2371. 'And they said, Did not this one come to sojourn' means people with different teaching and a different life. This is clear from the meaning of 'sojourning' as receiving instruction and living, and so as doctrine and life, dealt with in 1463, 2025. Here the nature of the state of the Church around the last times is described, when faith is no more because charity is no more, that is to say, when the good of charity is rejected on doctrinal grounds as well, because it has severed all connection with life.
 The people described here are not those who falsify the good of charity by explaining things to their own advantage. They are not those who, so that they may be very great and may possess all the world's goods, make the good of charity the earner of merit. Nor are they those who assume the right to dispense rewards, and in so doing defile the good of charity by various devices and misleading means. Instead the subject is those who do not wish to hear anything about the goods of charity, that is, about good works, only about faith separated from those works. And this they wish to hear from the argument that man has nothing but evil within him and that even the good which springs from himself is in itself evil, and so contains nothing of salvation; and from the argument that no one can merit heaven by means of any good, nor accordingly be saved by it, only by means of a faith whereby they acknowledge the Lord's merit. This is the teaching which flourishes in the last times when the Church starts to breathe its last, and which is enthusiastically taught and favourably accepted.
 But to maintain from all this that anyone can lead an evil life and at the same time possess a faith that is good is a false conclusion. It is also a false conclusion to say that because man has nothing but evil within him, good from the Lord - which has heaven within it because it has the Lord within it, and blessedness and happiness within it because heaven is within it - cannot exist there. Finally it is a false conclusion to say that because nobody can merit [heaven] by any good, heavenly good from the Lord in which [self-] merit is regarded as something monstrous has no existence. Such good exists with every angel, such good exists with every regenerate person, and such good exists with those who perceive delight, and indeed blessedness, in good itself, that is, in the affection for it. The Lord speaks of this good or charity in the following way in Matthew,
You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. [But] I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who hurt and persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? And if you salute only your brothers, what more are you doing [than others]? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? Matthew 5:43-48
Similar words occur in Luke, with this addition,
Do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. Luke 6:27-36.
 Here good which is derived from the Lord is described and the fact that it does not carry any thought of repayment. Consequently people who are governed by that good are called 'sons of the Father who is in heaven', and 'sons of the Most High'. Yet because that good has the Lord within it there is also a reward: in Luke,
When you give a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbours, lest perhaps they invite you back in return, and you are repaid. But when you give a feast invite the poor, the maimed, the blind, and you will be blessed, for they have nothing with which to repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. 1
'Dinner', 'supper', or 'feast' means the good that flows from charity, in which the Lord dwells together with man, 2341. Here it is described therefore, and it is plainly evident, that recompense lies within good itself since this has the Lord within it, for it is said that 'you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just'.
 People who strive to do good from themselves because the Lord has commanded it to be done are the ones who at length receive this good and who after receiving instruction then acknowledge in faith that all good comes from the Lord, 1712, 1937, 1947. And they are now so opposed to self-merit that they are saddened by the mere thought of merit and perceive that blessedness and happiness with them is that much diminished.
 It is quite different in the case of those who fail to do good and instead lead an evil life, while teaching and professing that salvation resides in faith separated from charity. These people are not even aware of the possibility of such good. And what is remarkable the same people in the next life, as I have been given to know from much experience, wish to merit heaven on the basis of all the good deeds they recall their having done, for they are now aware for the first time that no salvation lies in faith separated from charity. But these are the ones whom the Lord refers to in Matthew,
They will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by Your name, and by Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many mighty works? But then will I declare to them, I do not know you; depart from Me, you workers of iniquity. Matthew 7:22-23.
With these people it is also seen that they had paid no attention at all to any one of the things which the Lord Himself taught so many times about the good that flows from love and charity. Instead those things had been to them like clouds sailing by or like things seen in the night, such as the things recorded in
Matthew 3:8-9; 5:7-48; 6:1-20; 7:16-20, 24-27; 9:13; 12:33; 13:8, 23; 18:21-end; 19:19; 22:35-40; 24:12-13; 25:34-end;
Mark 4:18-20; 11:13-14, 20; 12:28-35; Luke 3:8-9; 6:27-39, 43-end;
7:47; 8:8, 14-15; 10:25-28; 12:58-59; 13:6-10;
John 3:19, 21; 5:42; 13:34-35; 14:14-15, 20-21, 23; 15:1-8, 9-19; 21:15-17.
These then, and other things like them, are what were meant by the words 'the men of Sodom' - that is, those immersed in evil, 2220, 2246, 2322 - 'saying to Lot, Did not this one come to sojourn, and will he surely judge?' that is, Will people with different teaching and a different life teach us?
Genesis 19:9; John 15:1-19; Luke 6:43-49; Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 18:21-23, 18:21-35, 18:24-35, 22:34-40, 22:34-39, 25:34-46)