576. II. THE NEW BIRTH OR CREATION IS EFFECTED BY THE LORD ALONE THROUGH CHARITY AND FAITH AS THE TWO MEANS, MAN CO-OPERATING.
That regeneration is effected by the Lord through charity and faith, follows from what was set forth in the chapters on Charity and Faith, especially from this, That the Lord, Charity and Faith make one, like Life, Will and Understanding in man, and if they are divided, each of them perishes like a pearl reduced to powder. These two, charity and faith, are called the means, because they are what conjoin man with the Lord, causing charity to be charity, and faith to be faith; and this conjunction cannot be effected unless man has part in his regeneration; and this is why it is said, man co-operating.
In the preceding chapters man's co-operation with the Lord has been several times treated of; but as the human mind is such as to be incapable of perceiving otherwise than that man effects this by his own power, the subject shall be illustrated again. In all motion, and consequently in all action, there is an active and a passive; that is to say, the active acts, and the passive acts from the active, so that from both one action arises; comparatively as a mill is moved by its wheel, a carriage by its horse, as motion is from effect, an effect from its cause, a dead force from a living force, and in general, as the instrument is moved by the principal. Everyone knows that these two together produce one action. As to charity and faith, the Lord acts and man acts from the Lord, for the Lord's active is in man's passive; therefore the power to act aright is from the Lord, and the will to act therefrom is as if it were man's, because he has the freedom of choice, whereby he is able to act as one with the Lord and thus conjoin himself with Him, or to act from the power of hell which is an extraneous power, and thus to separate himself from the Lord. It is man's action in harmony with the Lord's action that is here meant by co-operation. To give a clearer perception of this, it shall be still further illustrated by comparisons which follow.