Divine Providence (Dick and Pulsford) n. 71

Previous Number Next Number See Latin 

71. 1. IT IS A LAW OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE THAT MAN SHOULD ACT FROM FREEDOM ACCORDING TO REASON. It is well known that man has the freedom of thinking and willing as he pleases, but not the freedom to say whatever he thinks and to do whatever he wills. Therefore the freedom that is here meant is spiritual freedom, and not natural freedom, except when the two make one; for thinking and willing are spiritual but speaking and doing are natural. Moreover, these are clearly distinguished in man; for a man can think what he does not speak, and can will what he does not do. From this it is clear that the spiritual and the natural in man are discriminated, so that he cannot pass from one to the other unless by an act of determination. This determination may be compared to a door, which must first be unfastened and then opened, a door which stands open as it were in those who think and will from reason in accordance with the civil laws of the state and the moral laws of society; for they say what they think and do what they will; but a door which stands closed as it were in those who think and will in opposition to those laws. He who pays attention to what he wills and to his consequent actions will observe that such determination takes place, sometimes frequently in a single conversation and in a single action. These things have been stated at this point to make it clear that by acting from freedom according to reason is meant to think and will and thence to speak and do freely what is in accordance with reason.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church