FT726What Charity is, and what Faith is, with man, must now be told. Charity is an internal affection which consists in a heartfelt desire to do the neighbor good, and in this being   the delight of life; and this without any reward. [AC 8033]

On the other hand, Faith is an internal affection which consists in a heartfelt desire to know what is true and what is good, and this not for the sake of doctrine as the end in view, but for the sake of life. This affection conjoins itself with the affection of charity through the desire to do according to the truth, thus to do the truth itself. [AC 8034]

They who are in the genuine affection of charity and faith believe that from themselves they do not desire anything good, and that from themselves they do not understand anything true; but that the will of good and the understanding of truth are from the Lord. [AC 8035]

This then is charity, and this is faith. They who are in these have within them the kingdom of the Lord and heaven, and within them is the church; and these are they who have been regenerated by the Lord, and from Him have received a new will and a new understanding. [AC 8036]

They who have the love of self or the love of the world as the end in view, cannot possibly be in charity and faith. They who are in these loves do not even know what charity is, and what faith is, and do not at all comprehend that to will good to the neighbor without any reward is heaven in man, and that in this affection there is happiness as great as is that of the angels, which is unutterable; for they believe that if they are deprived of the joy arising from the glory of honors and of wealth all joy ceases to be possible; when yet heavenly joy, which infinitely transcends every other joy, then first begins. [AC 8037]

He who wishes to be saved must confess his sins and do repentance. [AC 8387]

To confess sins is to become thoroughly acquainted with evils, to see them in one's self, to acknowledge them, to regard one's self as guilty, and to condemn one's self on account of them. When this is done before God, it is to confess sins. [AC 8388]

To do repentance is after one has thus confessed his sins and from a humble heart has made supplication for their forgiveness, to desist from them and to lead a new life according to the commands of faith. [AC 8389]

He who merely acknowledges that he is a sinner like all others, and who regards himself as guilty of all evils, and does not examine himself--that is, see his sins--does indeed make confession, but not the confession of repentance, for he lives afterward as he had done before. [AC 8390]

He who leads a life of faith does repentance daily; for he reflects upon the evils that are in him, acknowledges them, guards himself against them, and supplicates the Lord for aid.  For from himself man is continually falling, but is continually being raised up by the Lord. He falls from himself when he thinks what is evil with desire; and he is raised up by the Lord when he resists evil, and consequently does not do it. Such is the state with all who are in good; but they who are in evil are continually falling, and also are continually being uplifted by the Lord; but this to prevent them from falling into the most grievous hell of all, whither from themselves they incline with all their might: thus in truth uplifting them into a milder hell. [AC 8391]

The repentance that is done in a state of freedom avails; but that which is done in a state of compulsion avails not. A state of compulsion is a state of sickness, a state of dejection of mind from misfortune, a state of imminent death; in a word, every state of fear which takes away the use of sound reason.  When an evil man who in a state of compulsion promises repentance and also does what is good, comes into a state of freedom, he returns into his former life of evil. The case is otherwise with a good man, such states being to him states of temptation in which he conquers. [AC 8392]

Repentance of the mouth and not of the life is not repentance. Sins are not forgiven through repentance of the mouth, but through repentance of the life. Sins are continually being forgiven man by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but sins adhere to the man, however much he may suppose that they have been forgiven, nor are they removed from him except through a life according to the commands of faith. So far as he lives according to these commands, so far his sins are removed; and so far as they are removed, so far they have been forgiven.  For by the Lord man is withheld from evil, and is held in good; and he is so far able to be withheld from evil in the other life, as in the life of the body he has resisted evil; and he is so far able to be held in good then, as in the life of the body he has done what is good from affection. This shows what the forgiveness of sins is, and whence it is.  He who believes that sins are forgiven in any other way, is much mistaken.[AC8393]

