That the natural man can confirm whatever he will is manifest from the numerous heresies in the Christian world, each of which is confirmed by its adherents. Who does not know that evils and falsities of every kind may be confirmed? It is pos­sible to confirm, and the wicked actually do confirm, that there is no God, and that nature is everything, and is self-created; that religion is only a means whereby simple minds may be held under restraint; that human prudence does everything, and Divine Providence nothing, except that it maintains the universe in the order in which it was created; also that murder, adultery, theft, fraud, and revenge are allowable, according to Machiavelli and his followers. The natural man can confirm these and such like things, yea can fill books with the confirmations; and when these falsities are confirmed they appear in an infatuating light, and truths in such obscurity that they cannot be seen but as spectres at night. In a word, take the falsest thing and form it into a proposition, and tell an ingenious person to confirm it, and he will confirm it, to the complete extinction of the light of truth. But put aside his confirmations, return, and look at the proposition itself from your own rationality, and you will see its falsity in all its deformity. (DLW n. 267)

They who by various considerations can confirm a dogma once received whatever its quality, and by various reasonings make it appear like the truth, believe themselves wiser than others. But this is very far from the part of a wise man; any one can do this who is distinguished by some ingenuity, and the wicked more skilfully than the well-disposed. For it is not of the rational man to do this, inasmuch as the rational man can see as from a superior [light] whether what is confirmed be true or false. And seeing this, he makes no account of things confirmative of falsity, and in his own mind regards such things but as ridiculous and vain, however another may believe them chosen from the school of wisdom itself. In a word, nothing is less the part of a wise man, yea nothing is less rational, than to be able to confirm falsities; for it is the part of a wise man and is rational first to see that a thing is true, and next to confirm it; inasmuch as to see what is true is to see from the light of heaven, which is from the Lord, whereas to see the false as true is to see from a delusive light which is from hell. (AC n. 4741).

No one ought to be persuaded instantaneously of the Truth

No one ought to be persuaded instantaneously of the Truth

It is according to the laws of order that no one should be instantaneously persuaded of truth, that is that truth should instantaneously be so confirmed as to leave no doubt at all about it. The reason is that the truth which is so impressed becomes persuasive truth and is without any extension, and is also un­yielding. Such truth is represented in the other life as hard, and as of such a quality as not to admit good into it, that it may become applicable. Hence it is that as soon as any truth is pre­sented before good spirits in the other life by manifest experience, there is presently afterwards presented some opposite which causes doubt. Thus it is given them to think and consider whether it be so, and to gather reasons, and so bring that truth rationally into their mind. By this the spiritual sight has extension as to that truth even to the opposites. It therefore sees and perceives in the understanding every quality of truth; and hence can admit influx from heaven according to the states of things, for truths receive various forms according to circum­stances. This also is the reason why it was permitted the magicians to do the like to what Aaron did; for thereby doubt was excited among the children of Israel concerning the miracle, as to whether it was Divine; and thus opportunity was given them to think and consider whether it was Divine, and at length to confirm in themselves a conviction that it was so. (AC n. 7298)

The Source of Spiritual Light

Every man has exterior and interior thought; interior thought is in the light of heaven, and is called perception, and exterior thought is in the light of the world. And the understanding of every man is so constituted that it can be elevated even into the light of heaven, and also is elevated if from any delight he desires to see the truth. It has been given me to know that this is so from much experience; concerning which wonderful things may be seen in The Wisdom of Angels concerning the Divine Providence; and still more in The Wisdom of Angels concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom. For the delight of love and wisdom elevates the thought, enabling it to see as in the light that a thing is so, although the man had never heard of it before. This light which illuminates the mind, flows from no other source than out of heaven from the Lord; and as those who will be of the New Jerusalem are to approach the Lord directly, that light will flow in in the way of order, which is through the love of the will, into the perception of the understanding. But those who have confirmed themselves in the dogma that the under­standing is to see nothing in theological subjects, but that men ought blindly to believe what the church teaches, cannot see any truth in the light; for they have obstructed the way of light into themselves. (AR n. 914)

It is known that one man excels another in the faculty of understanding and of perceiving what is honest in moral life, what is just in civil life, and what is good in spiritual life. The reason consists in the elevation of the thought to the things which are of heaven; thereby the thought is withdrawn from the outward things of sense. For those who think only from the things of sense cannot at all see what is honest, just, and good; they therefore trust to others and speak much from the memory, and thereby appear to themselves wiser than others. But those who are able to think above the things of sense, if the things that are in the memory are in orderly arrangement, are in a superior faculty of understanding and perceiving, and this accord­ing to the degree in which they view things from the interior. (AC n. 6598)

