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The Warfare of Regeneration
"Blessed be the Lord my strength,
Who teacheth my hands to war,
And my fingers to fight:
My goodness, and my fortress;
My high tower and my deliverer;
My shield, and He in whom I trust;
Who subdueth my people under me."
-- Psalm, CXLIV, 1, 2
"To Him That Overcometh"
Because man is reformed by conflicts
with the evils of his flesh and by victories
over them, the Son of Man says to each
of the seven Churches, that He will give gifts
"to him that overcometh."
-- True Christian Religion, n. 610
Without moral struggle no one is regenerated,
and many spiritual wrestlings succeed
one after another. For, inasmuch as regeneration
has for its end that the life of the old man
may die and the new and heavenly life be implanted,
there will unfailingly be combat. The
life of the old man resists and is unwilling to
be extinguished, and the life of the new man
cannot enter, except where the life of the old
has been extinguished. From this it is plain
that there is combat, and ardent combat, because
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 8403
Repentance and the Remission of Sins
He who would be saved, must confess his
sins, and do repentance. To confess sins is to know evils, to see them in oneself, to
acknowledge them, to make oneself guilty and
condemn oneself on account of them. Done
before God, this is to confess sins. To do
repentance is to desist from sins after one has
thus confessed them and from a humble heart
has besought forgiveness, and then to live a
new life according to the precepts of charity
He who merely acknowledges generally
that he is a sinner, making himself guilty of all
evils, without examining himself, -- that is,
without seeing his sins, -- makes a confession
but not the confession of repentance. Inasmuch
as he does not know his evils, he lives
One who lives the life of charity and
faith does repentance daily. He reflects upon
the evils in him, acknowledges them, guards
against them, and beseeches the Lord for help.
For of oneself one continually lapses toward
evil; but he is continually raised up by the
Lord and led to good.
Repentance of the mouth and not of the
life is not repentance. Nor are sins pardoned
on repentance of the mouth, but on repentance
of the life. Sins are constantly pardoned man
by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but still
they adhere to man, however he supposes they
have been remitted. Nor are they removed
from him save by a life according to the precepts
of true faith. So far as he lives
according to these precepts, sins are removed;
and so far as they are removed, so far they
-- Heavenly Doctrine, nn. 159-165
Temptation and Prayer
When a man shuns evils as sins, he
flees them because they are contrary to
the Lord and to His Divine laws; and
then he prays to the Lord for help and for
power to resist them -- a power which is never
denied when it is asked. By these two means
a man is cleansed of evils. He cannot be
cleansed of evils if he only looks to the Lord
and prays; for then, after he has prayed, he
believes that he is quite without sins, or that
they have been forgiven, by which he understands
that they are taken away. But then he
still remains in them; and to remain in them is
to increase them. Nor are evils removed
only by shunning them; for then the man looks
to himself, and thereby strengthens the origin
of evil, which was that he turned himself back
from the Lord and turned to himself.
-- The Doctrine Concerning Charity, n. 146
The Great Arena
In temptations the hells fight against man,
and the Lord for him. To every falsity
which the hells inject, there is an answer
from the Divine. The falsities inflow into
the outward man, the answer into the inward
man, coming to perception scarcely otherwise
than as hope, and the resulting consolation, in
which, however, there is a multitude of things
of which the man is unaware.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 8159
In temptations a man is left, to all appearance,
to himself alone; yet he has not been left
alone, for God is then most present in his inmost
being, and upholds him. When anyone
overcomes in temptation, therefore, he enters
into closer union with God.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 126
"By Little and Little"
When man is being regenerated, he is
not regenerated speedily but slowly.
The reason is that all things which he
has thought, purposed and done since infancy,
have added themselves to his life and have
come to constitute it. They have also formed
such a connection among themselves that no
one thing can be removed unless all are at the
same time. Regeneration, or the implantation
of the life of heaven in man, begins in his infancy,
and continues to the last of his life in
the world, and is perfected to eternity.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 9334
A New Man
When a man is regenerated, he becomes
altogether another, and a new, man.
While his appearance and his speech
are the same, yet his mind is not; for his mind
is then open toward heaven, and there dwell in
it love for the Lord, and charity toward the
neighbor, together with faith. It is the mind
which makes another and a new man. The
change of state cannot be perceived in man's
body, but in his spirit. When it [the body] is
put off then his spirit appears, and in altogether
another form, too, when he has been
regenerated; for it has then a form of love and
charity with inexpressible beauty, in the place
of the earlier form, which was one of hatred
and cruelty with a deformity also inexpressible.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 3212
"It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven
that one of these little ones should perish."
-- Matthew, XVIII, 14
Never could a man live, -- certainly not
as a human being, -- unless he had in himself
something vital, that is, some innocence,
neighborly love, and mercy. This a man receives
from the Lord in infancy and childhood.
What he receives then is treasured up
in him, and is called in the Word the remnant or remains, which are of the Lord alone with
him, and they make it possible for him truly
to be a man on reaching adult age. These
states are the elements of his regeneration,
and he is led into them; for the Lord works
by means of them. These remains are also
called "the living soul" in all flesh.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 1050
All states of innocence from infancy on,
of love toward parents, brothers, teachers and
friends; of charity to the neighbor, and also
of mercy to the poor and needy; all states of
goodness and truth, with their goods and
truths, impressed on; the memory, are preserved
in man by the Lord, and are stored
up unconsciously to himself in his internal
man, and are carefully kept from evils
and falsities. They are all so preserved by
the Lord that not the smallest of them is lost.
Every state from infancy even to extreme old
age not only remains in another life, but also
returns. Returning, these states are such as
they were during a man's abode in the world.
