“Peace has in it confidence in the Lord: that He directs all things, provides all things, and that He leads to a good end.” - Arcana Caelestia §8455
Kempton New Church

Week 1
Day 4

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Uses in General

And there shall be no night there, and they have no need of a lamp and the light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. —Revelation 22:5
With those who are in the delight of uses from genuine love towards the neighbor, their natural light is also rational light, within which there is spiritual light from the Lord. The glory with them is from the brightness of the inflowing light from heaven, where all things are splendid and harmonious, for all uses in heaven are resplendent. —Apocalypse Revealed 940e

Loving the neighbor is performing uses.

Jeremiah 31:33. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says Jehovah, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

TCR 422. Charity itself is acting justly and faithfully in the office, business, and employment in which a man is engaged, and with those with whom he has any dealings.

Charity itself is acting justly and faithfully in the office, business, and employment in which a man is engaged, because all that such a man does is of use to society, and use is good; and good in a sense abstracted from person is the neighbor. It was shown above that man not only individually, but also as a society of men, and one’s country itself, are the neighbor.

Take, for example, a king who sets his subjects an example of well-doing, who wishes them to live according to the laws of justice, rewards those who so live, regards everyone according to his merits, protects his subjects against injury and invasion, acts the part of a father to his kingdom, and consults the general prosperity of his people; in his heart there is charity, and his deeds are good works. The priest who teaches truth from the Word, and thereby leads to good of life, and so to heaven, because he cares for the good of the souls of those of his church, is eminently in the exercise of charity. The judge who judges according to law and justice, and not for reward, friendship and relationship, cares for the good of society and of each individual; of society because it is thereby kept in obedience to law and in the fear of transgressing it; and of the individual because justice thereby triumphs over injustice. The merchant who acts from honesty and not from deceit, cares for the good of his neighbor with whom he has business. It is the same with a common or skilled workman, if he does his work rightly and honestly, and not fraudulently and deceitfully. It is the same with all others, as with captains and sailors, with farmers and servants.

TCR 423. This is charity itself, because charity may be defined as doing good to the neighbor daily and continually, not only to the neighbor individually, but also to the neighbor collectively; and this can be done only through what is good and just in the office, business, and employment in which a man is engaged, and with those with whom he has any dealings. For this is one’s daily work, and when he is not doing it, it still occupies his mind continually, and he has it in thought and intention.

The man who thus practices charity, becomes more and more charity in form; for justice and fidelity form his mind, and the practice of these forms his body. And because of his form, he gradually comes to will and think only such things as pertain to charity. Such at length come to be like those of whom it is said in the Word, that they have the law written on their hearts. Nor do they place merit in their works, because they do not think of merit but of duty—that it becomes a citizen so to act.

But a man can by no means of himself act from spiritual justice and faithfulness, for every man inherits from his parents a disposition to do what is good and just for the sake of himself and the world, but no man inherits a disposition to do it for the sake of what is good and just. Consequently, only he who worships the Lord, and acts from Him when acting from himself, attains to spiritual charity, and becomes imbued with it by the practice of it.

TCR 424. There are many who act justly and faithfully in their occupation, and thus promote works of charity, and yet do not possess any charity in themselves. But in these the love of self and the world predominates, and not the love of heaven; or if, perhaps, the love of heaven is present, it is beneath the former love, like a servant under his master, a common soldier under his officer, or a doorkeeper standing at the door.

Questions and Comments
  1. Can you picture having the Lord’s law written on your heart, at least in some respect, such that you deeply know it is good and true and would never want to violate it?
  2. TCR 422 is a wonderful teaching, showing that all of our life can be a form of charity, not just special good deeds now and then. The work we have to do anyway to take care of ourselves and our family can also be an expression of love toward the neighbor and love to the Lord, if we do it justly and faithfully.
  3. Is it fairly clear to you how to do your work justly and faithfully, whether or not you are currently employed, or retired, or a homemaker? Almost all of us have work to do.
  4. What might be some examples of “those with whom he has any dealings” apart from one’s office, business and employment?
  5. Do you have experience with your work occupying your mind even when you are off duty because you care about doing a good job?
  6. Can a person truly love the neighbor or any use without loving the Lord?
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