Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 9336

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9336. 'Little by little I will drive them out from before you' means a removal effected gradually according to order. This is clear from the meaning of 'little by little' as gradually, thus slowly; and from the meaning of 'driving out' - when it has reference to falsities and evils, meant by the nations of the land of Canaan - as a removal, dealt with just above in 9333. The words 'gradually according to order' are used because everything with a person who is being regenerated is rearranged in accordance with heavenly order. For a person who has been regenerated is a miniature heaven, 9276, and therefore also within that person order exists akin to that which obtains in heaven.

[2] When a person is born he is, so far as his hereditary evils are concerned, a miniature hell. He also becomes an embodiment of hell to the extent that he draws on hereditary evils and adds his own to them. This being so, the order of a person's life which exists by reason of what he receives at birth, and by reason of his own acts in life, is the opposite of heavenly order. For what is a person's own leads him to love self more than the Lord and to love the world more than heaven, whereas the life of heaven consists in loving the Lord above all things and the neighbour as oneself. From this it is evident that the first life, which is that of hell, must be completely destroyed, that is, evils and falsities must be removed, in order that the new life, which is that of heaven, may be implanted, see 4551, 4552, 4839, 6068. This cannot possibly be done hurriedly, for every deep-rooted evil, together with its falsities, is interconnected with all other evils and their falsities. Such evils and falsities are countless, and their interconnection is so complex that it cannot be comprehended, not even by angels, only by the Lord. From this it is evident that the life of hell with a person cannot be destroyed suddenly; for if it were destroyed suddenly the person too would perish. Nor can the life of heaven be implanted suddenly, for if this were implanted suddenly the person would again perish.

[3] There are thousands and thousands of hidden ways, scarcely a single one of which is known to mankind, by which the Lord leads a person from the life of hell to the life of heaven. I have been informed from heaven that this is so, and it has also been corroborated for me by many things that I have been made aware of. Since mankind knows scarcely anything at all about these things many have fallen into errors concerning human deliverance from evils and falsities, which is the forgiveness of sins. They think that the life of hell with a person can be changed to the life of heaven with him in an instant, by mercy. But in actual fact mercy lies in the whole act of regeneration; and none undergo regeneration apart from those who receive the Lord's mercy in faith and life while they are in the world, in keeping with the Lord's words in John,

As many as received Him, to them He gave power to be sons of God, to those believing in His name, who were born, not of blooda, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man (vir), but of God. John 1:12, 13.

What 'blood', 'the will of the flesh', and 'the will of man', also 'born of God' mean, see 5826.

[4] The proper way to understand 'a removal from evils and falsities, effected gradually according to order' must also be stated briefly. Divine Truth which emanates from the Lord's Divine Good arranges all things into order in heaven; consequently this Divine Truth, holding good from the Lord within it, is order itself, see 1728, 1919, 2247, 2258, 5703, 6338, 8700, 8988. In accordance with that order all things there come into being, and in accordance with that same order they remain in being; for remaining in being is a constant coming into being. Therefore to enable heaven to come into being in a person, it is necessary for him to receive Divine Truth in the good he has from the Lord. This can be brought into effect only gradually, according to the order similar to that which governs the way the Lord arranges heaven; for if the essential nature of the thing is the same, then the situation on the smaller scale is the same as on the larger scale. This arranging step-by-step is what should be understood here by order brought into effect gradually. From all this it is also evident that the new creation of a person, which is his regeneration, resembles the creation of heaven and earth. For this reason also in the Word a new heaven and a new earth is used to mean a new Church, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 3355 (end), 4535; and the creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis serves to mean the new creation of a celestial Church, called Man, dealt with in the explanations of that chapter.


a lit. bloods

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