(DLW) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom

DLW 425

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425. (20) The capacity to understand called rationality and the capacity to act called freedom, still remain. These two capacities belonging to man have been treated of above (n. 264-267). Man has these two capacities that he may from being natural become spiritual, that is, may be regenerated. For, as was said above, it is man's love that becomes spiritual, and is regenerated; and it cannot become spiritual or be regenerated unless it knows, by means of its understanding, what evil is and what good is, and therefore what truth is and what falsity is. When it knows this it can choose either one or the other; and if it chooses good it can, by means of its understanding, be instructed about the means by which to attain to good. All the means by which man is enabled to attain good are provided. It is by rationality that man is able to know and understand these means, and by freedom that he is able to will and to do them. There is also a freedom to will to know, to understand, and to think these means. Those who hold from church doctrine that things spiritual or theological transcend the understanding, and are therefore to be believed apart from the understanding know nothing of these capacities called rationality and freedom. These cannot do otherwise than deny that there is a capacity called rationality. Those, too, who hold from church doctrine that no one is able to do good from himself, and consequently that good is not to be done from any will to be saved, cannot do otherwise than deny, from a principle of religion, the existence of both these capacities which belong to man. Therefore, those who have confirmed themselves in these things, after death, in agreement with their faith, are deprived of both these capacities; and in place of heavenly freedom, in which they might have been, are in infernal freedom, and in place of angelic wisdom from rationality, in which they might have been, are in infernal insanity; and what is wonderful, they claim that both these capacities have place in doing what is evil and thinking what is false, not knowing that the exercise of freedom in doing what is evil is slavery, and that the exercise of the reason to think what is false is irrational. But it is to be carefully noted that these capacities, freedom and rationality, are neither of them man's, but are of the Lord in man, and that they cannot be appropriated to man as his; nor indeed, can they be given to man as his, but are continually of the Lord in man, and yet are never taken away from man; and this because without them man cannot be saved, for without them he cannot be regenerated (as has been said above). For this reason man is instructed by the church that from himself he can neither think what is true nor do what is good. But inasmuch as man perceives no otherwise than that he thinks from himself what is true and does from himself what is good, it is very evident that he ought to believe that he thinks as if from himself what is true, and does as if from himself what is good. For if he does not believe this, either he does not think what is true nor do what is good, and therefore has no religion, or he thinks what is true and does what is good from himself, and thus ascribes to himself that which is Divine. That man ought to think what is true and do good as if from himself, may be seen in the Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem, from beginning to end.


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