. Man can indeed repent of evils that he has done in body, and still think and will evil; but this is like cutting off the trunk of a bad tree, and leaving its root in the ground, from which the same bad tree grows up again, and spreads forth its branches. But it is different when the root also is torn up; and this is done in man when he examines the intentions of his will, and puts away his evils by repentance. Man examines the intentions of his will when he examines his thoughts, for in these the intentions make themselves manifest; as, for example, when his thought, will and intention incline to revenge, adultery, theft, false witness, and to lust therefore, also to blasphemy against God and the holy Word and the church, and so on; if he continues to direct his attention to this, and to inquire whether he would actually commit these evils if fear of the law and for his reputation did not hinder; and if after this scrutiny he determines that he will not will to do these things, because they are sins, he truly and interiorly repents; and still more when these evils are delightful to him, and he is free to do them, and yet resists and abstains. He who practises this repeatedly, perceives the delights of evil, when they return, as undelightful, and finally he condemns them to hell. This is what is meant by these words of the Lord:--

Whoever wisheth to find his soul shall lose it; and whoever would lose his soul for My sake shall find it (Matt. 10:39).

He that puts away the evils of his will, by such repentance, is like one who in due time plucks up the tares sown in his field by the devil, so that the seed implanted by the Lord God the Saviour finds a clear soil and grows to a harvest (Matt. 13:24-30).

TCR 533. There are two loves which have long been enrooted in the human race, the love of ruling over all, and the love of possessing the goods of all. The former love, if free rein is given to it, rushes on even so far as to wish to be the God of heaven; and the latter, if free rein is given to it, rushes on even so far as to wish to be the God of the world. To these two loves are subordinated all other evil loves, of which there are hosts; but to examine these two is exceedingly difficult, because they reside most deeply within and hide themselves; for they are like vipers concealed in a cloven rock, which retain their poison, so that when one lies down upon the rock they give their deadly stroke, and again withdraw to their hiding-place. They are also like the sirens of the ancients, who allured men by their song, and by that means slew them. These two loves also decorate themselves in splendid attire, as a devil by magical hallucinations does among his own, or among those whom he wishes to delude.

[2] But it must be clearly understood that these two loves may bear rule among the humble more than among the great, among the poor more than among the rich, among subjects more than among kings; for the latter classes are born to dominion and wealth, and these they at length come to regard in the same way as any other man, a governor, a director, a sea captain, or even a poor farmer, regards his servants and possessions. It is different, however, with kings who aspire to dominion over the kingdoms of others.

[3] The intentions of the will must be examined, because in the will the love resides, for the will is its receptacle, as shown above. From the will every love breathes out its delights into the perceptions and thoughts of the understanding, for these act from the will and not at all from themselves, because they wait on the will and consent to and confirm all that pertains to its love. The will therefore is the very house in which the man dwells, and the understanding is the hall through which he goes out and in. This is why it has been said that the will's intentions must be examined; and when these have been examined and removed, man is lifted out of the natural will in which both inherited and actual evils have their seat, into the spiritual will through which the Lord reforms and regenerates the natural, and by means of this again, what is sensual and voluntary in the body, thus the whole man.

TCR 534. Those who do not examine themselves, are comparatively like invalids whose blood is vitiated by the closing of the capillary vessels, which causes atrophy, numbness of the limbs, and painful chronic diseases arising from a thickening, tenacity, acridness, and acidity of the humors, and consequently of the blood. But on the other hand, those who examine themselves even as to the intentions of the will, are like those who have been cured of these diseases, and restored to the life they enjoyed in youth. Those who examine themselves properly, are like ships from Ophir laden with gold, silver, and valuables; but before they have examined themselves they are like ships loaded with filth, such as are used to carry off the mud and ordure of the streets. Those who examine themselves interiorly become like mines, all the walls of which are resplendent with ores of precious metals; but before this, they are like marshes with foul exhalations, containing snakes and poisonous serpents with glittering skins and noxious insects with shining wings. Those who do not examine themselves are like the dry bones in the valley; but after they have examined themselves, they are like these same bones when the Lord Jehovah had laid sinews upon them, caused flesh to come upon them, covered them with skin, and put breath in them, and they lived (Ezek. 37:1-14).


TCR 535. Since actual repentance, which is examining oneself recognizing and acknowledging one's sins, praying to the Lord and being a new life, is in the Reformed Christian world exceedingly difficult for many reasons that will be given in the last section of this chapter, therefore an easier kind of repentance is here presented, which is, that when anyone is giving thought to any evil and intending it, he shall say to himself, "Although I am thinking about this and intending it, I will not do it because it is a sin." By this means the temptation injected from hell is checked, and its further entrance prevented. It is strange that anyone can find fault with another for his evil intentions, and say, "Do not do that because it is a sin," and yet find it difficult to say this to himself; but this is because the latter touches the will, but the former only the thought nearest to hearing. Inquiry was made in the spiritual world as to who were capable of this (actual) repentance, and they were found to be as few as doves in a vast desert. Some said that they could repent in the easier way; but were not able to examine themselves and confess their sins before God. All who do good from religion, avoid actual evils, but they very rarely reflect upon the interiors pertaining to the will, for they believe that they are not in evil because they are in good, and even that the good covers the evil. But, my friend, the first thing of charity is to shun evils. This is taught in the Word, the Decalogue, baptism, the holy supper and even by the reason; for how can anyone flee away from evils and banish them without some self-inspection? And how can good become good until it has been interiorly purified? I know that all pious men, and also all men of sound reason, will assent to this when they read it, and will see it as genuine truth; but still, that few will act accordingly.

