Extracts

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Piety

swedenborg

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[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Piety, devotion, reverence" (search under Inner Life/Love, Positive Emotion, Virtue, Will)": source "Heaven and Hell": detail "Section 535"
But those who have lived an outwardly holy life, constantly attending church and praying and afflicting their souls, and at the same time have thought constantly of themselves that they would be esteemed and honored for all this above others, and finally after death would be accounted saints—such in the other life are not in heaven because they have done all this for the sake of themselves. And as they have defiled Divine truths by the self-love in which they have immersed them, some of them are so insane as to think themselves gods; and are consequently in hell among those like themselves. Some are cunning and deceitful and are in the hells of the deceitful. These are such as by means of cunning arts and devices have maintained such pious conduct as induced the common people to believe that they possessed a Divine sanctity.
 Of this character are many of the Roman Catholic saints. I have been permitted to talk with some of them, and their life was then plainly disclosed, such as it had been in the world and as it was afterwards. All this has been said to make known that the life that leads to heaven is not a life withdrawn from the world, but a life in the world; and that a life of piety separated from a life of charity, which is possible only in the world, does not lead to heaven; but a life of charity does; and a life of charity consists in acting honestly and justly in every employment, in every business, and in every work, from an interior, that is, from a heavenly, motive; and this motive is in that life whenever man acts honestly and justly because doing so is in accord with the Divine laws. Such a life is not difficult. But a life of piety separate from a life of charity is difficult; and as much as such a life is believed to lead toward heaven so much it leads away from heaven.