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True Christian Religion # 392

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392.. CHAPTER SEVEN

CHARITY, OR LOVE TOWARDS THE NEIGHBOUR, AND GOOD DEEDS

After the chapter on faith, there follows one on charity, because faith and charity are linked like truth and good; and these two are linked like light and heat in springtime. This expression is used because spiritual light, the light radiated by the sun of the spiritual world, is in essence truth. Therefore, wherever truth is to be seen in that world, it shines with a radiance in proportion to its purity. Spiritual heat, which is also radiated by that sun, is in essence good. These statements have been made because charity and faith stand in the same relationship to each other as good and truth; and charity is all the good taken together a person does to his neighbour, and faith is all the truth taken together a person thinks about God and the things that are His.

[2] Since then the truth of faith is spiritual light, and the good of charity is spiritual heat, it follows that these two stand in the same relationship as the two things in the natural world which share these names. That is to say, when they are combined everything on earth flourishes, and in the same way when charity and faith are combined everything in the human mind flourishes, the only difference being that on earth the flowering is the result of natural heat and light, while in the human mind it is the result of spiritual heat and light. This flowering, being spiritual, is wisdom and intelligence. There is too a correspondence between the two, and for this reason the human mind, in which charity is linked with faith and faith with charity, is likened in the Word to a garden; and this is the meaning of the Garden of Eden, as was fully shown in ARCANA CAELESTIA (published in London).

[3] Furthermore it should be known that unless a discussion of charity follows that of faith, it is impossible to grasp what faith is, since, as the preceding chapter stated and showed, faith without charity is no faith, and charity without faith is no charity, and it is only the Lord who gives life to them both (355-361). It was also shown that the Lord, charity and faith make one, just as do life, the will and the understanding; and if they are separated, each of them is destroyed like a pearl collapsing into dust (362-367). Moreover charity and faith are together present in good deeds (373ff).

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

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True Christian Religion # 362

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362. VI. The Lord, charity and faith make one, just as in a person life, will and understanding do; if they are separated, each of them is destroyed, like a pearl collapsing into dust.

We shall begin by relating some facts which have up to now been unknown to the learned world, and so to the ecclesiastical establishment. They are as unknown as if they had been buried in the earth, although they are treasuries of wisdom, and unless they are dug up and made public, men seek in vain to arrive at a proper knowledge of God, faith, charity, and of the state of their own lives; they do not know how to control it and to prepare for the state of everlasting life. The following facts are unknown. A person is nothing but an organ of life. Life together with all it entails flows in from the God of heaven, who is the Lord. There are two faculties which give men life, called the will and the understanding, the will being a receiver for love, the understanding a receiver for wisdom. The will is also thus a receiver for charity and the understanding a receiver for faith.

[2] Everything a person wills and everything he understands flow in from outside; the kinds of good which belong to love and charity, and the truths which belong to wisdom and faith come from the Lord; but on the other hand everything opposed to these comes from hell. It has been arranged by the Lord that what flows in from outside is felt by the person in himself as if it belonged to him, so that he can bring it forth from himself as if it were his own, although nothing of it belongs to him. However, it is reckoned as his on account of the free will enjoyed by his faculties of will and thought, and on account of the knowledge of good and truth granted to him, from which he can freely choose whatever is for the benefit of his temporal or everlasting life.

[3] Anyone looking at these facts crookedly or askance can reach many crazy conclusions from them. Anyone who looks at them straight in the eye can reach many wise conclusions from them. So as to achieve the latter instead of the former result, it has been necessary to state as a premise judgments and dogmas about God and the Divine Trinity, and after this to establish judgments and dogmas about faith, charity, free will, reformation and regeneration, and about imputation, as well as about repentance, baptism, and the Holy Supper, which act as means.

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