TCR 536. And yet all who do good from religion, not only Christians, but even pagans, are accepted and after death adopted by the Lord; for the Lord said:--

I was an hungered, and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and ye gave Me to drink; I was a sojourner, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. And He said, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of My brethren, even the least, ye did it unto Me. Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:31).

To this I will add the following, which is new: All those who do good from religion, after death reject the doctrine of the present church respecting three Divine persons from eternity, and also its faith as applied to the three in their order. These turn to the Lord God the Saviour, and accept with pleasure what belongs to the New Church.

[2] But the rest, who have not exercised charity from religion, have hearts of adamant, that is, hardened hearts. They first approach three Gods, then the Father alone, and finally no God. They look upon the Lord God the Saviour as the son of vary only, born from marriage with Joseph, and not as the Son of God; and then they discard all the goods and truths of the New Church, and straightway connect themselves with the spirits of the dragon, and with them are driven away into deserts or into caverns on the very confines of what is called the Christian world; and after a time, because they are separated from the New Heaven, they rush into crime, and are therefore sent down to hell.

[3] Such is the lot of those who do not do works of charity from religion, because of their belief that no one is able to do good of himself, except such as he claims merit for; consequently they disregard such works, and associate themselves with the goats, who are damned and cast into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, because they have not done what was done by the sheep (Matt. 25:41-46). It is not there said that they did what is evil, but that they did not do what is good; and those who do not do what is good from religion do what is evil, since,

No man can serve two masters; for either he hates the one and loves the other, or he holds to the one and despises the other (Matt. 6:24).

Jehovah says through Isaiah:--

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; then although your sins have been as scarlet, they shall become as white as snow; although they have been red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:16-18).

And in Jeremiah:--

Stand in the gate of Jehovah's house, and proclaim there this word, Thus said Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of Jehovah, The temple of Jehovah, this is the temple of Jehovah (that is, the church). Will ye steal, murder, and swear falsely, and then come and stand before Me in this house, upon which My name is named, and say, We are delivered while we do all these abominations? Is this house become a den of robbers? Behold, even I have seen it, saith Jehovah (Jeremiah 7:2-4, 9-11).

TCR 537. It must be understood that those who do good from natural goodness only, and not also from religion, are not accepted after death, because there is only natural good in their charity, and not spiritual good also; and it is the spiritual that conjoins the Lord to man, and not the natural apart from the spiritual. Natural goodness belongs to the flesh merely, being acquired by birth from parents; but spiritual goodness belongs to the spirit born anew from the Lord. Those who do the good works of charity from religion, and consequently do not commit evil, before they have accepted the doctrine of the New Church concerning the Lord, may be likened to trees that hear good fruit, although but little, and also to trees that bear excellent small fruit, which are nevertheless cared for in gardens. They may also be likened to olive trees and fig-trees in forests, and again to fragrant herbs and balsamic shrubs on hills. They are like little chapels or houses of God, where pious worship is performed: for they are the sheep on the right hand, and the rams which the goats assault, according to (Daniel 8:2-14). In heaven such are clothed in garments of a red color, and when they have been initiated into the goods of the New Church, they are clothed with garments of a purple color, which acquire a beautiful golden glow in proportion as they also receive truths.


TCR 538. The Lord God the Saviour is to be approached because He is the God of heaven and earth, the Redeemer and Saviour, to whom omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, mercy itself, and also justice, belong; also because man is His creature and the church is His sheepfold; also because in the New Testament He frequently commands men to approach, worship and adore Him. That He alone is to be approached He has enjoined in the following words in John:--

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not through the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber; but he that entereth in through the door is the shepherd of the sheep, I am the door, through Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall find pasture. The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have abundance. I am the good shepherd (John 10:1, 2, 9-11).

That man is not "to climb up some other way" means that he is not to approach God the Father, because He is invisible and therefore inaccessible and conjunction with Him is impossible; and this is why He Himself came into the world, and made Himself visible and accessible, and conjunction with Him possible; which was done solely that man might be saved. For unless in thought God is approached as a Man, every idea of God perishes; it falls as sight does when directed out upon the universe, that is, into empty nothingness, or into nature, or into what is met within nature. That God Himself, who from eternity is One, came into the world, is clearly evident from the birth of the Lord the Saviour, in that He was conceived by the power of the Most High through the Holy Spirit, and from this conception His Human was born of the virgin Mary; from which it follows, that His soul was the Divine Itself that is called the Father (for God is indivisible); and that the Human born therefrom is the Human of God the Father, which is called the Son of God (Luke 1:32, 34, 35). From this again it follows that when the Lord God the Saviour is approached, God the Father is approached also; therefore, to Philip asking Him to show them the Father, He replied:--

He that seeth Me seeth the Father; how sayest thou then, show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me (John 14:6-11).

But on these points more may be seen in the chapters on God; the Lord, the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity.

TCR 539. There are two duties incumbent on man, to be done after examination, namely, supplication and confession. The supplication should be that the Lord may be merciful, that He may give power to resist the evils that have been repented of, and that He will provide inclination and affection for doing good,

Since apart from the Lord man can do nothing (John 15:5).

