(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 3816

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3816. Shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? Tell me, what shall be thy reward? That this signifies that there must be a means of conjunction, is evident from the signification of "serving for nought," as being without any obligation; and from the signification of "reward" as being a means of conjunction. "Reward" is occasionally mentioned in the Word, and in the internal sense signifies nothing else than a means of conjunction. The reason is that the angels are utterly unwilling to hear anything about a reward, as being on account of anything in them; nay, they are utterly averse to the idea of reward for any good or good action; for they know that with everyone that which is his own is nothing but evil, and that therefore whatever they do from their own would be attended with that which is contrary to reward; and that all good is from the Lord, and flows in, and this solely from mercy; thus that that is not from themselves for which they would think of reward. In fact good itself becomes not good when reward for it is thought of, for then a selfish end instantly adjoins itself, and insofar as this is the case, it induces a denial that the good is from the Lord, and from mercy; consequently so far it removes the influx, and of course so far removes from itself heaven and the bliss which are in good and its affection. The affection of good (that is, love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor) has bliss and happiness within it; these being within the affection and love itself. To do anything from affection and its bliss and to do it at the same time for the sake of reward, are things diametrically opposed to each other. Hence it is that when "reward" is mentioned in the Word, the angels do not perceive anything of reward, but that which is bestowed gratis and of mercy by the Lord.
[2] Nevertheless reward is of service as a means of conjunction with those who have not yet been initiated; for they who are not as yet initiated in good and its affections (that is, who are not yet fully regenerated) cannot do otherwise than think about reward, because the good which they do, they do not from the affection of good, but from the affection of bliss and happiness for the sake of self; and at the same time from the fear of hell. But when a man is being regenerated, this is inverted and becomes the affection of good, and then he no longer looks to reward.
[3] This may be illustrated by what passes in civic life: he who loves his country, and has such an affection toward it as to find a pleasure in promoting its good from good will, would lament if this should be denied him, and would entreat that there might be granted the opportunity to do good to it; for this is the object of his affection, consequently the source of his pleasure and bliss. Such a one is also honored, and is exalted to posts of dignity; for to him these are means of serving his country, although they are called rewards. But those who have no affection for their country, but only an affection of self and the world, are moved to take action for the sake of honors and wealth, which also they regard as the ends. Such persons set themselves before their country (that is, their own good before the common good), and are relatively sordid; and yet they more than all others are desirous to make it appear that they do what they do from a sincere love. But when they think privately about it, they deny that anyone does this, and marvel that anyone can. They who are such in the life of the body with regard to their country, or the public good, are such also in the other life with regard to the Lord's kingdom, for everyone's affection or love follows him, because affection or love is the life of everyone.


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