1. If we intend and do good deeds before we turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins, our good deeds are not good

This is because we are not in the Lord yet, as just noted [Section 21]. For example, if we give to the poor, help the needy, endow churches and hospices, support the church, our country, and our fellow citizens, teach the gospel, make converts, practice justice in judgment, honesty in business, and righteousness in our behavior, but still think nothing of evil like fraud, adultery, hatred, blasphemy, and such things, which are sins, then the only good deeds we can do are inwardly evil. We are doing them on our own behalf, that is, and not on behalf of the Lord. This means that we are inside them and the Lord is not; and any good deeds that have ourselves within them are all polluted by our evils and are focused on ourselves and the world.

However, the same deeds just listed are inwardly good if we are turning from evils because they are sins, evils like fraud, adultery, hatred, blasphemy, and the like. That is, the actions we are doing come from the Lord, and are called deeds done in God (John 3:19, 20, 21).

from Life/Faith, Section 24

Notes:

Section 21: Published 3/30/2019:

This makes it very clear that to the extent that we turn our backs on evil deeds we are with the Lord and in the Lord; and to the extent that we are in the Lord the good deeds we do come not from ourselves but from the Lord. This yields the following general law: To the extent that we turn our backs on evil deeds, we do good deeds.

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To the Extent That We Turn Our Backs on Evil Deeds Because They Are Sins, the Good Deeds We Do Come Not from Ourselves but from the Lord

Is there anyone who does not and cannot know that our evils stand in the way of the Lord’s ability to come in to us? Evil is hell and the Lord is heaven, and hell and heaven are opposites; so to the extent that we are in one we cannot be in the other. One acts against the other and cancels it.

As long as we are in this world we are in between hell and heaven—hell is below us and heaven above us—and during this time we are kept in a freedom to turn toward hell or toward heaven. If we turn toward hell we are turning away from heaven, while if we turn toward heaven we are turning away from hell.

In other words, as long as we are in this world we are placed in between the Lord and the Devil and are kept in a freedom to turn toward the one or the other. If we turn toward the Devil we turn our backs on the Lord, while if we turn toward the Lord we turn our backs on the Devil.

Or to put it yet another way, as long as we are in this world we are in between what is evil and what is good and are kept in a freedom to turn toward the one or the other. If we turn toward what is evil we turn our backs on what is good, while if we turn toward what is good we turn our backs on what is evil.

I have stated that we are kept in a freedom of turning either way. This freedom never comes from us; it comes from the Lord, which is why I just said that we are kept in it. On the balance between heaven and hell, our being in that balance, and our therefore being in freedom, see Heaven and Hell 589–596 and 597–603. As for everyone being kept in freedom and no one being deprived of it, that will come up in its own place [Sections 101–102].

This makes it very clear that to the extent that we turn our backs on evil deeds we are with the Lord and in the Lord; and to the extent that we are in the Lord the good deeds we do come not from ourselves but from the Lord. This yields the following general law: To the extent that we turn our backs on evil deeds, we do good deeds.

Two things are required, though. First, we need to turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins—that is, because they are hellish and diabolical and therefore contrary to the Lord and to divine laws. Second, we need to turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins as if we were doing it on our own, but we need to know and believe that it comes from the Lord. Both of these requirements will be discussed under other headings [Sections 62–66 and 101–107].

There are three corollaries to this.

1. If we intend and do good deeds before we turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins, our good deeds are not good.

2. If we think and speak devoutly but do not turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins, our devout thoughts and words are not devout.

3. Even if we are well informed and insightful, if we do not turn our backs on evil deeds because they are sins, we are not wise.

from Life/Faith, Sections 18-23

Notes:

Sections 589-596 from Heaven and Hell: Published 3/17/2019-3/20/2019

Sections 597-603 from Heaven and Hell: Published 3/21/2019-3/23/2019

There Are Two Minds in Man

There are two minds in man; one is the natural, and the other the rational mind; the natural mind is the mind of the external man, but the rational mind is the mind of the internal man.

The things of the natural mind are called memory-knowledges, but those of the rational mind are called intellectual reasons; they are also distinguished from each other by the fact that the things of the natural mind are for the most part in the light of the world, which is called the light of nature; whereas the things of the rational mind are in the light of heaven, which light is spiritual light.

from Arcana Coelestia, Section 7130.