The confession will be that he sees, recognizes, and acknowledges his evils, and finds himself to be a miserable sinner. There is no need for man to enumerate his sins before the Lord, nor to supplicate forgiveness of them. He need not enumerate them, because he has searched them out and seen them in himself, and consequently they are present to the Lord because they are present to himself. Moreover, the Lord led him to search them out, disclosed them, and inspired grief for them, and together with this an effort to refrain from them and begin a new life. Supplication need not be made to the Lord for forgiveness of sins, for the following reasons: First, because sins are not abolished, but removed; and they are removed so far as man continues to refrain from them and enters upon a new life; for there are innumerable lusts inherent, coiled up as it were, in every evil, and they cannot be put away instantly, but only gradually, as man permits himself to be reformed and regenerated. The second reason is, that as the Lord is mercy itself, He forgives all men their sins, nor does He impute a single sin to anyone, for He says, "They know not what they do"

(Luke 23:34).

Nevertheless, the sins are not thereby taken away; for to Peter asking how often he should forgive his brother's trespasses, whether he should do so seven times, the Lord said:--

I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21-22).

What, then, will not the Lord do? Still it does no harm for one burdened in conscience to enumerate his sins before a minister of the church, in order to lighten his burden and obtain absolution; because he is thereby initiated into a habit of examining himself, and reflecting upon each day's evils. But this kind of confession is natural, while that described above is spiritual.

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TCR 560. To adore as God some vicar on earth, or to invoke as God some saint, has no more weight in heaven than to make supplication to the sun, moon, and stars, or to ask for a response from a diviner and believe what he puts forth, which is idle. It would be also like worshiping a temple, and not worshiping God in the temple; it would be like supplicating a king's servant carrying the scepter and crown in his hand, for the honors of glory, instead of the king himself; and this would be as useless as trying to kiss the splendor of purple, renown, light, the golden rays of the sun, or a mere name, apart from their subjects. For those who do such things are these words in John:--

We abide in the truth in Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols (1 John 5:20, 21).


TCR 561. Actual repentance is to examine oneself, to recognize one's sins, to confess them before God, and thus to begin a new life; this is in accord with the previous description of it. To the Reformed Christian world (meaning by this all those who are separate from the church of Rome, and also to those attached to that church who have not practised actual repentance), this repentance is a very difficult task. This is because some are unwilling and some are afraid to practise it; and continued neglect establishes a habit, induces unwillingness, and at length gains the endorsement of the reasoning intellect, and this with some produces sadness, dread, and terror at the thought of repentance. Actual repentance is so extremely difficult in the Reformed Christian world chiefly because of their belief that repentance and charity contribute nothing to salvation, but faith alone, from the imputation of which forgiveness of sins, justification, renovation, regeneration, sanctification, and eternal salvation follow. Moreover, their dogmatic writers say that man's cooperation of himself, or as if of himself, is useless, is an obstacle to Christ's merit, and is repugnant and injurious to it. And this idea is implanted in the minds of the common people, although they are ignorant of the mysteries of that faith, merely by the sayings, that "faith alone saves," and who can possibly do good of himself?" For this reason, repentance among the Reformed is like a nest of young birds deprived of the parent birds, which have been captured and killed by the fowler. To this another reason may be added, that a so-called Reformed Christian is associated in the spiritual world as to his spirit, only with such as are like himself, who introduce such things into the ideas of his thought, and lead him away from the very first step toward self-inspection and self-examination.

TCR 562. I have asked many of the Reformed in the spiritual world, why they did not practise actual repentance, when it was enjoined upon them both in the Word and at baptism, as also before the holy communion in all their churches. They made various replies. Some said that contrition with a lip-confession that they were sinners, is sufficient; some that such repentance, because it takes place while man is acting from his own will, is not consistent with the generally accepted faith. Others said, "How can anyone examine himself, when he knows that he is nothing but sin? This would be like casting a net into a lake filled from bottom to top with mud containing noxious worms." Others said, "Who can look into himself so deeply as to see in himself Adam's sin, from which all his actual evils flow? Are not both kinds of evil washed away by the water of baptism, and removed or covered up by the merit of Christ? What then is repentance but a requirement, which sadly disturbs the conscientious? By the Gospel are we not under grace, and not under the hard law of that repentance?" and so on. Some said, that whenever they undertake to examine themselves, dread and terror fill their minds as if they saw a monster near their bed in the morning twilight. From all this the reasons are made clear why actual repentance in the Reformed Christian world has become rusty, as it were, and is discarded.

[2] In the presence of these persons I also asked some who adhered to the Roman Catholic religion about their actual confession to their ministers, whether it was difficult. They replied, that after they had been initiated into it they were not afraid to recount their trespasses to a confessor who was not severe, that they gathered them up with a kind of pleasure, telling the lighter ones cheerfully, and the more serious somewhat timidly; also from habit they freely returned annually to their appointed confession, and, after receiving absolution, to festivity; moreover, that they look upon all who are not willing to disclose the defilements of their hearts, as impure. Hearing this, the Reformed who were present hastened away, some deriding and laughing, some astounded and yet commending.

[3] Afterward some drew near who belonged to that same church, but had lived in Protestant countries, who, according to the usage there established, did not make a special confession, as their brethren do elsewhere, but a general confession to one who held the keys for them. These said that they were utterly unable to examine themselves, to trace out and set forth their actual evils and the secrets of their thoughts; and that they felt this to be as repugnant and terrifying as an attempt to cross a ditch to a rampart where an armed soldier stands and cries, "Keep back." From all this it is now clear that actual repentance is easy to those who at times practise it, but is extremely difficult to those who have not practised it.

