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sal loves, the love of heaven, the love of the world, and the love of self. These three loves, when they are in right subordination, make a man perfect; but when they are not in right subordination, they pervert and invert him. The love of self and of the world are not in themselves evil. When the love of heaven, that is, the love of God, of goodness and truth, is supreme in the mind, and the world is loved as a means to do good, and self is cared for, that uses to the neighbour may be performed,—then the love of self and of the world are orderly and justifiable. But when the love of God and heaven is dethroned, and the love of self or of the world rules, and a man is religions and just only so far as religion and justice conduce to self-interest, and thus God and justice and all things holy are put to vile uses, then the soul of man is inverted,—is a form of hell; and in the light of heaven appears bestial, ugly, and deformed.
Every individual man is the neighbour whom we ought to love, but according to the quality of his goodness or his life. Men considered collectively, that is, as a lesser or larger society, and considered under the idea of compound societies, that is, as our country,—is the neighbour that ought to be loved. The Church is our neighbour, to be loved in a still higher degree, and the Lord's kingdom is our neighbour to be loved in the highest degree. To love the neighbour is not to love his
person, but the good which is in him. Charity itself consists in acting justly and faithfully in whatever office, business, and employment a person is engaged, and with whomsoever he has any connection. Eleemosynary acts of charity consist in giving to the poor, and relieving the indigent, but with prudence. There are public, domestic, and private duties of charity. Public duties of charity are, more especially, the payment of imposts and taxes. These are paid with different feelings by those who are spiritual and by those who are natural: those who are spiritual pay them out of good will, because they are collected for the preservation and protection of their country and the church, and as a provision for the proper officers and governors, who must receive their salaries out of the public treasury; therefore those who consider their country and the church as their neighbour, pay such debts cheerfully and with a willing mind, and consider it a wicked act either to withhold them or to use any deceit in the payment; whereas those who do not esteem their country and the church as their neighbour, pay such debts with a reluctant and unwilling mind, and, as often as they have an opportunity, withhold them, or use some fraud in the payment ; for they regard only their own house and their own flesh as their neighbour. The domestic duties of charity are of several kinds, as those of a husband to his wife, and of a wife to her husband; of parents to their children, and of children to their parents ; likewise of a master and mistress to their servants, and of servants to their master and mistress. There are so
many duties relating to the education of children, and the government of families, that it would require a volume to enumerate them. As to what particularly regards the duties of parents to their children, there is an intrinsic difference in this respect with those who are under the influence of charity, and with those who are not, although externally the duties may appear similar. With those who are under the influence of charity, parental affection is joined with love towards their neighbour and love to God, and such parents love their children according to their morals, virtues, pursuits, and qualifications for the service of the public; but with those who are not under the influence of charity, there is no conjunction of charity with parental affection; the consequence is, that such parents frequently love wicked, immoral, and crafty children, more than those who are good, moral, and prudent; and thus prefer such as are unserviceable to the public, before such as are serviceable. Private duties of charity are also of several kinds, such as paying wages to workmen, returning borrowed money, observing agreements, keeping pledges, and other transactions of a like nature, some of which are duties grounded in statute law, some in civil law, and some in moral law. These duties, also, are discharged from different motives by those who are under the influence of charity, and by those who are not; by the former they are discharged faithfully and justly, for the law of charity requires that a man should so act in all his dealings, with whomsoever he may have any connection; but these duties are discharged in a totally different manner by those who are not influenced by charity. Then there are convivial recreations of charity, which consist of dinners and suppers and social intercourse. Everyone knows that dinner and supper parties are in general use, and are given to promote various ends; by many on account of friendship, relationship, mirth, gain, recompense, and for party purposes of corruption; among the great they are given on account of their dignity; and in the palaces of kings, for the display of splendour and magnificence. But dinners and suppers of charity are given only by those who are influenced by mutual love, grounded in a similarity of faith. Among Christians in the Primitive Church, dinners and suppers had this end alone in view, and were called feasts, being instituted that they might meet together in cordial joy and friendly union. At table, the guests conversed together on various subjects, domestic and civil, but particularly on such as concerned the Church; and as these feasts were feasts of charity, their conversation on every subject was influenced by charity, with all its joys and delights. The spiritual sphere which prevailed on such occasions, was a sphere of love to the Lord and towards the neighbour, which exhilarated every mind, softened the tone of every expression, and communicated to all the senses a festivity from the heart; for from every man there emanates a spiritual sphere, derived from the affection
of his love and corresponding thought, which inwardly affects those in his company, particularly at the time of convivial recreations.
The first part of charity consists in putting away evils, and the second in doing actions that are useful to our neighbour. It is believed by many at the present day, that charity consists only in doing good, and that while a man is doing good, be does no evil; consequently, that the first part of charity is to do good, and the second not to do evil; but the case is altogether the reverse, it being the first part of charity to put away evil, and the second to do good. For it is a universal law in the spiritual world, and thence too in the natural world, that so far as a person wills no evil, he wills what is good ; consequently, so far as he turns himself away from hell, whence alí evil ascends, he turns himself towards heaven, whence all good descends; and therefore so far as anyone rejects the devil, he is accepted by the Lord. In performing the exercises of charity, a man does not ascribe merit to works, so long as he believes that all good is from the Lord. Moral life, if it is at the same time spiritual life, is charity. The friendship of love contracted with a person without regard to his spiritual quality, is detrimental after death. The friendship of love among the wicked, is intestine hatred towards each other. There is spurious charity, hypocritical charity, and dead charity.
