Many – especially such as have confirmed themselves in a faith separated from charity – do not know that when they are in evils they are in hell; they do not even know what evils are, for the reason that they give no thought to evils, saying that as they are not under the yoke of the law they are not condemned by the law, and that, as they are unable to contribute anything to their salvation, they are unable to put away any evil from themselves; and furthermore are unable to do any good from themselves. These are such as neglect to think about evil, and because of this they are continually in evil. Such are meant by the goats spoken of by the Lord in Matthew (xxv. 32, 33, 41-46),…of whom it is said:-
Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels (verse 41).
For those who give no thought to the evils in themselves, that is, do not examine themselves and afterwards refrain from evils, must needs be ignorant of what evil is, and must needs love it from enjoyment in it; for he who does not know what evil is loves it, and he who fails to think about it is continually in it. Like a blind man he does not see it.
For it is the thought that sees good and evil, as it is the eye that sees the beautiful and the unbeautiful;
and he who so thinks and wills evil as to believe that evil does not appear before God, or that if it does appear it is forgiven, is in evil, since he is thus led to think that he is free from evil. If such abstain from doing evils they do not abstain because these are sins against God, but because they fear the laws or the loss of reputation; and they still do them in their spirit, for it is the spirit of man that thinks and wills; consequently what a man thinks in his spirit in this world, that he does after he leaves this world when he becomes a spirit.
In the spiritual world into which every man comes after death, it is not asked what your belief has been, or what your doctrine has been, but what your life has been, that is, whether it has been such or such; for it is known that as one’s life is such is his belief, and even his doctrine; for the life makes doctrine for itself, and belief for itself.