59. The reason why the "vegetable and the green of the herb" only are here described as food for the natural man, is this. In the course of regeneration, when man is being made spiritual, he is continually engaged in combat, on which account the church of the Lord is called "militant;" for before regeneration cupidities have the dominion, because the whole man is composed of mere cupidities and the falsities thence derived. During regeneration these cupidities and falsities cannot be instantaneously abolished, for this would be to destroy the whole man, such being the only life which he has acquired; and therefore evil spirits are suffered to continue with him for a long time, that they may excite his cupidities, and that these may thus be loosened, in innumerable ways, even to such a degree that they can be inclined by the Lord to good, and the man be thus reformed. In the time of combat, the evil spirits, who bear the utmost hatred against all that is good and true, that is, against whatever is of love and faith toward the Lord-which things alone are good and true, because they have eternal life in them-leave the man nothing else for food but what is compared to the vegetable and the green of the herb; nevertheless the Lord gives him also a food which is compared to the herb bearing seed, and to the tree in which is fruit, which are states of tranquillity and peace, with their joys and delights; and this food the Lord gives the man at intervals.
 Unless the Lord defended man every moment, yea, even the smallest part of every moment, he would instantly perish, in consequence of the indescribably intense and mortal hatred which prevails in the world of spirits against the things relating to love and faith toward the Lord. The certainty of this fact I can affirm, having been now for some years (notwithstanding my remaining in the body) associated with spirits in the other life, even with the worst of them, and I have sometimes been surrounded by thousands, to whom it was permitted to spit forth their venom, and infest me by all possible methods, yet without their being able to hurt a single hair of my head, so secure was I under the Lord's protection. From so many years' experience I have been thoroughly instructed concerning the world of spirits and its nature, as well as concerning the combat which those being regenerated must needs endure, in order to attain the happiness of eternal life. But as no one can be so well instructed in such subjects by a general description as to believe them with an undoubting faith, the particulars of the Lord's Divine mercy will be related in the following pages.