Divine love and wisdom cannot fail to be and to be manifested in others that it has created

The hallmark of love is not loving ourselves but loving others and being united to them through love. The hallmark of love is also being loved by others because this is how we are united. Truly, the essence of all love is to be found in union, in the life of love that we call joy, delight, pleasure, sweetness, blessedness, contentment, and happiness.

The essence of love is that what is ours should belong to someone else. Feeling the joy of someone else as joy within ourselves—that is loving. Feeling our joy in others, though, and not theirs in ourselves is not loving. That is loving ourselves, while the former is loving our neighbor. These two kinds of love are exact opposites. True, they both unite us; and it does not seem as though loving what belongs to us, or loving ourselves in the other, is divisive. Yet it is so divisive that to the extent that we love others in this way we later harbor hatred for them. Step by step our union with them dissolves, and the love becomes hatred of corresponding intensity.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 47

Divine love and wisdom are substance and form in and of themselves, and are therefore wholly “itself”and unique (Continued)

Anyone who can pursue and grasp inherent reality and its manifestation at all thoughtfully will necessarily come to grasp the fact that it is wholly itself and unique. We call it wholly itself because it alone exists; and we call it unique because it is the source of everything else.

Further, since what is wholly itself and unique is substance and form, it follows that it is the unique substance and form, and wholly itself; and since that true substance and form is divine love and wisdom, it follows that it is the unique love, wholly itself, and the unique wisdom, wholly itself. It is therefore the unique essence, wholly itself, and the unique life, wholly itself, since love and wisdom is life.

All this shows how sensually people are thinking when they say that nature exists in its own right, how reliant they are on their physical senses and their darkness in matters of the spirit. They are thinking from the eye and are unable to think from the understanding. Thinking from the eye closes understanding, but thinking from understanding opens the eye. They are unable to entertain any thought about inherent reality and manifestation, any thought that it is eternal, uncreated, and infinite. They can entertain no thought about life except as something volatile that vanishes into thin air, no other thought about love and wisdom, and no thought whatever about the fact that they are the source of everything in nature.

The only way to see that love and wisdom are the source of everything in nature is to look at nature on the basis of its functions in their sequence and pattern rather than on the basis of some of nature’s forms, which register only on our eyes. The only source of nature’s functions is life, and the only source of their sequence and pattern is love and wisdom. Forms, though, are vessels of functions. This means that if we look only at forms, no trace is visible of the life in nature, let alone of love and wisdom, and therefore of God.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 45, 46

Those Who Have Never Practiced Repentance Do Not Know What Good and Evil Are (Continued)

Our earthly self is like an animal. Over the course of our lives we take on the image of an animal. Because of this, sense-oriented people in the spiritual world appear surrounded by animals of every kind. These animals are correspondences. Regarded on its own, our earthly self is only an animal, but because a spiritual level has been added to it we are capable of becoming human. If we decline to undergo this transformation, even though we have the faculties that make it possible, we can still pretend to be human although we are then actually just animals that can talk. In that case our talking is based on earthly rationality, but our thinking is based on spiritual insanity; our actions are based on earthly morality, but our love is based on spiritual satyriasis. To someone else who has a rationality that is spiritual, our actions seem almost exactly like the frenzied dancing of someone bitten by a tarantula, called Saint Vitus’s or Saint Guy’s dance.

As we all know, a hypocrite can talk about God, a robber can talk about honesty, an adulterer can talk about being a faithful spouse, and so on. We have the ability to close and open the door that stands between what we think and what we say, and the door that stands between what we intend and what we do (the doorkeeper is prudence or else deceitfulness). Without the ability to close these doors, we would quickly fall into acts of wickedness and cruelty with greater savagery than any animal. That door is opened in us all after death, though, and then it becomes apparent what we truly are. Then the forces that keep us in check are punishment and imprisonment in hell. Therefore, kind reader, take a look inside yourself, diligently search out one evil or another within yourself, and turn away from it for religious reasons. If you turn away from it for any other reason or purpose, you are doing so only so that it will no longer appear before the world.

from Regeneration, Pages 46, 47

Those Who Have Never Practiced Repentance Do Not Know What Good and Evil Are (Continued)

We are in touch with the world by means of sense impressions and with heaven by means of impressions on our rationality.

Sense impressions supply things that serve the inner realms of the mind.

There are sense impressions that feed the understanding and sense impressions that feed the will.

Unless our thought is lifted above the level of our sense impressions, we have very little wisdom. When our thinking rises above sense impressions, it enters a clearer light and eventually comes into the light of heaven. From this light we become aware of things that are flowing down into us from heaven.

The outermost contents of our understanding are earthly information. The outermost contents of our will are sensory pleasures.

from Regeneration, Page 46

Those Who Have Never Practiced Repentance Do Not Know What Good and Evil Are (Continued)

Sense-oriented people are more deceptive and ill intentioned than others.

Misers, adulterers, and deceitful people are especially sense-oriented, although before the world they appear smart.

The inner ares of their mind are disgusting and filthy; they used them to communicate with the hells. In the Word they are called the dead.

The inhabitants of hell are sense-oriented. The more sense-oriented they are, the deeper in hell they are. The sphere of hellish spirits is connected to the sensory level of our mind through a kind of back door. In the light of heaven the backs of their heads look hollowed out.

The ancients had a term for people who debate on the basis of sense impressions alone; they called them serpents of the tree of the knowledge (of good and evil).

