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produces neither sense nor motion, and thus doth not impart life to man, so neither can the root alone, without the leaves, cause a tree or shrub to vegetate. The flowers which precede the fruit, are the means of purifying the juice or blood, and of separating the grosser parts from the purer, and of forming for the influx of the latter into their bosoms a new and tender stalk, through which the purified juice may flow, and thus give beginning and successive formation to the fruit, which may be compared to the testis, in which seeds are perfected. The vegetative soul, which reigns universally in the inmost ground of every particle of the juice, or in its prolific essence, is derived purely from the heat of the spiritual world, which, in consequence of its origin from the sun of that world, hath a perpetual tendency to generation, and thus to a continuance of creation; and as that sun hath essentially a tendency towards the production of man, therefore it communicates in whatsoever is generated some sort of resemblance to man. Let no one be surprized to hear it asserted, that the subjects of the vegetable kingdom are all males, and that the earth alone, or the ground, is as a common mother or female; for according to the testimony of SWAMMERDAM founded on ocular experience, and recorded in his BIBLIA NATURE, the same is true of bees, which, he says, have but one common mother, from whom the family of the whole hive is produced; and if these small animals have only one common mother, why may not the same be true with respect to all plants? That the earth is a common mother, may also be spiritually illustrated, and indeed is illustrated by this circumstance, that the earth, in the Word, signifies the church, and the church is the common mother of all her members, as she is also styled in the Word: that the earth signifies the church, may be seen in the APOCALYPSE REVEALED, n. 285, 902, where it is proved. But the reason why the earth or ground hath the power of entering S
into the inmost part or principle of the seed, even to its prolific essence, and of drawing this forth and diffusing it, is, because every grain of dust or mould exhales from its essence a sort of subtile sphere, like an effluvium, which penetrates the seed; and this is owing to the active force of the heat that proceeds from the spiritual world.
586. That man cannot be regenerated but by successive degrees, is a truth which may be illustrated by the case of all things, even to the minutest particulars which exist in the natural world. A tree does not arrive at the maturity of its state, so as to become a tree, in a single day, but first grows from its seed, afterwards from its root, and thence from its shoot, which becomes a stem; from this proceed branches and leaves, and lastly flowers and fruits: neither doth a crop of wheat or barley become fit for the sickle in one day; nor is a house built in one day; nor does man attain to his full bodily stature in one day, much less to the stature of wisdom: so neither is the church established and perfected in one day; nor is it possible for any progression to arrive at its end, unless there be a beginning to set out from. They who form any other notion of regeneration than this, are entirely ignorant of the nature of charity and faith, and of the growth of each according to man's co-operation with the Lord. Hence it is evident, that the several stages of the regeneration of man answer to his natural conception, gestation in the womb, birth, and education. V. THAT THE FIRST ACT OF THE NEW BIRTH IS CALLED REFORMATION, WHICH IS AN ACT OF THE UNDERSTANDING; AND THAT THE SECOND ACT IS CALLED REGENERATION, WHICH IS AN ACT OF THE WILL, AND THENCE OF THE UNDERSTANDING.
587. Since it is intended in this and the following articles, to treat on the subjects of reformation and regeneration, the former of which is ascribed to the understanding, and the latter to the will, it is expedient that the distinctions betwen the understanding and the will should be
known; and as these are described above, n. 397, the passage should be consulted, that it may be read over previous to the contents of this article. That the evils in which man is born are ingenerate in the will of the natural man, and that the will inclines the understanding to favour its desires, by thinking in agreement, was shewn in the above article; hence, to effect the regeneration of man, it is necessary that it be done by the understanding, as by a mediate cause, and this is accomplished by the information which the understanding receives, first from parents and masters, and afterwards from reading the Word, from sermons, from books, and conversation. The subjects which the understanding thus receives are called truths, so that it is the same thing whether we speak of reformation being effected by the understanding, or by the truths which the understanding receives; for truths instruct man in whom, and what, he is to believe, and also what he ought to do, consequently what he ought to will; for whatsoever a man does is done from the will according to the understanding. Since then the very will of man is by birth evil, and since the understanding teacheth what is evil and what is good, and he hath power to will, or not to will, the one or the other, it follows of consequence, that he must be reformed by means of the understanding. So long however as he sees and acknowledges in his mind that evil is evil, and good is good, and thinks that good ought to be chosen, so long that state is called reformation; but when he actually wills to flee from evil and do good, then commences the state of ration.
