Extracts

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Repentance

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[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Repentance" (search under Inner Life/Practices)": source "Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church": detail "Section 114"
Actual repentance consists in a man's examining himself, in knowing and acknowledging his sins, in making himself guilty, in confessing them before the Lord, in imploring help and power to resist them, and thus in desisting from them, and leading a new life, and doing all these things as of himself. Practice this once or twice in a year, when you approach the holy communion; and afterwards when the sins, whereof you made yourselves guilty, recur, then say to yourselves, we will not consent to them, because they are sins against God; this is actual repentance.
 Who cannot see, that where a man does not examine himself and see his sins, he remains in them? For all evil is pleasant to a man from his birth; it is pleasant to take revenge, to commit whoredom, to defraud, to blaspheme; does not the pleasure you find in them prevent their being seen? And, if you are told that they are sins, do you not on account of that pleasure, excuse them? Nay, do you not, by false reasonings, confirm them, and persuade yourselves that they are not sins! And so you continue in them, and practice them afterwards more than before; even till you do not know what sin is, or whether there be any such thing as sin or not.
 But the case is otherwise with everyone who performs actual repentance; he calls his evils, which he has thus learnt to know and acknowledge, sins, and therefore begins to shun and detest them, and to feel their delights as undelightful; and in proportion as this is the case, he sees and loves what is good, and at length tastes the delights of goodness, which are the delights of heaven. In a word, so far as any one renounces the devil, so far he is adopted by the Lord, and by Him is taught, guided, withheld from evils, and preserved in what is good. This is the way, and there is no other, which leads from hell to heaven.


[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Work, summary/overview" (search under Outer Life/Religions, Ways)": source "Four Doctrines with Nine Questions": detail "‘Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem’ Section 97"
This combat [against and within oneself] is not severe except in the case of those who have given free reign to their concupiscences, and have indulged them of set purpose, and also in the case of those who have stubbornly cast off the holy things of the Word and of the church. With others it is not severe; let them even once in a week, or twice in a month, resist the evils they are inclined to, and they will perceive a change.