Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 4031

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4031. 'And before [the eyes of those of] the flock which came together later he did not put [the rods] in' means things that are compulsory. This is clear from the meaning of 'coming together later'. 'Coming together first' means, as shown above in 4029, that which is spontaneous or free; and from this, as well as from the sequence of thought in the internal sense, it is evident that 'coming together later' means that which is compulsory or non-free. It is also evident from the consideration that the expression 'coming on heat' is not used here as it is of those which came together first. For 'coming on heat' means affection, in this case an intense desire. Anything that does not begin from affection is not spontaneous or free, for everything spontaneous or free is in keeping with one's affection or love, 2870. This consideration is also evident from the derivation of the expression in the original language as a lack, for if the intense desire is lacking, all sense of freedom is at an end, in which case that which a pervert does is referred to as non-freedom and at length that which is compulsory.

[2] It may be seen from the paragraphs quoted above in 4029 that every joining together of truth and good, and therefore all reformation and regeneration, is effected in freedom, that is, is the outcome of what is spontaneous. Consequently no joining together of truth and good, thus no regeneration, is possible in the absence of freedom, that is, through compulsion. What freedom is, and the origin of it, see 2870-2893, where Human Freedom is the subject. Anyone who is unaware of the fact that no joining of truth and good, that is, no making of these one's own, and so no regeneration, is possible except in a person's freedom, ends up - if he reasons about the Lord's Providence, about human salvation, and about the eternal damnation of many - with utterly dim misconceptions and then with serious errors. For he imagines that if the Lord is willing, He is able to save anyone, and to do so by all manner of means beyond number - by miracles, by the dead coming back again, by direct revelations, by angels withholding people from evils, and driving them to good by the plain use of force, and by many states into which a person is introduced and becomes repentant, and by many other means.

[3] But he does not know that all of these means involve compulsion and that nobody can be reformed through them. For anything that compels a person does not impart any affection to him; or if it is of such a nature that it does impart an affection, it binds itself to an affection for evil. Indeed it seems to instill, and does in fact instill, some holiness, but even so, when the state is altered he goes back to his previous affections, which are evils and falsities. In that case that holiness links itself to the evils and falsities and is turned into profanity, such as leads him into the worst hell of all. For that person first of all acknowledges and believes, and also has an affection for what is holy; but after that he denies it, indeed he loathes it. For profaners are those who at one point acknowledge with the heart and after that deny, not those who have not acknowledged with the heart, see 301-303, 571, 582, 593, 1001, 1008, 1010, 1059, 1327, 1328, 2051, 2426, 3398, 3399, 3402, 3898. For this reason evident miracles do not take place at the present day, only miracles which are not evident or plain to see and which are of such a nature that they do not enforce any holiness or take away a person's freedom from him. This is why the dead do not come back again and why no one is withheld from evil by direct revelations, or by angels, and led to good by the plain use of force.

[4] It is man's freedom into which the Lord operates, and by means of which He turns him in a different direction. For all freedom involves that which is present in his love or affection, and so in his will, 3158. If he does not receive good and truth in freedom it cannot be made or become his own, since that which is for him compulsory is not his own but belongs to whoever compels it. For he is not acting of himself even though the action is done by him. It does sometimes seem as though a person is drawn under compulsion towards good, as in temptations and spiritual conflicts. But within these experiences he is in greater freedom than when he is outside them, see 1937, 1947, 2881. It also seems as though a person is acting under compulsion when he compels himself to do good; but self-compulsion is one thing, being compelled is another. Self-compulsion with anyone is a product of the freedom within him, but being compelled is a product of non-freedom. This shows what dim misconceptions and then what errors people end up with who reason about the Lord's Providence, about human salvation, and about the eternal damnation of many, yet who are unaware of the fact that it is freedom through which the Lord operates and by no means through compulsion. For compulsion in things of a holy nature if not freely accepted is dangerous.

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