Regeneration, mechanism behind


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Regeneration, how it works" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4610a - 4614a"
How principles of truth change and break passions or enjoyments of evil, has become well known to me from experience. When I was having a feeling of evil, and principles of truth were instilled within me, then those pleasures began to cease, so that they were recognized to be evil.
 This shows how faith, or the higher knowledge of truth, operates in the conscience, and how man is reformed by means of truths, for in faith, or truths instilled by the Lord within, there is an imperceptible blessedness looking to eternal blessedness, which is preferred to evil enjoyments. This shows how reformation by means of the truths of faith takes place.
 Also feelings of goodness can be and customarily are broken by principles of falsity, namely, when falsity is seized upon as truth. For example, when someone who has marriage love adopts the principle that to love the married partner is only an obligation by covenant, and nothing more—if one is confirmed in this false principle, then one destroys marriage love, and turns it into wantonness, and at the same time considers adulteries as nothing.
 So it is in other cases, such as one who embraces the principle that piety and the goodness of caring for others are of no account, due to which principle one destroys charity and the feeling for goodness, and no longer cares about how one lives, and so forth.
 How strongly principles operate may be evident only from the example of one who believes that a food one has enjoyed is harmful, and then due to that principle abstains from that food, and finally finds it disgusting, once that conviction takes hold or comes in from some physician one supposes to know. So it is in many such cases; so that principles break feelings. This shows how important it is to have higher knowledge of truth, and to believe that this is the truth.
 When a person has, and accepts, and believes principles of truth, or the truths of faith, then although the operation of that knowledge is imperceptible while man is living in the world, yet the Lord still pours blessedness into it, which, if he does not realize it in the life of the body, he does in the other life—and this all the better when he has acquired the habit and begun both to shun and to be disgusted with evil enjoyments. But this takes time, for it cannot take place in a moment. In this way to change one's enjoyments, much time is needed, for they belong to a life acquired from childhood on.