By Rev. Junchol Lee
We use a calendar that has 12 months and 365 days in it. As it nears December 31st, we feel as though something is getting close to an end, and yet on January 1st it feels like a new beginning. Our life is composed of many endings and beginnings. We may live one life, but within this one life we have many different journeys.
(References: Habakkuk 3:17)
461. The third experience 1
Once when I was in the spirit I travelled deep into the southern region in the spiritual world, and came into a park there; and I saw that this one was better than the others I had so far visited. The reason was that a garden means intelligence; and it is to the south that all are sent who are especially intelligent. It was this that was meant by the Garden of Eden, where Adam lived with his wife; so their being driven out implies that they were deprived of intelligence, and thus also of uprightness of life. As I was walking in this southern park I noticed some people sitting under a laurel-bush eating figs. I went up to them and asked them to give me some figs. They did so, and at once the figs in my hand turned into grapes. I was surprised by this, but an angelic spirit standing next to me said: 'The figs in your hand turned into grapes, because the meaning of figs by their correspondence is the kinds of good of charity and hence of faith in the natural or external man, and grape means the kinds of good of charity and hence of faith in the spiritual or internal man. As you love what is spiritual, so this happened to you. For in our world everything happens and comes into existence, and also undergoes change, in accordance with correspondences.'
 I was at once struck with a keen desire to know how a person can do good coming from God, and yet do it exactly as if of himself. So I asked those who were eating figs how they understood the point. They said that they could only understand this as meaning that God performs this inwardly in a person while he is unaware of it. For if he were conscious of it, and did it in that state, he would do only apparent good, which is inwardly evil. 'Everything,' they said, 'which comes from man comes from his self (proprium), and this is evil from birth. How then can good coming from God and evil coming from man be linked, and so jointly proceed to action? A person's self in matters of salvation is constantly seeking merit; and in so far as he does so, he takes away from the Lord His merit, which is the height of injustice and impiety. In short, if the good which God performs in a person were to flow into his willing and thence into his doing, that good would be utterly defiled and profaned, something God never permits. A person can of course think that the good he does comes from God, and call it God's good done by his means; still we do not understand that it is good.'
 Then I disclosed what I was thinking and said: 'You do not understand because your thinking is based upon appearances, and this sort of thinking if supported by argument is fallacy. The appearance and hence the fallacy you are involved in is because you believe that everything a person wills and thinks, and so does and says, is in him and consequently comes from him. Yet in fact nothing of this is in him, except the condition of receiving what flows in. Man is not life in himself, but he is an instrument for receiving life. The Lord is life in Himself, as He also says in John:
As the Father has life in Himself, so He granted to the Son to have life in Himself, John 5:26; and elsewhere, for instance John 11:25; 14:6, 19.
 'There are two things which produce life, love and wisdom, or, what is the same, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. These flow in from God, and are received by a person as if they were his own; and because they are felt like this, they also come from a person as if they were his. The Lord grants that they are felt like this by a person, so that what flows in affects him, and so by being accepted remains with him. But because all evil also flows in, not from God, but from hell, and accepting this gives pleasure, man being by birth such an instrument, for this reason only so much good can be accepted from God as there is evil taken away by the person as if by himself, which is achieved by repentance together with faith in the Lord.
 'It can be plainly seen from a consideration of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch that love and wisdom, charity and faith, or to use a more general expression, the good of love and charity, and the truth of wisdom and faith, flow into a person; and that what flows in appears in a person as if it were entirely his own, and it proceeds from him as if it were his own. All the sensations produced in the organs of those senses come from an external source and are felt in the organs concerned. It is the same with the organs of the internal senses, the only difference being that these are affected by spiritual things, which are undetectable, flowing in, whereas the external senses are affected by natural things, which are detectable. In short, man is an instrument for the reception of life from God; it follows that he receives good to the extent that he desists from evil. Everyone is granted by the Lord the potentiality of desisting from evil, because he is granted the power to will and to have understanding; and whatever a person does from his will in accordance with his understanding, or what is the same thing, from his freedom to will in accordance with the power of reason in his understanding, is permanent. By this means the Lord brings a person into a state of being linked with Himself, and in this state He reforms, regenerates and saves him.
 'The life which flows in is life coming forth from the Lord; this life is also called the Spirit of God, and in the Word the Holy Spirit, and of this it is said that it enlightens and quickens, in fact that it works on him. But this life varies and is modified depending on the organisation brought about by love. You can also know that all the good of love and charity, and all the truth of wisdom and faith flow in and are not actually in the person, if you reflect that when anyone thinks that man has such a capability from creation, he must inevitably think that God poured Himself into man, so that people are partially gods. Yet those who think this as a result of firm belief become devils, and in our world stink like corpses.
 'Moreover, what is human action but a mind acting? What the mind wills and thinks, it does and speaks by means of its instrument, the body. When therefore the mind is guided by the Lord, so is its action and speech. Action and speech are guided by the Lord, when He is believed in. If this were not so, tell me if you can, why did the Lord in thousands of places in His Word order man to love his neighbour, perform the good deeds of charity, to produce fruit like a tree and keep His commandments, and to do both one and the other in order to be saved? Again, why did He say that a person would be judged according to his deeds or what he had done, those whose deeds were good going to heaven and life, those whose deeds were wicked going to hell and death? How could the Lord have said such things, if everything coming from a person was done to acquire merit and therefore wicked? You ought therefore to know that if the mind is charity, so too is action; but if the mind is faith alone, and this too is faith separated from spiritual charity, action also is that faith.'
 On hearing this those who were sitting under the laurel said: 'We grasp that you have spoken fairly, but still we do not grasp the point.' 'You grasp,' I answered them, 'that I have spoken fairly by means of the general perception which all people enjoy as the result of the light which flows in from heaven when they hear something true. Your failure to grasp the point is due to your own personal perception, which everyone has as a result of light flowing in from the world. In the case of the wise those two kinds of perception, internal and external, or spiritual and natural, act as one. You too can make them act as one, if you look to the Lord and put away evils.' Since they understood this, I took some shoots off a vine and held them out to them saying, 'Do you think this is from me or from the Lord?' They said it was from the Lord through me; and at once the shoots in their hands put forth grapes.
When I left, I saw a table of cedar-wood, on which was a book, under a flourishing olive-tree with a vine wound about its trunk. When I looked, I saw to my surprise that the book was the one written through me called ARCANA CAELESTIA 2 . I said that that book contained a full demonstration that man is an instrument for the reception of life, and was not himself life; and that life could not be created and so by being created be in man, any more than light could be created in the eye.