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Jesus Lives! - The Lord God Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth

DP, sections 1 ff
DP, sections 27 ff
DP, sections 46 ff
DP, sections 70 ff
DP, sections 71 ff
DP, sections 100 ff
DP, sections 129 ff
DP, sections 135 ff
DP, sections 154 ff
DP, sections 175 ff
DP, sections 191 ff
DP, sections 214 ff
DP, sections 221 ff
DP, sections 234 ff
DP, sections 241 ff
DP, sections 249 ff
DP, sections 254 ff
DP, sections 262 ff
DP, sections 275 ff
DP, sections 279 ff
DP, sections 285 ff
DP, sections 308 ff
DP, sections 322 ff
DP, sections 331 ff
DP, sections 341 ff


Divine Providence  ·  Sections 135 ff previous  ·  next


DP 275. If man were born into the love into which he was created he would not be in any evil, nor indeed would he know what evil is; for one who has not been in evil, and consequently is not in evil, cannot know what evil is. If he were told that a particular thing is evil he would not believe it possible. This is the state of innocence in which were Adam and Eve his wife; and the nakedness of which they were not ashamed signified that state. A rational conception of evil after the Fall is meant by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The love into which man was created is the love of the neighbour, so that he desires his neighbour’s welfare as much as his own, even more than his own, and enjoys the delight which springs from that love while he acts kindly to him, much the same as a parent feels in acting kindly to his children. This love is truly human, for there is in it something spiritual that distinguishes it from the natural love which belongs to brute animals. If man were born into this love of the neighbour he would not be born into the darkness of ignorance, as every man now is, but into some faint light of knowledge and consequently of intelligence; and in these he would rapidly advance. He would indeed at first creep like a quadruped but with an inherent endeavour within him to raise himself up upon his feet; for, however much like a quadruped, still he would not turn his face downward to the earth, but forward towards heaven, and would stand upright so that he might also be able to look upwards.

DP 276. When, however, the love of the neighbour was turned into the love of self, and this love increased, then human love was turned into animal love; and man from being man became a beast, with this difference that what he perceived with the bodily senses he could make an object of thought, and could rationally distinguish one thing from another, and could be instructed, and could become a civil and a moral man, and finally a spiritual man. For as has been said, man has what is spiritual, and by this he is distinguished from a brute beast, because by this he is able to know what civil evil and civil good are, also what moral evil and moral good are, and also, if he will, what spiritual evil and spiritual good are.

When the love of the neighbour was turned into the love of self man could no longer be born into the light of knowledge and intelligence but only into the darkness of ignorance, because he was now born into the very ultimate plane of life which is called the corporeal sensual; and from this he could by means of instruction be introduced into the interiors of the natural mind, always accompanied by the spiritual. It will be seen in what follows why man is born into the ultimate plane of life, called the corporeal sensual, and consequently into the darkness of ignorance.

[2] Anyone may see that the love of the neighbour and the love of self are opposite loves; for the love of the neighbour wishes well to everyone from itself, while the love of self wishes well to itself alone from everyone. The love of the neighbour desires to serve everyone, while the love of self desires everyone to serve it. The love of the neighbour regards everyone as its brother and friend, while the love of self regards everyone as its servant and, if he does not serve it, as its enemy: in a word, it considers itself alone, and others scarcely as men, whom in heart it values less than its horses and dogs. Moreover, as it regards them as of so little value, it thinks nothing of doing evil to them; and this is the source of hatred and revenge, adultery and whoredom, theft and fraud, lying and defamation, rage, cruelty and other evils of a like nature. Such are the evils in which man is by birth; and that they are permitted for the sake of the end, which is salvation, will be shown in the following order:

I. -Every man is in evil, and must be led away from evil that he may be reformed.

II. -Evils cannot be removed unless they appear.

III. -So far as evils are removed they are remitted.

IV. -Thus the permission of evil is for the sake of the end, namely, salvation.

DP 277. I. EVERY MAN IS IN EVIL, AND MUST BE LED AWAY FROM EVIL THAT HE MAY BE REFORMED. It is well known in the Church that every man has hereditary evil, and that from this he is in the lust of many evils. The consequence is that man cannot do good of himself; for evil does not do good except such good as has evil within it. The evil that is within is, that he does good for the sake of self, and thus only in order that it may appear good. It is well known that this evil is inherited from parents. It is declared to be from Adam and his wife, but this is an error; for everyone is born into it from his own parent, and this parent from his parent, and he also from his. Thus it is successively transferred from one to another, and in this way it is increased and grows as it were to a great accumulation, and is transmitted to offspring. Hence it is that there is nothing sound in man, but he is altogether evil. Does anyone have a feeling that it is wrong to love oneself more than others? Who, then, knows that it is evil? and yet it is the head of all evils.

