… you believe that all the things which a man wills and thinks, and thence does and speaks, are in him, and consequently from him; when yet nothing of them is in him except the state of receiving what flows in.
Man is not life in himself, but is an organ receiving life.
The Lord alone is life in Himself, as He also says in John:
As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26).
Besides other places (as John 11:25; 14:6, 19).
There are two things which make life, love and wisdom; or what is the same, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. These flow in from God, and are received by man, and are felt in the man as in him; and because they are felt by him as in him, they also proceed as from him. It is given by the Lord, that they should be thus felt by the man, in order that what flows in may affect him, and so be received and remain. But because all evil also flows in, not from God, but from hell, and this is received with enjoyment, because man was born such an organ, therefore no more of good is received from God, than there is of evil removed by the man as of himself; which is done by repentance, and at the same time by faith in the Lord.
That love and wisdom, charity and faith, or speaking more generally, the good of love and charity and the truth of wisdom and faith, flow in; and that the things which flow in appear in the man as in himself, and thence as from him, may be manifestly seen from the sight, the hearing, the smell, the taste, and the touch. All the things which are felt in the organs of those senses flow in from without, and are felt in them: in like manner in the organs of the internal senses, with the difference only that into the latter spiritual things flow in, which do not appear; but into the former natural things, which do appear. In a word, man is an organ recipient of life from God; consequently he is a recipient of good so far as he desists from evil. The Lord gives to every man to be able to desist from evil, because He gives him to will and understand as of himself: and whatever the man does from the will, as his own according to the understanding, as his own, or, what is the same, whatever he does from freedom which is of the will according to reason which is of the understanding, this remains. By this the Lord brings man into a state of conjunction with Himself, and in this reforms, regenerates, and saves him.
The life which flows in is the life proceeding from the Lord, which is also called the Spirit of God, and in the Word the Holy Spirit; of which it is also said, that it enlightens and vivifies; yea, that it operates in man: but this life is varied and modified according to the organization induced upon the man by his love and attitude to it. You may also know that all the good of love and charity and all the truth of wisdom and faith flow in, and are not in the man, from the fact that he who thinks such a thing is in man from creation, cannot think otherwise, than that God infused Himself into a man, and thus that men would in part be Gods; and yet they who think this from faith become devils, and stink like carcasses.
Besides, what is human action but the action of the mind? for that which the mind wills and thinks, it acts through its organ the body: and therefore when the mind is led by the Lord, the action is also led; and the mind and the action from it are led by the Lord, when it believes in Him. Unless it were so, say, if you can, why the Lord has commanded in the Word, in a thousand and a thousand places, that a man must love his neighbor, must work out the good of charity, and bear fruit like a tree, and do His precepts, and all this that he may be saved; also why He has said that man will be judged according to his deeds or works, he who has done goods to heaven and life, and he who has done evils to hell and death. How could the Lord speak such things, if all that proceeds from man were meritorious, and thence evil? You may know, therefore, that if the mind is charity, the action is also charity; but if the mind is faith alone, which is also faith separated from spiritual charity, the action is also that faith; and this faith is meritorious, because its charity is natural, and not spiritual. It is otherwise with the faith of charity, because charity does not wish to merit, and thence neither does its faith.