96. But quite otherwise do those who bear rule in the church in our time describe the Lord's righteousness; they also make their faith a saving faith by the inscription of His righteousness upon man; when the truth is that the Lord's righteousness, being such in its nature and origin, and being in itself purely Divine, cannot be conjoined to any man, and thus cannot effect salvation any otherwise than as the Divine life can, which is Divine love and Divine wisdom. With these the Lord enters into every man; but unless man is living in accordance with order, that life, although it is in him, contributes nothing whatever to his salvation; it imparts merely an ability to understand truth and do good. To live according to order is to live according to God's commandments; and when man so lives and so does, he acquires for himself righteousness-not the righteousness of the Lord's redemption, but the Lord Himself as righteousness. Such are described in these words:
Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:19-20).
Blessed are they who endure persecution for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:10).
At the end of the age the angels shall go forth and separate the wicked from the midst of the righteous (Matt. 13:49);
and elsewhere. In the Word by "the righteous" those are meant who have lived in accordance with Divine order, since the Divine order is righteousness. The righteousness itself which the Lord became through the acts of redemption can be ascribed to man, inscribed upon man, adapted and conjoined to man, only as can light to the eye, sound to the ear, will to the muscles in action, thought to the lips in speaking, air to the lungs in breathing, heat to the blood, and so on; and everyone perceives of himself that these flow in and adjoin and conjoin themselves. Righteousness is acquired only so far as man practices righteousness; and this he does so far as he acts towards the neighbor from a love of what is righteous and true; and righteousness has its abode in the good itself or use itself which he performs. For the Lord says that every tree is known by its fruit. Does not everyone know another from his works, if he attends to them with reference to the end and purpose of his will, and the intention and reason from which they are done? To these things all angels direct their attention, as well as all in our own world who are wise. In general, every product and growth from the earth is known by its flower and seed and by its use; every metal by its excellence; every stone by its character; every field, every kind of food, every beast of the earth, and every bird of the air, each by its quality-and why not man? But in the chapter on Faith the source of the quality of man's works shall be explained.