A Sign of Reformation and Non-Reformation

A Sign of Reformation and Non-Reformation

The Lord continually flows into man with good, and into good with truth; and man either receives it or does not receive it. If he receives it, it is well with him; but if he does not receive it, it is ill with him. If when he does not receive he feels something of anxiety, there is hope that he may be reformed; but if lie does not feel anything of anxiety, the hope vanishes. For with every man there are two spirits from hell, and two angels from heaven for, because man is born into sin, he can in nowise live unless on the one hand he communicates with hell, and on the other with heaven; all his life is therefrom. When a man is grown up, and begins to govern himself from himself,—that is, when he appears to himself to will and to act from his own judgment, and to think and form conclusions concerning matters of faith from his own understanding,—if then he betakes himself to evils the two spirits from hell approach, and the two angels from heaven withdraw a little; and if he turns himself to good, the two angels from heaven draw near, and the two spirits from hell are removed. When therefore a man betakes himself to evils, as is the case with most in youth, if any anxiety is felt when he reflects upon the wrong he has done, it is a sign that he will still receive influx through the angels from heaven, and also a sign that he will afterwards suffer himself to be reformed; but if nothing of anxiety is felt when he reflects upon the wrong he has done, it is a sign that he is no longer willing to receive influx through the angels from heaven, and a sign also that he will not afterwards suffer himself to be reformed. (AC n. 5470)

The Course of Regeneration and of Progress to True Wisdom

Few, if any, know how man is brought to true wisdom. Intelligence is not wisdom, but leads to wisdom; for to understand what is true and good is not to be true and good, but to be wise is so. Wisdom is predicated only of the life, and means that such is the character of the man. He is introduced to wisdom or life by knowing and cognizing [truth] or by knowledges and cognitions.[By the terms scire and noscere (or nosse) and cognoscere, the author throughout his writings expresses an important distinction in the process of the acquisition of truth, which it is difficult to convey by words in common use in our language, without circumlocution. By scire (to know), and the corresponding scientia (knowledge), he refers to the mere outward acquisition of knowledge, or knowledge as facts or truths in the outer memory, acquired by means of the senses,—whether from the Word, or from the world and nature. By noscere and cognoscere (to become acquainted with), and the corresponding cognitio, he designates the higher and more interior and real knowledge that is attained when these facts or truths are taken up and actually seen in the light of reason. For the expression of this idea the words cognize and cognition are warranted,—if any warrant is needed for a necessary term,—by the usage of some of the recent speculative philosophers. Knowledges may be considered as the means or materials of cognitions.] Every man has two parts, the will and the under  standing; the will is the primary and the understanding the secondary part. Man’s life after death is according to his will-part, not according to his intellectual. The will in man is formed by the Lord from infancy to childhood. It is done by insinuating innocence and love towards parents, nurses, and children of like age, and by many other things which are celestial that man is ignorant of. If these celestial things were not first insinuated into man, while he is an infant and child, he could by no means become a man. Thus the first plane is formed. But as man is not man unless he is also endowed with understanding (for the will alone does not constitute man, but understanding with the will) and as understanding cannot be acquired except by means of knowledges and cognitions, therefore from the period of childhood by degrees lie is filled with these. Thus a second plane is formed. When the intellectual part is furnished with knowledges and cognitions, especially with cognitions of truth and good, then the man is first capable of being regenerated. And while he is being regenerated, truths and goods from the Lord are implanted by means of cognitions in the celestial things with which he was gifted by the Lord from infancy, so that his intellectual attainments form one with his celestial. When the Lord has so conjoined them he is gifted with charity, and begins to act from it, which is as a principle of conscience. He thus first receives new life, and this by degrees. The light of this new life is called wisdom, which then takes the first place, and is exalted above intelligence. Thus a third plane is formed. When a man has become such in the life of the body, he is continually perfected in the other life. From this it may be seen what the light of intelligence is, and what the light of wisdom. (AC n. 1555)

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