7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence: The Third Memorable Occurrence (Continued)

“It is important to know, though,” the voice continued, “that God is always present, constantly at work and making an effort in us. He even influences our free choice. He never violates it, however, because if he did, we would lose our dwelling in God; there would remain only a dwelling for God in us, as there is for all things on earth, all things in heaven, and even for the things that are in hell. From God we get our power, our will, and our ability to understand. There is no reciprocal dwelling for us in God, though, unless we live by the laws of the divine design given in the Word. Then we become images and likenesses of him; then paradise is given to us for a possession, and the fruit of the tree of life for food.

“The rest of us gather around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, speak with the serpent there, and eat. Later we are expelled from paradise. Nevertheless God does not abandon us; we abandon God.”

The people in hats understood this and gave their approval, but the people in caps denied it; they said, “In that case wouldn’t omnipotence be limited? But limited omnipotence is a contradiction.”

I replied, “There is no contradiction in acting all-powerfully with judgment in following the laws of justice, or the laws of wisdom inscribed on love. The contradiction arises when you think God can act against the laws of his own justice and love, which would not be acting with judgment or with wisdom. Your belief entails a contradiction like that: on the basis of grace alone, God can justify unjust people and bestow on them all the gifts of salvation and all the rewards of life.

“I will briefly state what God’s omnipotence is. God used his omnipotence to create the universe. As he did so, he built his own design into each and every thing. God also uses his omnipotence to maintain the universe. He forever guards its design and its laws. When anything falls away from his design, he brings it back into the design and reintegrates it.

“God also used his omnipotence to establish the church. He revealed the laws of its design in the Word. When the church slipped away from the divine design, he restored it. When it fell completely out of the divine design, he came down into the world. Through the human manifestation that he took on, he clothed himself with omnipotence and reestablished the church.

“God uses his omnipotence and also his omniscience to examine us all after death. He prepares the just, the sheep, for their places in heaven; by assigning them places he builds heaven. He prepares the unjust, the goats, for their places in hell; by assigning them places he builds hell. He arranges heaven into communities and hell into hordes according to all the different loves their inhabitants have. In heaven there are as many varieties of love as there are stars in the sky above the earth. He unites the communities of heaven so that they are like one person before him. Likewise he brings the hordes of hell together so they are like one devil. He separates hell from heaven with a great chasm, so that hell will not inflict violence on heaven and heaven will not inflict torment on hell. (The more heaven flows in, the more those in hell are tormented.) If God were not using his omnipotence in every moment to do all the above, so much wildness would come over people that they could never be restrained by the laws of any design and the human race would perish. This and more would happen if God were not the divine design and were not omnipotent in his design.”

When they heard this, the people who had been wearing hats left with them under their arms, praising God.

In the spiritual world the intelligent wear hats. The unintelligent wear caps because they are bald; their baldness means that they are dense. The people with caps went away to the left, but the people with hats went to the right.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 74

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence : The Third Memorable Occurrence.

Far away I saw a large crowd of people wearing hats. Some had hats covered in silk; they belonged to the ecclesiastical class. Some had hats whose rims were decorated with golden bands; they belonged to the class of ordinary citizens. Both groups were educated and scholarly. I also saw some people wearing caps; they were uneducated.

I moved in the direction of these people and heard them talking with each other about limitless divine power. They were saying, “If divine power followed laws that were created as part of the divine design, it would be limited, not unlimited. It would be power, but not all power. Anyone can see that no compulsion by law could force omnipotence to act this way and not that way. When we think about omnipotence and at the same time about laws of the divine design that omnipotence would be obliged to follow, our preconceived ideas about omnipotence are jarred, like a hand on a broken walking stick.”

When the crowd noticed me nearby, some members of it hurried over and asked me quite forcefully, “Are you the one who has confined God in laws like chains? The outrage! You have ripped apart the belief on which we base our salvation. At the heart of our belief we place the justice of the Redeemer. On top of that is the omnipotence of God the Father. As an appendix we add the actions of the Holy Spirit and its effectiveness in the spiritual arena, where we are completely powerless. It is enough, then, to mention the absolute justification that our faith entails because God is omnipotent. I have heard, though, that you see emptiness in our belief because you see nothing of the divine design for human response in it.”

