Freedom Heavenly Freedom and Infernal Freedom

Freedom Heavenly Freedom and Infernal Freedom

Heavenly freedom is that which is from the Lord, and all the angels in the heavens are in this freedom. It is, as was said, the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love, that is of the affection of good and truth. The quality of this freedom may appear from the fact that from an inmost affection every one who is in it communicates his own blessedness and happiness to others, and that it is a blessedness and happiness to him to be able to communicate. And as such is the universal heaven, therefore every one is a centre of the blessednesses and happinesses of all, and all are at the same time the centre of that of the individuals. This communication is effected by the Lord, by marvellous influxes, in the incomprehensible form which is the form of heaven. From this it may be seen what heavenly freedom is, and that it is from the Lord alone.

How far distant the heavenly freedom which comes from an affection of good and truth is, from the infernal freedom which is from an affection of evil and falsity, may appear from the fact that the angels in the heavens, if only they think of such freedom as is from an affection of evil and falsity,—or what is the same, from the lusts of the love of self and of the world,—are instantly seized with internal pain and on the other hand, when evil spirits only think of the freedom which is from the affection of good and truth,—or what is the same, from the desires of mutual love,—they instantly fall into agonies. And what is wonderful, so opposite is the one freedom to the other, that to good spirits the freedom of the love of self and of the world is hell and on the other hand, to evil spirits the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love is hell. Hence all are distinguished in the other life according to their freedom, or what is the same, according to their loves and affections and consequently according to the delights of their life, which is the same as according to their lives. For lives are nothing else than delights, and these are nothing else than the affections of loves. (AC n. 2872, 2873)

To do evil from the delight of love appears like freedom but it is servitude, because it is from hell. To do good from the delight of love appears like freedom, and also is freedom, because it is from the Lord. Servitude consists therefore in being led of hell, and freedom in being led of the Lord. This the Lord thus teaches in John: “Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. The servant abideth not in the house for ever; the Son abideth for ever. If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed“(viii. 34-36).

The Lord keeps man in freedom of thought, and in so far as external restraints do not hinder,—which are the fear of the law and of life, and the fear of the loss of reputation, of honour, and of gain,—He keeps him in freedom of action. But by freedom He turns him away from evil, and by freedom inclines him to good, —so gently and so tacitly leading, that the man does not know but that all proceeds from himself. Thus in freedom the Lord implants and inroots good into the very life of man; and it remains to eternity. The Lord thus teaches this in Mark: “The kingdom of God is as a man who casteth seed into the earth, .. . and the seed springeth, and groweth up while he knoweth not. The earth bringeth forth fruit of herself” (iv. 26-28). (ibid. n. 9586, 9587)

The evil spirits that are with man, whereby he communicates with hell, regard him but as a vile slave; for they infuse into him their own lusts and persuasions, and thus lead him whithersoever they desire. But the angels, by whom man communicates with heaven, regard him as a brother, and insinuate into him affections of good, and of truth; and they thus lead him by freedom, not whither they desire, but whither the Lord pleases. From this it may be seen what the quality is of the one and of the other; and that to be led of the devil is slavery, but to be led of the Lord is freedom.

Spirits newly arrived are much perplexed to conceive how no one can do good from himself, nor think truth from himself, but from the Lord; believing that they should thus be like machines without any self-determination; and if so, that they must hold down their hands and suffer themselves to be acted upon. But they are told that they ought entirely of themselves to think, will, and do good, and that otherwise they cannot receive a heavenly proprium, and heavenly freedom; but that still they ought to acknowledge that good and truth are not from them, but from the Lord. And they are taught that all the angels are in such acknowledgment, yea, in the perception that it is so; and the more exquisitely they perceive themselves to be led of the Lord, and thereby to be in the Lord, the more they are in freedom.

Whoever lives in good, and believes that the Lord governs the universe, and that from Him alone comes all the good of love and charity and all the truth of faith, yea, that life comes from Him, and therefore that from Him we live, move, and have our being, is in such a state that he can be gifted with heavenly freedom, and with this also peace; for then he trusts only in the Lord, and counts other things of no concern, and is certain that then all things tend to his good, blessedness, and happiness to eternity. But he who believes that he governs himself, is in continual disquietude, being borne away into passionate desires, into solicitude about things to come, and thus into manifold anxieties. And because he so believes, the lusts of evil and the persuasions of falsity also adhere to him. (ibid. n. 2890-2892 )

The presence of the Lord implies liberty, the one follows the other; for the more intimately present the Lord is, the more free is man; that is, in proportion as he is in the love of good and truth he acts freely. Such is the nature of the Lord’s influx by means of angels. But on the other hand the influx of hell is effected by evil spirits, and is attended with the violence and impetuosity of domination,—their ruling desire being to subdue man to such a degree that he may be as nothing and they everything; and then he becomes one of them,—and scarcely one, being as nobody in their eyes. Hence, when the Lord delivers man from their yoke and dominion there arises a conflict. But when he is liberated, or in other words regenerated, he is so gently led of the Lord by angels that there is not the least appearance of bondage or authority; he is led by what is delightful and happy, and is loved and esteemed,—as the Lord teaches in Matthew: “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (xi. 30). It has been given me to know by much experience that it is exactly the contrary with evil spirits; by whom, as was said, man is regarded as nothing, and who, were it in their power, would torment him every moment. (ibid. n. 905)

