(Continued pt. 22)
AND CHARITY WITHOUT FAITH IS NOT CHARITY,
AND NEITHER HAS LIFE EXCEPT FROM THE LORD.
(4) Yet nothing of faith or of charity, or of the life of either, is from man, but from the Lord alone.
For we read,
That a man can receive nothing except it have been given him from heaven (John 3:27).
And Jesus said:
He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for apart from Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
But this is to be understood thus, that man of himself is unable to acquire for himself any but natural faith, which is a persuasion that a thing is so because some man of authority has said so; or any but natural charity, which is an endeavor to gain favor with a view to some recompense. In such faith and charity there is what is man’s own, and as yet no life from the Lord.
Nevertheless, by means of such faith and charity man prepares himself to be a receptacle of the Lord; and so far as he prepares himself, the Lord enters, and causes his natural faith to become spiritual, likewise his charity, and thus makes both to be alive; and this is done when man goes to the Lord as the God of heaven and earth. Because man was created an image of God, he was created an abode of God; therefore the Lord says:
He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me and I will love him, and I will come unto him and make an abode with him (John 14:21, 23).
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hear My voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me (Apoc. 3:20).
From all this comes the conclusion, that as man prepares himself naturally to receive the Lord, so the Lord enters and makes all that is within man inwardly spiritual, and thus alive. But on the other hand, so far as man does not prepare himself he removes the Lord from him and does everything from his own self; and what man himself does from himself has no real life in it.
To be continued…