“These things I have spoken to you in parables, but the hour is coming when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will announce to you plainly concerning the Father.” - John 16:25
Kempton New Church

Week 4
Day 2

    Listen:

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 the Case of Magistrates, Officials and Judges

2. Charity in the Case of Magistrates, Officials and Judges Deut. 17:15, 18-20. Setting thou shalt set him king over thee, whom Jehovah thy God shall choose…. He shall write for himself a second copy of this law in a book from that which is before the priests, the Levites; and it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: that his heart be not exalted above his brothers, and that he turn not aside from the commandment.

Charity 161. Charity in Magistrates. By magistrates are meant the highest functionaries in kingdoms, commonwealths, provinces, cities, and societies, who have jurisdiction over them in civil affairs. Each one of them in his own place, if he looks to the Lord and shuns evils as sins, and sincerely, justly, and faithfully performs the work of his exalted office, does the good of use to the community and the individuals in the community continually and becomes charity in form. And this he does when he is influenced by an affection for the good of the subjects or citizens; and when he is so influenced he is moved, in common with men that are wise and fear God, to establish useful laws, to see that they are observed, and especially to live under them; and also to appoint intelligent and at the same time benevolent officers under him over the people, through whom, under his supervision, judgment and justice shall reign, and continually bring about the good of the community.

Charity 162. Charity in the Officials under [Magistrates]. By the officials under magistrates are meant those who are appointed by them over the people to perform various necessary and useful functions. Everyone of them, if he looks to the Lord and shuns evils as sins, and sincerely, justly, and faithfully performs the work of his office, becomes charity in form, because he does the goods of use continually, while in the performance of official duty and also when not in official duty; for then an affection for doing it is established in his mind, and an affection for doing the goods of use is charity in its life. Use affects him, and not honor except for the sake of use. There is a certain lesser common good under each official, according to the extent of his function, subordinate to the greater and greatest common good, which is that of the kingdom or commonwealth. An official who is charity, when he sincerely, justly, and faithfully does his work, cares for the less common good, which is that of his domain, and so the greater and the greatest.

Charity 163. Charity in Judges. If they look to the Lord and shun evils as sins, and render just judgments, they become charities in form; because they do goods of use, both to the community and individuals in the community, and so to the neighbor. And these they do continually, when they judge and when they are not judging; because they think justly, also speak justly, and do justly. For justice is of their affection; and in the spiritual sense it is the neighbor. Such a judge determines all cases from what is just, and at the same time from equity; for they cannot be separated. And then he judges according to the law, for all law has both of these for its end; and so when a cunning man strives to pervert the sense of the law he ends the suit. In judging, to regard friendship, or a gift, or relationship, or authority, or other consideration than that everyone who lives according to the laws shall be protected, he holds to be a sin; and he holds it to be [a sin] even if he judges justly, and justice is not in the first place, but in the second. All the judgments of a just judge are of charity, even when he inflicts a fine or penalty upon the criminally wicked; for thus he amends them and guards against their doing evil to the innocent, who are the neighbor. He is indeed as a father, who if he loves his children castigates them when they do evil.

Questions and Comments
  1. In a democracy, how can we work to have “magistrates” who are forms of charity?
  2. What kind of evils might magistrates and officers under them be particularly tempted by?
  3. How do the qualities necessary for good judges described in Charity 163 compare with what seems to be generally expected from judges in the United States?
  4. What should we do if we have magistrates, officials under them, or judges who are not forms of charity?
  5. What would a government be like if its magistrates, subordinate officials and judges all followed the passages in this section?
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