[2] That this evil is inherited from parents, grandparents and great-grandparents is clear from many circumstances that are well known in the world, as that households, families, and even nations are distinguished from each other merely by the face; and faces are types of minds (animus), and minds are in accord with the affections which belong to love. Moreover, sometimes the features of a forefather reappear in a grandchild or a great grandchild. From the features alone I know whether a person is a Jew or not; also, from what race others are derived; and I have no doubt there are others who have similar knowledge. If affections which belong to love are thus derived and handed down from parents, it follows that evils are also, for they pertain to the affections.

[3] The origin of this resemblance will now be explained. The soul of everyone is from the father, and it is only clothed with a body from the mother. That the soul is from the father follows not only from what has been mentioned above but also from many other indications; as from this circumstance, that a child born of a black father, for example an African, by a white mother, for example a European, is black, and vice versa; and especially from this, that the soul is in the seed, for impregnation is from the seed, and the seed is what is clothed with a body from the mother; the seed being the primal form of the love in which the father is, the form of his ruling love with its nearest derivations, which are the inmost affections of that love.

[4] In everyone these affections are clothed with the virtues that pertain to the moral life and with the goods that belong partly to the civil and partly to the spiritual life; and these constitute the external of life even with the wicked. Into this external of life every infant is born, and this is why it is lovable; but as the child reaches boyhood and youth he passes from that external to what is interior, and at length to the ruling love of his father. If this love has been evil, and has not by various means been modified and changed by his teachers, it becomes his love as it was his father’s. Still (even if modified and changed) the evil is not eradicated, but only removed, as will be shown in what follows. Hence it may be evident that every man is in evil.

DP 277a. That a man must be withdrawn from evil in order that he may be reformed is evident without explanation; for he that is in evil in the world is in evil after his departure from the world; and therefore if evil is not removed in the world it cannot be removed afterwards. Where the tree falls, there it lies. So also does a man’s life when he dies remain such as it has been. Moreover, everyone is judged according to his deeds; not that these are mentioned in detail, but because he returns to them and acts as before; for death is a continuation of life, with this difference, that the man cannot then be reformed. All reformation is effected in fullness, that is, in first things and at the same time in last things; and in the world last things are reformed in harmony with first things, and cannot be reformed afterwards, because the last things of life that man carries with him after death become quiescent and act in harmony, that is, as one, with his interiors.

DP 278. II. EVILS CANNOT BE REMOVED UNLESS THEY APPEAR This does not mean that man is to do evils in order that they may appear, but that he is to examine himself, not his actions only, but also his thoughts, and what he would do if he were not afraid of the laws and disgrace; especially what evils he holds in his spirit to be allowable and does not regard as sins; for these he still commits. In order that man may examine himself an understanding has been given him, and this separate from the will, that he may know, understand and acknowledge what is good and what is evil; and also that he may see the quality of his will, or what it is he loves and desires. In order that he may see this his understanding has been furnished with higher and lower thought, or interior and exterior thought, to enable him to see from higher or interior thought what his will is doing in the lower or exterior thought. This he sees as a man sees his face in a mirror; and when he sees it and knows what sin is, he is able, if he implores the help of the Lord, not to will it, but to shun it and afterwards to act against it; if not wholeheartedly, still he can exercise constraint upon it by combat, and at length turn away from it and hate it. Now, and not before, he first perceives and also feels that evil is evil and that good is good. This then is what is involved in examining oneself, seeing one’s evils and recognising them, confessing them and afterwards desisting from them.

