Freedom, and free will


[1 of 4] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Freedom, and free will" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.3": detail "Section 2876"
As no one can be reformed except in freedom, therefore freedom is never taken away from man, so far as it appears. It is an eternal law that everyone should be in freedom as to his interiors, that is, as to his affections and thoughts, to the end that the affection of good and truth may be insinuated in freedom.

[2 of 4] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Freedom, and free will" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 73"
First, it should be known that all freedom is of love, so much so that love and freedom are one. As love is man's life, freedom is of his life, too. For man's every enjoyment is from some love of his and has no other source, and to act from the enjoyment of one's love is to act in freedom. Enjoyment leads a man as the current bears an object along on a stream. But loves are many, some harmonious, others not; therefore freedoms are many. In general there are three: natural, rational, and spiritual freedom.
 Natural freedom is man's by heredity. In it he loves only himself and the world; his first life is nothing else. From these two loves, moreover, all evils arise and thus attach to love. Hence to think and will evil is man's natural freedom, and when he has also confirmed evils in himself by reasonings, he does them in freedom according to his reason. Doing them is from his faculty called liberty, and confirming them from his faculty called rationality.
 Rational freedom is from the love of good repute for the sake of standing or gain. The delight of this love is to seem outwardly a moral person. Loving this reputation, the man does not defraud, commit adultery, take revenge, or blaspheme; and making this his reasoned course, he also does in freedom according to reason what is sincere, just, chaste, and friendly; indeed from reason can advocate such conduct. But if his rational is only natural and not spiritual, his freedom is only external and not internal. He does not love these goods inwardly at all, but only outwardly for reputation's sake, as we said. The good deeds he does are therefore not in themselves good. He can also say that they should be done for the sake of the general welfare, but he speaks out of no love for that welfare, but from love of his own standing or gain. His freedom therefore derives nothing from love of the public good, nor does his reason, which complies with his love. This rational freedom, therefore, is inwardly natural freedom. The Lord's divine providence leaves everyone this freedom too.
 Spiritual freedom is from love of eternal life. Into this love and its enjoyment only he comes who regards evils as sins and therefore does not will them, and who also looks to the Lord. Once a man does this he is in this freedom. One can refuse to will and do evils for the reason that they are sins, only from an interior or higher freedom, belonging to his interior or higher love. This freedom does not seem at first to be freedom, yet it is. Later it does seem freedom, and the man acts in real freedom according to true reason, thinking, willing, speaking and doing the good and the true. This freedom grows as natural freedom decreases and serves it; and it unites with rational freedom and purifies it.

[3 of 4] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Freedom, and free will" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.8": detail "Section 6477"
For many years I have observed the general sphere of the influxes around me. It consisted on the one hand of a perpetual endeavour by the hells to do evil, and on the other of a continual endeavour by the Lord to do good; by these endeavours, opposite to each other, I have been constantly kept in equilibrium. Such endeavours and consequent equilibrium are with every one; from this all have freedom to turn whithersoever they please; but the equilibrium varies in accordance with the good or evil that reigns with the man.

[4 of 4] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Freedom, and free will" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "True Christian Religion, Appendix": detail "Section 28"
Free-will in spiritual things is derived from the circumstance of a man's walking and living in the midst between heaven and hell, and of heaven's operating on him from above, while hell operates from beneath, and from the option which is given to a man of turning himself either to things above or to things below, either to the Lord or to the devil.