A church is said to be corrupted when it acknowledges the Word and has a certain worship like that of a true church, but yet separates faith from charity, thus from its essential and from its life, whereby faith becomes a kind of dead affair; the result of which necessarily is that the church is corrupted.
What the men of the church then become, is evident from the consideration that they can have no conscience; for conscience that is really conscience cannot possibly exist except from charity.
Charity is what makes conscience, that is, the Lord through charity.
What else is conscience than not to do evil to anyone in anyway; that is, to do well to all in every way? Thus conscience belongs to charity, and never to faith separated from charity. If such persons have any conscience, it is a false conscience; and because they are without conscience, they rush into all wickedness, so far as outward bonds are relaxed. They do not even know what charity is, except that it is a word significant of something. And as they are without charity, they do not know what faith is. When questioned, they can only answer that it is a kind of thinking; some, that it is confidence; others, that it is the knowledges of faith; a few, that it is life according to these knowledges, and scarcely any that it is a life of charity or of mutual love.
And if this is said to them, and opportunity is given them for reflection, they answer only that all love begins from self, and that he is worse than a heathen who does not take care of himself and his own family. They therefore study nothing but themselves and the world.