Man ought to compel himself, and in this Compulsion is the highest

Man ought to compel himself, and in this Compulsion is the highest

That man ought to compel himself to do good, to obey the things which the Lord has commanded, and to speak truths,—which is to humble himself beneath the Lord’s hands, or to submit himself under the power of Divine good and truth,—implies and involves more arcana than it is possible to unfold in a few words. There are certain spirits who held as a principle while they lived in the world,—because they heard that all good was from the Lord, and that man could do no good of himself,— that they were not to compel themselves to anything, but to resign themselves; believing that because it is so all effort would be vain. They therefore waited for immediate influx into their will’s endeavour, and did not compel themselves to do any good; yea to such a degree that when any evil crept in, because they felt no resistance from within, they gave themselves up to it, thinking it to have been so permitted. But such is their character that they are as it were without any mind of their own [absque proprio], and thus have no resolution. They are therefore among the more useless; for they suffer themselves to be led alike by the wicked and by the good, and endure much from the wicked. But they that have compelled themselves to act against evil and falsity, although at first they thought that this was done from themselves, or of their own power, yet,—being afterwards enlightened to see that their effort was from the Lord, yea even the least of all things pertaining to the effort,—they cannot be led by evil spirits in the other life, but are among the happy. It is evident then that a man ought to force himself to do good, and to speak truth. The arcanum herein concealed is this: That man is hereby gifted of the Lord with a heavenly proprium. [Proprium,—for which we have no equivalent word in our language,—is literally that which is man’s own, or which constitutes his distinctive individuality.] Man’s heavenly proprium is formed in the thought’s endeavour; and if he does not obtain it by compelling himself, as the appearance is, he never does by not compelling himself. To make it plain how this is; in all self-compulsion to good there is a certain freedom, which is not so much apperceived while in the act of compulsion, yet still it is within. Just as when one determines to subject himself to the hazard of losing life with a view to some end, or determines to undergo a painful operation for the recovery of his health; there is a certain willingness, and therefore liberty, from which he acts in those determinations, although the hazards and the pains while he is in them take away the perception of such willingness or freedom. So it is with those who compel themselves to good. There is within a willingness and therefore freedom, from which and for the sake of that to which they compel themselves; namely, for the sake of obedience to those things which the Lord has commanded, and for the sake of the salvation of their souls after death. And within these is a still interior motive which a man is not cognizant of, that of regard for the Lord’s kingdom, yea for the Lord Himself. This occurs especially in temptations, in which, when man compels himself in opposition to the evil and falsity which are infused and suggested by evil spirits, there is more of freedom than ever in any state out of temptations, although man cannot then conceive of it. It is an interior freedom, from which he determines to subdue the evil; and so strongly as to be equal in force and resoluteness to the evil which assaults him; otherwise he would never engage in the contest. This freedom is of the Lord, who insinuates it into man’s conscience, and thereby causes him to conquer the evil as if by his own [power]. Through this freedom man receives a proprium, in which good can be wrought by the Lord. Without a something of his own [absque proprio] acquired, that is given through freedom, no man can be reformed, because he cannot receive the new will which is conscience. Freedom thus bestowed is the very plane into which the influx of good and truth from the Lord descends. Hence it is that they that do not resist in temptations from this willingness or freedom are overcome. In all freedom there is the life of man, because this is his love; whatever a man does from love appears free to him. And in that freedom in which a man compels himself in opposition to evil and falsity, and to do good, there is heavenly love; which the Lord then insinuates, and by which he creates his proprium. Therefore the Lord wills that this should appear to man as his, -although it is not his. This proprium which he thus receives, by apparent compulsion in the life of the body, is filled by the Lord in the other life with indefinite delights and happinesses. They who receive this are by degrees enlightened, yea confirmed, in the truth that they have compelled themselves not in the least from themselves, but that every slightest effort of their will was from the Lord; and that the purpose of its appearing to be from themselves was, that a new will might be given them by the Lord as theirs, and that thus the life of heavenly love might be appropriated to them. For the Lord desires to communicate to every one what is His, that is what is heavenly, so that it may appear as his own, and in him, although it is not his. The angels are in such a proprium; and so far as they are in the truth that all good and truth is from the Lord, they are in the delight and happiness of that proprium. But they who despise and reject all that is good and true, and are unwilling to believe anything which is repugnant to their lusts and reasonings, cannot compel themselves, and therefore cannot receive this proprium of conscience, or new will. From what has been said above it is also plain that to compel one’s self is not to be compelled; for no good ever comes of being compelled, as when a man is compelled by another man to do good. But that in this matter to compel himself is to act from a certain freedom unrecognised by him; for there is never anything compulsory from the Lord. Hence it is a universal law, that all good and truth is implanted in freedom; otherwise the ground is not at all recipient and nutritive of good, nay, there is no ground in which the seed can grow. (AC n 1937)

