Sin and intention


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Evil, blamable if intentional" (search under Inner Life/Evil, Negative Emotion, Vice)": source "Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church": detail "Section 113"
Good persons, if from their will and understanding, or from set purpose and confirmation, they abstain from one evil because it is a sin, they abstain from all, and still more if they abstain from several; for whenever a person abstains, from purpose and confirmation, from any evil, because it is a sin, he is kept by the Lord in the purpose of abstaining from the rest; wherefore if through ignorance, or any predominant concupiscence of the body, he commits an evil, it nevertheless is not imputed to him, inasmuch as he did not purpose it to himself, neither does he afterwards confirm it in himself. A man comes into this kind of purpose, if he examines himself once or twice a year, and repents of the evil he discovers in himself. It is otherwise with him who never examines himself.
 It is permitted to confirm what has been advanced by the following experience. I have met with several in the spiritual world, who have lived like other people in the natural world, with respect to ornaments of dress, delicacies of food, making interest of money by trade and merchandise, frequenting play-houses, indulging in jocose conversation on love affairs, with other things of a similar nature, and yet the angels charged such things as evils of sin in some, and not as evils in others, declaring the latter innocent, and the former guilty. On being asked the reason of such distinction, when both had indulged in like practices, they replied that they consider all according to their purpose, intention, and end, and distinguish them accordingly; and therefore that they excuse and condemn those whom the end excuses or condemns, inasmuch as good is the end that influences all who are in heaven, and evil is the end that influences all who are in hell. From what has been said it now plainly appears, to whom sin is imputed, and to whom it is not imputed.