When they finished I opened my mouth and spoke in a loud voice, saying, “Learn what the laws of the divine design are, and then investigate the full ramifications of your belief. You will see a great wasteland and a long, twisted leviathan there with nets wrapped around it in an inextricable knot. Do what we read Alexander did when he saw the Gordian knot. To undo its bends, he drew his sword, cut the knot in two, threw it on the ground, and crushed its fibers with his heel.”

When the people in the crowd heard this, they were biting their tongues. They wanted to give me a tongue-lashing, but they did not dare, because they saw heaven open above me and heard a voice out of it that said, “First control yourselves and learn about the divine design and the laws of that design that God Almighty follows in his actions. God created the universe from himself as the design; he created it according to the design, for the sake of the design. He created human beings in a similar way and built the laws of his divine design into us. Because of those laws we were created as images and likenesses of God. In brief, the laws are that we must believe in God and love our neighbor. The more we do these two things with our earthly power, the more we make ourselves a vessel for the divine omnipotence, and God connects himself to us and us to himself. As a result, our faith becomes living and effective for our salvation. Our action becomes goodwill, again in a form living and effective for our salvation.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 74

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence : The Second Memorable Occurrence (Continued)

The next day some people from the main group came to me—the group that believed in predestination and God’s assigning of spiritual credit or blame. They said, “We are drunk in a way, not on wine but on the things that man said yesterday. He spoke about omnipotence and also about the divine design. He concluded that the design is as divine as omnipotence is. He even said that God himself is the divine design. He said that there are as many laws of the divine design as there are truths in the Word—not just thousands but millions—and that God is bound by his laws in the Word as we are bound by ours. But what does that make divine omnipotence, if it is restricted by laws? It takes all the absoluteness out of omnipotence. Isn’t God’s power then less than the power of a monarch on a worldly throne? Monarchs can turn the laws of justice in another direction as easily as they turn the palms of their hands. They can have the absolute power of an Octavian Augustus; they can also have the absolute power of a Nero. After we thought for a while about omnipotence bound by laws, we felt drunk and likely to lose consciousness if we didn’t find some remedy very quickly.

“Our prayers have been said on the basis of our faith. We have prayed for God our Father to have mercy for the sake of his Son, believing that he could have mercy on whomever he wished, forgive the sins of whomever he pleased, and save whomever he wanted to. We wouldn’t have dared take away in the least from his omnipotence. Therefore binding God with the chains of some of his own laws seems unspeakable to us, because it goes against his omnipotence.”

When they finished they looked at me and I looked at them. They appeared thunderstruck. I said, “I will take an appeal to the Lord and bring back a remedy to enlighten the issue. In the meanwhile, though, I’ll resort to some examples.

“God Almighty created the world from the design in himself,” I said. “The divine design in which he is and which he follows as he rules is something he built into the world. He endowed the universe and everything in it with its own design. Human beings have theirs, animals theirs, birds and fish theirs, insects theirs; every species of tree, even every type of grass has its own design.

“As examples to provide enlightenment, I’ll briefly give the following. There are laws of the divine design imposed on human beings that indicate that we are to acquire truths from the Word for ourselves and that we are to base our thinking on them in an earthly way and, as much as we can, in a rational way. This is how we develop an earthly faith for ourselves. On God’s side, there are laws of the divine design dictating that he is to come closer, fill those truths with his own divine light, take our earthly faith, which is only knowledge and persuasion, and fill it with a divine essence. This is the only way for faith to become capable of saving. There is a similar process for developing goodwill.

“Let’s list some other points briefly. According to God’s laws, he can forgive us our sins only to the extent that we follow our laws and stop doing them. God cannot regenerate us spiritually beyond the point to which we, following our laws, have regenerated ourselves in an earthly way. God makes an unceasing effort to regenerate us and save us, but he cannot do it unless we prepare ourselves as a vessel, leveling a pathway for God [Isaiah 40:3–4] and opening the door [Revelation 3:20]. A suitor cannot enter his beloved’s bedroom before she becomes his bride—she locks the door and keeps the key with her. After she has become a bride, though, she gives her bridegroom the key.

Even for all God’s omnipotence, he could not have redeemed humankind unless he had become human. He could not have made his human nature divine unless it was first like a human being as an infant and then like a human being as a child. Later his human nature also needed to form itself into a vessel and a dwelling place for his Father to enter, which he did by fulfilling everything in the Word, meaning all the laws of the divine design in it. The more he completed this process, the more he united himself to the Father and the Father united himself to him.