There can be no such thing as genuine charity, which is living, unless it make one with faith, and unless both in conjunction look to the Lord. Spurious charity is such as is the charity of those who hold to faith alone for salvation, and who say charity is of no account in leading to heaven. Such charity as these may have, is spurious, because not spiritual, and merely performed from selfish and worldly motives. Hypocritical charity is predicable of those who in public or private worship bow themselves almost to the ground before God, pour forth long prayers with great devotion, put on a sanctified appearance, kiss crucifixes and bones of the dead, and kneel at sepulchres, and there mutter words expressive of holy veneration towards God, and yet, in their hearts nourish self-worship, and seek to be adored like so many deities. Dead charity is predicable of those whose faith is dead, since the quality of charity depends on the quality of faith. Faith is dead in all who are without works, and in those who believe not on God, but on living and dead men, and worship idols as if thcy were holy in themselves, after the practice of the old Gentiles.
Chapter 8 is devoted to the long-vexed question of Free-Determination, or Free-Will. The doctrines of the Church, as commonly held, are first stated, and then the New Church doctrine on the question is explained under the following heads. The two trees in the garden of Eden, one of life and the other of the knowledge of good and evil, signify the free-will which man enjoys in respect to spiritual things. Man is not life, but a recipient of life from God. Man, during his abode in the world, is held in the midst between heaven and hell, and thus in a spiritual equilibrium, which constitutes free-will.
From the permission of evil, which every man experiences in his internal man, it is evident that man has free-will in spiritual things. Without free-will in spiritual things, the Word would not be of any use, consequently the Church would be a nonentity. Without free-will in spiritual things, mfan would have nothing which could enable him to conjoin himself by reciprocation with the Lord; and conséquently there would be no imputation, but mere predestination, which is detestable. Without free-will in spiritual things, God would be chargeable as the cause of evil. Every spiritual principle of the Church that is admitted and received with freedom, remains, but not otherwise. The human will and understanding enjoy this free-will; but the commission of evil, both in the spiritual and natural worlds, is restrained by laws, or else society in both would perish. If men were destitute of free-will in spiritual things, it would be possible for all men throughout the whole world, in a single day, to be induced to believe in the Lord; but this would be in vain, because nothing reinains with man which is not freely received. Miracles are not performed at the present day because they deprive man of free-will.
Chapter 9 treats Repentance. It is shown in the first place, that repentance is the first constituent of the chureh in man, and that in proportion as a man practises it, his sins are removed ; and as they are removed, they are forgiven or remitted. Contrition, in the sense of a mere lip-confession of being a sinner, and of being involved in the guilt of Adam, without self-examination, is not repentance. Every man is born with a propensity to evils of all kinds, and unless he remove them, in part, by repentance, he remains in them; and whoever remains in them cannot be saved. The knowledge of sin, and the discovery of some particular sin in one's self, is the beginning of repentance. Actual repentance consists in a man's examining himself, knowing and acknowledging his sins, supplicating the Lord, and beginning a new life. True repentance consists in a man's examining not only the actions of his life, but also the intentions of his will. Those also do the work of repentance, who, though they do not examine themselves, abstain from evils because they are sins; and this kind of repentance is done by those who perform works of charity from a religious motive. In repentance, confession ought to be made before the Lord God the Saviour, and at the same time supplication for help, and power to resist evils. Actual repentance is an easy duty to those who occasionally practise it, but it meets with violent opposition from those who never practised it. He that never did the work of repentance, and never looked into, and examined, himself, comes at last not to know the nature either of damnatory evil or saving good.
Chapter 10 describes the nature of Reformation and Regeneration. Unless a man be born again, and as it were created anew, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. This new birth, or creation, is effected by the Lord alone, through the medium of charity and faith, during man's cooperation. Since all are redeemed, all have a capacity to be regenerated, everyone according to his state. The several stages of man’s regeneration, answer to his natural conception, gestation in the womb, birth, and education. The first act of the new birth, which is an act of the understanding, is called reformation ; and the second, which is an act of the will, and thence of the understanding, is called regeneration. The internal man is first to be reformed, and by it the external, and thus the man is regenerated. When this takes place, there arises a combat between the internal and external man, and then whichever conquers has dominion over the other.
The regenerate man has a new will and understanding. A regenerate man is in communion with the angels of heaven, and an unregenerate man is in communion with the spirits of hell. In proportion as a man is regenerated, his sins are removed; and this removal is what is meant by remission of sins. Regeneration cannot be effected without free-will in spiritual things. Regeneration is not attainable without truths by which faith is formed, and with which charity conjoins itself.
Chapter 11 is devoted to a description of what imputation is, and what it is not. It is shown that imputation, and the faith of the present church, which alone is said to justify, are a one.
The imputation which belongs to the faith of the present times, is two-fold, the one part relating to the merit of Christ, and the other to salvation as its consequence. The faith which is imputative of the merit and righteousness of Christ the Redeemer, first took its rise from the decrees of the Council of Nice, concerning three divine persons from eternity; and from that time to the present, has been received by the whole Christian world. Faith imputative of the merit of Christ, was not known in the Apostolic Church, which preceded the Council of Nice, and is neither declared nor signified in any part of the Word. An imputation of the merits and righteousness of Christ is impossible. There is such a thing as imputation, but then it is an imputation of good and evil, and at the same time of faith. The faith and imputation of the New Church cannot be together with the faith and imputation of the former church; and in case they were together, such a collision and conflict would ensue, that every principle of the church in man would perish. The Lord im putes good to every man, and hell imputes evil to every man. Faith, with whatever principle it conjoins itself, passes sentence accordingly; if a true faith conjoins itself with goodness, the sentence is for eternal life, but if faith conjoins itself with evil, the sentence is for eternal death. Thought is imputed to no one, but will.