[2] As however, there are few who know that this is the Christian religion itself, for only they have charity and faith, and they alone are led by the Lord and do good from Him, therefore something will be said of those who do not do so and yet think they have religion in them. They are:

1. Those who confess themselves guilty of sins of all kinds, and do not search out anyone sin in themselves;

2. Those who from religious principles omit such inquiry;

3. Those who on account of worldly matters give no thought to sins, and consequently do not know them;

4. Those who favour sins and therefore cannot know them.

5. In all these persons sins do not appear, and therefore cannot be removed.

6. Lastly, the reason hitherto unknown will be made manifest why evils cannot be removed without this search, appearance, acknowledgment, confession and resistance.

DP 278a. These points, however, must be examined one by one because they are fundamentals of the Christian religion on man’s part. First: Concerning those who confess themselves guilty of sins of all kind and do not search out anyone sin in themselves. Such a one says, "I am a sinner; I was born in sin; there is nothing sound in me from head to foot; I am nothing but evil. Good God, be gracious to me, pardon me, cleanse me, save me, make me to walk in purity and in the way of righteousness"; and so on. Yet he does not examine himself, and consequently is ignorant of any evil; and no one can shun that of which he is ignorant, much less fight against it. After his confession he also believes himself clean and washed, when nevertheless he is unclean and unwashed from the head to the sole of the foot; for the confession of all sins is the lulling to sleep of all, and at length blindness. It is like a universal lacking every individual, and this has no existence.

[2] Second: Concerning those who from religious principles omit such inquiry. They are especially those who separate charity from faith; for such a one says to himself, "Why should I search out whether there is evil or good? Why should I search out whether there is evil when evil does not condemn me; and whether there is good, when good does not save me? It is faith alone, thought of and declared with assurance and confidence, that justifies and purifies from all sin; and when once I am justified I am whole in the sight of God. I am indeed in evil; but God wipes it away as soon as it is committed, and so it appears no more"; besides other things of a like nature. Who does not see, if he but opens his eyes, that such are empty words in which there is no reality, because there is no good in them? Who cannot so think and speak, even with assurance and confidence, when at the same time he is thinking of hell and eternal condemnation? Does such a one desire to know anything further, either what is true or what is good? Of truth he says, "What is truth but that which confirms this faith?" and of good he says, "What is good but that which is in me from this faith? But that it may be in me I will not do it as from myself, because that is meritorious, and meritorious good is not good." Thus he dismisses the whole matter until he does not know what evil is. What then will he search out and see in himself? Does not his state then become such that the pent-up fire of the lusts of evil consumes the interiors of his mind and lays them waste even to the very entrance? This gate only does he guard lest the fire should become manifest; but it is opened after death and then the fire appears to the sight of all.

[3] Third: Concerning those who on account of worldly matters give no thought to sins, and consequently do not know them. These are they who love the world above all things, and admit no truth that would lead them away from any falsity of their religion. They say to themselves, "What have I to do with this? It does not enter into my thought." Thus they reject the truth as soon as they hear it, and if they listen to it they stifle it. They do much the same when they hear preaching: they retain nothing of it save some few phrases, but not any of the substance. As they deal thus with truths they do not know what good is, for truth and good act as one; and from that good which does not spring from truth there is no knowledge of evil unless it is also called good; and this is effected by reasoning from falsities. These are they who are meant by the seed which fell among thorns, of whom the Lord says:

Other seeds fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up and choked them. These are they who hear the Word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, so that it becomes unfruitful. (Matt. 13:7, 22; Mark 4:7, 18, 19; Luke 8:7, 14).

[4] Fourth: Concerning those who favour sins and therefore cannot know them. These are they who acknowledge God and orship Him according to the customary ceremonials, and who convince themselves that any evil which is a sin is not a sin; for they disguise it by fallacies and appearances, and so hide its normity. When they have done this they favour it, making it their familiar friend. It is said that those who acknowledge God do this, because others do not regard any evil as a sin, whereas every sin is an offence against God. But examples may illustrate this. A man does not regard evil as a sin who in his desire for wealth makes certain forms of fraud allowable, by reasons which he devises. The same is true of the man who justifies in himself the spirit of revenge against his private enemies, or who in time of war justifies plundering those who are not his country’s enemies.

