Divine Providence #153

Po Emanuel Swedenborg

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153. I have often been struck by the fact that even though the whole Christian world recognizes that evils are to be avoided as sins and that otherwise they are not forgiven, even though Christians recognize that if sins are not forgiven there is no salvation, still there is scarcely one in a thousand who actually knows this for a fact. I have made inquiries in the spiritual world and found that this is true. Everyone in the Christian world is aware of it because of the prayers that are read to people who come to the Holy Supper, because these things are very clearly stated then; yet when you ask whether people know this for a fact, they say that they do not now and did not in the past. This is because they have not thought about it, most of them thinking only about faith and about salvation because of their faith alone.

I have also been struck by the fact that faith alone closes the eyes so completely that when people who are convinced of it read the Word, they do not see anything that it says about love, caring, and doing. It is as though they painted a coating of faith over the whole Word like someone who paints a manuscript over with crimson so that nothing shows through from underneath; and if anything does show through, it is swallowed up by faith and becomes identified with it.

  
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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.