True Christian Religion # 571

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571. CHAPTER TEN

REFORMATION AND REGENERATION

After dealing with repentance we come next in order to reformation and regeneration, because these come after repentance and it is by repentance that they advance. There are two states which a person must enter upon and undergo to pass from being natural to being spiritual. The first state is called reformation, the second regeneration. In his first state a person looks from his natural to his spiritual man and desires to be spiritual; in the second state he becomes spiritual-natural. The first state is formed by means of the truths which must become part of faith, and these enable him to look towards charity. The second state is formed by the kinds of good which make up charity, and from them he enters into the truths of faith. To put this in other terms, the first state is one of thought on the part of the understanding, but the second is one of love on the part of the will. When this state begins and develops, a mental change takes place; for there is a turning-point, following which the love of the will flows into the understanding, and drives and guides it to think in harmony and in keeping with its love. In so far therefore as the good of love then plays the leading role, and the truths of faith take second place, to that extent he is a spiritual man and a new creature. Then charity inspires his actions, faith his speech; he feels the good of charity and perceives the truth of faith. Then he is in the Lord and in a state of peace, and so he is regenerated.

[2] Anyone who has begun the first state while in the world can after death be brought into the second. But anyone who has not entered upon the first state while in the world cannot be brought into the second after death, and so cannot be regenerated. These two states can be compared with the advance of light and heat in spring days; the first state can be compared with twilight and cock-crow, the second with morning and dawn; and its development with the day advancing to noon, and so growing in light and heat. It can also be compared with a harvest, which begins with the blade, then grows into awns and ears and finally becomes the wheat in them. Or again with a tree: first it springs from a seed in the ground, then becomes a stalk from which branches come forth; these are decked with leaves, and then it flowers, and the inmost part of the flower is the beginning of the fruit; and as the fruits ripen they produce new seeds as their offspring. The first state, that of reformation, can also be compared with the state of a silk-worm, when it draws silk thread out of itself and wraps itself in it; and after its hard labour is over, it flies out into the air, and feeds, not as formerly on leaves, but on the juices in flowers.

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