(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 2371

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2371. And they said, Is one come to sojourn, and shall he judge indeed? That this signifies those who are in another doctrine and another life, is evident from the signification of "sojourning," which is to be instructed and to live, thus doctrine and life (see n. 1463, 2025). The state of the church is here described such as it is near the last times, when there is no longer any faith, because there is no charity, namely, that the good of charity, because it has altogether receded from the life, is also rejected from the doctrine.
[2] The subject here treated of is not those who falsify the good of charity by explaining all things in their own favor, both for their own sake, that they may be the greatest, and for the sake of the good things of this world, that they may possess them all; and who arrogate to themselves the dispensation of rewards, and thereby defile the good of charity by various arts and delusive means; but the subject treated of is those who desire to hear nothing of the goods of charity, or of good works, but only of faith separate from them; and this from reasoning that there is nothing but evil in man, and that the good which is from him is also in itself evil, in which therefore there is thus nothing of salvation; and that no one can merit heaven by any good, nor be saved by it, but only by the faith with which they acknowledge the Lord's merit. This is the doctrine that flourishes in the last times, when the church is beginning to expire, and it is ardently taught and favorably received.
[3] But it is false to infer from these considerations that a man can have an evil life and a good faith; or that because there is nothing but evil in man, he cannot receive good from the Lord that has heaven in it because it has Him in it, and that having heaven in it has also bliss and happiness in it. And it is certainly very false to infer that because no one can merit heaven by any good, therefore it is impossible to receive from the Lord heavenly good in which self-merit is regarded as monstrous wickedness. In such good are all the angels, in such are all the regenerate, and in such are they who perceive delight, and even bliss, in good itself, that is, in the affection of it. Concerning this good, that is, concerning this charity, the Lord speaks thus in Matthew:
Ye have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that injure you and persecute you, that ye may be sons of your Father who is in the heavens; for if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? (Matt. 5:43-48).
In like manner in Luke, with this addition:
Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; then shall your reward be great, and ye shall be sons of the Highest (Luke 6:27-36).
[4] Here the good which is from the Lord is described, and that it is free from all purpose of receiving recompense; on which account they who are in it are called "sons of the Father who is in the heavens," and "sons of the Highest;" and because the Lord is in it, there is also a reward, as we read in Luke:
When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest haply they call thee in turn, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, [the lame,] and the blind; then shalt thou be blessed, for they have not wherewith to recompense thee; but thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just* (Luke 14:12-14).
A "dinner," "supper," or "feast," denotes the good of charity, in which there is the Lord's dwelling-place with man (n. 2341) so that it is here described, and made clearly manifest, that the recompense is in the good itself, because in this is the Lord; for it is said, "thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just."
[5] Those who strive to do good of themselves, because the Lord has so commanded, are they who at length receive this good; and who, being afterwards instructed, acknowledge with faith that all good is from the Lord (n. 1712, 1937, 1947); and they are then so averse to self-merit that when they merely think of it they grow sad, and perceive their blessedness and happiness to be proportionately diminished.
[6] Quite different is it with those who do not do this, but lead a life of evil, teaching and professing that in faith alone there is salvation. People of this character are not aware that such a good is possible; and wonderful to say (as has been given me to know from much experience) in the other life these same people desire to merit heaven on account of whatever good deeds they recollect; because then for the first time are they aware that in faith separated from charity there is no salvation. These are the people of whom the Lord says in Matthew:
They will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty works? But then will I confess unto them, I know you not; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:22-23).
In the case of these same people it also becomes apparent that they have paid no attention whatever to the things which the Lord Himself so often taught concerning the good of love and of charity; but that these things have been to them like passing clouds, or like things seen in the night: for example such things as are found in Matthew 3:8-9; 5:7-48; 6:1-20; 7:16-20, 24-27; 9:13; 12:33; 13:8, 23; 18:21-23 and to the end; 19:19; 22:34-39; 24:12-13; 25:34 to the end; Mark 4:18-20; 11:13-14, 20; 12:28-35; Luke 3:8-9; 6:27-39, 43 to the end; 7:47; 8:8, 14-15; 10:25-28; 12:58-59; 13:6-10; John 3:19, 21; 5:42; 13:34-35; 14:14-15, 20-21, 23; 15:1-8, 9-19; 21:15-17. Such, then, and other such things as these, are what are signified by the men of Sodom (that is, those who are in evil, n. 2220, 2246, 2322) saying to Lot, "Is one come to sojourn, and shall he judge indeed?" that is, Shall they who are in another doctrine and another life teach us?
* Mortuorum, but elsewhere justorum, as in n. 6393. [Rotch ed.]


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