The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine #199

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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199. What good is effected by temptations.

The effect of temptations, a summary (n. 1692, 1717[1-3], 1740, 6144, 8958-8969). By temptations the spiritual or internal man acquires dominion over the natural or external man; consequently good over evil, and truth over falsity; because good resides in the spiritual man, which cannot exist without it, and evil resides in the natural man (n. 8961). Since temptation is a combat between them, it follows that dominion is the object of the contest, that is, whether the spiritual man shall have dominion over the natural man, thus whether good shall have dominion over evil, or vice versa; consequently, whether the Lord or hell shall have dominion over man (n. 1923, 3928). The external or natural man, by means of temptations, receives truths corresponding to the affection thereof in the internal or spiritual man (n. 3321, 3928). The internal spiritual man is opened and conjoined with the external by means of temptations, in order that man as to each may be elevated, and look to the Lord (n. 10685). The internal spiritual man is opened and conjoined with the external by means of temptations, because the Lord acts from the interior, and flows in thence into the external, and removes and subjugates the evils therein, and at the same time subjects and renders it subordinate to the internal (n. 10685).

Temptations take place for the sake of the conjunction of good and truth, and the dispersion of the falsities which adhere to truths and goods (n. 4572). Consequently that good is conjoined to truths by temptations (n. 2272). The vessels recipient of truth are softened by temptations, and put on a state receptive of good (n. 3318). Truths and goods, thus the things which belong to faith and charity, are confirmed and implanted by temptations (n. 8351, 8924, 8966, 8967). And evils and falsities are removed, and room made for the reception of goods and truths (n. 7122). By temptations the loves of self and the world, from whence proceed all evils and falsities, are broken (n. 5356). And thus man is humbled (n. 8966, 8967). Evils and falsities are subdued, separated, and removed, but not abolished, by temptations (n. 868). By temptations corporeal things with their lusts are subdued (n. 857, 868). 1 Man by temptations learns what good and truth are, even from their relation to their opposites, which are evils and falsities (n. 5356). He also learns that of himself he is nothing but evil, and that all the good with him is from the Lord, and from His mercy (n. 2334).

By the temptations in which man conquers, evil spirits are deprived of the power of rising up against him any further (n. 1695, 1717[1-3]). The hells dare not rise up against those who have suffered temptations and have conquered (n. 2183, 8273).

After temptations in which man has conquered, there is joy arising from the conjunction of good and truth, although the man does not know that the joy is thence (n. 4572, 6829). There is then the enlightenment of the truth which is of faith, and the perception of the good which is of love (n. 8367, 8370). Thence he has intelligence and wisdom (n. 8966, 8967). Truths after temptations increase immensely (n. 6663). And good has the precedence, or is in the first place, and truth in the second (n. 5773). And man, as to his internal spiritual man, is admitted into the angelic societies, thus into heaven (n. 6611).

Before a man undergoes temptations, the truths and goods which are with him are arranged in order by the Lord, that he may be able to resist the evils and falsities which are with him, and are excited from hell (n. 8131). In temptations the Lord provides good where the evil spirits intend evil (n. 6574). After temptations the Lord reduces truths with goods into a new order, and arranges them in a heavenly form (n. 10685). The interiors of the spiritual man are arranged into a heavenly form, see the work on Heaven and Hell, in the chapter on the Form of Heaven, according to which are the consociations and communications 2 there (n. 200, 212).

They who fall in temptations, come into damnation, because evils and falsities conquer, and the natural man prevails over the spiritual man, and afterwards has the dominion; and then the latter state becomes worse than the former (n. 8165, 8169,8961).


1. The printed version has 357, an incorrect reading of the Latin.

2. The phrase "and communications" is found in the 1st Latin edition but not the 2nd. The translator thus omits it.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.