Chapter XXII. Adult Life. - First Degree of Regeneration.DURING minority there was an ascent through the degrees of the natural mind C even into its highest b and at the same time a descent of heaven through the degrees of the spiritual mind B into its lowest a, meeting between the two minds. This is shown in the three preceding diagrams.
Standing now at the threshold of adult life man can under the LORD enter heaven if he will and allow heaven to flow down into his natural, by discrete degrees successively. Such is the structure of the mind, such the order of heaven, and such the nature and order of regeneration. (AE 940.)
During minority, the course was upward in the natural mind and downward through the spiritual. Thenceforth, should the man become regenerate, it will be the reverse-up through the spiritual, down through the natural. The first great step in this process is the opening of the lowest or natural degree of the spiritual mind a and elevation of the man into it with the descent of influx thence into the highest degree of the natural mind b, and into c the highest degree of the limbus which is the lowest scat of thought and affection, and thence into word and deed by the gross body.
This first step in adult regeneration, may be elucidated. The lowest degree of the spiritual mind a having been previously stored with good and truth is prepared for the man's entrance into it; he then rises into it and plants therein the interior seat of his thought and affection. Thus he begins to be a distinctively spiritual man but has not yet become so, especially not permanently so. To ensure this result the highest degree of his natural mind b and the corresponding plane of the limbus c must be cleansed of evil and falsity and appropriate good and truth adopted in their stead. (AC 3539 and 6724.) Evil and falsity can be removed only by combat in obedience to the Divine command to shun them as sins, for the LORD can work in man to remove his disorders only when man co-operates with Him. (AE 790 [b].) This combat is waged by good and truth on the LORD's side against evil and falsity assaulting on the other. The goods and truths immediately brought into use as the hosts of the LORD in this combat are those;already stored in these degrees (b and c) during youth, But these goods and truths cannot combat and expel the evils and falsities from these degrees except as infilled and animated by the higher goods and truths in a of the spiritual mind. Thus the combat is primarily between the spiritual mind and the evils and falsities of -the natural mind. The spiritual mind however fights from its own goods and truths by the goods and truths of the natural mind. (AC 6724, AE 176, 790.) Then the spiritual rests securely on the natural and the man thereafter holds his interior seat in that lowest degree of the spiritual mind. This degree of the natural mind is now conjoined with the spiritual and makes one with it. The man dying in this state goes to the lowest or natural heaven because he is regenerate to the natural degree of his spiritual mind and to the corresponding degree of his natural mind. This first great step of regeneration requires years for its accomplishment, with most persons, many years. Neither does it always actually commence at twenty-one years of age.
But cannot man be saved unless this degree be completely regenerate in this world? Yes. If the work be well commenced it will be completed in the other world. (TCR 571.) With most who are saved, indeed with an who are properly saved by entering into heaven, that is who cultivate in themselves the heavenly marriage of good and truth, the spiritual mind is opened and as to their interior life they live distinctly and clearly within. There are however a few in whom that mind is neither strictly closed, nor properly open. These acknowledge God and shun as sin but have little or no concern about truths, being content with a few simple ideas. Truth as well as good is requisite to open the spiritual mind and secure elevation into it. As they do not lead a wicked life but a certain species of good life they neither close heaven against themselves nor properly enter it. Their abode after death is in the very lowest part of heaven, or in the outskirt of a superior heaven, where they perform service under direction of those who are in heaven. (DLW 253.)
When a man with the lowest degree of the spiritual mind, opened and the highest of the natural regenerate enters his appropriate heaven the unremoved evils of the two lower degrees of the natural mind are thereafter held in quiescence, chiefly by the goods and truths appropriated in the higher degrees. The like occurs with him who is so far regenerated as to enter the spiritual or middle heaven after death. His lowest natural degree is yet tainted with evil, but the two higher degrees of the natural mind being purified, the evils of this degree are held in quiescence. It is different with him who enters the highest heaven because (as will be seen in Diagram XXIV) every degree of his natural mind is cleansed of evil and filled with good and truth.
There is a difference between evil from the father and evil from the mother. (Chapter XVIII.) The evil which is from the father (resident in the three degrees of the natural mind C and thence in the spiritual-sensual and spiritual-corporeal), cannot be expelled, but only removed from the centre to the circumference and there held in subjection and, as it were, lifeless, to eternity. But the evil from the mother may be dispersed as regeneration descends through the degrees of the limbus. (AC 1414, 1444, 1573.)
Dispersion of the maternal evil does not involve the rejection of the limbus as an organism but only a change of state by expulsion of impure substances and disorderly forms and the appropriation of other substances pure and orderly. The good and truth of -the paternal degrees rest on corresponding states in this material plane, the limbus, as their ultimate base. Even the gross body becomes purified in proportion to the regeneration of the higher degrees-a change effected by rejection of impure substances and incorporation of material substances pure and orderly.