[5] Fifth: In these persons sins do not appear, and herefore cannot be removed. Every evil that does not become manifest nourishes itself being like fire in wood under the ashes, and like matter in a wound that is not opened; for every evil that is denied an outlet increases and does not abate until the whole has been destroyed. Therefore, lest any evil should be shut in, everyone is permitted to think in favour of God or against God, and in favour of the holy things of the Church or against them, and is not punished for it in the world. Concerning this the Lord says in Isaiah:

From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no oundness in it; the wound, the bruise, and the fresh stripe: they have not been pressed out, nor bound up, nor mollified with oil (A.V. but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment). Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil; Learn to do well. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword (Isa. 1:6, 16, 17, 18, 20).

To be devoured with the sword signifies to perish by the falsity of evil.

[6] Sixth: The reason, hitherto unknown, why evils cannot be removed without this search, appearance, acknowledgment, confession and resistance. In the preceding pages it has been mentioned that the universal heaven is arranged in societies according to (the affections of good and the entire hell according to) the lusts of evil opposite to the affections of good. Every man as to his spirit is in some society-in a heavenly society if he is in the affection of good, but in an infernal society if he is in the lust of evil. Man does not know this while he is living in the world, but nevertheless as to his spirit he is in some society; otherwise he cannot live, and because of it he is governed by the Lord. If he is in an infernal society he can only be led out of it by the Lord according to the laws of His Divine Providence, one of which is that he must see that he is there, must desire to go out and must himself endeavour to do this of himself. This he can do while he is in the world, but not after death; for then he remains to eternity in the society in which he has placed himself while in the world. This is the reason why man is to examine himself, see and acknowledge his sins and repent, and afterwards persevere right on to the end of his life. That this is the case I could establish from much experience even to complete belief; but this is not the place to set forth proofs of my experience.

DP 279. III. SO FAR AS EVILS ARE REMOVED THEY ARE REMITTED. It is an error of the present age to believe:

1. That evils are separated from man and indeed cast out when they are remitted; and

2. That the state of man’s life can be changed in a moment, even to its opposite, so that from being wicked he can become good, and consequently can be brought out of hell and straightway transferred to heaven, and this by the immediate mercy of the Lord.

3. Those, however, who entertain this belief and opinion do not in the least know what evil is and what good is; and they know nothing whatever of the state of man’s life.

4. Moreover, they are totally unaware that affections, which belong to the will, are nothing but changes and variations in state of the purely organic substances of the mind; and that thoughts, which belong to the understanding, are nothing but changes and variations in the form of these substances; and that memory is a permanent state of these changes. From a knowledge of these things it may be clearly seen that no evil can be removed except by successive stages, and that the remission of evil is not its removal. These things are stated here in a summarised form; and unless they are demonstrated they may indeed by recognised but they cannot be comprehended; and what is not comprehended is vaguely defined like a wheel which is kept spinning round by the hand. Therefore, the propositions just stated must now be demonstrated one by one in the order in which they are set forth.

[2] First: It is an error of the present age to believe that evils are separated and indeed cast out when they are remitted. It has been granted me to know from heaven that no evil into which man is born and to which he has actually habituated himself is separated from him, but is only so far removed that it does not appear. Before that, I held the belief entertained by most people in the world, that when evils are remitted they are cast out, and are washed and wiped away as dirt from the face by water. This, however, is not the case with evils or sins. They all remain, and when after repentance they are remitted, they are moved from the centre to the outskirts; and then what is in the centre, because it is directly under view, appears as in the light of day, and what is at the outskirts is in the shade, and sometimes as it were in the darkness of night. As evils are not separated but only removed, that is, relegated to the outskirts, and as a man may pass from the centre to the parts round about, it may also happen that he can return to his evils which he supposed had been cast out. For man is of such a nature that he can pass from one affection into another, and sometimes into an opposite one, and thus from one centre to another, that affection in which he is for the time being constituting the centre, for he is then in its joy and in its light.

