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VIII. Piety

HD 123. It is believed by many, that spiritual life, or the life which leads to heaven, consists in piety, in external sanctity, and in the renunciation of the world; but piety without charity, and external sanctity without internal sanctity, and a renunciation of the world without a life in the world, do not constitute spiritual life; but piety from charity, external sanctity from internal sanctity, and a renunciation of the world with a life in the world, constitute it.

HD 124. Piety consists in thinking and speaking piously, in devoting much time to prayers, in behaving humbly at that time, in frequenting temples and harkening devoutly to the preaching there, in frequently every year receiving the Sacrament of the Supper, and in performing the other parts of worship according to the ordinances of the church. But the life of charity consists in willing well and doing well to the neighbor, in acting in every work from justice and equity, from good and truth, and in like manner in every office; in a word, the life of charity consists in performing uses. Divine worship primarily consists in this life, but secondarily in the former; wherefore he who separates one from the other, that is, who lives the life of piety, and not at the same time the life of charity, does not worship God. He thinks indeed of God, but not from God but from himself, for he thinks continually of himself, and nothing of the neighbor; and if he thinks of the neighbor, he holds him in low estimation, if he be not also such as himself. And likewise he thinks of heaven as a reward, thence in his mind there is merit, and also the love of self, as also contempt or neglect of uses, and thus of the neighbor, and at the same time he cherishes a belief that he is blameless. Hence it may appear that the life of piety, separate from the life of charity, is not the spiritual life which should be in Divine worship. (Matt 6:7, 8).

HD 125. External sanctity is like such piety, and especially consists in this, that man places all Divine worship in sanctity when he is in temples; but this is not holy with man unless his internal be holy; for such as man is as to his internal, such he also is as to his external, for this proceeds from the former as action does from its spirit; wherefore external sanctity without internal sanctity is natural and not spiritual. Hence it is that external sanctity is given with the evil as well as with the good; and they who place the whole of worship therein are for the most part empty; that is, without the knowledges of good and truth. And yet goods and truths are the real sanctities which are to be known, believed and loved, because they are from the Divine, and thus the Divine is in them. Internal sanctity, therefore, consists in loving good and truth for the sake of good and truth, and justice and sincerity for the sake of justice and sincerity. So far also as man thus loves them, so far he is spiritual, and also his worship, for so far also he is willing to know them and to do them; but so far as man does not thus love them, so far he is natural, and his worship also, and so far also he is not willing to know them and do them. External worship without internal may be compared with the life of the respiration without the life of the heart; but external worship from internal may be compared with the life of the respiration conjoined to the life of the heart.

HD 126. But as to what relates to the renunciation of the world: it is believed by many, that to renounce the world, and to live in the spirit and not in the flesh, is to reject worldly things, which are chiefly riches and honors; to be continually engaged in pious meditation concerning God, concerning salvation, and concerning eternal life; to lead a life in prayers, in the reading of the Word and pious books; and also to afflict one‘s self: but this is not renouncing the world; but to renounce the world is to love God and to love the neighbor; and God is loved when man lives according to His commandments, and the neighbor is loved when man performs uses. Therefore in order that man may receive the light of heaven, it is altogether necessary that he should live in the world, and in offices and business there. A life abstracted from worldly things is a life of thought and faith separate from the life of love and charity, in which life the will of good and the doing of good to the neighbor perishes. And when this perishes, spiritual life is as a house without a foundation, which either sinks down successively, or becomes full of chinks and cracks, or totters till it falls.

HD 127. That to do good is to worship the Lord, appears from the Lord’s words:--

Every one who heareth My words and doeth them, I will liken to a prudent man who built a house upon a rock; but he who heareth My words and doeth them not, I will liken to a foolish man who built a house upon the sand, or upon the ground without a foundation (Matt 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49).

HD 128. Hence now it is manifest, that a life of piety so far avails, and is accepted by the Lord, as a life of charity is conjoined to it; for this is the primary, and such as this is, such is that. Also, that external sanctity so far avails, and is accepted by the Lord, as it proceeds from internal sanctity for such as this is, such is that. And also, that the renunciation of the world so far avails, and is accepted by the Lord, as it is practiced in the world; for they renounce the world who remove the love of self and the world, and act justly and sincerely in every office, in every business, and in every work, from an interior, thus from a heavenly origin; which origin is in that life when man acts well, sincerely, and justly, because it is according to the Divine laws.


HD 129. A life of piety without a life of charity, is of no avail, but when united therewith aids (AC 8252). External sanctity without internal sanctity is not holy (AC 2190, 10177). Of the quality of those in another life, who have lived in external sanctity, and not from internal (AC 951, 952). There is an internal and external of the church (AC 1098). There is internal worship and external worship, and the quality of each (AC 1083, 1098, 1100, 1151, 1153). Internals are what make worship (AC 1175). External worship without internal is no worship (AC 1094, 7724). There is an internal in worship, if man‘s life is a life of charity (AC 1100, 1151, 1153). Man is in true worship when he is in love and charity, that is, when he is in good as to life (AC 1618, 7724, 10242). The quality of worship is according to good (AC 2190). Worship itself consists in a life according to the precepts of the church from the Word (AC 7884, 9921, 10143, 10153, 10196, 10645). True worship is from the Lord with man, not from man himself (AC 10203, 10299). The Lord desires worship from man for the sake of man’s salvation, and not for the sake of his own glory (AC 4593, 8263, 10646). Man believes that the Lord desires worship for the sake of glory; but they who thus believe know not what Divine glory is, nor that it consists in the salvation of the human race, which man has when he attributes nothing to himself, and when he removes his proprium by humiliation; because the Divine is then first able to flow in (AC 4347, 4593, 5957, 7550, 8263, 10646). Humiliation of heart with man exists from an acknowledgment of himself, which is, that he is nothing but evil, and that he can do nothing from himself; and from a consequent acknowledgment of the Lord, which is, that nothing but good is from the Lord, and that the Lord can do all things (AC 2327, 3994, 7478). The Divine cannot flow in except into a humble heart, since so far as man is in humiliation, so far he is absent from his proprium, and thus from the love of self (AC 3994, 4347, 5957). Hence the Lord does not desire humiliation for His own sake, but for man‘s sake, that man may be in a state for receiving the Divine (AC 4347, 5957). Worship is not worship without humiliation (AC 2327, 2423, 8873). The quality of external humiliation without internal (AC 5420, 9377). The quality of humiliation of heart, which is internal (AC 7478). There is no humiliation of heart with the evil (AC 7640). They who have not charity and faith are in external worship without internal worship (AC 1200). If the love of self and of the world reigns interiorly with man, his worship is external without internal, however it may appear in the external form (AC 1182, 10307-10309). External worship in which the love of self reigns inwardly, as is the case with those who are of Babylon, is profane (AC 1304, 1306-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326). To imitate heavenly affections in worship, when man is in evils from the love of self, is infernal (AC 10309). What the quality of external worship is when it proceeds from internal, and when it does not, may be seen and concluded from what has been said and adduced above concerning the INTERNAL and the EXTERNAL MAN. Concerning those who renounce the world and those who do not renounce it, their quality, and their lot in the other life, may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, under the following heads: Of the Rich and Poor in Heaven (HH 357-365); and of the Life that leads to Heaven (HH 528-535).

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