By Rev. John Clowes M.A.
Explaining the Inner Meaning of John 3
Verses 3:1, 2. That some in the perverted church, in consequence of the miracles which the Lord worked, seek conjunction with him, and acknowledge his doctrine to be divine.
Verse 3:3. To whom it is taught, that man cannot attain any perception of heavenly good and truth, except by regeneration.
Verses 3:4, 5. This however is understood by those of the perverted church, according to a natural idea, and not according to a spiritual idea, and therefore they are further instructed, that regeneration is effected by a reception of the truths of faith in man's understanding, and by a love and life in conformity with those truths.
Verses 3:6, 7. Because man is at first born merely natural, but has the capacity of afterwards becoming spiritual, by a life according to truths derived from the Word, and therefore he ought not to regard regeneration as a strange, or irrational operation.
Verse 3:8. Yet that scarcely any of the innumerable arcana of regeneration come to the knowledge and perception of man.
Verses 3:9, 10. This cannot be comprehended by those of the perverted church, who are in the knowledges of external truth, when yet those knowledges ought to have conducted them to the apprehension of internal truth.
Verses 3:11, 12. For the literal or external sense of the Word proceeds from, and is filled with, the interior things of the divine truth and wisdom, which things are rejected by those who remain in the love of mere natural things, and who, on that account, cannot comprehend celestial and spiritual things.
Verse 3:13. For celestial and spiritual things can only be comprehended by those who receive into their minds and lives the divine truth, inasmuch as the divine truth alone comes down from heaven, and therefore is alone capable of elevating any into the things of heaven.
Verses 3:14, 15. That this divine truth therefore assumed a sensual corporeal principle here on earth, to the intent that sensual corporeal men might have a divine object of faith presented to them, and being thus elevated to conjunction with that object, might be preserved from the defilement and death of merely sensual and corporeal life.
Verse 3:16. That this was effected from the divine love, to the intent that mankind might no longer continue immersed in mere natural love, but might be raised into the sphere of celestial and spiritual love.
Verses 3:17, 18. Wherefore God assumed the Human [nature] to the intent that mankind might conjoin goodness and truth in their minds and lives, since a right faith in the Divine Humanity of the Lord leads to such conjunction, whereas a want of that faith leads to separation.
Verses 3:19, 20. For the Divine Humanity of the Lord is divine truth, and if divine truth be rejected in consequence of evil love, then nothing appertains to man but the false principle of evil.
Verse 3:21. On the other hand, if divine truth be loved and obeyed, man is conducted to the Lord's Divine Humanity, because he is willing to acknowledge that all the good which he wills and does is from that divine source.
Verses 3:22, 23, 24. That when the Lord had finished these sayings, he instructs the perverted church in the truths of purification, which truths also were taught in abundance by those who were principled in charity and faith, whilst they were in a state of freedom.
Verses 3:25, 26, 27. Nevertheless these truths are received with doubt by those of the perverted church, and therefore it is taught that all purifying truth is from the Divine Truth, and thus that all wisdom, intelligence, reason, and science, are not of man, but of the Lord in his Divine Humanity.
Verses 3:28, 29. And that the design of all representative truth is only to prepare mankind for the reception of the Divine Truth, that thus good and truth may be conjoined in the church, and the church may rejoice in being instructed concerning the precepts of faith, and in receiving them in faith and obedience.
Verses 3:30, 31. Thus the Divine Truth becomes all in all in the church, as being inmost truth, and all other good and truth only administer externally.
Verses 3:32, 33. For the Divine Truth testifies concerning the Lord, both as to his divine wisdom and divine love, and notwithstanding its being rejected by the generality of mankind, brings conviction along with it to those who receive it.
Verses 3:34, 35. Which truth is from the Lord's Divine Humanity, whose intelligence and wisdom are infinite, being in eternal union with the divine good, and thus possessing the all of that good.
Verse 3:36. Whosoever therefore receives truth from that Divine Humanity with a right faith, is made partaker also of the divine good, but whoever rejects it, can have no apprehension of that good, but remains in his own natural evils.
9281. 'And your female slave's son and the sojourner may draw breath' means the state of life of those governed by truths and forms of good outside the Church. This is clear from the meaning of 'female slave's son' as those with an affection for external truth, for 'son' means truth, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257, and 'a female slave' means an external affection, 1895, 2567, 3835, 3849, 7780, 8993; from the meaning of 'the sojourner' as those who wish to receive instruction in the Church's truths and forms of good, dealt with in 1463, 8007, 8013, 9196, the reason why 'female slave's son and the sojourner' here means those outside the Church being that the preceding words in the present verse have referred to those within the Church, and therefore those outside the Church are meant by 'a female slave's sons' and those not born within the Church by 'sojourners' (the former are such because they are the offspring of an inferior marriage, the latter because they descend from an alien stock); and from the meaning of 'drawing breath' as the state of life in respect of the truths and forms of the good of faith. 'Drawing breath' means that state of life because the lungs, whose function is breathing, correspond to the life of faith springing from charity, which is spiritual life, 97, 1119, 3351, 3635, 3883-3896, 9229.
 The human being breathes outwardly and he breathes inwardly; outwardly he draws breath from the world, but inwardly from heaven. When a person dies he ceases to breathe outwardly, but his inward breathing, which is soundless and is undetectable by him while he lives in the world, continues. This breathing is regulated altogether by his affection for truth, thus by the life of his faith. Those without any faith at all, as those in hell are, do not draw breath from an inner source but from an outward one, thus from an opposite direction. Therefore also when they come near an angelic community, which draws breath from an inner source, they start to be suffocated and to become like deathmasks, 3894. As a result of this they hurl themselves headlong back into their hell, where they regain their former manner of breathing that is the opposite of the heavenly manner.
(References: Isaiah 44:6)
 Since breathing corresponds to the life of faith, this life is also meant by anima - a word for soul or breath, 9050 - because of the animation or life-giving power that lies in breathing. Breathing is referred to additionally as spiritus - which also means 'spirit' - in such phrases as 'taking a breath' and 'letting out breath', and therefore also the word for spirits in the original language comes from a word for 'wind', and in the Word they are compared to wind, as in John,
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its voice; but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes away to. So is everyone who is born from the spirit. John 3:8.
From this also it is evident what the meaning is when it says that after the Resurrection, when the Lord spoke to the disciples, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit, John 20:22.