Every Man may see Spiritual Truth who desires it

Every man whose soul desires it is capable of seeing the truths of the Word in the light. No animal exists which does not know the food proper to its life, when it sees it; and man is a rational and spiritual animal, who sees the food of his life, not that of his body but of his soul, which is the truth of faith,—if he hunger after it, and seek it from the Lord. (AR n. 224)

Why Saving Faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ

The reason why men ought to believe, that is to have faith, in God the Saviour Jesus Christ, is that it is faith in a visible God, in whom is the invisible; and faith in a visible God, who is Man and at the same time God, enters into man. For in its essence faith is spiritual, but in its form it is natural; with man there­fore it becomes spiritual-natural; for everything spiritual is received in the natural, in order that it may be a reality to man. The naked spiritual indeed enters into man, but it is not received; it is like the ether which flows in and flows out without effect; for in order to effect there must be perception, and thus reception,—each in man’s mind; and this cannot be with man except in his natural. But on the other hand a merely natural faith or faith devoid of spiritual essence is not faith, but only persuasion or knowledge. Persuasion emulates faith in externals, but because there is nothing spiritual in its internals there is there­fore nothing saving. Such is the faith of all who deny the Divinity of the Lord’s Human; such was the Arian faith, and such also is the Socinian faith, because both reject the Divinity of the Lord. What is faith without a definite object? Is it not like a look into the universe, which falls as it were into an empty void and is lost? And it is like a bird flying above the atmosphere into the ether, where it expires as in a vacuum. The abode of this faith in the mind of man may be compared to the dwelling of the winds in the wings of Aeolus. And to the habitation of light in a falling star; it comes forth like a comet, with a long tail, but it also passes away like a comet and disappears. In a word, faith in an invisible God is actually blind, because the human mind does not see its God. And the light of this faith, because it is not spiritual-natural, is a fatuous light; and this light is like that of the glowworm, and like the light in marshes, or on sulphurous glebes at night, and like the light of rotten wood. Nothing arises from this light but what is of the nature of fantasy, in which an appearance is seen as if it were a reality, and yet it is not. Faith in an invisible God shines with no other light; and especially when it is thought that God is a spirit, and a spirit is thought of as like the ether. What follows from this, but that man looks upon God as he looks upon the ether? And so he seeks Him in the universe; and when he does not find Him there, he believes nature to be the God of the universe. The naturalism reigning at this day is from this origin. Did not the Lord say, that “No man hath heard the voice of the Father at any time, nor seen His shape“? (John v. 37). And also, that “No man hath seen God at any time“? And that “The only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath revealed [Him]“? (i. 18). And “No one hath seen the Father, but He who is with the Father; He hath seen the Father“? (vi. 46). Also that no one cometh to the Father, but through Him? (xiv. 6). And further, that the man who seeth and knoweth Him seeth and knoweth the Father? (xiv. 7, and the following verses). But faith in the Lord God the Saviour, who since He is God and Man can be approached and seen in thought, is different. It is not an indeterminate faith, but has an object from whence it proceeds and to whom it is directed (habet terminum, a quo et ad quem). And when once received it remains,—just as when one has seen an emperor or a king, as often as he is reminded of it, their image returns. The sight of that faith is as if one should see a bright cloud and an angel in the midst of it who invites man to him, that he may be elevated into heaven. Thus the Lord appears to those who have faith in Him; and He draws near to every one just as he recognises and acknowledges Him. This is done as he knows and does His commandments, which are to shun evils and do good; and at length the Lord comes into his house, and together with the Father who is in Him makes His abode with him; according to these words in John: “Jesus said, He that hath My commandments, and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him; … and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John xiv. 21, 23). These things were written in the presence of the twelve apostles of the Lord, who were sent to me by the Lord while I was writing them. (TCR n. 339)

