Voluntary repentance


[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Repentance" (search under Inner Life/Practices)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.10": detail "Section 8387 - 8394"
He who desires to be saved must confess his sins and perform repentance.
 To confess sins is to know what evils are, to see them in one's self, to acknowledge them, to own one's self guilty, and to condemn one's self on account of them. When this is done before God, there is confession of sins.
 To perform repentance is, after one has thus confessed his sins and from a humble heart made supplication for their remission, to desist from them and lead a new life according to the precepts of faith.
 He who only acknowledges in a general way that he is a sinner, and who makes himself guilty of all evils, and does not examine himself, that is, see his own sins, does indeed make confession, but not the confession of repentance, for he lives afterwards as before.
 He who leads the life of faith performs repentance daily; for he reflects upon the evils that are in himself, acknowledges them, guards himself against them, and supplicates the Lord for aid. For of himself man is continually falling, but is continually being raised up by the Lord. When he contemplates willing evil, he falls of himself; and he is raised up by the Lord when he resists evil, and hence does not do it. Such is the state with all who are in good; but they who are in evil fall continually, and also are continually raised up by the Lord, but indeed into a milder hell, so that they may not fall into the most grievous hell of all, to which of themselves they tend with all their might.
 The repentance that is performed in a state of freedom avails; but that which is performed in a state of compulsion does not avail. A state of compulsion is a state of disease, a state of dejection of mind from misfortune, a state of impending death; in a word, every state of fear which takes away the use of sound reason. An evil man, who in a state of compulsion promises repentance and even does good, when he comes into a state of freedom returns into his former life of evil. The case is otherwise with a good man, such states being to him states of temptation in which he conquers.
 Repentance of the mouth and not of the life is not repentance. Sins are not remitted by repentance of the mouth, but by repentance of the life. Sins are continually being remitted to man by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but sins adhere to the man, however much he may suppose that they have been remitted; nor are they removed from him except by a life according to the precepts of faith. So far as he lives according to these precepts, so far his sins are removed; and so far as they are removed, so far they are remitted. For man is withheld from evil and held in good by the Lord, and so far as he has resisted evil in the life of the body he can be withheld from evil in the other life; and he can be held in good so far as in the life of the body he has done good from affection. It is hence evident what the remission of sins is, and whence it is. He who believes that sins are remitted in any other way, is greatly deceived.
 After a man has examined himself and acknowledged his sins, and has performed repentance, he must remain constant in good even to the end of his life. If, however, he afterward falls back into his former life of evil, and embraces it, he commits profanation; for he then conjoins evil with good, and hence his latter state becomes worse than the former.

[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Purification, refinement" (search under Inner Life/Practices)": source "Apocalypse Explained, vol.3": detail "Section 580"
It must be observed that man cannot be purified from evils, and the falsities thence, unless the unclean things that are in him come forth even into the thought, and are there seen, acknowledged, discerned, and rejected.