58S. For this end man is endowed with a capacity of elevating his understanding almost into the light which the angels of heaven enjoy, that he may see what it behoves him to will and thence to do, if he would be prosperous* in
By the temporal prosperity of which our author here speaks, we are not to understand an exaltation to worldly honours, riches, or preferment, but such a well being with respect to temporal circumstances, arising from the
this world for a time, and be blessed after death to eternity; he becomes prosperous and blessed in case he procures wisdom for himself, and keeps his will in obedience to it, but he becomes unprosperous and unhappy, in case he submits his understanding to the guidance of his will; the reason is, because the will, from its birth, inclines to evils, even to such as are most enormous; unless then it be restrained by the understanding, a man left tothe free guidance of his will would rush headlong into all wickedness, and from his inherent ferine nature, would plunder and massacre, for his own gratification, all who did not favour his designs, and indulge his lusts. Besides, unless the understanding could be perfected separately from the will, and the will by its means, man would not be man but a beast; for without such separation, and the ascent of the understanding above the will, he would have no capacity of thinking, nor of speaking by virtue of thought, but would only utter a sound expressive of his affection; nor would he have a capacity of acting from reason, but only from instinct; much less would he have a capacity of knowing the things that are of God, and God by them, and thus of being conjoined to God, and living to eternity for man thinks and wills as of himself, and this circumstance, as of himself, is what renders the conjunction reciprocal, for conjunction without reciprocality cannot possibly be effected, as there can be no conjunction of what is
blessing of Providence on a well-regulated and wise conduct of life, as may preserve a man from those dreadful mischiefs and calamities, which generally befall the unwise and ungodly. This prosperity hath been ever considered by all wise men as naturally connected with and resulting from a virtuous and holy life; as on the other hand, vice and profligacy seldom fail to draw down their own punishment even in this world, with respect to temporal events. The doctrine too, we trust will be found perfectly agreeable to the information given us by the Sacred Scriptures on this subject, which frequently intimate to us the blessings attendant on good men, through the Divine Providence, even in the present world, and that godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come.
active with what is passive without mutual adaptation or application: God alone acts, and man suffers himself to be acted upon, and co-operateth in all appearance as of himself, although interiorly from God. From a right perception of these truths it may be seen, of what nature and quality the the love of man's will is, if it be elevated by means of the understanding, as well as its nature and quality, if it be not so elevated, thus the nature and quality of man.
589. It is to be observed, that the faculty of elevating the understanding even to that intelligence which the angels of heaven enjoy, is inherent by creation in every man, whether he be evil or good, nay even in every devil in hell, for all that are in hell were once men; this fact has often been shewn me by experience: but the reason why devils are without intelligence, and are insane as to spiritual things, is, because they do not will or desire good, but evil; they have consequently an aversion to know and understand truths, because truths are in favour of good, and in opposition to evil. Hence too it appears, that the first stage of the new birth is the reception of truths in the understanding, and that the second is a willingness to act according to truths, and at length the practice of them. None however can be said to be reformed by the mere knowledges of truths, inasmuch as every man, by virtue of the faculty he enjoys of elevating is understanding above the love of his will, is enabled to apprehend truths, and also to speak, to teach, and to preach them; but he is a reformed person, who is in the affection of truth for truth's sake, for this affection conjoineth itself with the will, and, if it continues and increases, conjoineth the will with the understanding, and then commences regeneration. How regeneration is afterwards advanced and perfected, will be the subject of the following articles.
590. But the quality and character of a person, whose understanding is in a state of elevation, whilst the love of his will remains unelevated by it, may be illustrated