The first stage of re-birth is called reformation, a process affecting the understanding; the second stage is called regeneration, a process affecting the will and thus the understanding,
Since this and the following sections deal with reformation and regeneration, reformation being attributed to the understanding and regeneration to the will, the distinctions between the understanding and the will must be known, and these were described above (397). The reader is therefore advised to read what is said there first, and afterwards this section. It was also shown there that the evils a person acquires by birth are embedded in the will of the natural man, and that the will influences the understanding to take its part by thinking in harmony with it. It is therefore necessary, in order that a person may be regenerated, for the process to proceed through the understanding as intermediate cause. This happens through the pieces of information which the understanding receives. These are at first received from parents and teachers, later from reading the Word, from sermons, books and conversations. What the understanding receives from these sources are known as truths. So it means the same whether you say that reformation takes place through the understanding or through the truths the understanding receives. For truths teach the person in whom and what he should believe, and what he should do, so what he should will. For anything a person does is the result of the will acting in accordance with the understanding. Since then a person's will is of itself evil from birth, and because it is the understanding which teaches us what is evil and what is good, and it is possible to will the one and not will the other, it follows that a person must be reformed through the understanding. So long as anyone sees and mentally acknowledges that evil is evil, and good is good, thinking that good ought to be chosen, for so long is his state called reformation. But when his will is to shun evil and do good, that is when his state of regeneration begins.