Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 892

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892. Once someone has been regenerated he enters for the first time into a state of freedom. Previously he has been in a state of slavery. It is slavery when evil desires and falsities predominate, freedom when affections for good and truth do so. As long as he is in a state of slavery, a person never perceives what his situation is. Only when he enters a state of freedom does he start to do so. When he is in a state of slavery, that is, when evil desires and falsities predominate, the person who has become subject to them imagines that he is in a state of freedom. That however is sheer falsity, for he is at that time being carried away by the delight that accompanies desires and resulting pleasures, that is, by the delight accompanying the loves that are his own. And because he is being carried away by such delight it seems to him as though he were a free man. While anyone is being led on by any kind of love, and following wherever it leads, he imagines that he is free. It is however the devilish spirits, in whose company and so to speak fast moving stream he is caught, who carry him away. This person imagines that this is absolute freedom, indeed he goes so far as to believe that if he were robbed of this state he would be entering upon a very miserable existence, in fact into no existence at all. This he believes not only because he is unaware of the existence of any other kind of life but also because he has gained the impression that nobody can enter heaven without suffering hardships, poverty, and deprivation of pleasures. That this is false however I have been given to know from considerable experience That experience will in the Lord's Divine mercy be described later on.

[2] No one ever enters into a state of freedom until he has been regenerated and is being led by the Lord by means of the love of good and truth. When he has entered that state he is enabled to know and perceive for the first time what freedom really is, because he can at that point know and perceive what life is, what the true delight in life is, and what happiness is. Prior to this he does not even know what good is, and sometimes that which is supremely good he calls supremely evil. When persons who are in a state of freedom from the Lord see the life that goes with evil desires and falsities, and even more when they experience it, they are as appalled by it as people who see hell opened before their eyes. But because the majority of people have no knowledge at all of what a life of freedom is, let a brief mention of it be made here: A life of freedom, or freedom itself, means being led exclusively by the Lord. Quite a number of obstacles stand in the way of a person's being able to believe that that kind of life is a life of freedom. One obstacle is that people undergo temptations, which take place for the purpose of freeing them from the dominion of devilish spirits. Another is that they know of no other delight and good apart from those belonging to the desires that result from self-love and love of the world. A further obstacle is that they have formed a false impression of all the things that belong to heavenly life. Consequently they are less able to learn from descriptions than from actual experiences, which in the Lord's Divine mercy will be introduced later on.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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