Last Judgment (Chadwick) n. 38

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

38. Such is the state of the church to-day; it has no faith because it has no charity. Where there is no charity, neither is there any spiritual good, for charity is the sole source of that good. I have been told from heaven that some people still have good, but it cannot be called spiritual good, only natural good. This is because real Divine truths are obscured, and it is these which lead to charity, teaching it and looking to it as the end in view. There is no other way charity can come into existence than by truths being present as its source. The Divine truths on which the church's teachings are based are concerned with faith alone; so they are called the teachings of faith, and they are not concerned with life. Truths which are concerned only with faith and not with life cannot make a person spiritual; and so long as they are not part of his life, they are merely natural truths, merely known and thought about like other matters. That is why spiritual good does not exist to-day, but only in certain people natural good. [2] Moreover, every church is spiritual to begin with, since it starts from charity. But in course of time it turns aside from charity to faith, and then becomes an external instead of an internal church. When it becomes external, it reaches its end since then all importance is attached to knowledge and little if any to life. As a person becomes external instead of internal, so proportionately is spiritual light darkened for him, until he is unable to see Divine truth from truth itself, that is, in the light of heaven, the light of heaven being Divine truth, but only in natural light. This is such that, when it is alone and not accompanied with spiritual light, he sees Divine truth as it were at night-time, and he has no other way of recognising whether it is truth than from its being preached by a prelate and generally received by its hearers. That is why their intellectual faculty could not be enlightened by the Lord; for the brighter natural light shines in the intellect, the more spiritual light is dimmed. Natural light shines brightly in the intellect, when worldly, bodily and earthly concerns are loved more than spiritual, heavenly and Divine ones; and to that extent a person is external.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church