Spiritual background for EXODUS 23    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Exodus  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

THE DOCTRINE OF CHARITY AND FAITH

AC 9239. Men speak of believing in God, and of believing those things which are from God. Believing in God is the Faith that saves; but believing the things which are from God, is a Faith which without the former does not save. For believing in God is knowing and doing; whereas believing the things which are from God is knowing and not as yet doing. Those who are truly Christians both know and do, thus they believe in God; but those who are not truly Christians know, and do not. These are called by the Lord "foolish," but the former are called "prudent" (Matt. 7:24, 26).

AC 9240. The learned within the church call the Faith which saves, "trust" and "confidence," namely, that God the Father sent His Son in order to reconcile mankind to Himself, and thus to save those who have this Faith.

AC 9241. But in regard to the trust and confidence which is called Faith itself, the case is this. Those who are in the love of self and of the world, that is, those who are in evils and the consequent falsities, cannot have this Faith, for their heart is not toward God, but toward themselves and the world. Whereas those who are in charity toward the neighbor and in love to the Lord can have such Faith, for their heart is toward the Lord. This the Lord also teaches in John:--

As many as received Him, to them gave He the power to be the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13);

those who are "born of bloods, of the will of the flesh, and of the will of man," are those who are in what is evil and false from the loves of self and of the world. And those who are "born of God" are those who are in the good of charity and of faith from the Lord (n. 5826).

AC 9242. The confidence which in an eminent sense is called Faith, appears like spiritual confidence even with the evil, when their life is in danger, and when they are sick. But as they then think about the state of their life after death, either from the fear of hell, or from the love of self of heaven, they have not the confidence of Faith; for what is from fear is not from the heart, and what is from the love of self is from an evil heart; and therefore when such persons come back out of mortal danger, or when they recover from disease, they return into their former life, which was a life of no confidence, that is, a life of no Faith. From this it is evident that the Faith which is called "confidence," is possible only with those who are in charity toward the neighbor, and in love to the Lord.

AC 9243. Nor is the Faith which is meant by believing the things which are from God, that is, the truths which are from the Word, possible with those who are in evils from the love of self or the love of the world; for the love of self and of the world either rejects the truths of faith, or extinguishes, or perverts them (n. 7491, 7492). From this it is again evident that neither can such persons have the confidence of Faith; for he who does not believe the truths which are from God, cannot believe in God; because to believe in God is to believe from the truths which are from God.

AC 9244. All who are in heavenly love, have confidence that they will be saved by the Lord; for they believe that the Lord came into the world in order to give eternal life to those who believe and live according to the commandments which He taught; and that He regenerates these, and so makes them fit for heaven; and that He does this Himself alone, from pure mercy, without the aid of man. This is meant by "believing in the Lord."

AC 9245. That those alone are in Faith who live according to the precepts of Faith, the Lord teaches in John:--

The light is come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their works were evil. Everyone that doeth evils hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they have been wrought in God (John 3:19-21);

to "come to the light" denotes to come to faith in the Lord, thus to faith from the Lord. In like manner in Luke:--

Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the thing which I say? Everyone that cometh unto Me, and heareth My saying, and doeth them, is like a man that built a house, and laid a foundation upon the rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that built a house upon the earth without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49);

those who "do the Lordís sayings" or "words" are those who love the neighbor and love the Lord; for he who loves, does (John 14:20, 21, 23, 24; 15:9-17).

THE REASONS WHY THE LORD WILLED TO BE BORN ON OUR EARTH, AND NOT ON ANOTHER

AC 9350. There are many reasons why it pleased the Lord to be born and to assume the Human on our earth, and not on any other, concerning which I have been informed from heaven.

AC 9351. The principal reason was for the sake of the Word, in that it could be written on our earth, and when written could then be published throughout the whole earth; and once published could be preserved for all posterity; and that thus it might be made manifest even to all in the other life that God had become a Man.

