• Doctrinal Series •
As to what relates to the renunciation of the world: it is believed by many, that to renounce the world, and to live in the spirit and not in the flesh, is to reject worldly things, which are chiefly riches and honors; to be continually engaged in pious meditation concerning God, concerning salvation, and concerning eternal life; to lead a life in prayers, in the reading of the Word and pious books; and also to afflict one’s self: but this is not renouncing the world;
But to renounce the world is to love God and to love the neighbor; and God is loved when man lives according to His commandments, and the neighbor is loved when man performs uses. Therefore in order that man may receive the life of heaven, it is altogether necessary that he should live in the world, and in offices and business there. A life abstracted from worldly things is a life of thought and faith separate from the life of love and charity, in which life the will of good and the doing of good to the neighbor perishes. And when this perishes, spiritual life is as a house without a foundation, which either sinks down successively, or becomes full of chinks and cracks, or totters till it falls.
That to do good is to worship the Lord, appears from the Lord’s words:
Everyone who heareth My words and doeth them, I will liken to a prudent man who built a house upon a rock; but he who heareth My words and doeth them not, I will liken to a foolish man who built a house upon the sand, or upon the ground without a foundation (Matt. 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49).
Hence now it is manifest, that a life of piety so far avails, and is accepted by the Lord, as a life of charity is conjoined to it; for this is the primary, and such as this is, such is that. Also, that external sanctity so far avails, and is accepted by the Lord, as it proceeds from internal sanctity for such as this is, such is that. And also, that the renunciation of the world so far avails, and is accepted by the Lord, as it is practiced in the world; for they renounce the world who remove the love of self and the world, and act justly and sincerely in every office, in every business, and in every work, from an interior, thus from a heavenly origin; which origin is in that life when man acts well, sincerely, and justly, because it is according to the Divine laws.