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as all the parts of the human body are in such a state of equilibrium, so also are all the parts of the brain, and of consequence all things in the mind contained in it, which have relation to the will and the understanding. Beasts, birds, fishes, and insects, are also in a state of freedom, but these animals are carried away by the senses of the body, according to the suggestions of pleasure and appetite; nor would man be at all unlike them, supposing him to have the liberty of acting without any restraint as he has the liberty of thinking; in which case he too would be carried away by the bodily senses only, according to the suggestions of pleasure and of lust. Circumstances however are changed, where a man imbibes the spiritual things of the church, and by them restraineth his free-will; such a person is withdrawn by the Lord from lusts and evil pleasures, with all their greedy connate desires, till he find delight in what is good, and detest what is evil; and in such case he is translated by the Lord nearer towards the east, and at the same time towards the south, in the spiritual world, and is introduced into a state of heavenly freedom, which is freedom truly and properly so called.
IV. THAT IT APPEARS PLAINLY FROM THF PERMISSION OF EVIL, WHICH EVERY ONE EXPERIENCES IN HIS INTERNAL MAN, THAT HE HATH FREE-WILL IN SPIRITUAL THINGS.
479. The proposition, that man hath free-will in spiritual things, shall be confirmed first from such general considerations, and next from such particular ones, as every person must acknowledge to be true as soon as he hears them. THE GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS tending to confirm this proposition are these, 1. That the wisest of mankind, Adam and his wife, suffered themselves to be seduced by the serpent: 2. That their first-born son, Cain, slew his brother Abel; in both which cases Jehovah God did not interfere to prevent evil, by forewarning the perpetrators of it, but only
by pronouncing a curse, after it was committed: 3. That the children of Israel worshipped a golden calf in the wilderness, when nevertheless Jehovah observed their idolatry from mount Sinai, and took no measures to prevent it: 4. That David numbered the people, for which they were visited with a plague, which proved fatal to so many thousands, and that God on this occasion after the perpetration of the evil deed, sent the prophet Gad, to denounce punishment: 5. That Solomon was permitted to establish idolatrous worship: 6. That many kings after him were permitted to profane the temple, and the holy rites of the church: 7. And that finally that nation was permitted to crucify the Lord. That Mahomet also was permitted to establish a religious system, in many respects not conformable to the Holy Scripture: 8. That the Christian church is divided into several sects, and each of these overspread with heresies: 9. That there are so many wicked people in the Christian world, and some who even glory in their wickedness; and so many snares and stratagems contrived against the pious, just, and upright: 10. That injustice sometimes prevails over justice, in judiciary proceedings, and the common concerns of life: 11. That the wicked are frequently exalted to honours, and fill the highest offices in church and state: 12. That wars are permitted, in which so many thousand lives are lost, and so many cities, nations, and families are plundered and ruined; not to mention many other considerations of a similar kind. Now is it possible to explain, or account for, the existence of such enormities, from any other principle, but from that free-will which every man posseseth? The permission of evil, which is acknowledged throughout the whole world, cannot be deduced from any other origin. That the laws of permission are laws of the Divine Providence, may be seen in a work on the DIVINE PROVIDENCE, published at Amsterdam, in the year 1765,
n. 234 to 274, where an explanation is given of the cases above adduced.
480. The PARTICULAR CONSIDERATIONS, tending to shew that man has the same free-will in spiritual concerns as in natural, are innumerable. Let every one, if he please, consult himself, and try whether he cannot think of God, of the Lord, of the Holy Spirit, and of the divine subjects which are called the spiritualities of the church, seventy times in a day, or three hundred times in a week, without perceiving at such times any compulsion, especially if he be led to such meditation by any pleasure, nay, or by any lust, and this, whether he have any faith or not. Let him also examine, in whatever state he be, whether, without freewill, he have the power to think at all. In his common discourse, in his prayers to God, whilst he is preaching to others, or hearing others preach to him; in all these cases doth not every thing depend on free-will? Nay, if you had it not in every determination, even the most minute, you could no more enjoy the power of respiration than a statue, since respiration is a consequence of thought, and of its derivative speech, in all circumstances: I say, no more than a statue, and not than a beast, because a beast hath the power of respiration by reason of his natural free-will, whereas man hath the same power by reason of his freewill both in natural and spiritual things, at the same time; for man is not born like a beast, a beast being born with all the ideas necessarily attendant on its natural love, thus into the knowledge of whatever concerns nutrition and prolification, whereas man is born without any connate ideas, endowed only with the faculty of attaining knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, and with an inclination to love himself and the world, and also his neighbour and God. This is the reason why we have affirmed, that if man were deprived of free-will in all particulars relating to what he
wills and thinks, he would have no more power of respira tion than a statue, instead of saying, no more than a beast.
481. That man has free-will in natural things, is not denied; but yet this natural free-will is merely a consequence of his free-will in spiritual things; for the Lord entereth by influx into every man with His divine good and divine truth, by a superior or interior way, as was shewn above, and by this inspires him with life distinct from that of beasts; and in order that he may be capable of receiving such influx and of acting under its influence, the Lord further bestows on him the faculty to exert power and will, and this He never takes away from any person: hence it follows, that it is the perpetual will of the Lord that man receive truth and do good, and thus become spiritual, which is the end for which he is born; but to become spiritual, without free-will in spiritual things, is as impossible, as to drive a camel through the eye of a sewing needle, or to touch with the hand one of the stars in the firmament. That every man, and even every devil, is gifted with the power of understanding truth and of willing it, and that this power is never taken away, was made manifest to me by convincing experience: one of the infernal inhabitants was, on a time, raised up into the world of spirits, and there questioned by angels from heaven, whether he had power to understand the subjects on which they were discoursing with him, which were spiritual-divine subjects; he replied, that he did understand them: they then asked him, why he did not receive and cherish them; he said, that he did not love them, and consequently was not willing to receive them: he was then informed that he had the power to will; at which he was much surprised, and declared it impossible; whereupon the angels inspired his understanding with the glory of reputation and distinction attended with its delights, which he no sooner received, than he was willing, and even desirous, to receive and
cherish what he had before rejected: presently, however, he was suffered to relapse into his former state, in which he was a robber, an adulterer, and a calumniator of his neighbour; and then he no longer understood what the angels said, because he was not willing to understand them. Hence then it is very plain, that man is man by virtue of his free-will in spiritual things, and that without it he would be a stock or a stone, or like the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned.
482. That man would have no free-will in civil, moral, and natural concerns, unless he had free-will in spiritual, is evident from this circumstance, that spiritual things, which are called theological, have their residence in the highest region of the human mind, like a soul in its body: the reason why they reside in that region, is, because there is the door by which the Lord entereth into man: below them reside whatever relates to civil, moral, and natural concerns, which receive all their life from the spiritual things that reside above them; and since life is derived by influx from the Lord, entering in at the supreme parts of the soul, and the life of man consisteth in a power to think and will, and thence to speak and act, in freedom, it follows of consequence, that his free-will in political and natural matters must be derived from this origin, and from no other. By virtue of this spiritual freedom, he is gifted with a perception of what is good and true, and of what is just and right, in civil matters, which perception constitutes the very essence of the understanding. The free-will of man in spiritual things is comparatively like air in the lungs, which is inspired, detained, and exspired, according to the turns and changes which take place in his thoughts, and without which he would be in a far worse condition than a person afflicted with a night mare, or with the spasmodic disease of the heart called angina pectoris, or with an asthma. It may also be compared with blood in the heart, which if it