The order into which every man was created by God, is, that after infancy he may become a man. For, when he is born, he is only an external image or form of a man, and at that time less a man than a new-born beast is a beast; but, so far as he is inwardly perfected in this form, as to his mind, or his spirit, in wisdom and love, he becomes a man.
A man is like a tree, which first grows from a seed into a shoot, and, when it increases in height, puts forth branches, and from these, twigs, and clothes itself continually with leaves; and, when it comes to maturity, which takes place in its middle age, puts forth blossoms, and produces fruits; in every one of which it deposits seeds, which, being cast into the earth, as into a womb, grow up into similar trees, and thus into a garden. And if you will believe it, that same garden remains with the man after death; he dwells in it, and is every day delighted with the sight of it, and with the enjoyment of its fruits. It is such a man who is described in David by these words:
He shall be like a tree planted beside the rivers of waters, which shall yield its fruit in its time, and its leaf shall not fall (Psalm 1:3; and likewise Rev. 22:1, 2).
But it is different with the man born in the Church who, when he has spent his morning and advanced into the first light of day, whereby he has become rational, then stops, and does not produce fruit: such a one is, or acts, like a tree abounding in leaves, but not bearing fruit, which is rooted up out of the garden, its branches cut off, and the trunk cleft in pieces with axe, or saw, and the whole then cast piecemeal into the fire. The light of his Rational becomes like the light of the days of winter, in which the leaves of the trees first grow yellow, then drop off, and lastly decay. His Rational, also, may be compared with a tree whose leaves are consumed by worms in early spring; likewise with a crop that is choked by thorns; and also with vegetation which is laid waste by locusts. The reason is, that his Rational is merely natural, because it takes its ideas solely from the world through the senses, and not from heaven through the affections and the perceptions thence. And since, on this account, there is nothing spiritual inwardly in his Rational, if he then converses on any one of the spiritual things of the Church, his voice is heard by the angels no otherwise than as the voice of a parrot or a goose; for his voice is merely animal because merely natural, and not human because not inwardly spiritual; for it flows forth from the respiration of the body only, and not from any respiration of the spirit. Such is the man who does not, from natural, become spiritual; and no one becomes spiritual, unless, after he has become rational, he brings forth fruits, that is, puts on charity by life.