Why in Freedom Man feels and wills as of himself, when it is not of himself

Why in Freedom Man feels and wills as of himself, when it is not of himself

Man is an organ of life, and God alone is life; and God infuses his life into the organ and all its parts, as the sun infuses its heat into a tree and all its parts. And God grants man to feel that life in himself as his own; and God wills that he should so feel it, to the intent that man may live as of himself according to the laws of order,—which are as many as the precepts in the Word,—and dispose himself for the reception of God’s love. But still God continually holds with His finger the perpendicular over the balance, and moderates but never violates free will by compulsion. A tree cannot receive anything which the heat of the sun brings through the root unless it is warmed and heated in its single fibres; nor can the elements rise up through its root unless its single fibres from the heat received also give out heat, and thus contribute to their passage. So man, from the heat of life received from God. But he, unlike a tree, feels it as his own, although it is not his; and in so far as he believes that it is his and not God’s he receives the light of life from God and not the heat of love, but the heat of love from hell; which being gross obstructs and closes the purer branchlets of the organism, as impure blood closes the capillary vessels of the body; and so from spiritual man makes himself merely natural. Man’s free will arises from the fact that he feels the life in himself as his own, and that God leaves him so to feel in order that conjunction may be effected,—which is not possible unless it be reciprocal, and it becomes reciprocal when man acts from freedom altogether as from himself. If God had not left this to man he would not be man, neither would he have eternal life; for reciprocal conjunction with God causes man to be man and not a beast, and also causes him to live after death to eternity. Free will in spiritual things effects this. (TCR n. 504)

How Man is in Freedom from the Lord alone

How Man is in Freedom from the Lord alone

The case with man as to his affections and as to his thoughts is this: No one, whatever he be, whether man, or spirit, or angel, can will or think from himself, but does so .from others; nor can these others from themselves, but all from others again, and so on; and so each wills and thinks from the First of life, which is the Lord. What is unconnected does not exist. Evils and falsities have connection with the hells, whence comes the power of those who are in them to will and think; whence also comes their love, affection, and delight, and therefore their freedom. But goods and truths have connection with heaven, whence comes the power of those who are in them to will and think; and also their love, affection, and delight, and therefore their freedom. Hence it may appear whence is the one freedom and the other freedom. That such is the case is perfectly well known in the other life, but at this day is quite unknown in the world. (AC n. 2886)

In regard to the life of every one, whether man, spirit, or angel, the truth is that it flows in from the Lord alone, who is Life itself; and this diffuses itself through the universal heaven, also through hell, and thus into every individual therein; and in an order and through series that are incomprehensible. But the life which flows in is received by every one according to his character; good and truth are received as good and truth by the good; while by the evil good and truth are received as evil and falsity, and are even changed into evil and falsity in them. It is comparatively as the light of the sun; which diffuses itself into all objects on the earth, but is received according to the quality of each object, and becomes of a beautiful colour in beautiful forms, and of an ugly colour in ugly forms. This is an arcanum in the world, but in the other life nothing is better known. That I might know that there is such influx, it was granted me to converse with the spirits and angels who were with me, and even to feel and perceive the influx; and this so often that I am not able to determine the number of times. But I know the fallacy will prevail with many that they will of themselves, and think of themselves, and so of themselves have life, when yet nothing is less true. (ibid. n. 2888)

A something analogous to Free Will in all Created Things

A something analogous to Free Will in all Created Things

Unless there had been a certain free will in all created things, both animate and inanimate, there could have been no creation. For as regards beasts, without free will in natural things there would be no choice of food conducive to their nourishment, nor any procreation and preservation of offspring, thus no beast. If there were not such freedom with the fishes of the sea, and the shellfish at the bottom of the sea, there would be no fish and shellfish. So unless it were in every little insect there would be no silkworm producing silk, no bee furnishing wax and honey, nor any butterfly sporting with its consort in the air and nourishing itself with the juices of the flowers, and representing the happy state of man in the heavenly aura after he has cast off his exuviae like the worm. Unless there were something analogous to free will in the soil of the earth, in the seed cast into it, in all parts of the tree springing from it, and in its fruits, and again in new seeds, there would be no vegetation. If there were not something analogous to free will in every metal and in every stone, common and precious, there would be neither metal nor stone, yea, nor even a grain of sand for this freely absorbs the ether, emits its natural exhalation, rejects its disused elements, and restores itself with new. Hence is the magnetic sphere about the magnet, a sphere of iron about iron, of copper about copper, of silver about silver, of gold about gold, of stone about stone, of nitre about nitre, of sulphur about sulphur, and a different sphere about all the dust of earth, from which sphere the inmost of every seed is impregnated, and its prolific principle vegetates for without such an exhalation from every particle of the dust of the earth there would be no beginning, and hence no continuance of germination. How otherwise than by what is exhaled from it could the earth penetrate with its dust and water into the inmost centre of a seed sown, as into “a grain of mustard seed, which is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a great tree“? (Matt. xiii. 32; Mark iv. 30-32). Since then freedom has been granted to all created subjects, to each according to its nature, why not free will to man according to his nature, which is that he may be spiritual? It is for this that free will in spiritual things has been given to man from the womb to the end of his life in the world, and afterwards to eternity. (TCR a 499)