After a man has examined himself, and has acknowledged his sins, and has done repentance, he must remain constant in good up to the end of life.  If however he afterward falls back into his former life of evil, and embraces it, be commits profanation, for he then conjoins evil with good, and consequently his latter state becomes worse than his former one, according to the Lord's words:--

When the unclean spirit goeth out of a man he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, but findeth none; then he saith, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, and findeth it empty, and swept, and garnished for him, then goeth he, and joineth to himself seven other spirits worse than himself, and having entered in they dwell there; and the last things of the man become worse than the first (Matt. 12:43-45). [AC 8394]

No one can be regenerated unless he knows such things as are of the new life, that is, of spiritual life; for man is introduced into this life by means of regeneration. The things which are of the new life, or of spiritual life, are truths which must be believed, and goods which must be done; the former are of faith, the latter of charity. [AC 8635]

No one can know these things from himself, for man apprehends only those things which have been obvious to his senses; from these he has procured for himself a light which is called natural light, by virtue of which he sees nothing else than what belongs to the world and to himself, and not what belongs to heaven and to God; these he must learn from revelation. [AC 8636]

For example, that the Lord, who was God from eternity, came into the world to save the human race; that He has all power in heaven and in earth; that everything of faith and everything of charity, thus everything of truth and good is from Him; that there is a heaven, and that there is a hell; that man will live to eternity, in heaven if he has done well, in hell if he has done evil. [AC 8637]

These things and more are of faith, which must be known by the man who is to be regenerated; for he who knows them can think them, then will them, and lastly do them, and thus have new life. [AC 8638]

On the other hand, he who does not know that the Lord is the Saviour of the human race, cannot have faith in Him, worship Him, love Him, and thus do good for His sake. He who does not know that all good is from Him, cannot think that his own righteousness and his own salvation are from Him, still less can he will it to be so, thus he cannot live from Him. He who does not know that there is a hell, and that there is a heaven, nor that there is eternal life, cannot even think about the life of heaven, nor apply himself to receiving it; and so in all other things. [AC 8639]

From all this it can be seen what the quality of the life of a regenerate person is, that it is a life of faith; and also that it cannot be given to a man until he is in such a state as to be able to acknowledge the truths of faith, and in so far as he acknowledges them, to will them. [AC 8640]

Every man has something of his own which he loves above all things. This is called that which rules, or if you will, that which reigns universally with him.  This is constantly present in his thought, and also in his will, and makes his veriest life. [AC 8853]

As for example, he who loves wealth above all things, whether money or possessions, is continually revolving in his mind how he may procure it; he inmostly rejoices when he acquires it; he inmostly grieves when he loses it; his heart is in it.  He who loves himself above all things is mindful of himself in everything, thinks of himself, speaks of himself, acts for the sake of himself; for his life is a life of self. [AC 8854]

A man has as the end that which he loves above all things; in each and all things he has regard to this; it is in his will like the hidden current of a river which draws and hears him away, even when he is doing something else, for it is what animates him. It is this which one man searches out in another, and also sees, and according to it either leads him, or acts with him. [AC 8855]

When a man is being regenerated, charity is implanted by means of faith, even until it becomes that which rules; and when charity has become this, he has a new life, for it is then continually present in his thought, and continually in his will, nay, in every single thing of them, even when he is meditating about other things, and when he is engaged in business. [AC 8856]

The case is the same with love to the Lord. When this love is that which rules, it is present in every single thing of the man?s life; as for instance with him who loves his king, or his parent, his love toward them shines forth in their presence from every feature of his face, it is heard in every expression of his speech, and is seen in his every gesture. This is meant by having God continually before the eyes, and by loving Him above all things, with all the soul and with all the heart. [AC 8857]

A man is wholly such as is the ruling principle of his life; by this he is distinguished from others; according to this is formed his heaven if he is good, and his hell if he is evil; for it is his veriest will, and thus the very being of his life, which cannot be changed after death.  From all this it is evident what is the nature of the life of one who is regenerate, and what is the nature of the life of one who is not regenerate. [AC 8858]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

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