(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 916

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916. That "every wild animal and every creeping thing" signify the goods of the man of the church; "wild animal" the goods of the internal man; "creeping thing" those of the external man; and that "every fowl and everything that creepeth upon the earth" signify truths; "fowl" the truths of the internal man; and "thing that creepeth upon the earth" those of the external man, is evident from what was said and shown under the preceding verse in regard to wild animal, fowl, and creeping thing, where it is said "creeping thing that creepeth" because both good and truth of the external man were signified. Inasmuch as what is here said is the conclusion to what goes before, these things which are of the church are added, namely, its goods and truths; and by them is indicated the quality of the church, that it is spiritual, and that it became such that charity or good was the principal thing; and therefore "wild animal and creeping thing" are here first mentioned, and afterwards "fowl and thing that creepeth."
[2] The church is called spiritual when it acts from charity, or from the good of charity-never when it says that it has faith without charity, for then it is not even a church. For what is the doctrine of faith but the doctrine of charity? And to what purpose is the doctrine of faith, but that men should do what it teaches? It cannot be merely to know and think what it teaches, but only that what it teaches should be done. The spiritual church is therefore first called a church when it acts from charity, which is the very doctrine of faith. Or, what is the same thing, the man of the church is then first a church. Just in the same way, what is a commandment for? not that a man may know, but that he may live according to the commandment. For then he has in himself the kingdom of the Lord, since the kingdom of the Lord consists solely in mutual love and its happiness.
[3] Those who separate faith from charity, and make salvation consist in faith without the good works of charity, are Cainites who slay the brother Abel, that is, charity. And they are like birds which hover about a carcass; for such faith is a bird, and a man without charity is a carcass. Thus they also form for themselves a spurious conscience, so that they may live like devils, hold the neighbor in hatred and persecute him, pass their whole life in adulteries, and yet be saved, as is well known in the Christian world. What can be more agreeable to a man than to hear and be persuaded that he may be saved, even if he live like a wild beast? The very Gentiles perceive that this is false, many of whom abhor the doctrine of Christians because they see their life. The real quality of such a faith is evident also from the fact that nowhere is there found a life more detestable than in the Christian world.


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