Of Persuasive Faith

Of Persuasive Faith

With evil of life there is persuasive faith, but not saving faith; for persuasive faith is the persuasion that all things which are of the doctrine of the church are true, not for the sake of truth, nor for the sake of life, nor even for the sake of salvation,—for this latter they scarcely believe,—but for the sake of gain; that is for the sake of hunting after honours and wealth, and for the sake of reputation on account of them. With a view to obtain such things they learn doctrinals; thus not to the end that they may serve the church and promote the salvation of souls, but that they may serve themselves and their connections. It is therefore the same to them whether the doctrinals be true or false. This they are not concerned about, still less inquire into, for they are in no affection of truth for the sake of truth but they confirm them whatsoever their quality, and when they have confirmed them they persuade themselves that they are true; not considering that falsities may be confirmed as well as truths. (AC n. 8148)

They who in the world aspire after greatness, and covet many things, are more strongly in the persuasion that truth is what the doctrine of the church teaches than those that do not aspire after greatness and covet many things. The reason is that the doctrine of the church is to the former only a means of attaining their own ends; and in the degree that the ends are desired the means are loved and are also believed.

But the case in itself is this: In so far as men are in the fire of the loves of self and of the world, and from that fire talk, preach, and act, in so far they are in that persuasive faith, and then do not see otherwise than that it is so. But when they are not in the fire of those loves they believe nothing, and many of them deny. Hence it is evident that persuasive faith is a faith of the mouth and not of the heart; thus that in itself it is not faith.

They who are in a persuasive faith do not know from any in­ternal enlightenment whether what they teach is true or false, nor indeed do they care about it if only they are believed by the people; for they are in no affection of truth for the sake of truth. They also more than others defend faith alone; and make account of the good of faith, which is charity, in proportion as they can gain by it.

Those who are in a persuasive faith abandon faith if they are deprived of honours and gains, provided their reputation is not imperiled for a persuasive faith is not interiorly within a man, but stands without in the memory only, from which it is brought forth when it is taught. After death therefore that faith with its truths vanishes away; for then there remains only so much of faith as is interiorly within a man; that is which is enrooted in good, thus which has become of the life. (ibid. n. 9365­9368)

Many of the Learned who were in Truths of Doctrine are in Hell, while others who were in Falsities are in Heaven

Many of the Learned who were in Truths of Doctrine are in Hell, while others who were in Falsities are in Heaven

There are some who are in genuine truths, some who are in truths not genuine, and some who are in falsities; and yet those who are in genuine truths are often damned, and those who are in truths not genuine, and also those who are in falsities, are often saved. This to most will seem a paradox, but still it is a truth; experience itself has confirmed it. For there have been seen in hell those who were more learned than others, in truths from the Word and from the doctrine of their church, dignitaries as well as others; and on the other hand, there have been seen in heaven those who were not in truths, and also those who were in falsities, both Christians and Gentiles. The reason why the former were in hell was indeed because they were in truths as to doctrine, but in evils as to life; and the reason why the latter were in heaven was that though they were not in truths as to doctrine, they were yet in good as to life. Some newly arrived spirits with whom it was granted me to speak expressed their surprise that those who had been distinguished for learning, in the Word and in the doctrine of their church, were among the damned; of whom they had yet believed that they would become luminaries in heaven, according to the words in Daniel: “The intelligent shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that justify many as the stars, for ever and ever” (xii. 3). But they were told that the intelligent are those that are in truth and teach truths, and they that justify are those who are in good and lead to good; and that therefore the Lord said, “The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. xiii. 43). They were further told that those that are learned as to doctrine, but evil as to life, are the ones who are meant by the Lord in Matthew: “Many shall say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name have done many wonderful works? But then will I confess unto them, I know you not: depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity!” (vii. 22, 23); and in Luke: “Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets; but He shall say, I tell you, I know you not, whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity” (xiii. 26, 27); and that they were also meant by the foolish vir­gins who had no oil in their lamps, of whom it is thus written in Matthew: “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; but He answering, said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (xxv. 11, 12). To have oil in the lamps is to have good in the truths which are of the faith of the church. And they were told that those who are not in truths, yea, who from ignorance are in falsities, and yet in good and thence in the affection of knowing truth, were meant by the Lord in Matthew: “I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the king­dom, of the heavens; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness” (viii. 11,12); and in Luke: “They shall come from, the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and shall recline in the kingdom of God; and behold there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last” (xiii. 29, 30). They who are in evil as to life, although they are in truths as to doctrine, are yet in the falsities of their evil. That this is so clearly manifests itself in the other life; when they are left to themselves they think from evil against the truths which they have known and professed, and so think falsities. They likewise do the same in the world, when being left to themselves they think; for they then either pervert truths or deny truths to defend the evils of their life. But those who are in good and yet not in truths, yea, who from ignorance are in falsities,—as many are within the church, and many also out of the church, who are called Gentiles,—regard their own falsities indeed as truths; but as those falsities come from good they bend them to good; there is therefore nothing of malignity in them, as there is in falsities which are from evil. And as the falsities are on this account mild and flexible they are capable of receiving truths, and also do receive them when instructed by the angels. (AC n. 9192)

