(LF) - Teachings about Life for the New Jerusalem: Drawn from the Ten Commandments

LF 25

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25. ii. If a man thinks and speaks pious things while not shunning evils as sins, the pious things are not pious. This is because he is not in the Lord. If for example he frequents places of worship, listens devoutly to the preaching, reads the Word and books of piety, goes to the sacrament of the Supper, pours forth prayers daily, and even if he thinks much about God and salvation, and yet regards as of no moment the evils which are sins (such as fraud, adultery, hatred, blasphemy, and other like evils), he then cannot do otherwise than think and speak such pious things as inwardly are not pious, because the man himself is in them with his evils. At the time indeed he is not aware of them, yet they are present within deeply hidden out of his sight; for he is like a spring the water of which is foul from its source. His performances of piety are either mere customs of habit, or else are the outcome of self-merit or hypocrisy. They do indeed rise up toward heaven, but turn back before they get there, and settle down, like smoke in the atmosphere.


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