318. But how man's state is changed by the confirmations of falsities and persuasions derived from them will now be explained in the following order:
1. There is nothing that cannot be confirmed, and falsity more readily than truth.
2. Truth does not appear when falsity is confirmed, but falsity appears from confirmed truth.
3. To be able to confirm whatever one pleases is not intelligence but only ingenuity, which may exist even with the worst of men.
4. There is confirmation that is intellectual and not at the same time voluntary; but all voluntary confirmation is also intellectual.
5. The confirmation of evil that is both voluntary and intellectual causes man to believe that his own prudence is everything and the Divine Providence nothing, but not the confirmation that is only intellectual.
6. Everything confirmed by both the will and the understanding remains to eternity; but not what has been confirmed only by the understanding.
 With respect to the First: There is nothing that cannot be confirmed, and falsity more readily than truth. What may not be confirmed, when it is confirmed by atheists that God is not the Creator of the universe, but that nature is the creator of herself; that religion is only a restraining bond, and for the simple and the common people; that man is as a beast, and dies like one; and when it is confirmed that adulteries are allowable, likewise secret theft, fraud and treacherous devices; that cunning is intelligence and wickedness is wisdom? Everyone confirms his own heresy. Are there not volumes filled with confirmations of the two heresies prevailing in the Christian world? Formulate ten heresies even of an abstruse nature, and tell an ingenious person to confirm them, and he will confirm them all. If you then regard them only from their confirmations will you not see falsities as truths? As every falsity shines clearly in the natural man from appearances and fallacies, and truth shines only in the spiritual man, it is evident that falsity can be confirmed more readily than truth.
 In order that it may be known that every falsity and every evil can be confirmed even to the point that falsity appears as truth and evil as good, take this as an example: let it be confirmed that light is darkness and darkness light. May it not be urged, What is light itself? Is it not only something that appears in the eye according to its state? What is light when the eye is closed? Have not bats and owls such eyes that they see light as darkness and darkness as light? I have heard it said of some persons that they see in this way; and that infernal spirits, although they are in darkness, still see one another. Has not man light in his dreams in the middle of the night? Is not darkness therefore light, and light darkness? But it may be answered, What of this? Light is light as truth is truth; and darkness is darkness as falsity is falsity.
 Take another example: let it be confirmed that a crow is white. May it not be said that its blackness is only a shade which is not the reality? Its feathers are white within, and so is its body; and these are the substances of which the bird is formed. As its blackness is only a shade, therefore, the crow becomes white when it grows old, and some such have been seen. What is black in itself but white? Grind down black glass and you will see that the powder is white. Therefore, when you call a crow black you speak from the shadow and not from the reality. But it may be answered, What of this? At this rate it might be said that all birds are white. These examples, although they are contrary to sound reason, are set forth to show that it is possible to confirm falsity that is directly opposite to the truth, and to confirm evil that is directly opposite to good.
 Second: Truth does not appear when falsity is confirmed, but falsity appears from confirmed truth. All falsity is in darkness and all truth in light; and in darkness nothing is seen, nor indeed is it known what anything is unless by touching it; but it is not so in the light. For this reason in the Word falsities are called darkness; and consequently those who are in falsities are said to walk in darkness and in the shadow of death. On the other hand, truths are there called light, and consequently those who are in truths are said to walk in the light, and are called the children of light.
 From many things it is evident that when falsity is confirmed, truth does not appear, and that from confirmed truth falsity appears. For example, who would see any spiritual truth if the Word did not teach it? Would there not be merely darkness which could not be dispelled, unless by means of the light in which the Word is, and only with him who desires to be enlightened? What heretic can see his falsities unless he accepts the genuine truth of the Church? He does not see them before. I have conversed with some who have confirmed themselves in faith separated from charity, and who were asked whether they saw the many things in the Word concerning love and charity, about works and deeds, and about keeping the Commandments, and that he is blessed and wise who keeps them but foolish who does not. They replied that when they read those things they only saw them as matters of faith and so passed them by as it were with their eyes shut.
 Those who have confirmed themselves in falsities are like those who see streaks on an inner wall in a house; and in the shades of evening they see in their fancy the marked part like a man on horse-back or simply as a man, a visionary image which is dispelled by the light of day when it pours in. Who can perceive the spiritual defilement of adultery but one who is in the spiritual purity of chastity? Who can feel the cruelty of revenge but one who is in good arising from love of the neighbour? Who that is an adulterer, or who is revengeful, does not sneer at those who call the delights of such things infernal, and who, on the other hand, call the delights of marriage love and the love of the neighbour heavenly? and so on.
 Third: To be able to confirm whatever one pleases is not intelligence but only ingenuity, which may exist even with the worst of men. There are some very skilful in confirming who know no truth and yet can confirm both truth and falsity. Some of them say, What is truth? Does it exist? Is not that true which I make true? Yet these are considered intelligent in the world, although they are only plasterers of the wall.* None are intelligent but those who perceive truth to be truth, and confirm truth by individual truths continually perceived. These two classes of men are not easily distinguished, because it is not possible to distinguish between the light of confirmation and the light of the perception of truth. There is the appearance that those who are in the light of confirmation are also in the light of the perception of truth, when nevertheless the difference between them is like that between illusive light and genuine light; and in the spiritual world illusive light is such that it is turned into darkness when genuine light flows in. There is such illusive light with many in hell; and when these are brought into genuine light they see nothing at all. Hence it is evident that to be able to confirm whatever one pleases is only, ingenuity which may exist even with the worst of men.
 Fourth: There is confirmation that is intellectual and not at the same time voluntary, but all voluntary confirmation is also intellectual. Take these examples by way of illustration. Those who confirm faith separate from charity and yet live the life of charity, who in general confirm falsity of doctrine and yet do not live according to it, are those that are in intellectual confirmation and not at the same time in voluntary confirmation. On the other hand, those who confirm falsity of doctrine and who live according to it are those that are in voluntary confirmation and at the same time in intellectual confirmation. This is because the understanding does not flow into the will, but the will flows into the understanding. Hence it is also evident what the falsity of evil is, and what the falsity which is not of evil. Falsity which is not of evil can be conjoined with good, but falsity of evil cannot; because falsity which is not of evil is falsity in the understanding and not in the will, while falsity of evil is falsity in the understanding arising from evil in the will.
 Fifth: The confirmation of evil that is both voluntary and intellectual causes man to believe that his own prudence is everything and the Divine Providence nothing, but not the confirmation that is only intellectual. There are many who confirm in themselves their own prudence from appearances in the world but yet do not deny the Divine Providence; and theirs is only intellectual confirmation. With others, however, who at the same time deny the Divine Providence there also exists voluntary confirmation; but this, together with persuasion, is chiefly to be found with those who are worshippers of nature and also worshippers of self.
 Sixth: Everything confirmed by both the will and the understanding remains to eternity, but not what has been confirmed only by the understanding. For that which pertains to the understanding alone is not within the man but outside him: it is only in the thought. Moreover, nothing enters into man and is appropriated to him but what is received by the will, for it then comes to be of his life's love. It will now be shown in the following number that this remains to eternity.
* plasterers of the wall. See above, No. 318:7.