Charity, or Love to the Neighbor, and Good Works

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Faith and charity are conjoined like truth and good, and these two like light and heat in spring. This is said because spiritual light, which is the light that goes forth from the sun of the spiritual world, is in its essence truth; and consequently in that world wherever truth appears, it shines with a splendor proportionate to its purity; and spiritual heat, which also goes forth from that sun, in its essence is good. This too is said because it is the same with charity and faith as with good and truth; for charity is the complex of all things pertaining to the good that a man does to his neighbor, while faith is the complex of all things pertaining to the truth that a man thinks respecting God and things Divine.

As, therefore, the truth of faith is spiritual light, and the good of charity spiritual heat, it follows that it is the same with that light and heat as with the light and heat of the natural world, that is to say, as by the conjunction of the latter all things on earth spring forth, so by the conjunction of the former all things spring forth in the human mind; but with the distinction that on the earth this growth is effected by natural heat and light, but in the human mind it is effected by spiritual heat and light, and this latter being spiritual, is wisdom and intelligence. Moreover, as there is a correspondence between these, the human mind in which charity is conjoined with faith and faith with charity is in the Word likened to a garden, and this is what is meant by the garden of Eden.


… faith without charity is not faith, nor is charity without faith charity, and neither of them is living except from the Lord; also that the Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding, and if they are divided, each perishes, like a pearl reduced to powder; and finally, charity and faith are together in good works.


It is an unchanging truth, that,

for man to have spiritual life, and therefore salvation, faith and charity must not be separated.

This is self-evident to any man’s understanding, even if it is not enriched with the treasures of learning.

When one hears it said, that whoever lives well and believes aright is saved, does he not see this from a kind of interior perception and therefore assent to it with his understanding? And when he hears it said that he who believes aright and does not live well is also saved, does he not reject it from his understanding, as he would a piece of dirt falling into his eye? For from interior perception the thought instantly occurs, How can anyone believe aright when he does not live well?  In that case, what is believing but a painted picture of faith, and not its living image?  So again, if anyone hears it said, that whoever lives well is saved, although he does not believe, does not the understanding, while reflecting upon this or turning it over and over, see, perceive and think, that this also is not consistent, since right living is from God, because all good that is essentially good is from God? 
What then is living aright and not believing, but like clay in the hands of a potter, which cannot be formed into a vessel that would be of use in the spiritual kingdom, but only in the natural? Furthermore, cannot anyone see a contradiction in these two statements, namely, that he is saved who believes but does not live well, and that he is saved who lives well but does not believe? … living well, which pertains to charity, is at this day both understood and not understood – living well naturally being understood, while living well spiritually is not ….

(True Christian Religion 392-393)
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About mike

Finding out that the Lord is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and from the human race the angelic heaven would be formed, my entire focus on life changed. The reason for my creation was to perform Divine uses - The Divine Providence looks to eternal ends. My gain, honor or reputation no longer could be the focal point of what drives the engine. One day I will lay aside this material body and will wake up in the spiritual world never to return; there will be a continuation of life, and my ruling love will be what guides me to my final situation. 'Where a tree falls, there will it lay' (Ecc 11:3) We only have a few years in these bodies compared to eternity. What is fossilized on our souls in this short period is important to how we spend eternity. We are not left to blind faith, The Lord has come in His Word to reveal rationally how we can be made 'a vessel of honor, able for the master's use.' I truly hope the post create a thirst. If I can be of service, please do not hesitate to email me. --Mike
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