Charity and Good Works (pt. 40)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt. 40)
v Doctrinal Series v

To ascribe merit to works that are done for the sake of salvation is harmful because evils lie concealed in so doing of which the doer is wholly ignorant. There also lies hid in it a denial of God’s influx and operation in man; also a confidence in one’s own power in matters of salvation; faith in oneself and not in God; self-justification; salvation by one’s own abilities; a reducing of Divine grace and mercy to nought; a rejection of reformation and regeneration by Divine means; especially a limitation of the merit and righteousness of the Lord God the Savior, which such claim for themselves; together with a continual looking for reward, which they regard as the first and last end; a submersion and extinction of love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor; a total ignorance and lack of perception of the delight of heavenly love as being without merit, and a sense only of self-love.

For those who put rewards in the first place and salvation in the second, and who value salvation for the sake of the reward, invert order and immerse the interior desires of the mind in what is their own [proprium], and defile them in the body with the evils of the flesh. This is why the good that claims merit appears to the angels as rust, and the good that does not claim merit as purple. That good ought not to be done for the sake of reward, the Lord teaches in Luke:

If ye do good to them who do good to you, what thank have ye? But rather love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and then your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High for He is kind unto the unthankful and the evil (Luke 6:33-35).

And that man cannot do good that in itself is good, except from the Lord, He teaches in John:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye except ye abide in Me; for apart from Me ye can do nothing (15:4, 5).

And again,

A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27).

(True Christian Religion 439)

To be continued . . .


About mike

The Lord is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and from the human race, an angelic heaven would be formed. 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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