TCR 563. It is known that habit is a second nature, and that therefore what is easy for one is difficult for another; and this is true of self-examination and a confession of what is thereby discovered. What is easier for a hired laborer, a porter, or a farmer, than to work with his hands from morning till evening, while a gentleman or a delicate person could not do the same work for half an hour without fatigue and sweating? It is easy for a footman with a staff and easy boots to pursue his way for miles, while one accustomed to ride can hardly run slowly from one street to another. Every mechanic who is attentive to his task goes through it easily and willingly, and when he leaves it, longs to return; while another, who understands the same trade, but is indolent, can scarcely be driven to work. The same is true of everyone, whatever may be his office or pursuit. To one diligent in piety, what is easier than to pray to God? while to one who is a slave to impiety, what is more difficult? and vice versa. What priest, preaching before a king for the first time, does not feel timid? but after doing it frequently he goes through boldly. What is easier for an angelic man than to raise his eyes to heaven, or for a devilish man than to cast them down toward hell? But if the latter becomes a hypocrite, he too can look up to heaven, but his heart is turned away. everyone becomes imbued with the end he has in view and the habit arising therefrom.


TCR 564. As few in the Reformed Christian world practise repentance, this is here added, that he who has not looked into and searched himself, finally ceases to know what damning evil or saving good is, because he has no religion from which to know it; for the evil that a man does not see, recognize and acknowledge, remains; and whatever remains becomes more and more enrooted, until it obstructs the interiors of the mind, whereby man becomes first natural, then sensual, and finally corporeal, and in such states he knows not any damning evil or saving good. He becomes like a tree growing on a hard rock, which spreads its roots among the crevices and finally withers away from lack of moisture.

[2] Every man rightly educated is rational and moral; but there are two ways to rationality, one from the world and the other from heaven. He who has become rational and moral from the world only, and not from heaven, is rational and moral in word and gesture only, but is inwardly a beast, and even a wild beast, because he acts as one with those who are in hell, where all are wild beasts. But he who is rational and moral from heaven also, is truly rational and moral, because he is so at once in spirit, word and body; the spiritual being within these two latter like a soul actuating the natural, sensual and corporeal; it also acts as one with those who are in heaven. Therefore there can be a spiritual-rational and moral man, and also a merely natural-rational and moral man. These two are not distinguished from each other in the world, especially if the man has by practice become imbued with hypocrisy; but they are distinguished by the angels in heaven as easily as doves from owls or sheep from tigers.

[3] The merely natural man can see good and evil in others, and also rebuke others; but not having looked into and examined himself, he does not see any evil in himself, and if any is covered by another, he cloaks it by means of his rationality; as a serpent hides his head in the dust, and immerses himself in it, as a hornet buries himself in mud. This is done by the delight of evil, which encompasses him as a fog does a marsh, absorbing and extinguishing the rays of light. Infernal delight is no other. It is exhaled from hell, and flows into every man, into the soles of his feet, his back, and his occiput; and when it is received by the head in the forehead and by the body in the breast, man is made a slave to hell; and for the reason that the human cerebrum is devoted to the understanding and the wisdom it contains, but the cerebellum to the will and its love. This is why there are two brains. But that infernal delight can be corrected, reformed and inverted solely by the spiritual-rational and moral.

TCR 565. There shall now be given a brief description of the merely natural-rational and moral man, who viewed in himself is sensual, and if he goes on, becomes corporeal or fleshly; but the description shall be sketched in separate statements.

The sensual is the outmost of the life of man's mind, adherent to and coherent with his five bodily senses.

He is called a sensual man who judges of everything from the bodily senses, and believes nothing but what he can see with his eyes and touch with his hands, calling that something real, and rejecting everything else.

The interiors of his mind, which have their vision from the light of heaven, are closed, so that he sees nothing of the truth that relates to heaven and the church.

Such a man thinks in outermosts, and not interiorly from any spiritual light, because he is in gross natural light; therefore he is interiorly opposed to the things that pertain to heaven and the church, although outwardly he can speak in favor of them, even zealously, in proportion to his hope of gaining power and wealth by means of them.

Men of learning and erudition, who have confirmed themselves deeply in falsities, and still more those who have confirmed themselves against the truths of the Word, are more sensual than others.

[2] Sensual men reason acutely and skillfully, because their thought is so near to speech as to be almost in it, as it were, on the lips; also because they ascribe all intelligence to the speech that is from memory alone. Moreover, they can dexterously confirm falsities, and after confirming them they believe them to be true; but their reasoning and confirmation are from the fallacies of the senses, which captivate and persuade the common people.

Sensual men are more cunning and malicious than others.

The avaricious, adulterous, and crafty are especially sensual, although to the world they seem talented.

The interiors of their minds are vile and filthy; by these they communicate with the hells; in the Word they are called dead.

Those who are in the hells are sensual, and more so the more deeply they are in them; and the sphere of infernal spirits conjoins itself from behind with man's sensual. In the light of heaven their occiput seems hollow.

Those who reasoned from sensual things only, were called by the ancients serpents of the tree of knowledge.

[3] Sensual things ought to occupy the last place, not the first; and in a wise and intelligent man they do occupy the last place, and are subordinate to things interior; but in a foolish man they occupy the first place, and are predominant.

When things sensual occupy the last place, a way is opened by means of them to the understanding, and truths are perfected by the method of extraction.

Such sensual things stand most near to the world, and admit what flows to them from the world, and, as it were, sift it.

By means of sensual things man communicates with the world, and by means of rational things with heaven.

Sensual things supply what is of service to the interiors of the mind.

There are sensual things that supply what is serviceable both to the intellectual and to the voluntary part.

Unless thought is raised above sensual things man has but little wisdom. When man's thought is raised above sensual things, he comes into a clearer light, and at length into heavenly light, and then he has a perception of such things as flow down from heaven.

