True Christian Religion #574

True Christian Religion (Chadwick translation)

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574. All reason plainly shows that man needs to be regenerated. For he acquires by birth from his parents evils of all kinds, and these are lodged in his natural man, which is of itself diametrically opposed to the spiritual man. Yet he is by birth destined for heaven, and he cannot reach heaven, unless he becomes spiritual; and the only way this can happen is by being regenerated. The necessary consequence is that the natural man with his longings must be tamed, subdued and turned upside down; otherwise a person cannot advance a step nearer heaven, but more and more he drags himself down to hell. Everyone can see this, if he believes that he has acquired by birth evils of all kinds, and if he acknowledges the existence of good and evil, one opposed to the other; and if he believes in life after death, in hell and in heaven, and that evils make hell, good makes heaven. The natural man regarded in himself is as concerns his nature not in the slightest different from an animal. He is equally untamed, but this as regards his will. In respect of the understanding, however, he differs from the animals, for the understanding can be raised above the cravings of the will, and can not only see them, but also control them. That is why man is able to use his understanding to think, and his thinking to talk, which no animal can do.

[2] What man is like by birth, and what he would be like if not regenerated can be seen from wild beasts of all kinds. He would be a tiger, a panther, a leopard, a wild boar, a scorpion, a tarantula, a viper, a crocodile and so on. So unless he were by regeneration transformed into a sheep, what else would he be but a devil among the devils in hell? Were it not for the restraint the laws of the kingdom impose on their innate ferocity, would not one then rush to attack another, so that they would slaughter one another or strip them of everything down to their underpants? How many of the human race are there who were not by birth satyrs and priapi, or four-footed lizards? Everyone of either class, if he is not regenerated, turns into an ape. This is the result of external morality, which is the extra lesson learned in order to cover up one's internals.

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