What Free Will is

What Free Will is

That it may be known what free will is, and the nature of it, it is necessary that it should be known whence it is; from the recognition of its origin especially it is known not only that it is, but also what it is. Its origin is from the spiritual world, where the mind of man is kept by the Lord. The mind of man is his spirit, which lives after death. And his spirit is continually in company with its like in that world; and through the material body with which it is encompassed, his spirit is with men in the natural world. The reason why a man does not know that as to his mind he is in the midst of spirits is, that the spirits with whom he is consociated in the spiritual world think and speak spiritually, but the spirit of the man, while he is the material body, thinks and speaks naturally and spiritual thought and speech cannot be understood or perceived by the natural man, nor the reverse; nor therefore can they be seen. But when the spirit of a man is in association with spirits in their world, then he is also, with them in spiritual thought and speech, because his mind is inwardly spiritual but outwardly natural; and therefore by its interiors it communicates with them and by its exteriors with men. Through this communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If man had not this. he would think no more nor otherwise than a beast. So also if all intercourse with spirits should be taken away from him he would instantly, die. But that it may be comprehended how man can be kept in a middle state between heaven and hell, and thereby in the spiritual equilibrium whence he has free will, it shall be briefly explained:—The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell. Heaven is over head, and hell is beneath the feet there; not however in the centre of the earth inhabited by men, but beneath the earth of that world,—which is also of spiritual origin, and therefore has not extension, but the appearance of extension. Between heaven and hell there is a great interval, which to those who are there appears as an entire world. Into this interval evil from hell is exhaled in all abundance; and on the other hand, from heaven good also flows in there in all abundance. It was this interval of which Abraham said to the rich man in hell—” Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that those who would pass over from hence to you cannot; neither can they who are there pass over to us” (Luke xvi. 26). Every man as to his spirit is in the midst of this interval, in order, solely, that he may be in free will. (TCR n. 475)

The spiritual equilibrium which is free will may be compared to a balance, in each scale of which equal weights are placed; if then a little be added to the scale of one side the tongue of the balance above vibrates. It is also similar to a carrying pole, or a large beam balanced upon its support. All and each of the things that are within man, as the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, and the other organs, are in such an equilibrium. Hence it is that each one in the greatest quietness can perform its functions. So with all the muscles; without such an equilibrium of the muscles all action and reaction would cease, and man would no longer act as a man. Since then all things in the body are in such an equilibrium, all things in the brain also are in the same condition; consequently all things that are in the mind therein, which relate to the will and the understanding. (ibid. n. 478)



General Doctrine

Man cannot be reformed unless he has freedom, because he is born into evils of every kind, which yet must be removed in order that he may be saved; and they cannot be removed unless he sees them in himself, and acknowledges them, and afterwards ceases to purpose them, and at length holds them in aversion. Then first they are. removed. This cannot be effected unless a man be in good as well as in evil; for from good he can see evils, but cannot from evil see goods. The spiritual goods which a man is able to think of, he learns from childhood by reading the Word, and from preaching; and the moral and civil goods he learns. from a life in the world. This is the primary reason why man ought to be in freedom. Another reason is that nothing is appropriated to man but what is done from an affection, which is of the love. Other things indeed may enter, but no farther than into the thought, and not into the will; and what does not enter even into the will of a man does not become his; for the thought derives all that it has from the memory, but the will from the very life. No action is ever free which is not from the will, or what is the same from an affection which is of the love; for whatever a man wills or loves this he freely does. Hence it is that the freedom of man and the affection which is of his love or will are one. Man therefore has freedom in order that he may be affected by truth and good, or love them, and that thus they may become as his own. In a word, whatever does not enter in freedom into man does not remain; because it is not of his love or will, and the things which are not of a man’s love or will are not of his spirit; for the being [esse] of man’s spirit is the love or will. It is said the love or will because what a man loves that he wills. This then is the reason why a man cannot be reformed except in freedom. (HH n. 598)

He who does not know that no conjunction of good and truth, that is no appropriation of them, and therefore no regeneration can be effected except in man’s freedom, only casts himself into darkness and into grievous errors when he reasons about the Lord’s providence, about the salvation of man, and about the damnation of many. For he thinks that if the Lord will He can save every one, and this by innumerable means; as by miracles, by the dead who shall rise again, by immediate revelations, by angels who shall withhold from evils and impel by strong manifest power to good, and by many states into which when man is led he will repent; and by-many other means. But he does not consider that all these means are compulsory, and that by them a man cannot be reformed. For whatever compels a man does not impart to him any affection; and if it be of a nature to impart it binds itself to an affection of evil. For it appears as if it infused and indeed does infuse a holy [feeling]; but yet when’ the state is changed the man returns to his former affections, that is to evils and falsities; and then that holy [feeling] conjoins itself with evils and falsities and becomes profane, and such that it leads into the most grievous hell of all. For he first acknowledges and believes, and is also affected by what is holy, and afterwards denies, yea turns away from it. Hence at this day manifest miracles are not wrought, but miracles that are not obvious or manifest, which are of such a nature that they do not inspire a holy [feeling] nor take away man’s freedom; and therefore the dead do not rise again, and man is not withheld from evils by immediate revelations and by angels, and forced on to good by strong manifest power. It is man’s freedom upon which the Lord operates and by which He bends him; for all freedom is of the love or its affection, and therefore of his will. If he does not receive good and truth in freedom it cannot be appropriated to him, or become his. For that to which he is compelled is not his, but is of him who compels; since he does not do it of himself, although it is done by himself. (AC n. 4031)

