Charity and Good Works (pt. 43)
v Doctrinal Series v
MAN DOES NOT PLACE MERIT IN WORKS
SO LONG AS HE BELIEVES THAT ALL GOOD IS FROM THE LORD
It must be well understood that charity and faith in the Lord are closely conjoined, consequently, such as the faith is such is the charity. That the Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding [in man], and if they are divided each perishes like a pearl reduced to powder… and that charity and faith are together in good works…
From this it follows that such as faith is, such is charity, and that such as charity and faith are together, such are works.
If then there is a faith that all the good that a man does as if of himself is from the Lord, man is the instrumental cause of that good, and the Lord the principal cause, which two causes appear to man to be one, and yet the principal cause is the all in all of the instrumental cause. From this it follows that when a man believes that all good that is good in itself is from the Lord, he does not ascribe merit to works; and in the degree in which this faith is perfected in man, the fantasy about merit is taken away from him by the Lord. In this state man enters fully into the exercise of charity with no anxiety about merit, and at length perceives the spiritual delight of charity, and then begins to be averse to merit as a something harmful to his life.
The sense of merit is easily washed away by the Lord with those who become imbued with charity by acting justly and faithfully in the work, business, or function in which they are engaged, and towards all with whom they have any dealings… But the sense of merit is removed with difficulty from those who believe that charity is acquired by giving alms and relieving the needy; for when they do these things, in their minds they desire reward, at first openly and then secretly, and draw to themselves merit.
To be continued . . .