To believe those things which the Word teaches, or which the doctrine of the church teaches, and not to live according to them, appears as if it were faith, and some also suppose that they are saved by this faith; but no one is saved by this alone, for it is Persuasive Faith, the quality of which shall now be told.
There is Persuasive Faith when the Word and the doctrine of the church are believed and loved, not for the sake of serving the neighbor, that is, one’s fellow citizen, our country, the church, heaven, and the Lord Himself; consequently not for the sake of life, for serving these is life; but for the sake of gain, honors, and the reputation of learning, as ends. Wherefore they who are in this faith do not have in view the Lord and heaven, but themselves and the world.
They who aspire after great things in the world, and covet many things, are in a stronger persuasion that what the doctrine of the church teaches is true, than are those who do not aspire after great things and covet many things. The reason is that to the former the doctrine of the church is merely a means to their ends; and the means are loved and also believed in proportion as the ends are desired.
In itself, however, the fact is that insofar as such men are in the fire of the loves of self and of the world, and speak, preach, and act from this fire, so far they are in that persuasion, and they then know no otherwise than that what they say is so. But when they are not in the fire of these loves, they believe nothing, and many of them deny everything; from which it is evident that a Persuasive Faith is a faith of the lips, and not of the heart; thus that in itself it is no faith.
They who are in Persuasive Faith do not know from any internal enlightenment whether what they teach is true or false; nay, they do not care, provided they are believed by the common people; for they are in no affection of truth for the sake of truth. Moreover, above all others they defend faith alone; and the good of faith, which is charity, they make of importance only insofar as they can profit by its means.
They who are in Persuasive Faith abandon faith, if they are deprived of honors and gains, provided their reputation is not endangered; for Persuasive Faith is not within the man, but stands outside, in the memory only, out of which it is drawn while it is being taught. And therefore after death this faith vanishes, together with its truths; for then only that much of faith remains which is within the man; that is, which has been rooted in good; thus has been made of the life.
They who are in Persuasive Faith are meant by those of whom we read in these passages:
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name have cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty deeds? But then will I confess unto them, I know you not, ye workers of iniquity (Matt. 7:22, 23).
Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26, 27).
They are also meant in Matthew by the five foolish virgins, who had no oil in their lamps:
Afterward came the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answering said, Verily, I say unto you, I know you not (Matt. 25:11, 12);
“oil in the lamps” denotes good in the faith.
(Arcana Coelestia 9363 – 9369)