Truth that leads to what is good and truth that comes from what is good, and how they differ. Truth is not true in essence except to the extent that it comes from something good, because it is from goodness that truth gets its underlying reality and its life. This is also because truth is the form or outward nature of goodness. The truth we have relates directly to the goodness we have; the amount and quality of both in us are the same. For anything true to be true, it must get its essence from our leading a life of caring and innocence. The truths that come from leading a good life are spiritual truths.
Truth that comes from goodness is able to unite itself to goodness so thoroughly that the two become one. Our understanding and will make one mind and one life when our understanding is subordinate to our will, because our understanding is the part of us that is receptive to truth and our will is the part of us that is receptive to goodness; but this oneness does not occur when what we think and say is at variance with what we intend. Truth that comes from goodness is truth that lives in our will and in our actions. When truth comes from goodness, an image of that goodness remains present in that truth.
Throughout the entire heaven and the entire world and in their every detail, there is some form of a marriage; especially between what is true and what is good. This is because everything in the universe, in order to be anything at all, must go back to what is good and what is true; and in order to accomplish anything, must be the result of their being joined together. The ancients established [a custom of referring to] truth and goodness as partners in a marriage. According to the Lord’s words, the law of marriage is that two should become one. True marriage love comes down from heaven from the marriage of what is true and what is good and becomes manifest.
The more we are focused on goodness and on the truths that result from it, the wiser we are; no matter how much truth we know, however, if we are not focused on leading a good life wisdom will not be ours. When we have the truths that come from leading a good life, we are actually lifted out of this world’s light into heaven’s light—out of dimness, then, into clarity. On the other hand, as long as we only know about truths but are not practicing any goodness, we remain in this world’s light and in dimness. We do not even know what goodness is until we are practicing it and learning from it. Truths grow by leaps and bounds when they come from leading a good life. This growth happens the way trees bear fruit and seeds multiply to make whole gardens. Wisdom grows to the same extent as well, and this goes on forever. Not only that, to the extent that we have gained truths from leading a good life, to that extent we are enlightened, and to that extent we experience enlightenment when we read the Word.
Good actions that we do out of love are like fire, and the insights into truth that result are like light from that fire. In fact, the truths we learn from living a good life actually do shine in heaven. The truths we learn from leading a good life, which are the basis of wisdom, increase in proportion to the quality and amount of our love for doing good, and conversely falsities that we absorb from leading an evil life are proportional to the quality and amount of our love for doing evil. When we are given truths through leading a good life, we come into angelic intelligence and wisdom. These lie hidden within us as long as we are living in this world, but they are opened up for us in the other life. People who have truths from leading a good life become angels after they die.
from New Jerusalem, Section 24