617. The man who believes that regeneration is possible without freedom of choice in spiritual things, thus without co-operation, becomes as frigid as a stone in regard to all the truths of the church; or if he is warm, since his warmth arises from lusts, he is like a burning brand in a fire-place, that blazes from the combustible elements in it. He becomes comparatively like a palace sinking into the ground even to its roof, and becoming flooded with muddy water; after which he dwells upon the bare roof, making a hut there for himself of marsh rushes, and at length the roof sinks also, and he is drowned. He is also like a ship laden with all kinds of precious merchandise taken from the Word as a treasury, but gnawed by mice and moth-eaten, or thrown by the sailors into the sea, so that the merchants are defrauded of their goods. Those who are learned or rich in the mysteries of that faith, are like the venders in little shops who sell idols, fruit, wax-flowers, shells, snakes in bottles, and such like things. Those who, because of the lack of spiritual power adapted and given to man by the Lord, have no wish to look upward, are actually like beasts whose heads look downward, and which care for nothing but to graze in the forests; and if they enter an orchard, they eat up the foliage of the trees like worms, or if they see the fruit with their eyes, or still more if they feel it with their hands, they fill it with worms; and finally they become like scaly serpents, their fallacies sounding and glittering like serpents' scales; and so on.