[3] There are some who after death are raised up by the Lord into heaven because they have lived well, but who yet have carried with them the belief that they are clean and pure from sins and therefore are not in a state of guilt. These are at first clothed in white garments in accordance with their belief; for white garments signify a state purified from evils. Later, however, they begin to think as they did in the world that they are as it were washed from all evil, and so to boast that they are no longer sinners like other men. Now this can hardly be separated from a certain elation of mind (animus) and a measure of contempt for others compared with themselves. Therefore, in order that they may be removed from their ill-founded belief they are sent down from heaven and permitted to enter upon the evils which they practised in the world; and at the same time they are shown that they are in hereditary evils, of which they were ignorant before. When they have thus been induced to recognise that their evils have not been separated from them but only removed, and consequently that of themselves they are impure, and indeed that they are nothing but evil, and that they are withheld from evil and kept in good by the Lord, and that this only appears to them as of themselves, they are again raised up by the Lord into heaven.

[4] Second: It is an error of the present age to believe that the state of man’s life can be changed in a moment, so that from being wicked he can become good, and consequently can be brought out of hell and straightway transferred to heaven, and this by the immediate mercy of the Lord. Those are in this error who separate charity and faith, and place salvation in faith alone; for they suppose that merely thinking and uttering the words which state their faith, if it is done with assurance and confidence, is what justifies and saves. Moreover, many suppose that this is effected instantaneously, and, if not before, about the last hour of a man’s life. These cannot but believe that the state of a man’s life can be changed in a moment, and that he can be saved by the exercise of immediate or direct mercy. That the mercy of the Lord, however, is not immediate, and that a man cannot from being wicked become good in a moment, and can only be brought out of hell and transferred to heaven by the continual operation of the Divine Providence from infancy right on to the end of his life, will be seen in the last chapter of this treatise. At this point this only need be observed, that all the laws of the Divine Providence have for their end the reformation and thus the salvation of man; and consequently the reversal of his state, which by birth is infernal, to the opposite state, which is heavenly. This can only be effected step by step as man, withdrawing from evil and its delight, enters into good and its delight.

[5] Third: Those who entertain this belief do not in the least know what evil is and what good is. They do not know that evil is the delight of the lust of acting and thinking contrary to Divine order, while good is the delight of the affection of acting and thinking according to Divine order; nor do they know that there are myriads of lusts entering into and composing every individual evil, and myriads of affections entering into and composing every individual good, and that these myriads are in such connected order in man’s interiors that it is not possible to change one without at the same time changing all. Those who do not know this may believe or suppose that evil, which to them appears to be one single entity, can easily be removed; and that good, which also appears to be one single entity, can be introduced into its place. As these do not know what evil is and what good is they cannot but suppose that there is such a thing as instantaneous salvation and also immediate mercy; but it will be seen in the last chapter of this treatise that these are not possible.

[6] Fourth: Those who believe in instantaneous salvation and immediate mercy do not know that affections, which belong to the will, are nothing but changes of state of the purely organic substances of the mind, and that thoughts, which belong to the understanding, are nothing but changes and variations in the form of these substances, and that memory is a permanent state of these changes and variations. Everyone acknowledges, when it is stated, that affections and thoughts exist only in substances and their forms, which are subjects; and as these exist in the brain, which is full of substances and forms, they are said to be purely organic forms. No one who thinks rationally can help laughing at the fanciful notions of some that affections and thoughts do not exist in forms that are substantiated, but that they are exhalations formed into shapes by heat and light like images appearing in the atmosphere. For thought can no more exist apart from a substantial form than sight apart from its form which is the eye, hearing apart from its form which is the ear, and taste apart from its form which is the tongue. If you examine the brain you will see innumerable substances, and likewise fibres; you will also see that everything in it is organised. What need is there of any other than this ocular proof?

[7] The question arises, What is affection and what is thought in the mind? This may be inferred from all the things in general and in particular in the body where there are many viscera, each fixed in its own place and all performing their own functions by changes and variations of state and form. It is well known that they are engaged in their own operations-the stomach, the intestines, the kidneys, the liver, the pancreas, and the spleen, the heart and the lungs, each organ in its respective operation. All these operations are kept in motion from within, and to be moved from within is to be moved by means of changes and variations of state and form. Hence it may be evident that the operations of the purely organic substances of the mind are of a similar nature, with this difference, that the operations of the organic substances of the body are natural, while those of the mind are spiritual, and that both act together as one by correspondences.

