589. It must be appreciated that the capacity for raising the understanding to the level of intelligence enjoyed by the angels of heaven is inherent in every person from creation, the wicked as well as the good; in fact even in every devil in hell, for all who are in hell were once people on earth. I have had this shown me by direct experience on numerous occasions. However, in spiritual matters devils are not intelligent but in the grip of madness, because they do not will good, but evil. As a result they loathe knowing and understanding truths, since these favour good and oppose evil. This too makes it clear that the first stage of re-birth is the reception of truths by the understanding, and its second stage is willing to act as truths direct and eventually doing these things. All the same, no one can be called reformed by only getting to know truths, since the capacity a person has for raising his understanding above the love of the will enables him to learn truths, and also to talk about them, teach them and preach them. A person is reformed if he has an affection for truth for truth's sake, for this affection links itself with the will, and if it continues, links the will with the understanding. That is when regeneration begins. The subsequent progress and development of regeneration will be described in the following pages.