“All religion is of life; and the life of religion is to do good.” - Doctrine of Life §1
Kempton New Church

Week 4
Day 1


The Uses of Occupations

Every man who looks to the Lord and shuns evils as sin, if he sincerely, justly, and faithfully does the work of his office and employment, becomes a form of charity. —Charity 158

Charity in Occupations Generally

Psalm 104:23-24. Man goes out to his work
And to his service until evening.
How many are Thy deeds, O Jehovah; in wisdom hast Thou done them all;
The earth is full of Thy substance.

Charity 128. It is well known that every man is born to perform uses, and that he does perform uses to others. He who does not is, indeed, called a useless member, and is rejected. He who performs uses to himself alone is also a useless member, although not so called. In a well constituted commonwealth, therefore, provision is made that no one shall be useless. If anyone is useless, he is driven to some work—even a beggar is, if he is healthy.

Charity 137. All the offices and employments, regarded as to the goods of use, constitute a form which corresponds to the heavenly form. The heavenly form is such that every individual there is in some ministry, some function, some office or employment, and in work. Such are all the heavenly societies, that no one may be useless. One who does nothing and who wishes to live in ease, or only to talk and walk and sleep, is not tolerated there. All things there are so ordered that each is assigned a place nearer or more remote from the center according to its use. In proportion as they are nearer the center the palaces are more magnificent; as they are more remote from the center, they are less magnificent. They are different in the east, in the west, in the south, and in the north. Everyone when he enters a society is introduced into his office, and he is assigned a home corresponding to his work. Every society is a series of affections, in complete order.

Charity 138. Everyone there enjoys his own pursuit. It is the source of his delight. They shun idleness as one would a pestilence. The reason is this, that everyone there does his work as from a love of use, and so has delight of heart. The common delight flows into him. Thus, from heavenly society, chiefly, it has been given to know, not only that individuals organized according to the varieties of affections form the common good, but that everyone derives his good from the common good.

Charity 139. So it is on earth; for earthly society thus corresponds to heavenly society. And since it corresponds, these things are also there: the Divine is there; there is justice; there is morality, and uprightness; there is wisdom, and industry. The society in general inspires these into the individuals, when [each] part, which is an angel, is in charity.

Charity 158. Every man who looks to the Lord and shuns evils as sin, if he sincerely, justly, and faithfully does the work of his office and employment, becomes a form of charity. This follows as a consequence from the preceding law, that man is born that he may become charity; and he cannot become charity unless he perpetually does the good of use from affection and its delight. Therefore when a man sincerely, justly, and faithfully does the work that belongs to his office or employment, from affection and its delight, he is continually in the good of use, not only to the community or public, but also to individuals and private citizens. But this cannot be unless he looks to the Lord and shuns evils as sins; for, as was shown above, to look to the Lord and shun evils as sins is the first of charity (n. 8); and the second of charity is to do goods. And the goods that he does are goods of use, which he does every day, and which, when he is not doing, he thinks of doing. There is an interior affection which inwardly remains and desires it. Hence it is that he is perpetually in the good of use, from morning to evening, from year to year, from his earliest age to the end of his life. Otherwise he cannot become a form, that is, a receptacle of charity.

Questions and Comments
  1. How does doing one’s job honestly, justly and faithfully include the shunning of evil as sin?
  2. Are some uses more prone to particular temptations than others?
  3. What does it mean for an office or an employment to be a use?
  4. Are all offices and employments uses?
  5. Does any office or employment have to be a paid position to be a use in the sense that the passages in this section are referring to?
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