AC 9352. That the principal reason was for the sake of the Word, is because the Word is truth Divine itself, which teaches man that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death; and which teaches besides how a man must live and believe in order that he may come into heaven, and thus be eternally happy. Without revelation, thus on this earth without the Word, all these things would have been utterly unknown; and yet man has been so created that in respect to his internal man he cannot die.

AC 9353. That the Word could be written on our earth, is because the art of writing has existed here from the most ancient time, first on wooden tablets, later on parchment, afterward on paper, and finally it could be published in print. This has been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

AC 9354. That the Word could afterward be published throughout this whole earth, is because there is here an intercourse of all nations, both by overland travel and by navigation, to all places on the globe. Therefore the Word once written could be carried from one nation to another, and could be everywhere taught. That there should be such an intercourse has also been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

AC 9355. That the Word once written could be preserved for all posterity, consequently for thousands and thousands of years, and that it has been so preserved, is known.

AC 9356. That thus it could be made manifest that God has become a Man, is because this is the first and most essential thing for the sake of which the Word was given; for no one can believe in and love a God whom he cannot comprehend under some form; and therefore those who acknowledge the incomprehensible, in their thought fall into nature, and thus believe in no God (n. 7211, 9303, 9315). Wherefore it pleased the Lord to be born here, and to make this manifest by the Word, not only in order that it might become known on this globe, but that by this means it might also be made manifest to all in the universe who come into heaven from any earth whatever; for in heaven there is a communication of all.

AC 9357. Be it known that the Word on our earth, given through heaven by the Lord, is the union of heaven and the world (n. 9212); to which end there is a correspondence of all things in the letter of the Word with Divine things in heaven; and that in its supreme and inmost sense the Word treats of the Lord, of His kingdom in the heavens and on earth, and of love and faith from Hint and to Him, consequently of life from Him and in Him. Such things are presented to the angels in heaven, from whatever earth they come, when the Word of our earth is read and preached.

AC 9358. On every other earth truth Divine is made manifest orally through spirits and angels, as has been shown in the preceding chapters, where the inhabitants of the earths in this solar system have been treated of; but this takes place within families; for on most of the earths mankind live separate according to their families. Wherefore Divine truth thus revealed through spirits and angels is not conveyed far beyond the families; and unless a new revelation is constantly following, what has been revealed is either perverted or perishes. It is otherwise on our earth, where truth Divine, which is the Word, remains in its integrity forever.

AC 9359. Be it known that the Lord acknowledges and receives all, from whatever earth they may be, who acknowledge and worship God under a human form, for God under a human form is the Lord. And because the Lord appears to the inhabitants of the earths in an angelic form, which is the human form, therefore when spirits and angels from these earths hear from the spirits and angels of our earth that God is a Man in actuality, they receive this Word, acknowledge it, and rejoice that it is so (n. 7173).

AC 9360. To the reasons already adduced may be added that the inhabitants, spirits, and angels of our earth bear relation in the Grand Man to the external and bodily sense (n. 9107), and the external and bodily sense is the ultimate, into which the interior things of life come to a close, and in which they rest as in their common receptacle (n. 5077, 9212, 9216). The case is similar with truth Divine in the letter, which is called "the Word," and which for this reason also has been given on this earth and not on another. And because the Lord is the Word, and is its first and its last, therefore in order that all things might come forth according to order, He also willed to be born on this earth, and to become the Word; according to these words in John:--

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father. No man hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:1-3, 14, 18);

"the Word" denotes the Divine truth. But this is a secret which will fall into the understanding of only a few.

AC 9361. That the inhabitants of other earths rejoice when they hear that God took on Himself the Human, and made it Divine, and that thus God is Man actuality, will be seen at the end of the last chapters of Exodus.

AC 9362. In what now follows, up to the end of the book of Exodus, of the Lordís Divine mercy an account will be given of the inhabitants, spirits, and angels of earths in the starry heaven.

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