149. Freedom originates from the equilibrium between heaven and hell, and man, without freedom, cannot be reformed, is shown in the work on Heaven an Hell, in the articles concerning that equilibrium (n. 589-596), and concerning freedom (n. 597 to the end); but for the sake of instruction respecting what freedom is, and to show that man is reformed by means of it, I will here quote the following extracts from that work.
"It has been shown, that the equilibrium between heaven and hell is an equilibrium between the good which is from heaven and the evil which is from hell; and thus it is a spiritual equilibrium, which in its essence is freedom. The reason that spiritual equilibrium is, in its essence, freedom, is, because it is an equilibrium between good and evil, and between truth and falsity, which are spiritual things; wherefore, the power of willing either good or evil, and of thinking either truth or falsity, and of choosing the one in preference to the other, is freedom. This freedom is given to everyone by the Lord, nor is it ever taken away from him. In its origin, indeed, it does not belong to man, but to the Lord, because it is from the Lord; but, nevertheless, it is given to man, together with life, as his own: and it is given him to this end, that he may be reformed and saved; for without freedom there can be no reformation and salvation. Everyone who takes any rational view of things may see, that man has freedom to think either ill or well, sincerely or insincerely, justly or unjustly; and also, that he is at liberty to speak and to act well, sincerely, and justly, but is withheld from speaking and acting ill, insincerely, and unjustly, by spiritual, moral, and civil laws, by which his external is kept in bonds. From these things it is evident, that the spirit of man, which is that which thinks and wills: is in freedom. Not so the external of man, which speaks and acts, except in conformity with the above-mentioned laws. The reason that man cannot be reformed, unless he is in freedom, is because he is born into evils of all kinds. These must be removed, in order that he may be saved; and they cannot be removed, unless he sees them in himself, and acknowledges them; and afterwards ceases to will them, and at length holds them in aversion. It is then that they are first removed. This could not be done, unless man possessed in him good as well as evil; for he is capable, from good, of seeing evils, but not, from evil, of seeing goods. The spiritual goods which man can think, he learns from infancy by reading the Word and hearing sermons; and he learns moral and civil goods from life in the world. This is the first reason why man ought to be in freedom. Another is, that nothing is appropriated to man, but what he does from an affection that is of his love; other things may indeed enter his mind, but no further than into his thought; and not into his will; and what does not enter into the will does not become his own, for the thought draws its ideas from the memory, but the will from the life itself. Nothing that man ever does or thinks is free, but what proceeds from this will, or, what is the same thing, from an affection belonging to his love. Whatever a man wills or loves, he does freely; in consequence of which, a man's freedom, and the affection which is that of his love or of his will, are one: on which account, therefore, man must have freedom, in order that he may be affected by truth and good, or love them, and that they may become as it were his own. In a word, whatever does not enter man in freedom, does not remain, because it is not of his love or will; and whatever is not of a man's love or will is not of his spirit: for the esse of the spirit of man is his love or will.
"That man may be in freedom, as necessary to his being reformed, he is conjoined, as to his spirit, with heaven and with hell; for spirits from hell, and angels from heaven, are with every man. By the spirits from hell, man is held in his evil; but by the angels from heaven, he is held in good by the Lord. Thus he is in spiritual equilibrium, that is, in freedom. That angels from heaven, and spirits from hell, are adjoined to every man, may be seen in the Section on the Conjunction of Heaven with the Human Race" (n. 291-302).