482. That man would have no freedom of choice in civil, moral, and natural things, if he had none in spiritual things, is evident from this, that spiritual things, which are called theological, have their seat in the highest region of his mind, like the soul in the body. They have their seat there because there is the door through which the Lord enters into man. Beneath these are things civil, moral, and natural, which in man receive all their life from the spiritual things that have their abode above them. And because life from the highest regions flows in from the Lord, and man's life is an ability to think and will freely, and to speak and act therefrom, it follows that his freedom of choice in political and natural affairs is from that source and no other. From that spiritual freedom man has a perception of what is good and true, and of what is just and right in civil matters; and this perception is the understanding itself in its essence.
 Man's freedom of choice in spiritual things is comparatively like the air in the lungs, which is inhaled, retained, and expelled in accordance with all the changes of his thought; and without that freedom he would be worse than one laboring under a nightmare, angina, or asthma. It is also like the blood in the heart; if this began to fail the heart would first palpitate, and then after a few convulsive movements, would cease to beat altogether. It may also be compared to a body in motion, which keeps moving as long as the effort in it continues; but both motion and effort cease at the same time. So also is it with the freedom of choice which man's will possesses. Both of these, freedom of choice and the will, may be called the living effort in man, for when volition ceases, action ceases, and when freedom of choice ceases volition ceases.
 If man were deprived of spiritual freedom, it would be comparatively as if the wheels were taken from machinery, the fans from a windmill, or the sails from a vessel. It would even be as with one who in dying sends forth his last breath; for the life of man's spirit consists in his freedom of choice in spiritual things. The angels weep when they but hear it said that this freedom of choice is denied by many ministers of the church at this day; and they call this denial madness upon madness.