37. In the church to-day faith is so rare that it can hardly be said to exist. This became plain from the examination of many people, educated as well as simple, who after death were as spirits examined to see what faith they had had in the world. It transpired that each had assumed that faith was simply believing and being persuaded that it was so. The better educated had assumed that it was trusting and being confident that they were saved by the Lord's passion and His intercession. Hardly any of them knew that there can be no faith without charity or love. In fact, they did not know either what charity towards the neighbour was; or what is the difference between thinking and willing. Most of them had turned their backs on charity, saying that it did not achieve anything, but only faith did. When they were told that charity and faith are one, like the will and the intellect, and that charity resides in the will and faith in the intellect, so that separating one from the other was like separating the will from the intellect, they found all this incomprehensible. From this it became plain that there is hardly any faith to-day.
They were given a vivid proof of this. Those who were falsely persuaded that they had faith were brought to a community of angels who possessed real faith; and when they could communicate they perceived clearly that they had no faith, a fact which they then admitted before many witnesses. The same proof was given in other ways in the case of those who professed faith and thought they had believed, but who had not lived a life of faith, which is charity. Each of them admitted that he had had no faith, because the life of his spirit was devoid of faith, but it had remained outside his life as something thought about, while they lived in the natural world.