The Errors and Blindness of those who are in Faith alone

The Errors and Blindness of those who are in Faith alone

They who place salvation in faith alone and not at the same time in the life of faith, that is in the life of charity, believe that any one can come into heaven, and to the Lord, however he may have lived. For they do not know what the life of man is, and because they do not know this, they suppose the life is nothing. If therefore they are asked whether an evil person can be among the good, they say that through the mercy of God he can, because it is a work of Omnipotence. Nay, if asked whether a devil can become an angel of heaven they answer in the affirmative, if only he be willing to receive faith; for they have no doubt about his power to receive. And if they are told that evil cannot be turned into good, thus hell into heaven with man, and that this is impossible because contrary to order, therefore contrary to Divine Truth, and so contrary to God Himself, who is order, they respond to this that such things are reasonings about salvation, with which they have nothing to do. From these, and innumerable other illustrations, it may be seen into what blindness concerning salvation and eternal life the doctrine of faith alone leads. (AC n. 8765)

They who place salvation in faith alone, when they read the Word, attend not at all to the things which are said therein con­cerning love and charity; indeed they do not see them, for these things fall into the shade of vision, as things that are quite aside, or as things which are behind. (ibid. n. 8780)

The Lord’s Providence over those who are taught the Doctrine of Faith alone

That the Divine Providence of the Lord is continually operating in order that they may be saved with whom faith separate from charity has become [the faith] of religion, shall now be shown: It is of the Lord’s Divine Providence that although that faith has become [the faith] of religion, every one may yet know that that faith dues not save, but a life of charity with which faith acts as one. For in all the churches where that religion is received it is taught that there is no salvation unless a man exa­mines himself, sees his sins, acknowledges them, repents, desists from them, and enters on a new life. This is read with much zeal before all who approach the Holy Supper; and it is added that unless they do this they will mix holy things with profane, and cast themselves into eternal damnation; yea, in England, that unless they do this the devil will enter into them, as he entered into Judas, and destroy them as to body and soul. It is evident from this that in the churches where faith alone is received, every one yet is taught that evils are to be shunned as sins. Further, every one who is born a Christian knows that evils are to be shunned as sins, from the fact too that the decalogue is put into the hands of every boy and every girl, and is taught by parents and masters. And all the citizens of the kingdom, especially the common people, are examined by the priest out of the decalogue alone, repeated from memory, as to what they know of the Christian religion; and they are also admonished that they should do the things which it contains. It is never said then by any bishop that they are not under the yoke of that law, nor that they cannot do those things because there is no good from themselves. The Athanasian Creed is also received in the whole Christian world, and that also which is last said in it is acknowledged, that the Lord will come to judge the living and the dead, and then they that have done good will enter into eternal life, and they that have done evil into eternal fire. In Sweden, where the religion of faith alone is received, it is also taught openly that there is no faith separate from charity or without good works. This is inserted in a kind of admonitory Appendix to all the books of Psalms, which is called Hindrances or Stumbling-blocks of the Impenitent (Obotferdigas Foerhinder), wherein are these words: “They who are rich in good works show thereby that they are rich in faith; since when faith is saving it operates by charity; for justifying faith never exists alone and separate from good works, as a good tree does not exist without fruit, nor the sun without light and heat, nor water without moisture.” These few facts are adduced to show that although the religion of faith alone is received, yet the goods of charity which are good works are everywhere taught, and that this is of the Lord’s Divine Providence, lest the common people should be misled by it. I have heard Luther (with whom I have several times spoken in the spiritual world) exe­crate faith alone, and say that when he established it he was admonished by an angel of the Lord not to do it; but that he thought within him that if he did not reject works a separation from the Catholic religion would not be effected. Contrary therefore to the admonition he confirmed that faith. (DP n. 258)

Insofar as any one shuns Evils as Sins he has Faith

Insofar as any one shuns Evils as Sins he has Faith

Evil which is of the life destroys the truth of faith; because evil of life belongs to the will and the truth of faith to the understanding; and the will leads the understanding and causes it to act in unity with itself. If therefore there be any truth in the understanding which does not agree with the will, when a man is left to himself, or thinks under the influence of his evil and the love of it, he either casts out such truth, or by falsification forces it into unity. It is otherwise with those who are in good which is of the life; for when left to themselves they think under the influence of good, and love the truth which is in the understanding because it agrees therewith. Thus a conjunction of faith and of life is effected like the conjunction of truth and good, each resembling the conjunction of the understanding and the will.

