86. Verse 6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate, signifies that they know this from their truths, and thence are not willing that works should be meritorious, because this is contrary to the merit and justice of the Lord. That "the works of the Nicolaitans" are meritorious works, it has been given to know from revelation. It is said, that they hate those works, because the church from the truths of its doctrine knows this, and thence does not will it; therefore it is said, "this thou hast." Yet all those make works meritorious who put the truths of faith in the first place, and the goods of charity in the second; but not those who put the goods of charity in the first place. The reason is, that genuine charity does not wish to merit, for it loves to do good, for it is in it and acts from it; and from good it looks to the Lord; and from truths it knows that all good is from Him; it therefore has an aversion to merit. Now because they who regard the truths of faith in the first place, cannot do any other works than such as are meritorious, and yet know, from their truths, that these are to be hated, therefore this follows after it was said, that if they do not hold charity in the first place, they do works which ought to be held in aversion. It is said that it is contrary to the merit and justice of the Lord; for they who place merit in works, ascribe justice to themselves, for they say justice is on their side because they have merited, when yet it is the greatest injustice, because the Lord alone has merit, and alone does good in them. That the Lord alone is justice is taught in Jeremiah:
Behold, the days shall come, when I will raise up a just branch unto David, and this is His name which they shall call Him, Jehovah our justice (Jer. 23:5-6; 33:15-16).