526. III. THAT IF BY IMPUTATION IS MEANT SUCH TRANSCRIPTION, IMPUTATION IS AN IDLE WORD. It was demonstrated above (no. 524), that after death the evil in which a man is, is imputed to him and likewise the good. What is meant by imputation is therefore evident. But if by imputation is meant the transcription of good into one who is in evil, then, this being impossible, imputation is an idle word. This also was demonstrated above (no. 525). In the world, merits can in a way be transcribed by men, that is, good can be done to children on account of their parents, or to friends of an adherent, from favor; but the good of the merit cannot be inscribed upon their souls, it can only be adjoined from without. The same thing is not possible with men as regards their spiritual life. This, as shown above, must be implanted; and the man remains in the evil in which he was born, if this spiritual life is not implanted by a life according to the Lord's commandments mentioned above. Until this is done, no good can reach him, or if it touches him, it is either thrown back and recoils like an elastic ball falling on a rock, or is swallowed up like a diamond thrown into a marsh. As to his spirit, an unreformed man is like a panther or an owl and may be compared to a briar and a nettle; but a man regenerated is like a sheep or a dove and may be compared to an olive tree and a vine. Pray think, if you will, how can a man-panther by any imputation, if by that is meant transcription, be converted into a man-lamb? or an owl into a dove? a briar into an olive tree? a nettle into a vine? If there is to be conversion, must not the ferine nature of the panther and the owl, and the noxiousness of the briar and the nettle be first taken away, and thus the truly human and innocuous be implanted? In John 15:1-7, the Lord teaches how this is done.