[8] The nature of the changes and variations of state and form in the organic substances of the mind, which are affections and thoughts, cannot be shown to the eye; but still they may be seen as in a mirror from the changes and variations in the state of the lungs in speaking and in singing. There is, moreover, a correspondence; for the sound of the voice in speaking and singing, and also the articulations of sound, which are the words of speech, and the modulations of singing, are caused by means of the lungs, and sound corresponds to affection and speech to thought. Further, sound and speech are produced by affection and thought; and this is effected by changes and variations in the state and form of the organic substances in the lungs, and from the lungs through the trachea or windpipe, in the larynx and glottis, then in the tongue and finally in the lips. The first changes and variations of the state and form of sound take place in the lungs, the second in the trachea and larynx, the third in the glottis by the various openings of its orifice, the fourth in the tongue by its various adaptations to the palate and teeth, and the fifth in the lips by their various modifications of form. Hence it may be evident that the mere changes and variations, successively continued, in the state of organic forms produce sounds and their articulations, which are speech and singing. Now, since sound and speech are produced from no other source than the affections and thoughts of the mind, for they exist from these and are never apart from them, it is clear that the affections of the will are changes and variations in the state of the purely organic substances of the mind, and that the thoughts of the understanding are changes and variations in the form of those substances, as is the case in the pulmonary substances.

[9] As affections and thoughts are simply changes in the state of the forms of the mind, it follows that memory is nothing else than a permanent state of these changes. For all changes and variations of state in organic substances are such that once they have become habitual they are permanent. Thus the lungs are habituated to produce various sounds in the trachea, to vary them in the glottis, to articulate them in the tongue, and to modify them in the mouth; and when once these organic activities have become habitual such sounds are in the organs and can be reproduced. That these changes and variations are infinitely more perfect in the organs of the mind than in those of the body is evident from what has been said in the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (DLW 199-204), where it is shown that all perfections increase and ascend with degrees and according to them. On this subject more may be seen below (n. 319).

DP 280. It is also an error of this age to suppose that when sins are remitted they are also removed. Those are in this error who believe that their sins are remitted by the Sacrament of the Supper, although they have not removed them from themselves by repentance. Those also are in this error who believe that they are saved by faith alone, as well as those who believe that they are saved by papal dispensations. All these believe in immediate mercy and in instantaneous salvation. On the other hand, when this is reversed it becomes a truth, namely, that when sins are removed they are also remitted; for repentance precedes remission, and without repentance there is no remission. Therefore the Lord commanded His disciples

That they should preach repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 24:27, 47);

and John preached

The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3:3).

The Lord remits the sins of all: He does not accuse and impute. Yet He can take them away only in accordance with the laws of His Divine Providence; for He said to Peter, when he asked how often he should forgive a brother sinning against him, whether seven times,

That he should forgive not only seven times but until seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21, 22).

What then will not the Lord do, who is Mercy itself?

DP 281. IV. THUS THE PERMISSION OF EVIL IS FOR THE SAKE OF THE END, NAMELY, SALVATION. It is well known that man is in full liberty to think and to will, but not in full liberty to say and to do whatever he thinks and wills. For he may think as an atheist, deny God and blaspheme the holy things of the Word and of the Church. He may indeed desire by word and deed to destroy them even to their extermination; but this is prevented by civil, moral and ecclesiastical laws; and he therefore inwardly cherishes these impious and wicked things, by thinking and willing and also purposing to do them, but not committing them. One who is not an atheist is also in full liberty to think many things that are of evil, such as things fraudulent, lascivious, revengeful and otherwise insane (spiritually); and at times he also commits them. Who can believe that unless man had full liberty not only could he not be saved but would even utterly perish?

[2] Hear now the reason for this. Every man from his birth is in evils of many kinds. These evils are in his will, and whatever is in the will is loved; for that which a man wills from his interior he loves, and that which he loves he wills, and the will’s love flows into the understanding and there causes its delight to be felt; and from that it enters into the thoughts and also into the intentions. If, therefore, man were not permitted to think in accordance with the love of his will, which is implanted in him by inheritance, that love would remain shut in and would never be seen by him; and a love of evil which does not make itself apparent is like an enemy in ambush, like matter in an ulcer, like poison in the blood and like corruption in the breast which, if they are kept shut in, cause death. But when a man is permitted to think the evils of his life’s love, so far even as to intend them, they are cured by spiritual means, as diseases are by natural means.

