August 11, 2015

A Church When It Is Beginning To Recede From Charity -

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
So far as possible the Lord is continually putting evils and falsities to flight, but through conscience. When conscience is relaxed, there is no medium through which the Lord can flow in, for the Lord's influx with man is by means of charity into his conscience. But in place of this charity a new medium succeeds and is formed, which is external, namely, the fear of the law, fear for life, for honors and wealth, and the reputation from these. But these are not of conscience; they are only external bonds which enable a man to live in society with others, and to appear as a friend, whatsoever he may be inwardly.

But this medium, or these bonds, are of no account in the other life, for there externals are removed, and everyone remains as he is internally. There are very many who have lived a moral and a civic life, have injured no one, have performed acts of friendship and civility, nay, have done good to many, but only for the sake of self, with a view to honors, gain, and the like. In the other life these are among the infernals, because they have nothing of good and truth within, but only evil and falsity, nay, hatred, revenge, cruelty, adulteries, which do not appear before man, that is to say insofar as the fears just referred to, which are external bonds, prevail.

(Arcana Coelestia 1835)