848. When the temptations are over, there is as it were a fluctuation, and if the temptation was spiritual, it is a fluctuation between what is true and what is false, which may be sufficiently evident from this, that temptation is the beginning of regeneration; and as all regeneration has for its end that man may receive new life, or rather that he may receive life, and from being no man may become man, or from dead be made living, therefore when his former life, which is merely animal, is destroyed by temptations, he cannot but fluctuate between what is true and what is false. Truth is of the new life, falsity of the old; and unless the former life is destroyed, and this fluctuation takes place, it is impossible for any spiritual seed to be sown, because there is no ground.
 When however the former life is destroyed and such fluctuation results, the man scarcely knows what is true and good, and indeed scarcely whether there is any such thing as truth. Thus, for example, when he reflects about the goods of charity, or, as they are called, good works, and considers whether or no he can do them from himself and have merit in himself, he is in such obscurity and darkness, that when informed that no one can do good from himself or from his Own, and that still less can anyone possess merit, but that all good is from the Lord, and all merit is His alone, he must be lost in wonder. And so it is in all other matters of faith; but still the obscurity and darkness of his mind become sensibly and gradually enlightened.
 It is with regeneration exactly as with man's birth as an infant. His life is then very obscure; he knows almost nothing, and therefore at first receives only general impressions of things, which by degrees become more distinct as particular ideas are inserted in them, and in these again still more minute particulars. Thus are generals illustrated by particulars, so that the child may learn not only the existence of things, but also their nature and quality. So it is with everyone who emerges out of spiritual temptation; and the state of those in the other life who have been in falsities and are being vastated, is also similar. This state is called Fluctuation, and is here described by "the waters receding, going and returning."