As the unremoved evil in the two lower degrees of the natural mind with him who dies in the state presented in this diagram is held forever quiescent in those degrees, so the undispersed evil of the two lower degrees of the limbus is held in quiescency by the power of the good appropriated in the regenerated degrees above. "Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours, no man shall be able to stand before you, JEHOVAH your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land that you shall tread upon." (Deut. xi, 24, 25 ; Gen. ix, 2.)
From earliest infancy remains have been stored preparatory for regeneration in after years. (Pages 67, 73, 75-83, 85.) During adult life there are added new good by an internal way and new truth by an external way. This increase continues after death but only of good and truth of the same degree as appropriated during life in the world. After death no new degree can be opened. Angels of a lower heaven never become angels of a higher, nor do the higher fall to a lower. While in the world man acquires a certain measure of good or evil which after death he neither transcends nor falls below. (AC 7984; S.D. 4037-9.)
The cause of this permanence is that the limbus, the plane of the natural memory, then quiesces. During life this lowest mental plane was active and usable under volition and could be changed in quality and thus made the basis of new openings of the higher degrees. But in quiescing after death it becomes fixed. Should a degree higher than that attained in the world be providentially opened it could not be held permanently because this opened state would not be terminated in the limbus. No spiritual degree nor state of a degree can endure except it rest on the limbus, the indestructible base and containant of the whole spirit and of all its states. (DLW 257; D.W. in AE VIII, quoted pp. 54-56.)
Why does the limbus quiesce? When man becomes a spirit he must close the memory of natural things and enter into interior consciousness without which he could not properly inhabit the spiritual world. Were not the limbus then quiescent he would relapse into it and thus be withdrawn from conscious life in the states and scenery of that world. When a spirit for a special purpose experiences temporary activity of his natural memory he is withdrawn from the consciousness and memory of things spiritual. This exercise of the material memory however causes no permanent change of its state. During life the limbus is clothed with the gross body which furnishes a reactive plane for the operation of the natural memory. When this reactive plane is removed by death the natural memory quiesces and the spiritual memory is opened.
Should the limbus not quiesce at death the spirit could not thereafter permanently retain his interiors in due form and order as they would have no unchangeable ultimate; the regenerate could not then be preserved forever in heaven, nor the wicked in hell. (AC 2469 to 2494; S.D. 4037 to 4039.)
Nor does this quiescence merely fix the happy state of the angels in the degree to which they have advanced, but as the Divine acts by universal laws this quiescence also holds the evil in their life's love without possibility of either descent or ascent to other degrees than those opened in their perverted minds and founded in the limbus during life in the world. "As the tree falls so it lies."
The fixed state of the limbus fixes the interiors because interiors must be and flow according to exteriors, so that no permanent change can be made in the interior without a corresponding change in the exterior.
The spiritual mind is always in true order. But influx thence into the natural mind becomes natural good and truth embodying spiritual and thus regenerating the natural C only so far as the limbus is regenerated. (DP 119, 120.) Hence,
The numberless inner evils of the natural mind C are enrooted in the limbus D wherein they present themselves as one.
Cupidities within, the man sees not; these are known to the LORD alone. But the LORD can remove them only when man who is together with Him in the limbus fights against them there as seen by the light of truth. Thus their basis is removed, and the inner mind is cleansed. Good and truth can then descend from the spiritual mind into the natural mind C, regenerating it, become enrooted in the limbus, and be rendered as act and speech by the gross body. Good and truth thus implanted in the natural band enrooted in the limbus D are also permanently enjoyable as to their interiors in the spiritual mind B. (DP 119, 120, 125) The "internal man" in these passages of Divine Providence is the natural mind C, the "external man" is the limbus and gross body. (Chapter XV.)
Thus far as to the quiescence of the limbus.
The temporary activity of the limbus above alluded to is caused by the spirit or the angel being for the time so joined to man's externals as to furnish a reactive base for the purpose.
Another feature of regeneration pertaining alike to him in whom only the first degree of the spiritual mind is opened (as shown in this diagram) and to him whose states are represented in Diagrams XXIII and XXIV, should be especially noted. Since the spiritual mind is formed of spiritual substances of a purer kind and the paternal natural C is formed of spiritual substances of a grosser kind therefore good and truth flow from the spiritual into the natural simply by taking on a more compound form.
But they cannot flow from the natural mind into the limbus and gross body in the same manner, as these are composed of material substances, and hence as already stated undergo renovation by rejection of impure natural substances, and incorporation of such as are pure,