The outmost of the understanding is the natural knowing faculty, and the outmost of the will is sensual delight.

TCR 566. As to his natural man, man is like a beast; he acquires the image of a beast by means of life. Consequently in the spiritual world there appear about such a man beasts of all kinds, which are correspondences. For man's natural, viewed in itself, is purely animal; but because there is a spiritual superadded, he can become a man; and if he does not become a man from the capacity to become so, he can counterfeit one, although he is then only a talking beast; for he talks from the natural-rational, but thinks from spiritual insanity, and he acts from natural morality, but loves from a spiritual satyriasis. His actions, seen by a spiritually rational man, are but little different from the dance of one bitten by a tarantula, or that called St. Vitus' dance, or the dance of St. Guy. Who does not know that a hypocrite can talk about God, a robber about honesty, an adulterer about chastity, and so on? But unless man had the ability to shut and open the door between his thoughts and his words, and between his intentions and his actions, and unless prudence or cunning were the doorkeeper, he would rush into crimes and cruelties more fiercely than any wild beast. But in every man after death that door is opened; and then what he has been is apparent; but he is kept under restraint by punishments and confinements in hell. Therefore, kind reader, look into yourself, and find out one or another evil that is in you, and from religion dismiss it. If you dismiss evils from any other purpose or end, you do so only that they may not appear before the world.

TCR 567. To all this the following Memorable Relations shall be added.


I was suddenly seized with a disease almost deadly; my whole head was oppressed; a pestilential smoke was let into it from the Jerusalem which is called

Sodom and Egypt (Apoc. 11:8).

I was half dead with the fierce pain; I expected my end. In this state I lay in my bed for three days and a half. My spirit was brought into that condition, and from it my body.

Then I heard about me the voices of some, who said, "Behold, he who preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and Christ as alone man, lies dead in the street of our city." And they asked some of the clergy whether that man was worthy of burial; and they answered, "No; let him lie and be looked at." And they kept going, and coming, and scoffing.

Of a truth this so happened to me while explaining the eleventh chapter of The Apocalypse.

Then harsh remarks were heard from the scoffers, especially these "How can man repent without faith? How can the man Christ be adored as God? Since we are saved freely without any merit of our own, what need is there of anything except the faith only that God the Father sent the Son to take away the damnation of the law, to impute to us His merit, and so justify us before Him, absolve us from our sins by the declaration of a priest, and then give us the Holy Spirit to work in us all good? Is this not in accordance with Scripture and also in accordance with reason?" At this the crowd that stood by applauded.

[2] I heard this and was unable to reply, because I lay almost dead. But after three days and a half my spirit recovered, and in spirit I went out on the street into the city and said again, "Repent, and believe in Christ, and your sins will be forgiven, and you will be saved; otherwise, you will perish. Did not the Lord Himself preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and that they should believe in Him? Did He not command His disciples to preach the same? Does not complete unconcern about life follow the dogma of your faith?"

But they said, "What nonsense! Has not the Son made satisfaction? Does not the Father impute this to us? We who believe this He justifies; thus we are led by the spirit of grace. What then is sin in us, and what is death with us? Preacher of sin and repentance, do you understand this gospel?"

Then a voice came forth out of heaven, saying, "What is the faith of an impenitent man but a dead faith? The end has come, the end has come upon you, unconcerned, blameless in your own eyes, justified in your own belief, satans." Then suddenly a chasm was opened in the midst of the city; it widened; house after house fell into it, and they were swallowed up; and straightway water welled up from the wide gulf and overflowed the waste.

[3] When they had thus sunk down and been apparently overflowed, I was wishing to know their lot in the abyss, and I was told from heaven, "You shall see and hear."

And then the waters by which they seemed to be overflowed disappeared before my eyes; for waters in the spiritual world are correspondences, and therefore appear about those who are in falsities. I then saw them in the sandy bottom, where heaps of stones were piled, among which they were running about and lamenting that they had been cast out of their great city.

They shouted and cried out, "Why has this come upon us? Are we not, by our faith, clean, pure, just, and holy? Are we not, by our faith, cleansed, purified, justified and sanctified?" And others cried out, "Are we not, by our faith, made such that before God the Father we appear, are seen, and are reputed, and before the angels are declared to be clean, pure, just and holy? Have we not been reconciled, propitiated, expiated, and therefore absolved, washed, and cleansed from sin? Has not the condemnation of the law been taken away by Christ? Why, then, have we been cast down into this place as if damned? We heard a bold preacher against sin say in our great city, `Believe in Christ, and repent.' Have we not believed in Christ, since we have believed in His merit? Have we not repented, since we have confessed that we are sinners? Why then has this befallen us?"

[4] Then was heard a voice from one side saying to them, "Do you know of anyone sin in which you are? Have you ever examined yourselves, and consequently shunned any evil as a sin against God? He who does not shun evil is in evil. Is not sin the devil? Therefore you are those of whom the Lord says:--

Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk before Thee, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He will say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26, 27);

as also those of whom He speaks (Matt. 7:22, 23).

Away, therefore, each to his own place. You see openings in the caverns; enter, and to each one of you will be given his own task to be done, and then food in proportion to your work. If you do not, hunger will soon compel you to go in."

