February 23, 2015

Man's Two Rationals - One Before Regeneration, the Other After Regeneration

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
With every man who is being regenerated there are two rationals - one before regeneration, the other after regeneration.

The first, which is before regeneration, is procured through the experience of the senses, by reflections upon things of civic life and of moral life, and by means of the sciences and the reasonings derived from them and by means of them, also by means of the knowledges of spiritual things from the doctrine of faith or from the Word. But these go no further at that time than a little above the ideas of the corporeal memory, which comparatively are quite material. Whatever therefore it then thinks is from such things; or, in order that what it thinks may be comprehended at the same time by interior or intellectual sight, the semblances of such things are presented by comparison, or analogically. Of this kind is the first rational, or that which is before regeneration.

But the rational after regeneration is formed by the Lord through the affections of spiritual truth and good, which affections are implanted by the Lord in a wonderful manner in the truths of the former rational; and those things in it which are in agreement and which favor are thus vivified; but the rest are separated from it as of no use; until at length spiritual goods and truths are collected together as it were into bundles, the incongruous things which cannot be vivified being rejected to the circumference, and this by successive steps, as spiritual goods and truths grow, together with the life of the affections of them. From this it appears what the second rational is.

How the case is with these things may be illustrated by comparison with the fruit of trees. The first rational, in the beginning, is like unripe fruit, which gradually matures till it forms seeds within itself, and when it is of such age as to begin to separate itself from the tree, its state is then full ... But the second rational, with which one is gifted by the Lord when he is being regenerated, is like the same fruit in good ground, in which those things which are round about the seeds decay, and the seeds push forth from their inmost parts, and send out a root, and then a shoot above the ground, which grows into a new tree, and unfolds itself at length even into new fruits, and then into gardens and paradises, according to the affections of good and truth which it receives (see Matt. 13:31-32; John 12:24).

But as examples aid conviction, take as an example that which is man's own before regeneration, and that which is his own after it. From the first rational, which he has procured to himself by the means described above, the man believes that he thinks truth and does good from himself, and thus from what is his own. This first rational cannot apprehend otherwise, even if it has been instructed that all the good of love and all the truth of faith are from the Lord. But when man is being regenerated, which takes place in adult age, then from the other rational with which he is gifted by the Lord he begins to think that the good and truth are not from himself, or from what is his own, but from the Lord (but that nevertheless he does good and thinks truth as from himself, may be seen above, AC 1937, 1947). The more he is then confirmed in this, the more is he led into the light of truth respecting these things, till at last he believes that all good and all truth are from the Lord. The Own that belongs to the former rational is then successively separated, and the man is gifted by the Lord with a heavenly Own, which becomes that of his new rational.

Take another example. The first rational, in the beginning, knows no other love than that of self and the world; and although it hears that heavenly love is altogether of another character, it nevertheless does not comprehend it. But then, when the man does any good, he perceives no other delight from it than that he may seem to himself to merit the favor of another, or may hear himself called a Christian, or may obtain from it the joy of eternal life. The second rational, however, with which he is gifted by the Lord through regeneration, begins to feel some delight in good and truth itself, and to be affected by this, not for the sake of anything of his own, but for the sake of the good and truth; and when he is led by this delight, he disclaims merit, till at length he rejects it as an enormity. This delight grows with him step by step, and becomes blessed; and in the other life it becomes happiness, and is itself his heaven. Hence it is now evident how it is with each rational in the man who is being regenerated.

But be it known that although a man is being regenerated, still each and all things of the first rational remain with him, and are merely separated from the second rational, and this in a most wonderful manner by the Lord. But the Lord wholly banished His first rational, so that nothing of it remained; for what is merely human cannot be together with the Divine. Hence He was no longer the son of Mary, but was Jehovah as to each essence.

(Arcana Coelestia 2657:2-6)