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True Christianity #571

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571. Chapter 10: Reformation and Regeneration

Now that repentance has been treated, the next topic in order is our reformation and regeneration. These two both follow our repentance and are moved forward by it.

There are two states that we all inevitably enter into and go through if we are to turn from an earthly person into a spiritual person. The first state is called reformation, the second is called regeneration. In the first state we look from our earthly self toward having a spiritual self; being spiritual is what we long for. In the second state we become someone who is both spiritual and earthly. The first state is brought about by truths (these have to be truths related to faith); through these truths we aim to develop goodwill. The second state is brought about by good actions that come from goodwill; through these actions we come [more deeply] into truths related to faith.

To put it another way, the first state is a state of thought that occurs in our intellect; the second state is a state of love that occurs in our will. As the second state begins and progresses, a change takes place in our minds. There is a reversal, because then the love in our will flows into our intellect and leads and drives it to think in agreement and harmony with what we love. As good actions that come from love take on a primary role, and the truths related to faith are relegated to a secondary role, we become spiritual and are a new creation [2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15]. Then our actions come from goodwill and our words come from faith; we develop a sense of the goodness that comes from goodwill and a perception of the truth that is related to faith; and we are in the Lord and in a state of peace. In brief, we are reborn.

[2] If we begin the first state while we are in this world, we can be brought into the second state after we die. If we do not begin the first state while we are in this world, we cannot be brought into the second state or be reborn after we die.

These two states can be compared to the increase of light and heat that occurs as the day progresses in springtime. The first state is like the early light before dawn, when the rooster crows. The second state is like the dawn and the morning. The further development within the second state is like the increase of light and heat as the day progresses toward noon.

These two states can also be compared with the growth of grain crops. In the first stage they are like grass; after that they develop ears or fruiting spikes; and finally the grain itself grows within those structures.

These two states can also be compared with the growth of a tree. It begins as a sprout growing out of a seed in the ground. This then becomes a shoot. Then branches form and are adorned with leaves. Then the tree blossoms and fruit begins to grow in the heart of the flowers. As the fruit grows and develops, it produces new seeds, which are in effect the tree's offspring.

The first state, the state of reformation, can be compared to the state of a silkworm when it draws silky threads out of itself and wraps itself in them. After all its hard work [of transformation], it becomes able to fly in the air and feeds no longer on leaves as before but on the nectar of flowers.

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2 Corinthians 5:17

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17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

True Christian Religion 573, 601, 687

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 3

Scriptural Confirmations 20, 84, 101

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Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) #3

Coronis (Buss translation)      

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3. The same four Churches on this earth are described by four beasts rising up out of the sea, in Daniel; of which it is there written:

The first was seen like a lion, but it had eagle's wings. I beheld until the wings thereof were plucked out, and it was lifted up from the earth, and set up upon feet, erect like a man, and a man's heart was given to it. Afterwards, behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side; three ribs were in its mouth between the teeth: moreover, they were saying thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After these things, I beheld, and, lo, another, like a leopard, which had four wings, like birds' wings, upon the back of it; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this, I saw in the night visions, and beheld a fourth beast, terrible and dreadful, and strong exceedingly, which had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet; but it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I beheld till thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit; and the judgment was set, and the books were opened; and, behold, one like the Son of Man was coming with the clouds of the heavens. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; and all peoples, nations and languages should worship Him: His dominion is a dominion of an age, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not perish (Dan. 7:3-9, [7:10], 7:13-14, etc.).

That by these beasts, in like manner, are meant and described those four Churches, is manifest from all the particulars there (which shall be unfolded in their order in the following pages); more especially from the last expressions there, that after those four beasts there will come "the Son of Man, to whom shall be given dominion, and a kingdom which shall not pass away nor perish"; who, also, is meant by the Stone made into "a great Rock, which shall fill the whole earth," as may be seen above (n. 2, at the end).

[2] That the states of the Church are likewise described by beasts, as well as by metals, in the Word, is evident from numberless passages, some only of which I will adduce here; which are as follows:

Thou causest the rain of benefits to drop; thou wilt confirm thy wearied inheritance; the beast 1 -thy assembly-shall dwell therein (Psalm 68:9-10).

Every wild beast of the forest is Mine, the beasts in the mountains of thousands; I know every bird of the mountains, the beasts of My fields are with Me (Psalm 50:10-11).

Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon, his height was exalted; all the birds of the heavens made their nests in his branches, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth, and in his shadow dwelt all great nations (Ezek. 31:3, 5-6, 13; Dan. 4:7-13).

in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beast of the field, and with the bird of the heavens, and I will betroth Myself unto thee to eternity (Hosea 2:18-19).

Rejoice and be glad; be not afraid, ye beasts of My fields; for the habitations of the desert are become full of grass (Joel 2:21-22).

Thou, son of man, say unto the bird of every wing, and to every beast of the field, Gather yourselves together to My sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel: thus I will set My glory among the nations (Ezek. 39:17, 20-21).

The enemy hath reproached Jehovah; deliver not the soul of the turtle-dove unto the beast 2 (Psalm 74:18-19).

Jehovah gathereth the outcasts of Israel; every beast of My fields, come (Isa. 56:8-9).

The spirit urging, made Jesus to go forth into the wilderness and He was with the beasts; and angels ministered unto Him (Mark 1:12-13).

He was not with beasts, but with devils, with whom He fought and whom He subdued-(not to mention a thousand other passages, which are adduced in part in the APOCALYPSE REVEALED , n. 567). Moreover, it is well known that the Lord Himself, in the Word, is called a "Lamb" and also a "Lion"; likewise, that the Holy Spirit was represented as a "Dove"; that the cherubs, also, by which the Word in the literal sense is signified, appeared like "four beasts," in Ezekiel and in the Apocalypse; and that the man of the Church who acknowledges the Lord as his God and Shepherd, is called a "sheep"; and, on the other hand, he who does not acknowledge Him, is called a "he-goat" and also a "dragon"; and that an assembly of the latter is described, in like manner as in Daniel, by

The beast out of the sea, like a leopard, whose feet were as it were a bear's, and his mouth as it were a lion's (Rev. 13:1-2).

These comparisons originate from the spiritual world, where all the affections and thoughts therefrom, of angels and spirits, are presented at a distance from them as beasts, which also appear in a form in all respects similar to that of the beasts in the natural world; the affections of the love of good as gentle beasts and good uses, but the affections of the love of evil as savage beasts and evil uses. Hence it is that beasts are so often named in the Word; and by them in the spiritual sense are signified affections, inclinations, perceptions and thoughts. From these considerations it is manifest what is meant by creatures in the following passages:

Jesus commanded the disciples to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).

If any one be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, and all things are become new (2 Cor. 5:17).

These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creature of God (Rev. 3:14).

By "creatures," here, are meant those who are capable of being created anew, that is, regenerated, and thus becoming of the Lord's Church.


1. "Thy beast" is the literal rendering of the Hebrew in this passage, which is [Hebrew]; but it is assumed, in the text here, to be used figuratively for "thy congregation." See Fuerst, in loc. [Hebrew].

2. See R.V.; also the previous footnote.


(References: Daniel 4:10-16, 7:3-7, 7:9-10; Ezekiel 39:17-22; Joel 2:21-23)

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.