“However, these are just a few points I bring up for the sake of illustration, so that you can see that divine omnipotence exists within the divine design and follows that design in its governing called providence. Constantly and to eternity divine omnipotence acts in accordance with the laws of its own design. God cannot act against them or change even the tip of one letter of them, because he is the divine design along with all its laws.”

After I finished speaking, a bright, golden-colored light flowed in through the roof and formed angel guardians flying in the air. The redness in the light lit up the temples of some of the people, but only toward the backs of their heads, not yet near their foreheads, because they were muttering, “We still don’t know what omnipotence is.” “It will be revealed,” I said, “but only after the things I have already said gain more light in you.”

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 73

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence. (Continued): The Second Memorable Occurance

Once I heard a strange murmur from far away. In my spirit I followed the path of the sound and moved closer to its source. When I reached it, to my surprise it was a group of spirits debating predestination and the [divine] assignment of spiritual credit or blame. They were Dutch and English, with a few spirits from other countries. At the end of each piece of reasoning they were shouting, “We’re amazed! We’re amazed!”

The topic of the debate was this: “Why doesn’t God assign his Son’s merit and justice to all the people he has created and treat them all as redeemed? He is omnipotent. If he wants, can’t he make Lucifer, the dragon, and all the goats into archangels? He is omnipotent. Why does he let the Devil’s injustice and ungodliness triumph over his Son’s justice and the piety of those who worship God? It would be very easy for God to see all people as worthy of faith and therefore salvation. What would it take except a little word to that effect? If he doesn’t do this, isn’t he acting against his own words, which are that he wants the salvation of all and the death of none [Ezekiel 33:11]? Tell us, then: Where and what is the cause of damnation for those who perish?”

Then some Dutch person who believed in predestination, including the predestination of the fall of Adam [Genesis 3], said, “That decision is simply up to the Omnipotent One. Does the clay complain to the potter when he makes a chamber pot out of it?”

Another one said, “The decision regarding everyone’s salvation is in God’s hand, as a pair of scales is in the hand of someone weighing something.”

At the sides stood a number of people who were simple in faith and upright at heart. Some of these bystanders had bloodshot eyes, some seemed stunned, some seemed drunk, and some seemed to be suffocating. They were muttering to each other, “What have we to do with all this deliriousness? They believe that God the Father attributes his Son’s justice to whomever he wants, whenever he wants, and sends his Holy Spirit to give the rewards of that justice. This belief has made them stupid. To them it seems that in order to avoid claiming for ourselves even a speck of contribution to our own salvation, we must act in every way like a stone when we undertake to become justified, and like a piece of dead wood in matters spiritual.”

Then one of these bystanders pushed his way into the group and said in a loud voice, “Oh, you demented people! You are debating about goat’s wool! Obviously you don’t realize that God Almighty is the divine design itself and that the laws of the divine design are countless. Their number, of course, is the number of truths in the Word. God cannot act against those laws, because acting against them would be acting against himself. It would be acting not only against justice but also against his own omnipotence.”

The bystander looked over to the right and saw in the distance what looked like a sheep and a lamb, as well as a dove in flight. To the left he saw a goat, a wolf, and a vulture. He said, “You believe that God in his omnipotence could turn that goat into a sheep, that wolf into a lamb, and that vulture into a dove, or the reverse. Not so. Doing that is against the laws of his divine design, of which not even the tip of one letter can fall to the ground, according to his own words [Luke 16:17]. How then could God put the justice of his Son’s redemption into someone who is rebelling against the laws of his justice? How can justice itself commit the injustice of predestining anyone to hell, and throwing anyone into the fire beside which the Devil stands, lighting the torches that he holds? Oh, you demented people, empty of spirit! Your faith has led you astray. In your hands faith is like a trap for catching doves.”

When he finished saying this, some sorcerer of the opposite belief made a kind of trap. He hung it in a tree and said, “Watch me catch that dove!” Soon a hawk flew to the trap, stuck its neck in, and hung limp. The dove saw the hawk and flew away. The bystanders were amazed and shouted, “That is impressive—a just reward!”