If men had not free will in spiritual things, all the inhabitants of the world might within a day be brought to believe in the Lord; but this cannot be done, for the reason that what is not received by man from a free will does not remain. (TCR n. 500)

Self-Love and Mutual Love contrasted

Self-Love and Mutual Love contrasted

There is something inflammatory in self-love, and its lusts; and a delight therefrom, which so affects the life, that one scarcely knows but that eternal happiness itself consists in it. And therefore many make eternal happiness to consist in becoming great after the life of the body, and being served by others, even by angels; while they are willing to serve no one except with a secret view to themselves, that they may be served. When they say that they shall then be willing to serve the Lord alone, it is false; for those who cherish self-love would have even the Lord Himself serve them; and so far as He does not, they draw back. Thus the desire of their hearts is that they themselves may be lord, and rule over the universe. Any one may imagine what sort of government this would be, when there are many, nay when all are such. Would it not be an infernal government, where every one loves himself above others? This lies concealed in self-love. From this the nature of self-love may be seen; also from the consideration that there lurks within it hatred against all who do not subject themselves to it as slaves; and because hatred, therefore revenge, cruelty, deceit, and many atrocities. But mutual love, which alone is heavenly, consists in this: that one not only says, but acknowledges and believes, that he is most unworthy, and that [in himself] he is a vile and unclean thing; and that the Lord out of infinite mercy is continually drawing and keeping him out of hell, into which he is continually attempting, nay desiring, to plunge himself. That he acknowledges and believes this is true because it is true. Not that the Lord, nor any angel, desires that he shall acknowledge and believe this for the sake of humbling himself; but lest he should be puffed up, when yet such is his nature. As if refuse should say that it is pure gold! Or a fly of the dunghill that it is a bird of paradise! In so far then as a man acknowledges and believes that his nature is such as it is, he withdraws from self-love and its lusts, and abhors himself; and in the degree that this is done he receives heavenly love, that is mutual love, from the Lord, which is a desire to serve all others. These are they who are understood by the least who become greatest in the kingdom of God (Matt xviii. 1-4, xx. 26-28; Luke ix. 46-48). (AC n. 1594)

They who are in the loves of self and of the world can by no means believe that they are in such filthiness and impurity as they actually are; for there is a certain pleasurableness and delight which soothes, favours, and flatters them, and makes them love that life and prefer it to every other; and so they think there is no evil in it. For whatever favours the love and therefore the life of any one is believed to be good. Hence also the rational consents and suggests falsities which confirm; and which causes such blindness that they see nothing of the nature of heavenly love, or if they see they say in their heart that it is something miserable, or a thing of nought, or something like fantasy, which keeps the mind in a state of disease. But every one may see that the life of the love of self and the world with its pleasures and delights is filthy and impure, if he will but think according to the rational faculty with which he is endowed. It is the love of self from which all evils come that destroy civil society. From this, as from a foul pit, stream forth all kinds of hatred, all kinds of revenge, all cruelties, yea all adulteries. For whoever loves himself either contemns, or disparages, or hates, all others who are not subservient to him, or do not show respect to, or favour him; and as he entertains hatred he breathes out revenge and cruelty, and this in proportion as he loves himself. Thus that love is destructive of society and of the human race. (ibid. n. 2045)

Mutual love in heaven consists in this, that they love the neighbour more than themselves. Hence the whole heaven presents as it were a single man; for they are all thus consociated by mutual love from the Lord. Hence it is that the happinesses of all are communicated to each, and those of each to all. The heavenly form itself is therefore such that every one is as it were a kind of centre; thus a centre of communication and therefore of happiness from all; and this according to all the diversities of that love, which are innumerable. And as they who are in that love perceive the highest happiness in the fact that they can communicate to others what flows into themselves, and this from the heart, the communication is thereby made perpetual and eternal. From this cause, as the Lord’s kingdom increases the happiness of every individual increases. As the angels dwell in distinct societies and mansions, they do not think of this; but the Lord so disposes each and all things. Such is the kingdom of the Lord in the heavens. (ibid. n. 2057)

Love to the Lord and Love to the Neighbor distinguished

Love to the Lord and Love to the Neighbor distinguished

The Divine abiding with those who have faith in the Lord is. love and charity: and by love is meant love to the Lord; and by charity love towards the neighbour. Love to the Lord cannot be separated from love towards the neighbour; for the Lord’s love is towards the whole human race, which He desires to save eternally, and to adjoin entirely to Himself, so that none of them may perish. Whoever therefore has love to the Lord has the Lord’s love, and so cannot but love his neighbour. But they who are in love towards the neighbour are not all therefore in love to the Lord; as upright Gentiles who are in ignorance concerning the Lord,—with whom yet the Lord is present in charity; and others also within the church. For love to the Lord is love in a higher degree. Those who have love to the Lord are celestial men; and those that have love towards the neighbour or charity are spiritual men. The Most Ancient church, which was before the flood and was celestial, was in love to the Lord; but the Ancient church, which was after the flood and was spiritual, was in love towards the neighbour or in charity. (AC n. 2023)

Love to Enemies

Internal men, such as the angels of heaven are, do not desire retaliation of evil for evil, but from heavenly charity freely forgive; for they know that the Lord defends all who are in good against the evil, and that He defends according to the good in them; and that He would not defend if on account of evil done them they should be inflamed with enmity, hatred, and revenge, for these avert protection. (AC n. 556)