[5] Afterward there came a voice out of heaven to some on the earth who were outside of that great city, who also are spoken of in (Apoc. 11:13), saying loudly, "Beware, beware of affliction with such spirits. Can you not understand that the evils which are called sins and iniquities render man unclean and impure? How can man he cleansed and purified from them except by actual repentance, and by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

"Actual repentance is to examine oneself, to recognize and acknowledge one's sins, to hold oneself guilty, to confess sins before the Lord, to pray for help and power to resist them, and thus refrain from them and begin a new life; and all this you must do as if of yourselves. Do so once or twice a year, when you come to the holy communion; and afterward, whenever the sins of which you have found yourselves guilty recur, say to yourselves, `We will not do this because it is a sin against God.' This is actual repentance.

[6] Who cannot understand that he who does not examine and see his sins remains in them? For every evil is delightful to a man from his birth; it is delightful to him to take revenge, to commit whoredom, to defraud, to blaspheme, and especially to exercise dominion from self-love; and does not this delight prevent your seeing these sins? And if, perchance, you are told that they are sins, do you not from their delight excuse them, and even prove to yourselves by means of falsities that they are not sins? And, therefore, you remain in them, and afterward commit them more frequently than before, and this even until you do not know what sin is, or indeed whether there is any such thing. With anyone who actually repents it is different. His evils, such as he has recognized and acknowledged, he calls sins, and therefore begins to shun them and turn away from them; and finally to feel their delight to be undelightful. And so far as this is done he sees and loves good, and at length feels the delight of good, which is the delight of the angels of heaven. In a word, so far as anyone puts the devil behind him, he is accepted by the Lord, and is taught, led, withheld from evil, and kept in good by Him; and this is the way, and the only way, from hell to heaven."

[7] It is wonderful that with the Reformed there is a certain enrooted objection, repugnance and aversion to actual repentance, which is so great as to prevent their compelling themselves to examine themselves, to see their sins, and to confess them before God; it is as if horror seized them when this is proposed. In the spiritual world I have asked very many about this, and they all have declared that it was beyond their power. When they have heard that this is still done by the papists, that is, that they examine themselves, and openly confess their sins to a monk, they have been very much astonished, and especially that the Reformed could not even do this in secret before God, although it is equally enjoined upon them before they come to the holy supper. Some there wished to know why this is so; and they found that such a state of impenitence and such a heart are induced by faith alone. Then it was granted them to see that those Roman Catholics who worship Christ and do not invoke saints are saved.

[8] After this, something like thunder was heard, and a voice speaking from heaven, saying, "We are amazed. Say to the assembly of the Reformed, `Believe in Christ, repent, and you will be saved.'"

This I said, adding also, "Is not baptism a sacrament of repentance, and therefore introduction into the church? What do the sponsors promise for him who is about to be baptized, but that he will renounce the devil and his works? Is not the holy supper a sacrament of repentance, and thus introduction into heaven? Are not communicants told by all means to repent before coming to it? Does not the catechism, the doctrine of the entire Christian church, teach repentance? Is it not there said, in the six commandments of the second table, Thou shalt not do this or that evil, and not, Thou shalt do this or that good? From this you may know that so far as anyone renounces evil and turns away from it, so far he is moved by and loves good, and until then does not know what good is, nor even what evil is."

TCR 568. Second Memorable Relation:-

What pious and wise man does not wish to know his life's lot after death? I will therefore set forth plainly some general truths in order that it may be known.

Every man, when, after death, he feels that he is still alive, and that he is in another world, and hears that heaven, where there are eternal joys, is above him, and hell, where there are eternal sorrows, is beneath him, is at first remitted into his externals, in which he was in the former world; and he then believes that he is certainly going to heaven, and talks intelligently and acts prudently.

And some then say, "We have lived morally, we have pursued honesty, we have not done evil purposely." Others say, "We have frequented churches, heard masses, kissed sacred images, and on our knees poured out prayers." Others again, "ye have given to the poor, helped the needy, read pious books, and also the Word," with other like things.

[2] But when they have said these things, angels approach and say, "All that you have mentioned you have done in externals, but you do not yet know what you are in your internals. You are now spirits in a substantial body, and the spirit is your internal man. It is this in you that thinks what it wills and wills what it loves; and that is the delight of its life. Every man from infancy begins life from externals, and learns to act morally and talk intelligently; and when he begins to gain some idea of heaven and its happiness, he begins to pray, to frequent churches, and to observe the solemnities of worship; and yet when evils spring forth from their native fountain, he hides them in his mind's bosom, and also ingeniously covers them over with reasonings from fallacies to such an extent that he does not even know that evil is evil. And then because the evils are veiled over and covered up as it were with dust, he thinks no more about them, except to guard against their appearing before the world. Thus he endeavors merely to lead a moral life in externals, and thus he becomes a double man, a sheep in externals, and a wolf in internals; and he is like a golden box containing poison, or like a man with a foul breath holding something aromatic in his mouth to prevent those near him from perceiving it; or he is like a mouse's skin that smells of balsam.

[3] You said that you had lived morally, and had followed pious pursuits; but tell me, have you ever examined your internal man and there perceived any lusting after revenge even to murder, after libidinous living even to adultery, after defrauding even to theft, after lying even to false witness? In four of the commandments of the Decalogue it is said, Thou shalt not do these things, and in the two last, Thou shalt not lust after them. Do you believe that in these things your internal man has been like your external? If you do you are perhaps deceived."

[4] To this they replied, "What is the internal man? Is not the internal and the external one and the same? We have heard from our ministers that the internal man is nothing but faith, and that oral piety and a morality of life are the signs of it, because they are its operation."

