True Christian Religion #434

За Емануель Сведенборг

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434. As for parties, in the earliest church these took place among such people as called themselves brothers in Christ. They were therefore charitable parties, because there was a spiritual brotherhood. They served also as a consolation when the church encountered difficulties, as a celebration of its increase, and also to restore spirits exhausted by study and work, and for discussions of various matters. Since the source from which they sprang was spiritual love, their reason and morality had a spiritual origin. Parties are given at the present time among friends, the purpose of which is intended to be the pleasures of social intercourse, the cheering of the mind by conversation, and as a result the broadening of the mind, the release of bottled-up thoughts and so the revival of the sensory functions of the body, and their restoration to complete health.

[2] But charitable parties no longer exist; for the Lord says:

At the completion of the age (that is, the end of the church) injustice will increase greatly and charity will grow cold, Matthew 24:12.

The reason was that the church had ceased to acknowledge the Lord God the Saviour as God of heaven and earth, and approach Him directly, who is the only source and giver of real charity. Parties, however, where there is no friendship with its imitation of charity to link minds together, are nothing but pretences of friendship, specious demonstrations of mutual love, seductive attempts to worm one's way into favour, and indulgence in bodily pleasures, especially those of the senses. They sweep other people along, like ships with their sails filled and a following sea; and on them stand sycophants and hypocrites on the poop holding the tiller in their hands.

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