That Which Is Compulsory or Not Free

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Whatever is not from affection is from what is not spontaneous, or not free, for everything spontaneous or free is of affection or love. The same is evident also from the derivation of the expression in the original language, as meaning deficiency; for when ardor of affection is deficient, then freedom ceases; and what is then done is said to be not free, and at last compulsory.

That all the conjunction of truth and good is effected in freedom, or from what is spontaneous, and consequently all reformation and regeneration; and consequently that in the absence of freedom (that is, by compulsion) no conjunction, and thus no regeneration, can be effected.


He who while reasoning concerning the Lord’s Providence, man’s salvation, and the damnation of many, is not aware that no conjunction of truth and good, or appropriation, and thus no regeneration, can be effected except in man’s freedom, casts himself into mere shades, and consequently into grave errors.  For he supposes that if the Lord wills, He can save everyone, and this by means innumerable-as by miracles, by the dead rising again, by immediate revelations, by the angels withholding men from evil and impelling them to good by an open strong force, and by means of many states, on being led into which a man performs repentance, and by many other means.

But he does not know that all these means are compulsory, and that no man can possibly be reformed thereby.  For whatever compels a man does not impart to him any affection; or if it is of such a nature as to do this, it allies itself with the affection of evil.  For it appears to infuse something holy, and even does so; but when the man’s state is changed, he returns to his former affections, namely, evils and falsities, and then that holy thing conjoins itself with the evils and falsities, and becomes profane, and is then of such a nature as to lead into the most grievous hell of all.  For the man first acknowledges and believes, and is also affected with what is holy, and then denies, and even holds it in aversion.  For this reason open miracles are not wrought at the present day, but miracles not open, or not conspicuous; which are such as not to inspire a sense of holiness, or take away man’s freedom; and therefore the dead do not rise again, and man is not withheld from evils by immediate revelations, or by angels, or moved to good by open force.


Man’s freedom is what the Lord works in, and by which he bends him; for all freedom is of his love or affection, and therefore of his will.

If a man does not receive good and truth in freedom, it cannot be appropriated to him, or become his.

For that to which anyone is compelled is not his, but belongs to him who compels, because although it is done by him, he does not do it of himself. It sometimes appears as if man were compelled to good, as in temptations and spiritual combats; but that he has then a stronger freedom than at other times.  It also appears as if man were compelled to good, when he compels himself to it; but it is one thing to compel one’s self, and another to be compelled. When anyone compels himself, he does so from a freedom within; but to be compelled is not from freedom. This being the case, it is evident into what shades, and thus into what errors, those are able to cast themselves who reason concerning the Providence of the Lord, the salvation of man, and the damnation of many, and yet do not know that it is freedom by which the Lord works, and by no means compulsion; for compulsion in things of a holy nature is dangerous, unless it is received in freedom.

(Arcana Coelestia 4031)
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About mike

Finding out that the Lord is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and from the human race the angelic heaven would be formed, my entire focus on life changed. The reason for my creation was to perform Divine uses - The Divine Providence looks to eternal ends. My gain, honor or reputation no longer could be the focal point of what drives the engine. One day I will lay aside this material body and will wake up in the spiritual world never to return; there will be a continuation of life, and my ruling love will be what guides me to my final situation. 'Where a tree falls, there will it lay' (Ecc 11:3) We only have a few years in these bodies compared to eternity. What is fossilized on our souls in this short period is important to how we spend eternity. We are not left to blind faith, The Lord has come in His Word to reveal rationally how we can be made 'a vessel of honor, able for the master's use.' I truly hope the post create a thirst. If I can be of service, please do not hesitate to email me. --Mike
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