The “tree of lives” is love and the faith thence derived; “in the midst of the garden” is in the will of the internal man. The will, which in the Word is called the “heart” is the primary possession of the Lord with man and angel. But as no one can do good of himself, the will or heart is not man’s, although it is predicated of man; cupidity, which he calls will, is man’s. Since then the will is the “midst of the garden” where the tree of lives is placed, and man has no will, but mere cupidity, the “tree of lives” is the mercy of the Lord, from whom comes all love and faith, consequently all life.
Innumerable things might be said about man’s Own [proprium*] in describing its nature with the corporeal and worldly man, with the spiritual man, and with the celestial man.
With the corporeal and worldly man, his Own is his all, he knows of nothing else than his Own, and imagines – that if he were to lose this Own he would perish.
With the spiritual man also his Own has a similar appearance, for although he knows that the Lord is the life of all, and gives wisdom and understanding, and consequently the power to think and to act, yet this knowledge is rather the profession of his lips than the belief of his heart.
But the celestial man discerns that the Lord is the life of all and gives the power to think and to act, for he perceives that it is really so. He never desires his Own, nevertheless an Own is given him by the Lord, which is conjoined with all perception of what is good and true, and with all happiness.
The angels are in such an Own, and are at the same time in the highest peace and tranquility, for in their Own are those things which are the Lord’s, who governs their Own, or them by means of their Own. This Own is the veriest celestial itself, whereas that of the corporeal man is infernal. …
The Own of man, when viewed from heaven, appears like a something that is wholly bony, inanimate, and very ugly, consequently as being in itself dead, but when vivified by the Lord it looks like flesh. For man’s Own is a mere dead thing, although to him it appears as something, indeed as everything. Whatever lives in him is from the Lord’s life, and if this were withdrawn he would fall down as dead as a stone; for man is only an organ of life, and such as is the organ, such is the life’s affection. The Lord alone has what is His Own; by this Own He redeemed man, and by this Own He saves him. The Lord’s Own is Life, and from His Own, man’s Own, which in itself is dead, is made alive. The Lord’s Own is also signified by the Lord’s words in Luke: A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have (Luke 24:39). It was also meant by not a bone of the paschal lamb being broken (Exod. 12:46).
The state of man when in his Own, or when he supposes that he lives from himself, is compared to “deep sleep” and indeed by the ancients was called deep sleep; and in the Word it is said of such that they have “poured out upon them the spirit of deep sleep” (Isa. 29:10), and that they sleep a sleep (Jer. 51:57). That man’s Own is in itself dead, and that no one has any life from himself, has been shown so clearly in the world of spirits, that evil spirits who love nothing but their Own, and obstinately insist that they live from themselves, were convinced by sensible experience, and were forced to confess that they do not live from themselves. … The man who supposes that he lives from himself is therefore in what is false, and by believing that he lives from himself appropriates to himself everything evil and false, which he would never do if his belief were in accordance with the real truth of the case.
*The Latin word proprium is the term used in the original text that in this and other places has been rendered by the expression “Own.” The dictionary meaning of propius, as an adjective, is “one’s own” “proper” “belonging to one’s self alone” “special” “particular” “peculiar.” The neuter of this which is the word proprium, when used as a noun means “possession” “property;” also “a peculiarity” “characteristic mark” “distinguishing sign” “characteristic.” The English adjective “own” is defined by Webster to mean “belonging to” “belonging exclusively or especially to” “peculiar;” so that our word “own” is a very exact equivalent of proprius, and if we make it a noun by writing it “Own” in order to answer to the Latin proprium, we effect a very close translation. [Reviser.]