(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 1077

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1077. That they who are here called "Ham" and "Canaan" that is, those who separate faith from charity and hence make worship consist in externals alone, cannot know what and whence is conscience, needs to be briefly shown. Conscience is formed by means of the truths of faith, for that which a man has heard, acknowledged, and believed makes the conscience in him; and afterwards to act contrary to this is to him to act contrary to conscience, as may be sufficiently evident to everyone; so that unless it is the truths of faith that a man hears, acknowledges, and believes, he cannot possibly have a true conscience. For it is through the truths of faith (the Lord working in charity) that man is regenerated, and therefore it is through the truths of faith that he receives conscience, conscience being the new man himself. From this it is evident that the truths of faith are the means by which this may take place, that is, that the man may live according to what faith teaches, the principal of which is to love the Lord above all things, and the neighbor as himself. If he does not so live, what is his faith but an empty affair, and a mere high-sounding word, or a thing that is separated from heavenly life, and in which when thus separated there is no possible salvation?
[2] For to believe that no matter how a man lives, he may yet be saved provided he has faith, is to say that he may be saved if he has no charity, and no conscience (that is, if he passes his life in hatred, revenge, robbery, adultery, in a word, in all things contrary to charity and conscience) provided only that he has faith, even if it be but at the hour of death. Let such persons consider, when they are in such a false principle, what truth of faith there is that can form their conscience, and whether it be not what is false. If they suppose that they have anything of conscience, it must be only outward bonds-such as fear of the law, of loss of honor, of gain, or of reputation for the sake of these-that make, with them, what they call conscience, and which lead them not to injure the neighbor, but to do him good. But as this is not conscience, because not charity, therefore when these restraints are loosened or taken away, such persons rush into most wicked and obscene things. Very different is the case with those who, although they have declared that faith alone saves, have still lived a life of charity; for in their faith there has been charity from the Lord.


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