Extracts

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Charity

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[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Charity, degrees of" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 427 - 428"
At the present day certain acts are believed to be the proper deeds of charity, which are meant in the Word (Bible) by good works, because charity is very frequently described in the Word by giving to the poor, relieving the needy, and providing for widows and orphans; but heretofore it has not been known that the Word, in the letter, makes mention of such things only as are the external, yea, the extreme parts of worship, and they signify spiritual things, which are internal; so that it appears that those who are called the poor, needy, widows, and orphans, mean such as are so in a spiritual sense, and not such only as are so literally. The poor signify those who have no knowledge of truth and good; and widows signify those who are without truths, and yet desire them; and so with the others.
 Those who are naturally of a tender, compassionate disposition, and do not make their natural disposition spiritual, by regulating its workings according to genuine charity, imagine that charity consists in giving to every poor person, and relieving every one that is indigent, without inquiring whether their character be good or bad, for they affirm that such inquiry is needless, since God regards only the alms and the relief that are given. Such, however, after death are carefully distinguished and separated from those who have done eleemosynary (ie. charitable) acts of charity under the guidance of discretion; for those who have done so from the impulse of a blind undistinguishing charity are found in another life equally compassionate to the wicked and the good; the consequence of which is, that the wicked are assisted in their disposition to do wickedly, and to turn the kindnesses they receive into means of injuring the good, so that such bestowers of kindnesses are ultimately the cause of mischief to the good. To bestow a favor on a wicked person is like giving bread to a devil, which he turns into poison.


[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Charity, degrees of" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.8": detail "Section 6405"
When one who counts every one equally his neighbour, and thus benefits the evil equally with the good, and by thus conferring benefits on the evil does harm to others, and has committed such acts repeatedly, he afterwards defends them, saying that everyone is his neighbour, and that it is not his concern what his quality is, but only to confer benefits on him; thus he does works without judgment, and also contrary to the truth itself; for the truth itself is that all are the neighbour, but in a different degree, and that those are the neighbour more than others who are in good.