98. It was said above that every man has the faculty of willing called liberty and the faculty of understanding called rationality. It should, however, be well known that these faculties are as it were implanted in man, for his humanity itself (humanum) resides in them; but, as has just been said, it is one thing to act from freedom according to reason, and another thing to act from freedom itself according to reason itself. Only those act from freedom itself according to reason itself who have suffered themselves to be regenerated by the Lord; all others act from freedom according to thought, to which they give the semblance of reason. Yet every man unless born foolish or excessively stupid is able to attain to reason itself, and by means of this to freedom itself; but there are many reasons why every man does not do so that will be made known in what follows. Here it will only be told who those are to whom there cannot be given freedom itself or liberty itself and at the same time reason itself or rationality itself, and who those are to whom they can be given with difficulty.
 Liberty itself and rationality itself cannot be given to those who are born foolish, or to those who have later become foolish, as long as they remain so. They cannot be given to those born stupid and dull, or to any who have become so from the torpor of idleness, or from disease that has perverted or completely closed the interiors of the mind, or from the love of a bestial life.  Liberty itself and rationality itself cannot be given to those in the Christian world who totally deny the Divinity of the Lord and the sanctity of the Word, and who have confirmed this denial in themselves and maintained it to the end of their life. For this is meant by the sin against the Holy Spirit which is not forgiven either in this world or in the world to come, Matt. xii. 31, 32.  Neither can liberty itself and rationality itself be given to those who attribute all things to nature and nothing to the Divine, and who have made this part of their faith by reasoning from visible things; for these are atheists.
 Liberty itself and rationality itself can with difficulty be given to those who have strongly confirmed themselves in falsities of religion, for a confirmer of falsity is a denier of truth; but they can be given to those who, whatever the form of their religion may be, have not so confirmed themselves. On this matter see what has been presented in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE (n. 91-97).  Infants and children cannot attain to liberty itself and rationality itself before they reach the age of maturity; for in man the interiors of the mind are opened gradually; and in the meantime they are like seeds in unripe fruit, that cannot sprout in the soil.