To this the angels answered, "Saving faith is in the internal man, and charity likewise; and from them come Christian fidelity and morality in the external man. But if the above mentioned lusts remain in the internal man, thus in the will and therefrom in the thought, and if in consequence you love these things interiorly, and yet act and speak otherwise in externals, evil is then with you above good, and good below evil; consequently, however you may talk as if from the understanding, and act from love, evil is within and thus is veiled over; and then you are like cunning apes which perform actions like those of men, but the human heart is wholly lacking.

[5] But what your internal man is, of which you know nothing, because you have not examined yourselves and afterwards repented, you will see after a while, when you put off your external man and are let into the internal. When this takes place you will no longer be recognized by your companions, nor even by yourselves. Wicked men, who were moral, I have then seen to be like wild beasts, looking at the neighbor with savage eyes, burning with deadly hatred, and blaspheming God, whom they adored while in the external man."

Hearing this they withdrew; and the angels then said, "You will see your life's lot after a little; for your external man will soon be taken away from you, and you will enter into the internal, which is now your spirit."

TCR 569. Third Memorable Relation:-

Every love in man breathes forth a delight by which it makes itself felt. It is breathed forth first into the spirit and from that into the body; and the delight of one's love, together with the pleasantness of thought, constitutes his life. This delight and pleasantness are felt by man only obscurely while he lives in the natural body, because that body absorbs and blunts them; but after death, when the material body is laid aside, and the covering or clothing of the spirit thus removed, man has a full sense and perception of these delights of love and pleasantnesses of thought, and, what is wonderful, sometimes even as odors. Because of this, all in the spiritual world are affiliated according to their loves, those in heaven according to theirs, and those in hell according to theirs.

[2] The odors into which, in heaven, the delights of loves are turned, are all perceived like the fragrances, sweet smells, pleasant exhalations, and delicious sensations that arise from gardens, flower-beds, fields and forests in the mornings in spring. But the odors into which the delights of the loves of those in hell are turned, are perceived like the pungent, fetid and putrid smells that arise from cesspools, dead bodies, and ponds full of rubbish and ordure; and, what is wonderful, the devils and satans there perceive these smells as balsams, aromatics and frankincense, refreshing their nostrils and hearts. In the natural world it is also given to beasts, birds and worms to be associated according to odors, but not to men until they have laid aside their bodies as exuviae.

[3] On this account heaven is most distinctly arranged in accordance with all the varieties of the love of good, and hell, on the contrary, in accordance with all the varieties of the love of evil. It is owing to this opposition that there is a gulf between heaven and hell which cannot be passed; for those who are in heaven cannot endure any odor from hell, because it excites nausea and vomiting, and threatens them with swooning if they inhale it. The effect is similar upon those who are in hell, if they pass the middle line of that gulf.

[4] I once saw a certain devil, who at a distance had the appearance of a leopard (a few days before he had been seen among the angels of the lowest heaven, having the art to make himself an angel of light), who had passed beyond the middle line and was standing between two olive trees, yet did not perceive any odor offensive to his life, for the reason that there were no angels present. But the moment they approached he was seized with convulsions and fell down rigid in all his limbs; and then he appeared like a great serpent drawing himself up in folds, and at length gliding down through the opening, from which he was taken by his companions and carried into a cavern, and there by the rank odor of his own delight he was revived.

[5] Again, I once saw a satan punished by his companions. I asked why, and was told that with his nostrils stopped up he had gone near to those who were in the odor of heaven, and had returned and brought that odor with him on his clothing.

It has often happened that a putrid odor, like that of corpses, from some open cavern in hell, has painfully touched my nostrils and brought on vomiting.

From all this it can be seen why in the Word the sense of smell signifies perception, for it is often said that Jehovah smelled a sweet savor from the burnt-offerings; also that the anointing oil and the incense were made of fragrant substances; and on the other hand the children of Israel were commanded to carry out of their camps what was unclean in them, and to dig down and bury their excrements (Deut. 23:12, 13). This was because the camps of Israel represented heaven, and the desert without the camps represented hell.

TCR 570. Fourth Memorable Relation:-

I once talked with a novitiate spirit who, when in the world, had meditated much upon heaven and hell. By novitiate spirits are meant men who have recently died, and who are called spirits because they are then spiritual men. As soon as this spirit entered the spiritual world, he began to meditate in the same manner on heaven and hell, and when thinking about heaven seemed to himself to be glad, and when thinking about hell to be sad. As soon as he recognized that he was in the spiritual world he asked where heaven and hell were, what they were, and what was the nature of each.

They answered, "Heaven is over your head, and hell beneath your feet; for you are now in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell; but what they are, and what the nature of each is, we cannot describe in few words."

Then, as he ardently wished to know, he threw himself upon his knees and devoutly prayed to God that he might he instructed.

And lo, an angel appeared at his right hand and raised him up, and said, "You have prayed to be instructed about heaven and hell; inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know." As soon as the angel had said this, he was taken up.

[2] The novitiate spirit then said to himself, "What does this mean? `Inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know what heaven and hell are, and their nature.'" Leaving that place immediately, he wandered around, and asked those he met, "Pray, tell me, if you please, what delight is."

And some said, "What sort of a question is that? Who does not know what delight is? Is it not joy and gladness? Delight is delight. One is the same as the other. We know no difference."

Others said, "Delight is the mind's laughter; for when the mind laughs the countenance is merry, the speech is jocular, the gestures are playful, and the whole man is in delight."

Others said, "Delight is nothing but feasting and eating rich things, drinking generous wine and getting drunk, and then chatting about various things, especially the sports of Venus and Cupid."

