The Nature of Man before Regeneration, or as to what is properly his own (Proprium)

The Nature of Man before Regeneration, or as to what is properly his own (Proprium)

The proprium1 of man is all the evil and falsity that stream forth from the love of self and the world; whereby men are inclined to believe in themselves and not in the Lord and the Word, and to think that what they cannot comprehend sensually or by knowledge has no existence. Hence they become altogether evil and false, and therefore see all things perversely. Evil appears to them as good, and good as evil; falsity as truth, and truth as falsity; realities as nothing, and nothing as everything; hatred they call love, darkness light, death life, and vice versa. Such in the Word are called the lame and the blind. This then is the proprium of man, which in itself is infernal and accursed. (AC n. 210)

The proprium of man is in itself a thing merely dead, although it appears a reality, yea, everything to him. Whatever lives in him is from the Lord’s life; and if this were taken away, he would fall .dead like a stone. For man is only an organ of life, and the state of the life is according to the nature of the organ. Only the Lord has [an actual or living] proprium,. From His proprium He redeemed mankind, and from His proprium He saves them. The Lord’s proprium is life; and from His proprium the proprium of man, which in itself is dead, is vivified. (ibid. n. 149)

Man’s great Tendency to Evil

Few, if any, know that all men, how many soever they are, are withheld from evils by the Lord, and this with greater might than man can by any means conceive. For there is in every man a perpetual active impulse [conatus] to evil, both from the hereditary evil into which he is born, and from actual evil which he has acquired,—so strong, that unless he were withheld by the Lord he would every moment rush headlong towards the lowest hell. But so great is the Lord’s mercy that every moment, yea, every least part of a moment, he is lifted up and withheld from rushing thither. This is the case even with the good; but with a difference according to their life of charity and faith. Thus the Lord continually fights with man and for man against hell; although it does not so appear to man. That it is so it has been given me to know by much experience. (AC n. 2406)

Why Man is born in Ignorance

If man were imbued with no hereditary evil the rational would be born immediately from the marriage of the celestial things of the internal man with its spiritual things; and through the rational the knowing [faculty] would be born, so that man would have within him all the rational, and all the knowing [faculty], ‘at the moment of his coming into the world. For this would be according to the order of influx; as may be concluded from the fact that all animals whatsoever are born into all the knowing faculty which is necessary and conducive to their sustenance, their protection, their habitation, and their procreation; because their nature is in accordance with order. Why not then man, if order had not been destroyed in him? For he alone is born into, no knowledge! The cause of his being so barn is hereditary evil, derived from father and mother; in consequence of which all his faculties are in a contrary direction relative to what is true and good, and cannot be brought into forms corresponding to them by immediate influx of what is celestial and spiritual from the Lord. This is the reason why the rational of man must be formed in a way or a manner altogether different; namely, by knowledges and cognitions insinuated through the senses, thus flowing in by an external way, and therefore in inverted order. Man is thus miraculously rendered rational by the Lord. (AC n. 1902)

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