Not only the goods and truths, stored up in the
memory, remain and return, but likewise all
the states of innocence and charity; and when
states of evil and the false, or of wickedness
and phantasy recur, these latter states are attempered
by the former through the Divine operation
of the Lord.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 561
"O Thou who hearest prayer;
Unto Thee shall all flesh come."
-- Psalm, LXV, 2
Prayer, in itself considered, is speech
with God. There is then some inward
view of the objects of the prayer, and
answering to that something like an influx into
the perception or thought. Thus there is a
kind of opening of the man's interiors toward
God, with a difference according to the man's
state and according to the nature of the object
of the prayer. If one prays out of love and
faith and only about and for things heavenly
and spiritual, then there appears in the prayer
something like revelation, which shows itself
in the affection of the suppliant, in hope, solace,
or an inner gladness.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 2535
THE SERVICE OF WORSHIP
"I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy;
In Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple."
-- Psalm, V, 7
One should not omit the practice of external
worship. Things inward are
excited by external worship; and outward
things are kept in holiness by external
worship, so that things inward can flow in.
Moreover, a man is imbued in this way with
knowledge, and prepared to receive celestial
things, so as to be endowed with states of holiness,
though he is unaware of it. These states
of holiness the Lord preserves to him for the
use of eternal life; for in the other life all
one's states of life recur.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 1618
Baptism and the Holy Supper are the
holiest acts of worship.
Baptism and the Holy Supper are as it
were two gates, through which a man is introduced
into eternal life. After the first gate
there is a plain, which he must traverse; and
the second is the goal where the prize is, to
which he directed his course; for the palm is
not given until after the contest, nor the reward
until after the combat.
-- True Christian Religion, nn. 667, 721
Baptism was instituted for a sign that
a man is of the Church and for a memorial
that he is to be regenerated. For
the washing of baptism is no other than spiritual
washing, which is regeneration. All
regeneration is effected by the Lord through
truths of faith and a life according to them.
Baptism, therefore, testifies that a man is of the
Church and that he can be regenerated; for it
is in the Church that the Lord is acknowledged,
Who regenerates man, and there the
Word is, where are truths of faith, by which
-- Heavenly Doctrine, nn. 202, 203
The sign of the cross which a child receives
on the forehead and breast at baptism is a sign
of inauguration into the acknowledgment and
worship of the Lord.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 682
II. THE HOLY SUPPER
The Holy Supper was instituted that by
means of it there might be conjunction of
the Church with heaven, and thus with
the Lord. When one takes the bread, which
is the Body, one is conjoined with the Lord by
the good of love to Him, from Him; and when
one takes the wine, which is the Blood, one is
conjoined to the Lord by the good of faith in
Him, from Him.
-- Heavenly Doctrine, nn. 210, 213
In the Holy Supper the Lord is fully
present, both as to His glorified Humanity,
and as to the Divine. And because He is fully
present, therefore the whole of His redemption
is; for where the Lord the Redeemer is, there
redemption is. Therefore all who observe the
Holy Communion worthily, become His redeemed,
and receives the fruits of redemption,
namely, liberation from hell, union with the
Lord, and salvation.
-- True Christian Religion, nn. 716, 717
THE RESPONSIBLE LIFE IN THE WORLD
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me."
-- Matthew, XI, 29
There are those who believe that it is
difficult to live the life which leads to
heaven, which is called the spiritual life,
because they have heard that one must renounce
the world, must divest himself of the
lusts called the lusts of the body and the flesh,
and must live spiritually. They take this to
mean that they must cast away worldly things,
which are especially riches and honors; that
they must go continually in pious meditation
on God, salvation, and eternal life; and must
spend their life in prayers and in reading the
Word and pious books. But those who renounce
the world and live in the spirit in this
manner acquire a melancholy life, unreceptive
of heavenly joy. To receive the life of heaven
a man must by all means live in the world and
engage in its duties and affairs and by a moral
and civil life receive the spiritual life.
That it is not so difficult to live the life
of heaven, as some believe, may be seen from
this: when a matter presents itself to a man
which he knows to be dishonest and unjust,
but to which he inclines, it is only necessary
for him to think that it ought not to be done
because it is opposed to the Divine precepts.
If a man accustoms himself to think so, and
from so doing establishes a habit of so thinking,
he is gradually conjoined to heaven. So
far as he is conjoined to heaven the higher
regions of his mind are opened; and so far
as these are opened he sees whatever is dishonest
and unjust; and so far as he sees these evils
they can be dispersed -- for no evil can be dispersed
until it is seen.
-- Heaven and Hell, nn. 528, 533
"Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual
covenant that shall not be forgotten." -- Jeremiah, L, 5
The conjunction of God with man, and of
man with God, is taught in the two Tables
which were written with the finger of
God, called the Tables of the Covenant. These
Tables obtain with all nations who have a religion.
From the first Table they know that
God is to be acknowledged, hallowed and
worshipped. From the second Table they
know that a man is not to steal, either openly
or by trickery, nor to commit adultery, nor to
kill, whether by blow or by hatred, nor to bear
false witness in a court of justice, or before
the world, and further that he ought not to will
those evils. From this Table a man knows the
evils which he must shun, and in the measure
that he knows them and shuns them, God conjoins
him to Himself, and in turn from His
Table gives man to acknowledge, hallow and
worship Him. So, also, He gives him not to
meditate evils, and, in so far as he does not
will them, to know truths freely.
-- Apocalypse Explained, n. 1179
As one views the two tables, it is plain that
they are so conjoined that God from His table
looks to man, and that in turn man from his
table looks to God. Thus the regard is reciprocal.
God for His part never ceases to
regard man, and to put in operation such things
as are for his salvation; and if man receives
and does the things in his table, reciprocal
conjunction is effected, and the Lord's words
to the lawyer will have come to pass, "This
do, and thou shalt live."
-- True Christian Religion, n. 287
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