129. It Is a Law of Divine Providence That We Should Not Be Compelled by Outside Forces to Think and Intend and So to Believe and Love in Matters of Our Religion, but That We Should Guide Ourselves and Sometimes Compel Ourselves
This law of divine providence follows from the two preceding ones, namely, that we should act in freedom and in accord with reason (71-99), and that we should do this for ourselves, even though it is being done by the Lord--that is, in apparent autonomy (100-128). Since it is not from freedom and according to reason and not in autonomy to be compelled but comes from the absence of freedom and from someone else, this law of divine providence follows directly from the two earlier ones. Everyone recognizes that none of us can be compelled to think what we do not want to think or to intend what we think we do not want to intend. So we cannot be compelled to believe what we do not believe and certainly not anything that we do not want to believe; or to love what we do not love and certainly not anything that we do not want to love. Our spirit or mind has complete freedom to think, intend, believe, and love. This freedom comes to us by an inflow from the spiritual world, which does not compel us. Our spirit or mind is actually in that world. The freedom does not flow in from the physical world, which accepts the inflow only when the two worlds are in unison.
 We can be compelled to say that we think and intend something or that we believe and love something, but unless this is or becomes a matter of our own desire and our consequent reasoning, it is not something that we really think, intend, believe, and love. We can also be compelled to speak in favor of religion and to act according to religion, but we cannot be compelled to think in its favor as a matter of our own faith and to intend it as a matter of our own love. In countries where justice and judgment are cherished, everyone is obliged not to speak against religion or to violate it in action, but still no one can be compelled to think and intend in its favor. This is because each of us has a freedom to think in sympathy with hell and to intend in its favor, or to think in sympathy with heaven and to intend in its favor. Still, our reason tells us what the quality is of the one and of the other and what lot awaits the one and what lot awaits the other. Our ability to intend on the basis of reason is our capacity to choose and to decide.
 This may serve to show that what is outside cannot compel what is inside. However, it does happen sometimes, and I need to show that it is harmful in the following sequence.
1. No one is reformed by miracles and signs, because they compel.
2. No one is reformed by visions or by conversations with the dead, because they compel.
3. No one is reformed by threats or by punishment, because they compel.
4. No one is reformed in states where freedom and rationality are absent.
5. Self-compulsion is not inconsistent with rationality and freedom.
6. Our outer self has to be reformed by means of our inner self, and not the reverse.