Hence then it follows that in the degree that a man shuns evils as sins, in the same degree he has faith, because in the same degree he is in good. This is confirmed also by its contrary, that whosoever does not shun evils as sins has not faith, because he is in evil and evil has an inward hatred against truth. Outwardly indeed it can put on a friendly appearance, and endure, yea love that truth should be in the understanding; but when the outward is put off, as is the case after death, the truth which was thus for worldly reasons received in a friendly manner is first cast off, afterwards is denied to be truth, and finally is held in aversion. (Life, n. 44, 45)

Faith is the first Principle of the Church in appearance, but Charity is actually the first

Since man does not see good in his thought,—for good as has been said is only felt, and is felt under the manifold form of delight,—and as man does not attend to the things that he feels in thought, but to those that he sees in it, therefore he calls all that which he feels with delight good; and he feels evil with delight, because this is innate from his birth, and proceeds from the love of self and of the world. This is the reason why it is not known that the good of love is the all of heaven and of the church; and that this is only from the Lord in man; and that it does not flow from the Lord into any but such as shun evils and the delights thereof as sins. This is what is meant by the Lord’s words, that the law and the prophets hang upon these two com­mandments, Thou shalt love God above all things, and thy neighbour as thyself (Matt. xxii. 35-38). And I can aver that there is not in man a grain of truth which is truth in itself except so far as it is from the good of love from the Lord; and therefore that there is not a grain of faith which is faith in itself, that is which is living, salutary, and spiritual, except so far as it is from charity which is from the Lord. Since the good of love is the all of heaven and the church, therefore the universal heaven and the church universal are arranged in order by the Lord according to the affections of love, and not according to anything of thought separated from them; for thought is affection in form, just as speech is sound in form. (AR n. 908)

How Faith is formed from Charity

It shall also be explained how faith from charity is formed. Every man has a natural mind and a spiritual mind; a natural mind for the world, and a spiritual mind for heaven. As to his understanding man is in both worlds; but not as to his will until he shuns and turns away from evils as sins. When he does this his spiritual mind also is open in respect to the will; and then spiritual heat flows thence into the natural mind from heaven,— which heat in its essence is charity,—and gives life to the know-ledges of truth and good that are therein, and out of them forms faith. It is the same as with a tree, which does not receive vegetative life until heat flows from the sun and conjoins itself with the light, as it does in the time of spring. There is moreover a full parallelism between the quickening of man with life and the vegetation of a tree, in this respect, that the one is effected by the heat of this world and the other by the heat of heaven; which is the reason why man is so often likened to a tree by the Lord. (F. n. 32)

Truth rooted in the Mind by doing it

All truth is sown in the internal man, and rooted in the ex­ternal; unless therefore the truth which is inseminated takes root in the external man,—which is effected by doing it,—it becomes like a tree set not in the ground but upon it, which on exposure to the heat of the sun withers. The man who has done the truth takes this root with him after death; but not the man who has only known and acknowledged it. (AR n. 17)

Cognitions of Truth and Good are not of Faith until a Man is in Charity

Cognitions of Truth and Good are not of Faith until a Man is in Charity

[By the terms scire and noscere (or nosse) and cognoscere, the author throughout his writings expresses an important distinction in the process of the acquisition of truth, which it is difficult to convey by words in common use in our language, without circumlocution. By scire (to know), and the corresponding scientia (knowledge), he refers to the mere outward acquisition of knowledge, or knowledge as facts or truths in the outer memory, acquired by means of the senses,—whether from the Word, or from the world and nature. By noscere and cognoscere (to become acquainted with), and the corresponding cognitio, he designates the higher and more interior and real knowledge that is attained when these facts or truths are taken up and actually seen in the light of reason. For the expression of this idea the words cognize and cognition are warranted,—if any warrant is needed for a necessary term,—by the usage of some of the recent speculative philosophers. Knowledges may be considered as the means or materials of cognitions.]

