It Is Not So Hard to Lead a Heaven-Bound Life as People Think It Is (Continued)

What follows will make it possible to see that it is not all that hard to lead a heaven-bound life.

Who can’t lead a civic and moral life? After all, we are introduced to it in infancy and know it from living in the world. We do in fact lead this kind of life whether we are evil or good, since no one wants to be called dishonest or unfair. Almost everyone practices honesty and fairness outwardly, even to the point of seeming genuinely honest and fair, or seeming to act from genuine honesty and fairness.

Spiritual people have to live in much the same way and can do so just as easily as natural people, the difference being that spiritual people believe in the Divine Being and act honestly and fairly not just because it follows civil and moral laws but also because it follows divine laws. In fact, since they are thinking about divine [laws] when they act, they are in touch with heaven’s angels; and to the extent that they are, they are united to them, and their inner person—which is essentially a spiritual person—is opened. When this is our nature, the Lord adopts and leads us without our realizing it, and whatever things we do that are honest and fair—the deeds of our moral and civil life—come from a spiritual source. Doing what is honest and fair from a spiritual source is doing it from genuine honesty and fairness, or doing it from the heart.

Outwardly, such honesty and fairness look just like the honesty and fairness of natural people or even evil and hellish people, but inwardly they are totally different. Evil people do what is fair and honest solely for the sake of themselves and the world. If they were not afraid of the law and its penalties, of losing their reputation, their wealth, and their life, they would act with utter dishonesty and unfairness. Since they have no fear of God or of any divine law, they have no inner restraint that keeps them in check; so to the extent that they can, they cheat and rob and plunder others just for the pleasure of it. Their inner nature is especially clear from people like them in the other life, when all people’s outer natures are stripped away and their inner natures disclosed, the natures in which they will go on living to eternity (see above, Sections 499–511). Since they are then acting without external restraints, which are (as just noted) fears of the law and of losing reputation, prestige, profit, and life, they act wildly and scoff at honesty and fairness.

In contrast, people who have lived honestly and fairly because of divine laws act wisely when their outer natures are stripped away and they are left to their inner natures, because they are united to heaven’s angels, who share their wisdom with them.

This enables us to gather initially that spiritual people can behave much the same as natural people in their civil and moral life, provided they are united to the Deity in their inner person, in their intent and thought (see above, Sections 358, 359, 360).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 530

Notes:

Sections 499-511: Published 8/16/20178/25/2017

Section 358: Published 7/19/2018

Section 359-360: Published 7/20/2018

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