Sense impressions ought to have the lowest priority, not the highest. For wise and intelligent people, sense impressions do have the lowest priority and are subservient to things that are deep inside. For unwise people, sense impressions have the priority and are in control.

If sense impressions have the lowest priority, they help open a pathway for the understanding. We then extrapolate truths by a method of extraction.

Sense impressions stand closest to the world and admit information that is coming in from it; they sift through that information.

from Regeneration, Pages 45, 46

Those Who Have Never Practiced Repentance Do Not Know What Good and Evil Are (Continued)

The Inner levels of their mind, levels that see in heaven’s light, are closed to the point where they see nothing true related to heaven or the church. Their thinking occurs on an outermost level and not inside, where the light is spiritual. Since the light they have is dull and earthly, people like this are inwardly opposed to things related to heaven and the church, although
they are outwardly able to speak in favor of them. If they have hope of gaining ruling power or wealth by so doing, they are even capable of speaking ardently in favor of them.

The educated and the scholarly who are deeply convinced of falsities–especially people who oppose the truths in the Word–are more sense-oriented than others.

Sense-oriented people are able to reason shapely and skillfully, because their thinking is so close to their speech as to be practically in it–almost inside their lips; and also because they attribute all intelligence solely to the ability to speak from memory. They also have great skill at defending things that are false. After they have defended falsities convincingly, they themselves believe those falsities are true. They base their reasoning and defense on mistaken impressions from the senses that the public finds captivating and convincing.

from Regeneration, Page 45


Their delight in evil is what has this blinding effect. It surrounds them like a fog over a swamp, absorbing and suffocating rays of light. This is the nature of hellish delight. It radiates from hell and flows into every human being, but only into the soles of our feet, our back, and the back of our head. If we receive that inflow with our forehead and our chest, however, we are slaves to hell, because the human cerebrum serves the understanding and its wisdom, whereas the cerebellum serves the will and its love. This is why we have two brains. The only thing that can amend, reform, and turn around hellish delight of the kind just mentioned is a rationality and morality that is spiritual.

Allow me to briefly describe people whose rationality and morality are merely earthly. Such people are truly sense-oriented. If they continue in this direction, they become bodily or carnal. The description that follows will be presented as a list of points in outline form.

“Sensory” is a term for the lowest level of life within the human mind; it clings, and is closely joined, to the five senses of the human body.

“Sense-oriented people” are people who judge everything on the basis of their physical senses—people who will not believe anything unless they can see it with their eyes and touch it with their hands. What they can see and touch they call “something.” Everything else they reject.

from Regeneration, Pages 44


All people who were brought up properly are rational and moral. There are different ways of being rational, however: a worldly way and a heavenly way. People who have become rational and moral in a worldly way but not also in a heavenly way are rational and moral only in word and gesture. Inwardly they are animals, and predatory animals at that, because they are in step with the inhabitants of hell, all of whom are like that. People who have become rational and moral in a heavenly way as well, however, are truly rational and truly moral, because they have these qualities in spirit as well as in word and deed. Something spiritual lies hidden within their words and actions like the soul that activates their earthly, sense-oriented, and bodily levels. Such people are in step with the inhabitants of heaven.

Therefore there is such a thing as a rational, moral person who is spiritual, and such a thing as a rational, moral person who is only earthly. In the world you cannot tell them apart, especially if their hypocrisy is well rehearsed. Angels in heaven can tell the two apart, however, as easily as telling doves from eagle-owls or sheep from tigers. Those who are only earthly can see good and evil qualities in others and criticize them, but because they have never looked at or studied themselves, they see no evil in themselves. If someone else discovers an evil in them, they use their rational faculty to hide it, as a snake hides its head in the dust; then they plunge themselves into that evil the way a hornet dives into dung.

from Regeneration, Pages 43, 44


Since only a few people in the Protestant Christian world practice repentance, it is important to add that those who have not looked at or studied themselves eventually do not even know what damnable evil or saving goodness is, because they lack the religious practice that would allow them to find out. The evil that we do not see, recognize, or admit to stays with us; and what stays with us becomes more and more firmly established until it blocks off the inner areas of our minds. As a result, we become first earthly, then sense-oriented, and finally bodily.

In these cases we do not know of any damnable evil or any saving goodness. We become like a tree on a hard rock that spreads its roots into the crevices in the rocks and eventually dries up because it has no moisture.

from Regeneration, Page 43

Repentance is Easy for Those Who Practice It (Continued)

It is easy for manual laborers, porters, and farm workers to work with their arms from morning till evening, but a delicate person of the nobility cannot do the same work for half an hour without fatigue and sweating. It is easy for a forerunner with a walking stick and comfortable shoes to ply the road for miles, whereas someone used to riding in a carriage has difficulty jogging slowly from one street to the next. All artisans who are devoted to their craft pursue it easily and willingly, and when they are away from it they long to get back to it; but it is almost impossible to force a lazy person with the same skills to practice that craft. The same goes for everyone who has some occupation or pursuit.

What is easier for someone who is pursuing religious devotion than praying to God? And what is more difficult for someone who is enslaved to ungodliness?

All priests are afraid the first time they preach before royalty. But after they get used to it, they go on boldly.

What is easier for angelic people than lifting their eyes up to heaven? What is easier for devilish people than casting their eyes down to hell? (If they are hypocrites, however, they can look toward heaven in a similar way, but with aversion of heart.)

We are all saturated with the goal we have in mind and the habits that result from it.

from Regeneration, Page 42