[3] Hearing these remarks, the novitiate spirit being indignant, said to himself, " These answers are boorish, not those of well-bred persons. Such delights are neither heaven nor hell. Would that I could find some wise men."

And he went away from these persons and asked, "Where are the wise men?"

He was then seen by an angelic spirit, who said, "I perceive that you have an ardent desire to know what the universal of heaven is, and what the universal of hell is; and as this is delight, I will conduct you to a hill where there is a daily meeting of those who inquire into effects, of those who investigate causes, and of those who search out ends. Those who inquire into effects are there called spirits of knowledge, abstractly, knowledges; those who investigate causes, are called spirits of intelligence, abstractly, intelligences, and those who search out ends, are called spirits of wisdom, abstractly, wisdoms. Directly above these in heaven are angels who from ends see causes, and from causes see effects; from these angels those three companies have enlightenment."

[4] Then taking the novitiate spirit by the hand, he led him to the top of the hill, and to the assembly that was composed of those who search out ends and are called wisdoms. The novitiate spirit said to them, "Pardon my coming up to you; I did so, because from my childhood I have meditated about heaven and hell. I have lately come to this world; and some who were then associated with me said that heaven is here above my head, and hell beneath my feet; but they did not say what either one or the other is or the nature of it; therefore, becoming anxious from constantly thinking about them, I prayed to God; and then an angel came to me and said, `Inquire and learn what delight is, and you will know.' I have inquired, but thus far in vain. I therefore beg that you will teach me, if it please you, what delight is."

[5] To this the wisdoms replied, "Delight is the all of life, to all in heaven, and to all in hell. To those in heaven, it is the delight of good and truth, but to those in hell, it is the delight of evil and falsity; for all delight belongs to love, and love is the being (esse) of man's life. Therefore, as man is man in accord with what his love is, so is he man in accord with what his delight is. The activity of love is what gives the sense delight; in heaven its activity is with wisdom, and in hell with insanity, but in both cases the activity produces the delight in its subjects. But the heavens and hells are opposite delights; the heavens are in love of good, and the consequent delight of doing good; but the hells are in the love of evil, and in the consequent delight of doing evil. If, therefore, you know what delight is, you know what heaven and hell are, and their nature.

[6] "But inquire and learn still further what delight is from those who investigate causes, and are called intelligences. They are off toward the right."

And he left them and drew near to that assembly, and told them the reason of his coming, and begged them to teach him what delight is.

And pleased with the question, they said, "It is true that he who knows what delight is knows what heaven and hell are and their nature. The will, from which man is man, is not moved in the slightest degree except by delight; for the will, viewed in itself, is nothing but the affection of some love, thus some delight; for it is some pleasure and consequent satisfaction that causes volition. And since the will moves the understanding to think, not the least thought is possible except from an influent delight of the will. This is so for the reason that the Lord by influx from Himself actuates all things of the soul, and all things of the mind, in angels, spirits, and men, and in these He actuates by an influx of love and wisdom; and this influx is the activity itself from which comes all delight. In its origin this is called bliss, happiness, and felicity, and in its derivation, delight, pleasantness, and pleasure, and in a universal sense, Good. But infernal spirits invert everything in themselves, thus turning good into evil, and truth into falsehood, the delight remaining without interruption; for without permanence of delight they would have no will, no sensation, and thus no life. This makes clear what the delight of hell is, and its nature and source; also what the delight of heaven is, and its nature and source."

[7] Having heard this, he was conducted to the third assembly, where those were who inquire into effects and are called knowledges; and they said, "Descend to the lower earth, and ascend to the higher; you will there perceive and feel the delights of both heaven and hell."

And lo, at that moment the earth opened at a distance, and through the chasm three devils came up, who seemed to be on fire with their love's delight; and as the angels accompanying the novitiate spirit perceived that these three had come up out of hell providentially, they called out to the devils, "Do not come nearer, but from where you are tell us something about your delights."

They replied, "Know this, that everyone, whether he is called good or evil, is in his own delight, the so-called good man in his, and the so-called evil man in his."

The angels asked, "What is your delight?"

They said that it was delight in whoredom, revenge, fraud, and blasphemy.

Again the angels asked, "What is the nature of those delights with you?"

They said that they were felt by others like the fetid smells from dung, the putrid smells from dead bodies, and the pungent smells from stagnant urine.

The angels then asked, "Are these things delightful to you?"

They answered, "Most delightful."

"Then," said the angels, "you are like the unclean beasts that live in such things."

They replied, "If we are, we are; but such things are grateful to our nostrils."

The angels then asked, "What more?"

They answered, "Every one is allowed to be in his own delight, even the most unclean, as they call it, provided he does not infest good spirits and angels; but as on account of our delight, we cannot help infesting them, we are cast into work houses where we suffer terribly. The prohibition and withdrawal of our delights there is what is called the torment of hell; it is also interior pain."

The angels asked, "Why did you infest the good?"

They answered, "We could not help it; it is as if a fury seized us whenever we see an angel, and feel the Lord's Divine sphere about him." To this we said, "Then you also are like wild beasts."

Then, as soon as they saw the novitiate spirit with the angels, fury came upon them, which appeared like the fire of hatred; so to prevent their doing harm they were cast back to hell.

After this the angels appeared who from ends saw causes, and through causes effects, and who were in a heaven above those three assemblies; these angels appeared in a shining white light, which rolling down in spiral curves brought with it a circular wreath of flowers, and placed it upon the head of the novitiate spirit. And then a voice issued therefrom, saying to him, "This laurel wreath is given you because you have from childhood meditated upon heaven and hell."

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