The Presence of the Lord with Man is according to Neighbourly Love or Charity

The presence of the Lord is according to the state of love to the neighbour and of faith in which a man is. The Lord is present in love to the neighbour, because in all good. Not so in faith, as it is called, without love; for faith without love and charity is a thing separate or disjoined. Wherever there is conjunction there must be a conjoining medium, which only is love and charity. This may appear to every one from the consideration that the Lord is merciful to all, and loves every one, and desires to make every one happy to eternity; whoever therefore is not in such love that he is merciful towards others, loves others, and desires to make others happy, cannot be conjoined to the Lord, because of his dissimilitude and his utter destitution of the image of the Lord. For a man to look up to the Lord by faith, as it is said, and hate his neighbour, is not only to stand afar off from Him, but also to have an infernal gulf between himself and the Lord, into which he would fall were he to approach more nearly; for hatred against the neighbour is the infernal gulf which is interposed. The presence of the Lord with man is first vouchsafed when he loves his neighbour; for the Lord is in love, and so far as man is in love the Lord is present; and in the degree in which the Lord is present He speaks with man. (AC n. 904)

The Internal Blessedness of Love and Charity perceptible in this Life

The Internal Blessedness of Love and Charity perceptible in this Life

The blessedness of heavenly affections, which are affections of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour, cannot easily be described, because it is internal and rarely manifests itself with any one in the body,—that is rarely to the sense. For during his life in the body man has a distinct sensation of the things which arise in the body, but a very obscure sensation of those that arise in his spirit, because while he is in the body worldly cares are an impediment. The blessedness of the affections cannot flow down into the sense of the body unless natural and sensual things are reduced to agreement with interior things; and not even then except obscurely, as a certain tranquillity from the fact that he is contented in mind. But after death it manifests itself, and is perceived as blessed and happy; and then it affects both the interiors and exteriors. (AC n. 6408)

The Criterion of Character

All spirits are distinguished in the other life by this: Those who desire evil against others are infernal or diabolical spirits; but they who wish good to others are good and angelic spirits. A man may know which he is among, whether among the infernal spirits or the angelic. If he intends evil to his neighbour, thinks nothing but evil of him, and also actually does evil when he can, and finds delight in it, he is among the infernals, and even becomes an infernal in the other life but if he intends good to his neighbour, and thinks nothing but good of him, and actually does good when he can, he is among the angelic, and becomes an angel too in the other life. This is the criterion. Let every one examine himself by it. It is nothing that a man does not do evil when he either cannot or dare not; nor that he does good from some selfish reason. These are external motives which are removed in the other life. There a man is as he thinks and intends. There are many who, from habit acquired in the world, can speak fairly; but it is instantly perceived whether the mind or intention is in harmony with what is said. If not, the man is cast out among the infernals of his own kind and species. (AC n. 1680)

Every one may see what the quality of his life is, if he will but search out the nature of the end that he regards. Not the nature of the ends, for these are innumerable, being as many as his intentions, and nearly as many as the judgments and conclusions of his thoughts. These are intermediate ends, which are variously derived from the principal end, or tend to promote it. But let him search out the end which he regards in preference to all the rest, arid in respect to which the rest are as nothing; and if he has himself and the world for an end, he may know that he is infernal; but if he has for his end the good of the neighbour, the common good, the Lord’s kingdom, and especially the Lord Himself, he may know that his life is heavenly. (AC n. 1909)

The Delight of doing Good without a Recompense

The Delight of doing Good without a Recompense

Very few at this day know that there is heavenly happiness in doing good without a view to recompense. For men do not know that there is any other happiness than to be advanced to honours, to be served by others, to abound in wealth, and to live in pleasures. They are profoundly ignorant of the fact that above these there is a happiness which affects the interiors of a man; that is, that there is a heavenly happiness, and that this happiness is the happiness of genuine charity. Inquire of the wise at this day, whether they know that this is heavenly happiness. It is on this account indeed that many reject good works, believing that they cannot be done by any one without a view to merit by them. For they do not know that those who are led of the Lord desire nothing more than to do good works; and that they think of nothing less than of merit by them. For this is of the new will which is given by the Lord to those who are regenerated. That will is indeed the Lord’s in man. (AC n. 6392)

Those who are in genuine mutual love in heaven are in such joy and happiness when they perform uses and do good to others, that they seem to themselves then first to be in heaven. This is given them by the Lord, to each according to the use. But this happiness vanishes as soon as they think of recompense; for the thought of recompense while yet they are in the recompense itself renders that love impure and perverts it. The reason is that then they think of themselves and not of the neighbour; that is, that they may render themselves happy and not others, except so far as themselves. They thus convert love towards the neighbour into love towards themselves; and in so far as they do this joy and happiness from heaven cannot be communicated to them; for they concentrate the influx of what is happy from heaven in themselves, and do not transmit it to others; and are like objects which do not remit the rays of light, but absorb them. Objects which reflect the rays of light appear in light and glow; but those which absorb them are dark and do not glow at all. They therefore who are of this description are separated from angelic society, as those that have nothing in common with heaven. (ibid. n. 6388)

