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IX. Conscience

HD 130. Conscience is formed with man from the religious principle in which he is, according to its reception inwardly in himself.

HD 131. Conscience, with the man of the church, is formed by the truths of faith from the Word, or from doctrine out of the Word, according to their reception in the heart; for when man knows the truths of faith, and comprehends them in his own manner, and then wills them and does them, he then acquires conscience. Reception in the heart is reception in the will, for the will of man is what is called the heart. Hence it is that they who have conscience, speak from the heart the things which they speak, and do from the heart the things which they do. They have also an undivided mind, for they act according to that which they understand and believe to be true and good.

HD 132. A more perfect conscience can be given with those who are enlightened in the truths of faith more than others, and who are in a clear perception above others, than with those who are less enlightened, and are in obscure perception.

HD 133. In a true conscience is man’s spiritual life itself, for there his faith is conjoined to charity. On which account to act from conscience is to them to act from their spiritual life; and to act against conscience is to them to act contrary to that life of theirs. Hence it is that they are in the tranquillity of peace, and in internal happiness, when they act according to conscience, and in intranquillity and pain, when they act against it. This pain is what is called remorse of conscience.

HD 134. Man has a conscience of what is good, and a conscience of what is just. The conscience of what is good is the conscience of the internal man, and the conscience of what is just is the conscience of the external man. The conscience of what is good consists in acting according to the precepts of faith from internal affection; but the conscience of what is just consists in acting according to civil and moral laws from external affection. They who have the conscience of what is good, have also the conscience of what is just; but they who have only the conscience of what is just, are in a faculty of receiving the conscience of what is good; and they also do receive it when they are instructed.

HD 135. Conscience, with those who are in charity towards the neighbor, is the conscience of truth, because it is formed by the faith of truth; but with those who are in love to the Lord, it is the conscience of good, because it is formed by the love of truth. The conscience of these is a superior conscience, and is called the perception of truth from good. They who have the conscience of truth, are of the Lord‘s spiritual kingdom; but they who have the superior conscience, which is called perception, are of the Lord’s celestial kingdom.

HD 136. But let examples illustrate what conscience is. He who has possession of another man‘s goods, whilst the other is ignorant of it, and thus can retain them without fear of the law, or of the loss of honor and reputation, and he still restores them to the other, because they are not his own, he has conscience, for he does what is good for the sake of what is good, and what is just for the sake of what is just. Again, if anyone can obtain an office, but knows that another, who also desires it, would be more useful to his country, and gives way to the other for the sake of the good of his country, he has a good conscience. So in other cases.

HD 137. From these instances it may be concluded, what quality they are of who have not conscience; they are known from the opposite. Thus, they who for the sake of any gain make what is unjust appear as just, and what is evil appear as good, and vice versa, have not conscience. Neither do they know what conscience is, and if they are instructed what it is, they do not believe; and some are not willing to know. Such are those who do all things for the sake of themselves and the world.

HD 138. They who have not received conscience in the world, cannot receive it in the other life; thus they cannot be saved. The reason is, because they have no plane into which heaven, that is, the Lord through heaven, may flow in, and by which He may operate, and lead them to Himself. For conscience is the plane and receptacle of the influx of heaven.


