It is believed by most persons within the church that the Lord came into the world in order to reconcile the Father by the passion of the cross, and that afterward those might be accepted for whom He should intercede, and also that He released man from damnation by His having alone fulfilled the law, which otherwise would have condemned everyone; and thus that all would be saved who held this faith with confidence and trust.
But those who are in any enlightenment from heaven are able to see that it would not be possible for the Divine, which is Love itself and Mercy itself, to cast away the human race from itself and condemn it to hell; nor that it had to be reconciled by its Son’s passion of the cross; and that in this way and in no other way it was moved with mercy; and that henceforth the life would not condemn anyone provided he had a confident faith in this reconciliation; and that all salvation is effected from mercy through faith.
Those who so think and believe can see nothing at all. They speak, but understand nothing. They therefore call these things mysteries, which are to be believed, but not apprehended by any understanding. From this it follows that all enlightenment from the Word is rejected that shows the case to be otherwise, because light from heaven cannot enter where there reigns so great a shadow from things that are contradictory to each other. That which is not understood at all is called a “shadow.”
But to those who are in enlightenment the Lord grants that they shall understand what they believe; and when they are reading the Word, those are enlightened and understand it, who acknowledge the Lord and love to live according to His commandments; but not those who say that they believe, and do not live; for the Lord flows into the life of man and from this into his faith, but not into faith separate from life.
Consequently, those who are enlightened by the Lord through the Word understand that the Lord came into the world in order to subjugate the hells, and reduce into order all things there and in the heavens; and that this could not possibly be done except by means of the Human; for from this He could fight against the hells; but not from the Divine without the Human; and also that He might glorify His Human in order that He might thereby forever keep all things in the order into which He had reduced them. From this comes the salvation of man, for the hells are round every man, because everyone is born into evils of every kind, and where evils are, there are the hells; and unless these were cast back by the Divine power of the Lord, no one could ever have been saved. That this is so the Word teaches, and all those apprehend who admit the Lord into their life; and these as before said are those who acknowledge Him, and love to live according to His commandments. …
To be withdrawn from evils, to be regenerated, and thus to be saved, is mercy, which is not, as is believed, immediate, but mediate, that is, for those who desist from evils, and so admit from the Lord the truth of faith and the good of love into their life. Immediate mercy, namely, such as would be for everyone merely at God’s good pleasure, is contrary to Divine order; and that which is contrary to Divine order is contrary to God, because order is from God, and His Divine in heaven is order.
To receive order into one’s self is to be saved, and this is effected solely by living according to the Lord’s commandments.
Man is regenerated to the end that he may receive into himself the order of heaven, and he is regenerated by means of faith and the life of faith, which is charity. He who has order in himself is in heaven, and also is heaven in a certain image; but he who has it not is in hell, and is hell in a certain image. The one cannot possibly be changed and transferred into the other by immediate mercy, for they are opposites, because evil is opposite to good, and in good there are life and heaven, but in evil there are death and hell. That the one cannot be transferred into the other is taught by the Lord in Luke:
Abraham said unto the rich man in hell, Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that those who would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can those who are there pass over to us (Luke 16:26).
Moreover, if immediate mercy were possible, all in the world would be saved, without exception, and there would be no hell, for the Lord is mercy itself, because He is love itself, which wills the salvation of all, and the death of no one.