When an angel does good to any one lie also communicates to him his own good, satisfaction, and blessedness; and this with the feeling that he would give to the other everything, and retain nothing. When he is in such communication good flows into him with much greater satisfaction and blessedness than he gives, and this continually with increase. But as soon as a thought enters, that he will communicate his own to the intent that lie may maintain that influx of satisfaction and blessedness into himself, the influx is dissipated; and still more if there comes in any thought of recompense from him to whom he communicates his good. This it has been given to know from much experience. From this too it may be seen that in the least things [of heaven] the Lord is present. For the Lord is such that He wills to give Himself to all; and therefore satisfaction and blessedness are increased with those who are images and likenesses of Him. (ibid. n. 6478)

The Delights of Charity are according to the Greatness and Importance of the Use performed

The Delights of Charity are according to the Greatness and Importance of the Use performed

As regards use, they who are in charity, that is in love towards the neighbour,—which imparts a living delight to their pleasure,—look for the fruition of no pleasure but in the performance of uses; for charity is nothing unless it manifests itself in works of charity, since it consists in exercise or use. He who loves his neighbour as himself never perceives the delight of charity except in its exercise; a life of charity therefore is a life of uses. Such is the life of the universal heaven; for the Lord’s kingdom, being a kingdom of mutual love, is a kingdom of uses. Therefore every pleasure derived from charity receives its delight from use, and the more exalted the use the greater the delight; hence the angels receive happiness from the Lord according to the essence and quality of the use which they perform. And so it is with every pleasure; the more distinguished its use the greater is its delight. Thus, for example only, conjugial love, because from thence is the seminary of human society and from this is formed the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens, which is the greatest of all uses, is therefore attended with so great delight that, as has been said, it is heavenly happiness. So in respect to other pleasures, but with a difference according to the excellence of uses,—which are so numerous that they can scarcely be divided into genera and species; all of which regard the Lord’s kingdom, or the Lord, some more nearly and directly, others more remotely and indirectly. Hence it may be seen that all pleasures are allowed to man for the sake of use only; and that by virtue of their use, with a difference according to its degree, they participate in and live from heavenly felicity. (AC n. 997)

What Charity is

What Charity is

It is believed by many that love to the neighbour consists in giving to the poor, in assisting the needy, and in doing good to every one; but charity consists in acting prudently, and to the end that good may result. He who assists a poor or needy villain does evil to his neighbour through him; for through the assistance which he renders he confirms him in evil, and supplies him with the means of doing evil to others. It is otherwise with him who gives support to the good.

But charity extends itself much more widely than to the poor and needy; for charity consists in doing what is right in every work, and our duty in every office. If a judge administers justice for the sake of justice he exercises charity; if he punishes the guilty and absolves the innocent he exercises charity; for thus he consults the welfare of his fellow-citizens and of his country. The priest who teaches truth and leads to good, for the sake of truth and good, exercises charity. But he who does such things for the sake of self and the world does not exercise charity; because he does not love his neighbour, but himself.

It is the same in other things, whether men are in any office or not; as with children toward their parents, and parents toward their children; with servants toward their masters, and with masters toward their servants; with subjects toward their king, and with a king toward his subjects. Whoever of these does his duty from a sense of duty, and what is just from a sense of justice, exercises charity.

That these things are of love to the neighbour or charity is because as was said above every man is a neighbour, but in a different manner. A smaller and a larger society is more the neighbour; our country is still more the neighbour; the Lord’s kingdom yet more; and the Lord above all. And in the universal sense good, which proceeds from the Lord, is the neighbour; consequently sincerity and justice too are so. He therefore who does any good for the sake of good, and who acts sincerely and justly for the sake of sincerity and justice, loves his neighbour and exercises charity; for he does so from the love of what is good, sincere, and just, and consequently from the love of those in whom good, sincerity, and justice are.

Charity is therefore an internal affection from which man wills to do good, and this without remuneration. The delight of his life consists in doing it. With those who do good from an internal affection there is charity in everything that they think and say, and that they will and do. It may be said that a man or an angel as to his interiors is charity, when good is his neighbour. So widely does charity extend itself.

They who have the love of self and of the world for an end can in nowise be in charity. They do not even know what charity is, and cannot at all comprehend that to will and do good to the neighbour without reward, as an end, is heaven in man; and that there is in that affection a happiness as great as that Of the angels. of heaven, which is ineffable. For they believe that if they are deprived of the joy from the glory of honour and riches, there can be nothing of joy any longer; and yet it is then that heavenly joy, which infinitely transcends the other, first begins. (HD n. 100-105)

The Degrees of the Relationship of Neighbour

The Degrees of the Relationship of Neighbour

Not only is man individually the neighbour, but also man collectively; for indeed a smaller and larger society, our country, the church, the Lord’s kingdom, and above all the Lord Himself, is the neighbour. These are the neighbour to which good is to be done from love. These are also the ascending degrees of neighbour. For a society consisting of many is neighbour in a higher degree than an individual man; in a still higher degree our country; in a degree yet higher the church; and in a degree higher still the Lord’s kingdom; but in the highest degree the Lord is the neighbour. These ascending degrees are as the steps of a ladder, at the top of which is the &rd.

