Love (and The Faith Derived From It)

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Love (and the faith derived from it) are the internal of the church

No other faith is meant as being the internal of the church than that which is of love or charity, that is, which is from love or charity.

Faith, in a general sense, is all the doctrinal teaching of the church. But doctrine [doctrinale] separated from love or charity, by no means makes the internal of the church-

for doctrine is only knowledge which is of the memory, and this exists also with the worst men, and even with infernals.

But the doctrine that is from charity, or that is of charity, does make the internal of the church, for this is of the life. The life itself is the internal of all worship; and so is all doctrine that flows from the life of charity and it is this doctrine that is of faith…. That it is this faith which is the internal of the church, may be seen from this consideration alone, that-

he who has the life of charity is acquainted with all things of faith.

If you will, just examine all doctrinal things, and see what and of what quality they are; do they not all pertain to charity, and consequently to the faith that is from charity?

Take only the Precepts of the Decalogue:

• The first of these is to worship the Lord God. He who has the life of love or of charity worships the Lord God, because this is his life.

• Another precept is to keep the Sabbath. He who is in the life of love, or in charity, keeps the Sabbath holy, for nothing is more sweet to him than to worship the Lord, and to glorify Him every day.

• The precept, “Thou shalt not kill,” is altogether of charity. He who loves his neighbor as himself, shudders at doing anything that injures him, still more at killing him.

• So too the precept, “Thou shalt not steal;” for he who has the life of charity would rather give of his own to his neighbor, than take anything away from him.

• And so with the precept, “Thou shalt not commit adultery;” he who is in the life of charity the rather guards his neighbor’s wife, lest anyone should offer her such injury, and regards adultery as a crime against conscience, and such as destroys conjugial love and its duties.

• To covet the things that are the neighbor’s is also contrary to those who are in the life of charity; for it is of charity to desire good to others from one’s self and one’s own; such therefore by no means covet the things which are another’s.

These are the precepts of the Decalogue which are more external doctrinal things of faith; and these are not only known in the memory by him who is in charity and its life, but are in his heart; and he has them inscribed upon himself, because they are in his charity, and thus in his very life; besides other things of a dogmatic nature which he in like manner knows from charity alone; for he lives according to a conscience of what is right. The right and the truth which he cannot thus understand and explore, he believes simply or from simplicity of heart to be so because the Lord has said so; and he who so believes does not do wrong, even though what he thus accepts is not true in itself, but apparent truth.

As for example, if anyone believes that the Lord is angry, punishes, tempts, and the like. Or if he holds that the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are significative, or that the flesh and blood are present in some way in which they explain it-it is of no consequence whether they say the one thing or the other, although there are few who think about this matter, or even if they do think about it, provided this is done from a simple heart, because they have been so instructed, and nevertheless live in charity:

these, when they hear that the bread and wine in the internal sense signify the Lord’s love toward the whole human race, and the things which are of this love, and man’s reciprocal love to the Lord and the neighbor, they forthwith believe and rejoice that it is so.

Not so they who are in doctrinal things and not in charity; these contend about everything, and condemn all whoever they may be that do not say (they call it “believe”) as they do.

From all this everyone can see that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are the internal of the church.

(Arcana Coelestia 1798)
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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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