437. At the present day it is believed that charity is simply doing good, and that then one does not do evil; consequently that the first thing of charity is to do good, and the second not to do evil. But it is wholly the reverse; the first thing of charity is to put away evil, and the second to do good; for it is a universal law in the spiritual world and from that in the natural world also, that so far as one does not will evil he wills good; thus that so far as he turns away from hell from which all evil ascends, so far he turns towards heaven from which all good descends; consequently also, that so far as anyone rejects the devil he is accepted by the Lord. One cannot stand with his head vibrating between the two, and pray to both at once; for of such the Lord says:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; would that thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit thee out of My mouth (Apoc. 3:15-16).
Who can skirmish with his troop between two armies, favoring both? Who can be evilly disposed towards the neighbor, and at the same time well disposed towards him? Does not evil then lie hidden in the good? Although the evil that so hides itself does not appear in the man's acts, it manifests itself in many things when they are reflected upon rightly. The Lord says:
No servant can serve two masters. . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Luke 16:13).