297. III. THE WICKED CANNOT BE WHOLLY WITHDRAWN BY THE LORD FROM EVIL AND LED IN GOOD SO LONG AS THEY BELIEVE THEIR OWN INTELLIGENCE TO BE EVERYTHING, AND THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE NOTHING. It would appear to be the case that man can withdraw himself from evil, provided he thinks that this or that is contrary to the common good, contrary to what is useful and contrary to national and international law. This a wicked man can do as well as a good man, provided that, by birth or by practice, he is able analytically and rationally to exercise thought in a clear manner inwardly within himself. However, man is not able to withdraw himself from evil; because the faculty of understanding and perceiving things, even abstractly, is given by the Lord to everyone, the wicked as well as the good, as has been shown above in many places, and yet man cannot by means of this faculty deliver himself from evil; for evil pertains to the will, and the understanding flows into the will with light only, enlightening and teaching. If then the heat of the will, that is, man's love, is glowing from the lust of evil it is cold as to the affection of good, and therefore does not receive the light, but either reflects it or extinguishes it, or by some falsity devised for the purpose turns it into evil. In this it resembles the light of winter, which is as clear as the light of summer and continues so even when flowing into the frozen trees. However, this can be seen more fully in the following order:
1. One's own intelligence, when the will is in evil, sees falsity only, and has neither the desire nor the ability to see anything else.
2. If one's own intelligence then sees the truth, it either turns itself away or falsifies it.
3. The Divine Providence continually causes man to see truth, and also gives him the affection of perceiving it and of receiving it.
4. By this means man is withdrawn from evil, not of himself but by the Lord.