HD 139. Of Conscience. They who have no conscience, do not know what conscience is (AC 7490, 9121). There are some who laugh at conscience, when they hear what it is (AC 721). Some believe that conscience is nothing; some that it is a sad, doleful, natural something, arising from bodily or worldly causes; and some that it is an effect of religion on the minds of the common people (AC 950). Some know not that they have conscience, when yet they have it (AC 2380). The good have conscience, but not the evil (AC 831, 965, 7490). They who are in love to God and in love towards the neighbor have conscience (AC 2380). Conscience is especially with those who are regenerated by the Lord (AC 977). They who are in truths alone, and not in a life according to them, have no conscience (AC 1076, 1077, 1919). They who do good from natural good, and not from religion, have no conscience (AC 6208). Man’s conscience is from the doctrine of his church, or from some religious principle, and is according thereto (AC 9112). Conscience is formed with man from those things which are of his religion, and which he believes to be truths (AC 1077, 2053, 9113). Conscience is an internal bond, by which man is held to thinking, speaking, and doing good; and by which he is withheld from thinking, speaking, and doing evil; and this is not for the sake of self and the world, but for the sake of good, truth, justice, and uprightness (AC 1919, 9120). Conscience is an internal dictate, that one ought to do so or not so (AC 1919, 1935). Conscience is in its essence a conscience of what is true and right (AC 986, 8081). The new will with the spiritual regenerate man is conscience (AC 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 4299, 4328, 4493, 9115, 9596). The spiritual life of man is from conscience (AC 9117). There is a true conscience, a spurious conscience, and a false conscience, concerning which (AC 1033). Conscience is more true, in proportion as it is formed from more genuine truths (AC 2053, 2063, 9114). In general, conscience is two-fold, interior and exterior, and interior conscience is of spiritual good, which in its essence is truth, and exterior conscience is of moral and civil good, which in its essence is sincerity and justice, in general, uprightness (AC 5140, 6207, 10296). Pain of conscience is anxiety of mind on account of injustice, insincerity, and any evil, which a man believes to be against God, and against the good of the neighbor (AC 7217). If anxiety is felt when a man thinks evil, it is from conscience (AC 5470). Pain of conscience is an anguish felt on account of the evil which man does, and also on account of the privation of good and truth (AC 7217). Since temptation is a combat of truth and falsity in the interiors of man, and since in temptations there is pain and anxiety, therefore no others are admitted into spiritual temptations, but those who have conscience (AC 847). They who have conscience speak and act from the heart (AC 7935, 9114). They who have conscience do not swear in vain (AC 2842). They who have conscience are in interior blessedness when they do what is good and just according to conscience (AC 9118). They who have conscience in the world, have conscience in the other life, and are there amongst the happy (AC 965). The influx of heaven flows into conscience with man (AC 6207, 6213, 9122). The Lord rules the spiritual man by conscience, which is an internal bond (AC 1835, 1862). They who have conscience, have interior thought; but they who have no conscience, have only exterior thought (AC 1919, 1935). They who have conscience, think from the spiritual, but they who have no conscience, think only from the natural (AC 1820). They who have no conscience, are only external men (AC 4459). The Lord rules those who have no conscience by external bonds, which are all those things which are of the love of self and of the world, and which thence relate to the fear of the loss of reputation, honor, office, gain, wealth, and the fear of the law, and of the loss of life (AC 1077, 1080, 1835). They who have no conscience, and yet suffer themselves to be ruled by these external bonds, are capable of discharging the duties of high offices in the world, and of doing good, as well as those who have conscience; but the former do it in an external form, and from external bonds, whereas the latter do it in an internal form, and from internal bonds (AC 6207). They who have no conscience would destroy conscience with those who have it (AC 1820). They who have no conscience in the world, have no conscience in the other life (AC 965, 9122). Hence those who are in hell have no torment of conscience for their evils in the world (AC 965, 9122). Who and of what quality, and how troublesome, the scrupulously conscientious are, and what they correspond to in the spiritual world (AC 5386, 5724). They who are in the Lord‘s spiritual kingdom, have conscience, and it is formed in their intellectual part (AC 863, 865, 875, 895, 927, 1043, 1044, 1555, 2256, 4328, 4493, 5113, 6367, 8521, 9596, 9915, 9995, 10124). It is otherwise with those who are in the Lord’s celestial kingdom (AC 927, 2256, 5113, 6367, 8521, 9915, 9995, 10124).

HD 140. Of Perception. Perception consists in seeing what is true and good by influx from the Lord (AC 202, 895, 7680, 9128). Perception is given only with those who are in the good of love from the Lord to the Lord (AC 202, 371, 1442, 5228). Perception is given with those in heaven who, whilst they lived in the world, brought the doctrinals of the church which are from the Word immediately into the life, and who did not first commit them to memory; thus the interiors of their minds were formed to the reception of the Divine influx; and thence their understanding is in heaven in continual enlightenment (AC 104, 495, 503, 521, 536, 1616, 1791, 5145). They know innumerable things, and are wise beyond measure (AC 2718, 9543). They who are in perception, do not reason concerning the truths of faith, and if they reasoned their perception would perish (AC 586, 1398, 5897). They who believe that they know and are wise from themselves, cannot have perception (AC 1386). The learned do not comprehend what this perception is, from experience (AC 1387). They who are in the Lord‘s celestial kingdom, have perception; but they who are in the spiritual kingdom, have no perception, but conscience in its place (AC 805, 2144, 2145, 8081). They who are in the Lord’s celestial kingdom do not thing from faith, like those in the Lord‘s spiritual kingdom, because they who are in the celestial kingdom are in perception from the Lord of all things of faith (AC 202, 597, 607, 784, 1121, 1387, 1398, 1442, 1919, 7680, 7877, 8780). Wherefore the celestial angels say concerning the truths of faith only, Yea, yea, or Nay, nay, because they perceive them and see them; but the spiritual angels reason concerning the truths of faith, whether a thing be so or not (AC 2715, 3246, 4448, 9166, 10786); where the words of the Lord are explained:--

Let your discourse be Yea, yea, Nay, nay: what is beyond these is from evil (Matt 5:37).

The celestial angels, because they know the truths of faith from perception, are not even willing to name faith (AC 202, 337). The distinction between the celestial angels and the spiritual angels (AC 2088, 2669, 2708-2715, 3235, 3240, 4788, 7068, 8521, 9277, 10295). Of the perception of those who were of the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial church (AC 125, 597, 607, 784, 895, 1121, 5121). There is interior and exterior perception (AC 2145, 2171, 2831, 5920). There is in the world a perception of what is just and equitable, but rarely a perception of spiritual truth and good (AC 2831, 5937, 7977). The light of perception is altogether different from the light of confirmation; and it is not like it, although it may appear so to some persons (AC 8521, 8780).

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