[3] It will now be shown what man would be like if he were not permitted to think in accordance with the delights of his life’s love. He would no longer be a man, for he would lose his two faculties called liberty and rationality, in which humanity itself consists. The delights of these evils would occupy the interiors of his mind to such a degree that they would open up the door. Then he would not be able to do otherwise than speak and commit such evils, and thus his insanity would be manifest not only to himself but also to the world, and he at length would not know how to cover his shame. In order that a man may not come into this state he is permitted indeed to think and to will the evils of his hereditary nature, but not to say and commit them; and in the meantime he learns civil, moral, and spiritual things. These enter into his thoughts and remove such insanities, and by means of this knowledge he is healed by the Lord; but yet no further than to know how to guard the door, unless he also acknowledges God and implores His help that he may be able to resist the insanities. Then so far as he resists them he does not admit them into his intentions, and eventually not even into his thoughts.

[4] Since, then, man is at liberty to think as he pleases, to the end that his life’s love may come forth from its lurking places into the light of his understanding, and since otherwise he would not know anything of his own evil, and consequently would not know how to shun it, it follows that the evil would so increase in him that there would be no possibility of amendment in him, and scarcely any in his children, should he have children; for the evil of the parent is transmitted to his offspring. The Lord, however, provides that this may not take place.

DP 282. It would have been possible for the Lord to heal the understanding in every man, and so cause him to think not evil but good, and this by means of fears of various kinds, by miracles, by conversations with the dead, and by visions and dreams. But to heal the understanding alone is to heal man outwardly only; for the understanding with its thought is the external of man’s life, while the will with its affection is the internal of his life. Therefore, the healing of the understanding alone would be like palliative healing, by which the interior malignity, shut in and prevented from coming out, would destroy first the near and then the remote parts till the whole would become mortified. It is the will itself that must be healed, not by means of an influx into it of the understanding, for that is not possible, but by means of instruction and exhortation by the understanding. If the understanding alone were healed man would become like a dead body embalmed, or covered over with fragrant spices and roses, which would soon draw from the body such a foul odour that they could not be brought near anyone’s nostrils. So would it be with heavenly truths in the understanding if the evil love of the will were denied outlet.

DP 283. Man is permitted to think evils, as has been said, even so far as the intention to commit them, in order that they may be removed by means of civil, moral, and spiritual things; and this is done when he thinks that an evil is contrary to what is just and equitable, to what is honourable and becoming, and to what is good and true; and therefore contrary to the peace, the joy, and the blessedness of life. By means of these three graces the Lord heals the love of man’s will; though at first indeed by fear, yet afterwards by love. Still, however, the evils are not separated and cast out from man, but are only removed and relegated to the outskirts, and when they are there, and good is at the centre, the evils do not appear; for whatever is at the centre is directly under view, and is seen and perceived. It should be known, however, that although good is at the centre man is not therefore good unless the evils that are at the outskirts tend downwards or outwards; if they look upwards or inwards they are not removed, for they are still endeavouring to return to the centre. They tend and look downwards and outwards when man shuns his evils as sins, and still more when he turns in aversion from them; for then he condemns them and sends them with execration to hell, making them face in that direction.

DP 284. Man’s understanding is a recipient of both good and evil, and of both truth and falsity, but not his will, for this must be either in evil or in good; it cannot be in both, for the will is the man himself, and in it is his life’s love. In the understanding, however, good and evil are separated, like what is internal and what is external. Hence man may be interiorly in evil and exteriorly in good; and yet while a man is being reformed good and evil are brought together, and then arise conflict and combat. This, if severe, is called temptation; but if not severe, what takes place is like the fermentation of wine or strong drink. If good then conquers, evil with its falsity is removed to the outskirts as, to use a comparison, the lees fall to the bottom of a vessel; and the good is like wine that becomes generous after fermentation and like strong drink that becomes clear. If, however, evil conquers then good with its truth is removed to the outskirts, and becomes turbid and noisome like unfermented wine and unfermented strong drink. This comparison is made with fermentation because leaven in the Word signifies the falsity of evil (Hosea 7:4; Luke 12:1).

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