True Christian Religion #423

Door Emanuel Swedenborg

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423. This is real charity, because it can be defined as doing good to the neighbour daily and constantly, not only to the neighbour as an individual but also collectively; and the only way of doing this is by good and fair dealing in the position, business or work in which one is engaged and with anyone with whom one comes into contact. For this is what one does every day, and when one is not doing it, it still constantly occupies one's mind, one's thoughts and intentions. A person who exercises charity in this way becomes more and more a living form of charity; for justice and faithfulness develop his mind, and 1 exercise does his body, and in process of time the formation of his mind prevents him from willing and thinking of anything but such things as have to do with charity. These people end up by becoming like those described in the Word as having the law engraved on their hearts. Also they do not regard deeds as meritorious, since they never think of that, but rather about the duty which makes a decent citizen act like this. But a person can by no means act from spiritual justice and faithfulness of himself, for everyone inherits from his parents the trait of doing good and acting fairly for selfish and worldly reasons, and no one does so for the sake of goodness and fairness. If therefore anyone worships the Lord, and while acting of himself acts under the Lord's guidance, it is he who acquires spiritual charity, and by its exercise absorbs it.


1. Perhaps ut 'as' should be read here for et 'and'.

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