Faith

No one knows what faith is in its essence who does not know what caring is, because where there is no caring there is no faith. This is because caring is just as inseparable from faith as goodness is from truth. What we love or really care about is what we regard as good, and what we believe is what we regard as true. We can therefore see that the oneness of caring and faith is like the oneness of what is good and what is true. The nature of that union was made clear in the earlier material on goodness and truth.

The oneness of caring and faith is also like the oneness of our will and our understanding. These are, after all, the two faculties in us that are receptive to goodness and truth, our will being the faculty receptive to goodness and our understanding being the faculty receptive to truth. These two faculties are also receptive to caring and faith, because caring has to do with goodness and faith has to do with truth. Everyone knows that caring and faith are with us and in us, and since they are with us and in us, the only place they can be is in our will and in our understanding. Our whole life resides there and comes forth from there. Yes, we do have a faculty of memory as well, but that is only a waiting room where things gather that are going to enter our understanding and our will. We can see, then, that the oneness of caring and faith is like the oneness of our will and our understanding. The nature of this oneness can be seen from the information already presented on our will and our understanding.

Our caring is joined to our faith when we choose to do what we know and perceive to be true. Our caring is a function of what we choose to do, and our faith is a function of what we know and perceive to be true. Faith first enters us and becomes part of us when we choose to do what we know and perceive to be true, and when we come to love that truth. Until that happens, faith remains outside us.

Faith is not faith for us unless it becomes spiritual, and it does not become spiritual unless it arises out of our love. This happens when we love to live a life of truth and goodness—that is, to live by what we are commanded in the Word.

Faith is a passion for truth that comes from wanting to do what truth teaches because it is the truth; and wanting to do what truth teaches because it is the truth is the very definition of human spirituality. That is, it transcends our earthly nature, which involves our wanting to do what truth teaches not because it is the truth but for the sake of praise or fame or profit for ourselves. Truth detached from such concerns is spiritual because it comes from the Divine. Whatever comes from the Divine is spiritual, and this is joined to us through love because love is a spiritual joining together.

We can know and think and understand a great deal, but when we are left to the privacy of our own thoughts we discard anything that is not in harmony with our love. We discard such things after our physical lives as well, when we are in the spirit, since the only things that are left to us once we are in the spirit are the things that have entered into our love. After death all the rest strikes us as foreign matter that we throw out of our house because it is not part of our love. And I say “in the spirit” because we live as spirits after death.

We can form some image of the relationship between good actions that come from caring and the truth that belongs to religious faith if we think in terms of the warmth and light of the sun. When the light that radiates from the sun is joined to warmth, as is the case in spring and summer, then everything on earth sprouts and blossoms. When there is no warmth in the light, though, as is the case in winter, then everything on earth becomes dormant and dies. The truth that belongs to religious faith is spiritual light, and love is spiritual warmth.

This makes it possible for us to form some image of what people of the church are like when faith is joined to caring in them. They are just like a garden paradise. Their image, though, when faith is not joined to caring in them is like that of a desert or a land buried in snow.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 108-114

Notes:

Goodness and Truth: Published on 11/14-15/2017
Will and Understanding: Published on 11/18/2017

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