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The Life of Charity and Faith
"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and
to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."
-- Micah, VI, 8
The Law of Charity
Not to do evil to the neighbor is the first
thing of charity, and to do good to him
fills the second place.... That a man
cannot do good which in itself is good before
evil has been removed, the Lord teaches in
many places: "Do men gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles? Neither can a corrupt
tree bring forth good fruit" -- Matt. XVI, 18.
So in Isaiah: "Wash you, make you clean;
put away the evil of your doings from before
Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well"
-- True Christian Religion, n. 445
Good In Its Wholeness
Before repentance good is not done
from the Lord, but from the man. It has
not, therefore, the essence of good within
it, however it appears like good outwardly.
Good after repentance is another thing altogether.
It is a whole good, unobstructed from
the Lord Himself. It is lovely; it is innocent;
it is agreeable, and heavenly. The Lord is in
it, and heaven. Good itself is in it. It is alive,
fashioned of truths. Whatever is thus from
good, in good, and toward good, is nothing less
than a use to the neighbor, and hence it is a
serving. It puts away self and what is one's
own, and thus evil, with every breath. Its
form is like the form of a charming and beautifully
colored flower, shining in the rays of
-- The Doctrine of Charity, n. 150
The Man of Charity
Every man who looks to the Lord and
shuns evils as sins, if he sincerely, justly
and faithfully performs the work which
belongs to his office and employment, becomes
an embodiment of charity.
-- The Doctrine of Charity, VII
In common belief charity is nothing else
than giving to the poor, succoring the needy,
caring for widows and orphans, contributing
to the building of hospitals, infirmaries, asylums,
orphanages, and especially churches,
and to their decoration and income. But most
of these things are not the proper activities
of charity, but extraneous to it. A distinction
is to be made between the duties of charity,
and its benefactions. By the duties of charity
those exercises of it are meant, which proceed
directly from charity itself. These have to do
primarily with one's occupation. By the benefactions
those aids are meant which are given
outside of, and over and above the duties.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 425
The Activity of Charity
Charity is an inward affection, moving
man to do what is good, and this without
recompense. So to act is his life's delight.
The life of charity is to will well and to
do well by the neighbor; in all work, and in
every employment, acting out of regard to
what is just and equitable, good and true. In
a word, the life of charity consists in the performance
-- Heavenly Doctrine, nn. 106, 124
Faith the Partner of Charity
Neither charity alone nor faith alone
can produce good works, any more than a
husband alone or a wife alone can have
offspring. The truths of faith not only illuminate
charity, but qualify it, too; and, moreover,
they nourish it. A man, then, who has
charity and not truths of faith, is like one
walking in a garden in the night-time, snatching
fruit from the trees without knowing
whether it is of a good or evil use.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 377
The Patriotism of Charity
One's country is the neighbor more than
a society, for it consists of many societies,
and consequently the love of it is a
more extended and a higher love. Besides, to
love one's country is to love the public welfare.
A man's country is the neighbor because it is
like a parent; for there he was born; it has
nourished and still nourishes him; it has protected
him from harm, and still protects him.
From love for it he ought to do good to his
country according to its needs, some of which
are natural, and others spiritual. The country
ought to be loved, not as a man loves himself,
but more than himself. This is a law inscribed
on the human heart. And from the
law has issued the proposition, which has the
assent of every true man, that if ruin threatens
the country from an enemy or other source, it
is illustrious to die for it, and glorious for a
soldier to shed his blood for it. This is a
common saying, because so much should one's
country be loved. Those who love their country,
and from good will do good to it, after
death love the Lord's kingdom, for this is their
country there; and they who love the Lord's
kingdom, love the Lord, for He is the All in
all of His Kingdom.
-- True Christian Religion, n. 414
Faith and Doubt
There are those who are in doubt before
they deny, and there are those who
are in doubt before they affirm. Those in
doubt before they deny, are men who incline
to a life of evil. When that life sways them,
they deny things spiritual and celestial to the
extent that they think of them. But those in
doubt before they affirm, are men who incline
to a life of good. When they suffer themselves
to be turned to this life by the Lord, they then
affirm things spiritual and celestial to the extent
that they think of them.
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 2568
The Faith of the Faithful
It is one thing to know truths, another to
acknowledge them, and yet another to have
faith in them. Only the faithful can
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 896
The only faith that endures with man
springs from heavenly love. Those without
love have knowledge merely, or persuasion.
Just to believe in truth and in the Word is not
faith. Faith is to love truth, and to will and do
it from inward affection for it.
-- Heaven and Hell, n. 482
If a man thinks to himself or says to another,
"Who can have that inward acknowledgment
of truth which is faith? I cannot,"
I will tell him how he may: "Shun evils as
sins, and go to the Lord, and you will have as
much as you desire."
-- Doctrine Concerning Faith, n. 12
Not only is the individual man the
neighbor, but the collective man, too.
A society, smaller or larger, is the neighbor;
the Church is; the Kingdom of the Lord
is; and above all the Lord Himself. These
are the neighbor, to whom good is to be done
from love. These are also the ascending degrees
of the neighbor; for a society consisting
of many is the neighbor in a higher degree
than is the individual; one's country in a still
higher degree; the Church in a still higher
degree than one's country; in a degree higher
still the Kingdom of the Lord; and in the
highest degree the Lord Himself. These degrees
of ascent are like the steps in a ladder, at
the top of which is the Lord.
-- Heavenly Doctrine, n. 91
There is an affection in every employment,
which puts the mind upon the
stretch and keeps it intent upon its work
or study. If it is not relaxed, this becomes
heavy, and its desire meaningless; as salt, when
it loses its saltness, no longer stimulates, and
as the bow on the stretch, unless it is unbent,
loses the force it gets from its elasticity. Continuously
intent upon its work, the mind wants
rest; and dropping to the physical life, it seeks
pleasures there that answer to its activities.
As is the mind in them, such are the pleasures,
pure or impure, spiritual or natural, heavenly
or infernal. If it is the affection of charity
which is in them, all diversions will recreate
it -- shows, games, instrumental and vocal
music, the beauties of field and garden, social
intercourse generally. There remains deep in
them, being gradually renewed as it rests, the
love of work and service. The longing to resume
this work breaks in upon the diversions
and puts an end to them. For the Lord flows
into the diversions from heaven, and renews
the man; and He gives the man an interior
sense of pleasure in them, too, of which those
know nothing who are not in the affection
-- Doctrine of Charity, nn. 127, 128, 130
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