Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/405

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REPENTANCE, REFORMATION, AND REGENERATION.

That it is not so difficult to live the life of heaven as is believed is evident from this: that when anything presents itself that one knows to be insincere and unjust, to which his mind is disposed, he need only think that it ought not to be done because it is contrary to the Divine commands. If a man accustoms himself so to think, and from custom derives the habit, he is then by degrees conjoined to heaven; and in so far as he is conjoined to heaven, the higher degrees of his mind are opened; and in so far as these are opened he sees what is insincere and unjust; and in so far as he sees these evils they can be shaken off,—for it is impossible that any evil can be shaken off until it is seen. This is a state into which a man may enter from freedom; for who is not capable from freedom of thinking in this manner? But when he has made a beginning all goods are wrought in him by the Lord, and He causes him not only to see evils, but also not to will them, and finally to become averse to them. This is meant by the Lord's words, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. xi. 30). But it should be known that the difficulty of so thinking, and likewise of resisting evils, increases in proportion as a man from the will commits evils; for in so far he becomes accustomed to them, until at length he does not see them, and afterwards loves them, and from the delight of love excuses them, and by all kinds of fallacies confirms them, and declares that they are allowable and good. But this occurs with those who in the age of adolescence plunge into evils as if without restraint, and at the same time reject Divine things from the heart.

There was once represented to me the way which leads to heaven, and that which leads to hell. There was a broad way tending to the left, or towards the north; and many spirits appeared walking in it. But at a distance a stone was seen of considerable magnitude, where the broad way terminated. From that stone there went afterwards two ways, one to the left, and one in a contrary direction, to the right. The way which tended to the left was narrow or strait, leading by the west to the south, and thus into the light of heaven; the way which tended to the right was broad and spacious, leading obliquely downwards towards hell. At first all seemed to go the same way, until they came to the great stone at the head of the two ways; but when they arrived there they separated. The good turned to the left, and entered the strait way which led to heaven; but the evil did not see the stone at the head of the two ways, and fell upon it and were hurt; and when they rose up they ran on in the broad way to the right, which tended towards hell. It was afterwards explained to me what all these things signified. By the first way, which was broad, in which many both good and evil