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 72

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God’s omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God’s omniscience, and are in God because of God’s omnipresence. (Continued):The first Memorable Occurrence

Once I heard beneath me the sound of ocean waves. I asked what it was. Someone told me it was a riot that had broken out among the people gathered in the lower earth, a place just above hell. Soon the ground under our feet, which served as a roof over the people there, began to yawn wide. Then I was stunned to see huge flocks of night birds soaring out of the chasm. As they flew on they fanned out to the left. Immediately after them, locusts sprang up onto the grass and turned it all into a desert. A little later I began to hear night birds screeching back and forth to one another, and over to the side an incoherent wailing as if there were ghosts in the woods.

Afterward I saw beautiful birds from heaven fanning out to the right. The distinguishing features of those birds were their golden wings, which were irregularly streaked and spotted with something like silver. On the heads of some were crown-shaped crests. As I was watching all this with amazement, suddenly a spirit flew up from the lower earth where the riot was going on. He possessed the power to change his form into that of an angel of light. He was shouting, “Where is the person who is talking and writing about the design God Almighty restricted himself to in relation to humankind? Down below we heard these things through the roof.”

When he reached the ground he hurried along a paved road. As at last he drew near me, he suddenly disguised himself as an angel of heaven.

Addressing me in a tone that was not his own he said, “Are you the one who is thinking and talking about the divine design? Tell me briefly what the divine design is, and say a few things about it.”

“I’ll give you a summary,” I answered, “but I won’t go into details, because you wouldn’t understand.”

Then I said, “One: God is the divine design itself. Two: He created humankind on the basis of his design and in keeping with it, and built that design into us. Three: He created our rational minds in imitation of the divine design in the whole spiritual world, and our bodies in imitation of the divine design in the whole physical world. This is why the ancients called a person both a heaven in miniature and a world in miniature. Four: As a result, it is a law of the divine design that we are to rule our microcosm or physical-world-in-miniature from our microheaven or spiritual-world-in-miniature, just as God rules everything about the macrocosm or physical world from his macroheaven or spiritual world. Five: A law of the divine design following from this is that we are to bring ourselves into a state of faith by means of truths from the Word and bring ourselves into a state of goodwill by means of good actions; and this is how we reform and regenerate ourselves. Six: It is a law of the divine design that we are to use our own power and do our own work to purify ourselves from sins; we do not stand in impotent faith and wait for God miraculously to wipe them away. Seven: It is also a law of the divine design that we are to love God with all our soul and with all our heart, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are not to hang around and wait for God miraculously to put each love into our minds and hearts like putting bread from the baker in our mouths.” I said other things like that as well.

To this the satan replied in a soothing voice that had pride behind it, “What are you saying? That on the basis of our own power we need to bring ourselves into the divine design by practicing its rules? Don’t you know that we are not under the law but under grace? All things are given for free. We cannot take anything for ourselves unless it is given to us from heaven. In the spiritual arena we have no more ability to act on our own than Lot’s wife, the statue; or Dagon, the idol of the Philistines in Ekron. It is impossible for us to grant ourselves justification; justification can be achieved only through faith and goodwill.”

To the things he said I made only this one reply: “It is also a law of the divine design that by our own work and power we are to gain faith for ourselves by means of truths from the Word, yet we are to believe that our faith comes from God and not a grain of it from ourselves. Likewise, by our own work and power we are to become justified, yet we are to believe that our justification comes from God and not even a jot of it from ourselves. We have been commanded to believe in God, to love God with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Think about it and tell me how God could command these things if we had no ability to obey and do them?”

At that the satan’s face changed. It went from white to a sickly yellow; then it soon turned completely black, and with a pitch-black mouth he said, “You’re speaking paradoxes against our paradoxes!”

Then he immediately sank down toward his own people and disappeared. The birds on the left and the ghosts made strange sounds and then threw themselves into the sea that people there call the Reed Sea. The locusts hopped along after them. The air and the land were cleansed of those wild things, and the riot below came to a stop. All became calm and serene.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 70

Our Freedom Depends on the Balance between Heaven and Hell (Continued)

We need to be aware that our union with heaven and with hell is not directly with them but is mediated by spirits who are in the world of spirits. These spirits are with us, none from hell itself or heaven itself. We are united to hell through evil spirits in the world of spirits and with heaven through the good spirits there. Because of this arrangement, the world of spirits is halfway between heaven and hell and is at the point of balance.

