FREE WILL

FREE WILL

General Doctrine

Man cannot be reformed unless he has freedom, because he is born into evils of every kind, which yet must be removed in order that he may be saved; and they cannot be removed unless he sees them in himself, and acknowledges them, and afterwards ceases to purpose them, and at length holds them in aversion. Then first they are. removed. This cannot be effected unless a man be in good as well as in evil; for from good he can see evils, but cannot from evil see goods. The spiritual goods which a man is able to think of, he learns from childhood by reading the Word, and from preaching; and the moral and civil goods he learns. from a life in the world. This is the primary reason why man ought to be in freedom. Another reason is that nothing is appropriated to man but what is done from an affection, which is of the love. Other things indeed may enter, but no farther than into the thought, and not into the will; and what does not enter even into the will of a man does not become his; for the thought derives all that it has from the memory, but the will from the very life. No action is ever free which is not from the will, or what is the same from an affection which is of the love; for whatever a man wills or loves this he freely does. Hence it is that the freedom of man and the affection which is of his love or will are one. Man therefore has freedom in order that he may be affected by truth and good, or love them, and that thus they may become as his own. In a word, whatever does not enter in freedom into man does not remain; because it is not of his love or will, and the things which are not of a man’s love or will are not of his spirit; for the being [esse] of man’s spirit is the love or will. It is said the love or will because what a man loves that he wills. This then is the reason why a man cannot be reformed except in freedom. (HH n. 598)

He who does not know that no conjunction of good and truth, that is no appropriation of them, and therefore no regeneration can be effected except in man’s freedom, only casts himself into darkness and into grievous errors when he reasons about the Lord’s providence, about the salvation of man, and about the damnation of many. For he thinks that if the Lord will He can save every one, and this by innumerable means; as by miracles, by the dead who shall rise again, by immediate revelations, by angels who shall withhold from evils and impel by strong manifest power to good, and by many states into which when man is led he will repent; and by-many other means. But he does not consider that all these means are compulsory, and that by them a man cannot be reformed. For whatever compels a man does not impart to him any affection; and if it be of a nature to impart it binds itself to an affection of evil. For it appears as if it infused and indeed does infuse a holy [feeling]; but yet when’ the state is changed the man returns to his former affections, that is to evils and falsities; and then that holy [feeling] conjoins itself with evils and falsities and becomes profane, and such that it leads into the most grievous hell of all. For he first acknowledges and believes, and is also affected by what is holy, and afterwards denies, yea turns away from it. Hence at this day manifest miracles are not wrought, but miracles that are not obvious or manifest, which are of such a nature that they do not inspire a holy [feeling] nor take away man’s freedom; and therefore the dead do not rise again, and man is not withheld from evils by immediate revelations and by angels, and forced on to good by strong manifest power. It is man’s freedom upon which the Lord operates and by which He bends him; for all freedom is of the love or its affection, and therefore of his will. If he does not receive good and truth in freedom it cannot be appropriated to him, or become his. For that to which he is compelled is not his, but is of him who compels; since he does not do it of himself, although it is done by himself. (AC n. 4031)

If men had not free will in spiritual things, all the inhabitants of the world might within a day be brought to believe in the Lord; but this cannot be done, for the reason that what is not received by man from a free will does not remain. (TCR n. 500)

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