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in consequence thereof, by innate concupiscence, he loves evils, and is hurried on to the commission of them, as to revenge, to fraud, to defamation, and adultery; and in case he does not think that they are sins, and on that account resist them, he commits them as often as opportunity offers, if he can do it safely, without loss of gain and reputation. Add to this, that he has a delight in doing evil, unless he be under religious influence.
93. Inasmuch as this proprium, or self of man, constitutes the first root of his life, it is evident what a tree man would become, if that root should remain unextirpated, and no new root should be implanted; he would be a rotten tree, of which it is said that it is to be cut down and cast into the fire. Matt. iii. 10. Chap. vii. 19. This root is not removed, and a new one implanted in its stead, unless man regards the evils, which constitute the root, as destructive to his soul, and on that account is desirous to remove them; but inasmuch as they appertain to his proprium, and consequently are delightful to him, he cannot remove them without a degree of unwillingness, and of struggle against them, and thus of combat.
94. Every one who believes that there is a hell and a heaven, and that heaven is eternal felicity, and that hell is eternal infelicity, and who believes further, that they go to hell who commit evils, and they to heaven who do what is good, is brought into a state of combat; and he, who is in combat, acts from an interior principle, and in opposition to the essential concupiscence which constitutes the root of evil; for whoever is engaged in combat against any thing, does not will or desire that thing, and to have concupiscence is to will and desire. Hence it is evident, that the root of evil can be removed only by combat against it.
95. So far therefore as any one fights against evil, and thereby removes it, so far good succeeds in its place, and by virtue of good so far he looks evil in the face, and then sees it to be infernal and horrible; and having made this discovery, he not only shuns it, but also holds it in aversion, and at length abominates it.
96. The man who fights against evils, must needs fight as from himself; otherwise he does not fight, but stands like a piece of clock-work, see.ng nothing and acting nothing, in which state his thoughts.
having their ground in evil are directed in favour of evil, and not against it. But still it is well to be attended to, that the Lord alone fights in man against evils, and that it only appears to man as if he fought of himself, and that the Lord is willing it should apear so, inasmuch as without such appearance there could be no combat, and consequently no reformation.
97. Such combat is not grievous, except to those who have given free and deliberate indulgence to their concupiscences; and also to those, who have confirmed themselves in rejecting the holy things of the Word and of the church; to others it is not grievous; let them but resist evils in intention only once in a week, or a fortnight, and they will perceive a change.
98. The Christian church is called the church militant; and it can be called millitant, for no other reason than as fighting against the devil, consequently against the evils which are from hell; for hell is the devil. This combat consists in the temptations which each member of the church endures.
99. The combats against evils, which are temptations, are treated of in many
places in the Word, and are understood by these words of the Lord, "Verily I say unto you, except a grain of wheat falling into the earth die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it beareth much fruit," John xii. 24; and also by these, "Whosoever will come after me, let him renounce himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Whosoever will save his life shall lose it ; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, the same shall save it," Mark viii. 34, 35; by cross is understood temptation, as also in Matt. x. 38. chap. xvi. 24. Mark x. 21. Luke xiv. 27; by life is meant the life of man's proprium or selfhood, as also in Matt. x. 39. chap. xvi. 25. Luke ix. 24; and particularly John xii. 25; which is also the life of the flesh that. profiteth nothing, John vi. 63. Concerning combats against evils, and victories over them, the Lord speaks to the churches in the Revelation; as to the CHURCH IN EPHESUS, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God," Rev. ii. 7; and to the CHURCH IN SMYRNA, "He that overcometh shall not be hurt by the second death," Rev. ii. 11; and to the CHURCH IN PERGAMOS,
"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth except he that receiveth," Rev. ii. 17; and to the CHURCH IN THYATIRA, "He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and I will give him the morning star," Rev. ii. 26, 28; and to the CHURCH IN SARDIS, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and my new name," Rev. iii. 12; and to the CHURCH IN LAODICEA, "To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me on my throne,” Rev. iii. 27.
100. The subject of those combats, which are temptations, may be seen particularly treated of in the DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM, published in the year 1758, from n. 187 to n. 201. Whence they come, and the nature of them, may be seen, n. 196, 197. How and when they happen, n. 198. What good they effect, n. 199. That the Lord fights for