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HD 150. They who do good that they may merit, do not do good from the love of good, but from the love of reward, for he who wills to merit, wills to be rewarded; they who do so, regard and place their delight in the reward, and not in good; wherefore they are not spiritual, but natural.
HD 151. To do good, which is good, must be from the love of good, thus for the sake of good. They who are in that love are not willing to hear of merit, for they love to do, and perceive satisfaction therein, and, on the other hand, they are sorrowful if it be believed that what they do is for the sake of anything of themselves. This is almost like those who do good to their friends for the sake of friendship; to a brother for the sake of brotherhood, to wife and children for the sake of wife and children, to the country for the sake of the country, thus from friendship and love. They who think well, also say and insist, that they do not do good for the sake of themselves, but for the sake of others.
HD 152. They who do good for the sake of reward, do not do good from the Lord, but from themselves, for they regard themselves in the first place, because they regard their own good; and the good of the neighbor, which is the good of fellow-citizens, of human society, of the country, and of the church, they regard no otherwise than as a means to an end. Hence it is, that the good of the love of self and of the world lies concealed in the good of merit, and that good is from man and not from the Lord, and all good which is from man is not good; yea, so far as self and the world lies concealed in it, it is evil.
HD 153. Genuine charity and genuine faith is without any merit, for good itself is the delight of charity, and truth itself is the delight of faith; wherefore they who are in that charity and faith know what good not meritorious is, but not they who are not in charity and faith.
HD 154. That good is not to be done for the sake of reward, the Lord Himself teaches in Luke:--
If ye love those who love you, what grace have you? for sinners do the same: ether love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing; then shall your reward be great, and ye shall be the sons of the Most High (Luke 6:32-35).
That man cannot do good that is good from himself, the Lord also teaches in John:--
A man cannot take anything unless it be given Him from heaven (John 3:27).
In another place:--
Jesus said, I am the vine, ye are the branches: as the branch cannot bear fruit from itself, unless it shall abide in the vine, so neither can ye unless ye shall abide in Me: He who abideth in Me and I in him, he beareth much fruit, for except from Me ye cannot do anything (John 15:4-8).
HD 155. Because all good and truth are from the Lord, and nothing of them from man, and because good from man is not good, it follows that merit belongs to no man, but to the Lord alone. The merit of the Lord consists in this, that from his own power He has saved the human race, and also, that He saves those who do good from Him. Hence it is that in the Word, he is called "just" to whom the merit and justice of the Lord are ascribed, and he is called "unjust" to whom are ascribed his own justice and the merit of self.
HD 156. The delight itself, which is in the love of doing good without an end to reward, is a reward which remains to eternity, for heaven and eternal happiness are insinuated into that good by the Lord.
HD 157. To think and believe that they who do good will come into heaven, and also that good is to be done in order that they may come into heaven, is not to regard reward as an end, thus neither is it to place merit in works; for even they who do good from the Lord think and believe so, but they who thus think, believe and do, and are not in the love of good for the sake of good, have regard to reward as an end, and place merit in works.
FROM THE ARCANA COELESTIA
HD 158. Merit and justice belong to the Lord alone (AC 9715, 9979). The merit and justice of the Lord consist in His having saved the human race by His own power (AC 1813, 2025, 2026, 2027, 9715, 9809, 10019). The good of the Lord‘s justice and merit is the good which reigns in heaven, and is the good of His Divine love from which He saved the human race (AC 9486, 9979). No man can of himself become justice, nor claim it by any right (AC 1813). The quality of those in the other life who claim justice to themselves (AC 942, 2027). In the Word, the man to whom the justice and merit of the Lord are ascribed, is called "just;" and the man to whom his own justice and merit are ascribed, "unjust" (AC 5069, 9263). Who ever is once just from the Lord, will be continually just from Him; for justice never becomes man’s own, but is continually the Lord‘s (AC 3686). They who believe in the justification taught in the church, know little of regeneration (AC 5398). Man is so far wise as he ascribes all goods and truths to the Lord, and not to himself (AC 10227). As all good and truth which are good and truth are from the Lord, and nothing is from man, and as good from man is not good, it follows that merit belongs to no man, but to the Lord alone (AC 9975, 9981, 9988). They who enter heaven put off all merit of their own (AC 4007). And they do not think of reward for the good they have done (AC 6478, 9174). They who think from merit so far do not acknowledge all things to be of mercy (AC 6478, 9174). They who think from merit, think of reward and remuneration, and therefore to will to merit is to will to be remunerated (AC 5660, 6392, 9975). Such persons cannot receive heaven in themselves (AC 1835, 8478, 9977). Heavenly happiness consists in the affection of doing good, without an end of remuneration (AC 6388, 6478, 9174, 9984). In the other life so far as anyone does good without an end of remuneration, so far happiness inflows with increase from the Lord; and it is immediately dissipated when remuneration is thought of (AC 6478, 9174). Good is to be done without an end of remuneration (AC 6392, 6478); illustrated (AC 9981). Genuine charity is without anything meritorious (AC 2343, 2371, 2400, 3887, 6388-6393). Because it is from love, thus from the delight of doing good (AC 3816, 3887, 6388, 6478, 9174, 9984). "Reward" in the Word, means the delight and happiness in doing good to others without an end of reward, and this delight and happiness is felt and perceived by those who are in genuine charity (AC 3816, 3956, 6388). They who do good for the sake of reward, love themselves and not the neighbor (AC 8002, 9210). "Mercenaries," in the spiritual sense of the Word, mean those who do good for the sake of reward (AC 8002). They who do good for the sake of remuneration, in the other life desire to be served, and are never contented (AC 6393). They despise the neighbor, and are angry at the Lord Himself, because they do not receive a reward, saying that they have merited it (AC 9976). They who have separated faith from charity, in the other life make their faith, and also the good works which they have done in an external form, thus for the sake of themselves, meritorious (AC 2371). Further particulars respecting the quality of those in the other life who have placed merit in works (AC 942, 1774, 1877, 2027). They are there in the lower earth, and appear to themselves to cut wood (AC 1110, 4943, 8740). Because wood, especially shittim wood, signifies the good of merit in particular (AC 2784, 2812, 9472, 9486, 9715, 10178). They who have done good for the sake of remuneration, are servants in the Lord’s kingdom (AC 6389, 6390). They who place merit in works, fall in temptations (AC 2273, 9978). They who are in the loves of self and of the world, do not know what it is to do good without a view to remuneration (AC 6392).
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