The cognitions of truth and good which precede faith appear to some as if they were of faith; and yet they are not. Men do not therefore believe because they think and say they believe. And these [truths] are not of faith; for it is only cognized that they are so, and not internally acknowledged that they are truths. And faith that they are truths while it is not known that they are, is a species of persuasion remote from internal acknowledg­ment. But as soon as charity is implanted they become cogni­tions of faith, yet only so far as there is charity within it. (F. n. 31)

The Truths of Faith are first in Time, but Charity is first in End

Faith, by which also truth is meant, is first in time; and charity, by which good also is meant, is first in end. And that which is first in end is actually the first, because it is primary, and so is also the first-born; but that which is first in time is not actually first, but apparently. But that this may be com­prehended it shall be illustrated by comparisons; as with the creation of a temple, and of a house, the formation of a garden, and the preparation of a field. In the erection of a temple, the first thing in point of time is to lay the foundation, to build the walls, to put on the roof, and then to put in the altar, and rear the pulpit; but the first thing in end for the sake of which these things are done is the worship of God in it. In the building of a house, the first thing in time is to build its outer parts, and to furnish it with various articles of necessity; but the first thing in end is a suitable-dwelling for one’s self and for the others who shall be in the house. In the formation of a garden, the first thing in time is to level the ground, and prepare the soil, and plant trees, and sow the seeds of such things as will be of use; but the first thing in end is the use of their fruits. In the pre­paration of a field, the first thing in time is to clear the land, to plough, to harrow, and then to sow the seeds; but the first thing in end is the harvest, and so also the use. From these comparisons any one may conclude which in itself is first; for does not every one, when he would build a temple or a house, or make a garden or cultivate a field, first purpose a use, and constantly keep and turn this over in his mind while he is procuring the means to it? We conclude then that the truth of faith is first in time, but that the good of charity is first in end; and that this therefore because it is primary is actually the first-begotten in the mind. (TCR n. 336)

Faith never becomes Faith till the Truths of it are willed and done

All the things of faith which are signified by the first-born of sons are those which are from the good of charity; for faith exists from this good. For truths, whether taken from the Word or from the doctrine of the church, can in no wise become truths of faith unless there be good in which they may be implanted. The reason is that the intellectual [faculty] is what first receives truths, since it sees them and introduces them to the will; and when they are in the will they are in the man, for the will is the man himself. He therefore who supposes that faith is faith with man before he wills these truths, and from willing does them, is exceedingly deceived; the very truths of faith have no life before. All that is of the will is called good, because it is loved; and so truth becomes good, or faith becomes charity, in the will…. That the man of the church has been in obscurity on these subjects is because he has not perceived that all things in the universe relate to truth and good, and that they must have relation to both in order that anything may exist; and has not perceived that in man there are two faculties, the understand­ing and the will, and that truth has relation to the understand­ing and good to the will, and that if there is not the relation to each nothing is appropriated to man. Inasmuch as these things have been in obscurity, and yet the ideas of man’s thought are founded on such things [according to his conception of them] therefore the error could not be made manifest to the natural man. And yet if it had once been made manifest the man of the church would have seen as in clear light from the Word, that the Lord Himself has spoken innumerable things of the good of charity, and that this is the chief thing of the church; and that faith is nowhere but in that good. The good of charity consists in doing good from purposing good. (AC n. 9224)

The Essence of Faith is Charity

The Essence of Faith is Charity

It should be known that charity and faith form one, as the will and understanding; because charity belongs to the will, and faith to the understanding. In like manner charity and faith form one like affection and thought; because affection belongs to the will, and thought to the understanding. So again charity and faith form one like good and truth; because good has rela­tion to affection which belongs to the will, and truth has to thought which belongs to the understanding.

In a word, charity and faith constitute one like essence and form; for the essence of faith is charity, and the form of charity is faith.  Hence it is evident that faith without charity is like a form without an essence, which is nothing; and that charity without faith is like an essence without a form, which likewise is nothing.