On the location of the world of spirits halfway between heaven and hell, see the chapter on the world of spirits (Sections 421–431); and on its being at the point of balance between heaven and hell, see the last chapter (Sections 589–596).

We can see from this where we get our freedom.

I need to say something else about the spirits associated with us. A whole community can establish communication with another community or with another individual in any location through a spirit emissary. This spirit is called the “agent” of the group. Much the same holds true for our union with communities in heaven and with communities in hell, through spirits associated with us in the world of spirits. On this matter too, see the references to Secrets of Heaven at the close of the chapter.

One last note, about our instinct concerning life after death that results from heaven’s inflow into us. There were some common people who had lived in the virtues of their faith in the world. They were brought back into a state like the one they had in the world (which can happen to anyone when the Lord allows it), and then shown what kind of notion they had had about our state after death. They said that in the world, some intelligent people had asked them what they thought about their soul after their life in the world, and they said they did not know what a soul was. Then the questioners asked them what they believed about their state after death, and they said they believed they would live as spirits. Next they were asked what kind of belief they had about spirits, and they said that spirits were people. Their questioners kept asking how they knew this, and they kept saying that they knew it because it was true. The intelligent people were amazed that simple people had this kind of faith when they themselves did not.

I could see from this that everyone who is united to heaven has an instinctive notion about life after death. The sole source of this instinctive notion is the inflow from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord, by means of spirits who are assigned to us from the world of spirits. This instinctive notion is possessed by people who have not stifled their freedom of thought by assumptions about the human soul that they have seized on and confirmed by various means, assumptions that the soul is either pure thought or some animate principle whose seat they seek in the body. However, the soul is nothing more nor less than our life, while the spirit is the actual person, and the body is an earthly thing we carry around in the world. It is only an agent through which our spirit, the actual person, acts in a way that is adapted to the natural world.

What I have been saying in this book about heaven, the world of spirits, and hell will be obscure to people who find no delight in knowing about spiritual truths; but it will be clear to people who do have this delight, especially to people involved in an affection for truth for its own sake—that is, people who love truth because it is true. Anything that is loved enters into the concepts of our minds with light, especially when what is loved is true, because all truth is in the light.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 600-603

Notes:

Sections 421-431: Published 5/22/2017-5/28/2017

Sections 589-596: Published 3/17/2019-3/20/2019

Our Freedom Depends on the Balance between Heaven and Hell (Continued)

The reason we cannot be reformed unless we have some freedom is that we are born into evils of all kinds, evils which need to be taken away if we are to be saved. They cannot be taken away unless we see them within ourselves, admit that they are there, then refuse them and ultimately turn away from them. Only then are they taken away. This cannot happen unless we are exposed to both good and evil, since it is from good that we can see evils, though we cannot see what is good from evil. We learn the good spiritual things we can think from infancy from the reading of the Word and from sermons. We learn the moral and civic values from our life in the world. This is the primary reason we need to be in freedom.

The second reason is that nothing becomes part of us except as a result of some affection of love. True, other things can enter us, but no deeper than into our thought, not into our volition; and anything that does not enter our volition is not ours. This is because thinking is derived from our memory, while volition is derived from our life itself. Nothing is ever free unless it comes from our volition, or what amounts to the same thing, from a particular affection that stems from our love. Whatever we intend or love, we do freely. This is why our freedom and the affection of our love or intentions are one. So we also have freedom in order to be able to be moved by what is true and good, or to love them, so that they do become part of us.

In a word, anything that does not enter us in freedom does not stay with us, because it does not belong to our love or intentions; and anything that does not belong to our love or intentions does not belong to our spirit. The actual reality of our spirit is love or volition—using the phrase “love or volition” because whatever we love, we intend.

This is why we cannot be reformed except in a state of freedom. But there is more on our freedom in the extracts from Secrets of Heaven below.

So that we can be in freedom for the sake of our reformation, we are united in spirit with heaven and with hell. With each of us there are spirits from hell and angels from heaven. By means of the spirits from hell we encounter our evil, and by means of the angels from heaven we encounter the good we have from the Lord. As a result, we are in a spiritual equilibrium—that is, in a freedom.

On the presence with us of angels from heaven and spirits from hell, see the chapter on the union of heaven with the human race (Sections 291–302).

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 598-599

Notes:

Sections 291-302: Published 6/22/2018-6/27/2018