A society is our neighbour more than an individual man, because it consists of many. Charity is to be exercised towards it as towards man individually, that is, according to the quality of good that is in it; and therefore in an entirely different manner towards a society of well-disposed than towards a society of evil-disposed persons. A society is loved when its good is consulted from the love of good.

Our country is our neighbour more than a society, because it is as a parent; for there a man is born, and it fosters him and protects him from injuries. Good is to be done to our country from love according to its necessities, which have regard especially to its sustenance, and the civil life and spiritual life of those that are therein. He who loves his country and does good to it from good will, in the other life loves the Lord’s kingdom; for there the Lord’s kingdom is his country. And he who loves the Lord’s kingdom loves the Lord, for the Lord is all in all in His kingdom.

The church is the neighbour more than our country; for he who cares for the church cares for the souls and eternal life of the men who dwell in his country. And therefore he who from love cares for the church loves his neighbour in a superior degree; for he desires and wills for others heaven and happiness of life to eternity.

The Lord’s kingdom is the neighbour in a still higher degree, because the Lord’s kingdom consists of all who are in good, both those who are on earth as those that are in the heavens. Thus the Lord’s kingdom is good with its every quality in the complex; when this is loved the individuals who are in good are loved.

These are the degrees of the neighbour, and with those who are in love towards their neighbour the love ascends according to these degrees. But these degrees are degrees in successive order, in which what is prior or superior must be preferred to what is posterior or inferior; and as the Lord is in the supreme degree, and He is to be regarded in each degree as the end to which it looks, therefore He is to be loved above all men and above all things. From all this now it may be seen how love to the Lord conjoins itself with love towards the neighbour. (HD n. 91-96)



Who is the Neighbor

It shall first be shown what the neighbour is; for it is the neighbour who is to be loved, and towards whom charity is to be exercised. For unless it be known what the neighbour is charity may be exercised, without distinction, in the same manner towards the evil as towards the good, whereby charity ceases to be charity; for the evil do evil to the neighbour from the benefactions conferred on them, but the good do good.

It is a common opinion at this day that every man is equally the neighbour, and that benefits are to be conferred on every one who needs assistance: but it concerns Christian prudence to look well to the quality of a man’s life, and to exercise charity towards him accordingly. The man of the internal church exercises his charity with discrimination, and therefore with intelligence; but the man of the external church, because he cannot so well discern things, does it indiscriminately.
The distinctions of neighbour, which the man of the church ought well to know, depend upon the good that is in every one. And because every good proceeds from the Lord, therefore the neighbour in the highest sense and in a supereminent degree is the Lord, from whom is the origin [of the relationship]. Hence it follows that in so far as any one is receptive of the Lord in that degree he is our neighbour; and since no one receives the Lord, that is good from Him, in the same manner as another, therefore no one is our neighbour in the same manner as another. For all who are in the heavens and all the good that are on earth differ in good; no two ever receive good that is exactly one and the same. It must be different that each may subsist by itself. But all these varieties, —that is all the distinctions of neighbour which depend on the reception of the Lord, or, on the reception of good from Him,— can never be known by any man; nor indeed by any angel except in general, or as to their genera and species. And the Lord does not require more of the man of the church than to live according to what he knows.

Since the good with every one is different, it follows that the quality of his good determines in what degree and in what respect any one is our neighbour. That this is so is plain from the Lord’s parable concerning him who fell among thieves, whom half dead the priest passed by, and also the Levite; but the Samaritan, after he had bound up his wounds and poured in oil and wine, took him upon his own beast, and led him to an inn, and ordered that care should be taken of him. Because he exercised the good of charity he is called the neighbour (Luke x. 29-37). It may be known from this that they who are in good are our neighbour. The oil and wine moreover which the Samaritan poured into the wounds signify good and its truth.

It is plain from what has now been said that in the universal sense good is the neighbour; inasmuch as a man is neighbour according to the quality of the good that is in him from the Lord. And as good is the neighbour so is love, for all good is of love; therefore every man is our neighbour according to the quality of the love which he possesses from the Lord. (HD n. 84-88)

Good is the neighbour because good is of the will, and the will is the being of a man’s life. The truth of the understanding is also the neighbour, but in so far as it proceeds from the good of the will; for the good of the will forms itself in the understanding, and there makes itself visible in the light of reason. That good is the neighbour is evident from all experience. Who loves a person except for the quality of his will and understanding, that is for what is good and just in him? For example, who loves a king, a prince, a duke, a governor, a consul, or the person of any magistrate, or any judge, but for the discretion from which they act and speak? Who loves a primate, or any minister or canon of the church, but for his learning, uprightness of life, and zeal for the salvation of souls? Who loves the general of an army, or any officer under him, but for his courage, and at the same time prudence? Who loves a  merchant but for his sincerity?. Who loves a workman or a servant but for his fidelity? Nay, who likes a tree but for its fruit? or ground but for its fertility? or a stone but for its preciousness? &c. And what is remarkable, not only does an upright man love what is good and just in another, but a man who is not upright also does; because with him he is in no fear of the loss of fame, honour, or wealth. But with one who is not upright the love of good is not love of the neighbour; for he does not inwardly love the other, except in so far as he is of service to him. But to love the good in another from good in one’s self is genuine love towards the neighbour; for then the goods mutually kiss and are united with each other. (TCR n. 418)