It is with charity and faith in man just as with the motion of the heart, which is called its systole and diastole, and the motion of the lungs, which is called respiration. There is also an entire correspondence of these with the will and understand­ing of man, and of course with charity and faith; for which reason the will and its affection are meant by the heart when mentioned in the Word, and the understanding and its thought by the soul, and also by the spirit. Hence, to yield the breath (or soul) is to retain animation no longer; and to give up the ghost (or spirit) is to respire no longer. Hence it follows that there can be no faith without charity, nor charity without faith; and that faith without charity is like respiration of the lungs without a heart, which cannot take place in any living thing, but only in an automaton; and that charity without faith is like a heart without lungs, in which case there can be no sense of life; consequently, that charity accomplishes uses by faith, as the heart by the lungs accomplishes actions. So great indeed is the similitude between the heart and charity, and between the lungs and faith, that in the spiritual world it is known by a person’s breathing what is the nature of his faith, and by his pulse what is the nature of his charity. For angels and spirits as well as men live by the pulsation of the heart and by respiration; hence it is that they, as well as men in this world, feel, think, act, and speak. (F. n. 18, 19)

There are many who have not an internal acknowledgment of truth, and yet have the faith of charity. They are such as have had respect to the Lord in their life, and from a principle of religion have avoided evils, but who have been kept from think­ing of truths by cares and business in the world, and also from a want of truth in their teachers. Yet interiorly or in their spirit, these are in the acknowledgment of truth, because they are in the affection of it; and therefore after death, when they become spirits and are instructed by the angels, they acknowledge truths and receive them with joy. But it is otherwise with those who in their life have not looked to the Lord, and have not avoided evils from a principle of religion. These in­wardly or in their spirit are not in any affection of truth, and consequently are not in any acknowledgment of it; after death therefore, when they become spirits and are instructed by the angels, they are unwilling to acknowledge truths, and of course do not receive them. For evil that is of the life interiorly hates truths; but good that is of the life interiorly loves truths. (ibid. n. 30)

What Faith is


What Faith is

Faith is an internal acknowledgement of truth. They who are in the spiritual affection of truth have an internal acknowledgment of it. As the angels are in that affection they totally reject the tenet that the understanding ought to be kept in subjection to faith  for they say, “How can you believe a things when you do note see whether it is true?  And if any one affirms that what he advances must be believed for all that, they reply, “Dost thou think thyself a God, that I am to believe thee ‘? or that I am mad, that I should believe an assertion in which I do not see any truth? If I must believe it, cause me to see it.” The dogmatizer is thus constrained to retire. Indeed, the wisdom of the angels consists solely in this, that they see and comprehend what they think.

There is a spiritual conception, of which few have any cognizance, which enters by influx into the minds of those who are in the affection of truth, and interiorly dictates that the thing which they are hearing or reading is true or not true. In this conception the are who read the Word in enlightenment from the Lord. To be in enlightenment is nothing else than to be in the perception, and hence in an internal acknowlgement, that this or that is true.  It is they who are in this enlightenment that are said to be taught of Jehovah, in Isaiah liv. 13; John vi. 45; and of whom it is said in Jeremiah, “Behold, the days come, … that I will make a new covenant; … this shall be the covenant; … I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts: … and they shall no more teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know ye Jehovah; for they shall all know Me” (xxxi. 31, 33, 34).

From these considerations it is plain that faith and truth are a one. This also is the reason why the ancients, who were ac­customed to think of truth from affection much more than we, used the word truth instead of faith; and for the same reason in the Hebrew language truth and faith are expressed by one word, which is Amuna, or Amen. (F. n.1, 4-6).

The angels who are in celestial love will not hear anything of faith, saying, “What is faith? Is it not wisdom? And what is charity? Is it not to do?” And when they are told that faith consists in believing what is not understood they turn away, saying, “He is out of his senses.” It is these who are in the third heaven, and are the wisest of all.  Such have they become who in the world applied the Divine truths which they heard immediately to the life, turning away from evils as infernal, and worshipping the Lord alone.

The angels also who are in spiritual love do not know what faith is. If it be mentioned they understand truth and if charity be mentioned they understand doing the truth; and when they are told they must believe they call it a vain saying, and add, “Who does not believe truth?” They say this because in the light of their heaven they see truth; and to believe what they do not see they call either simplicity or foolishness. (DLW n. 427, 428).

The veriest faith, which saves, is trust; but there can never be this trust save in the good of life. Without the good of life there is no reception; and where there is no reception there is no trust,—unless sometimes a certain apparent trust, in disordered states of mind or body, when the lusts of the love of self and of the world are quiescent. But with those who are in evil of life, when this crisis passes or is changed, this deceptive trust entirely vanishes. For there is a trust even with the wicked. But he who would know the quality of this trust, let him examine within himself hi affections, and ends, as well as the actions of his life. ( AC n. 2982)