654. IX. FAITH, WITH THAT TO WHICH IT IS CONJOINED, IS WHAT DETERMINES THE VERDICT; IF A TRUE FAITH IS CONJOINED TO GOOD, THE VERDICT IS FOR ETERNAL LIFE; BUT IF FAITH IS CONJOINED TO EVIL, THE VERDICT IS FOR ETERNAL DEATH.
The works of charity done by a Christian and those done by a heathen appear in outward form to be alike, for one like the other practises the good deeds of civility and morality toward his fellow, which in part resemble the deeds of love to the neighbor. Both, even, may give to the poor, aid the needy and attend preaching in churches, and yet who can thereby determine whether or not these external good deeds are alike in their internal form, that is, whether these natural good deeds are also spiritual? This can be concluded only from the faith; for the faith is what determines their quality, since faith causes God to be in them and conjoins them with itself in the internal man; and thus natural good works become interiorly spiritual. That this is so may be seen more fully from the subjects treated of in the chapter on Faith, where the following points are made clear:
Faith is not living faith until it is conjoined with charity. Charity becomes spiritual from faith, and faith from charity. Faith apart from charity, since it is not spiritual, is not faith; charity, apart from faith since it is not living, is not charity. Faith and charity apply and conjoin themselves to each other mutually and interchangeably. The Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding, but when separated they all perish like a pearl reduced to powder.