d. Nevertheless, No Faith, No Goodwill, and None of the Life within Faith or Goodwill Comes from Ourselves; Instead They Come from the Lord Alone (Continued)

People who have faith in the Lord and goodwill toward their neighbor have spirituality within their earthly self, and as a result their earthly self becomes translucent. Once we realize this, we can see that the more translucent their earthly self becomes the more wisdom they have about spiritual things. They also have more wisdom about earthly things, because as they are thinking, reading, or hearing about something, they see inside themselves whether it is true or not. This is an awareness they have from the Lord as spiritual light and heat flow down from him into the higher sphere of their intellect.

The more spiritual our faith and our goodwill become, the more we are drawn away from our self-centeredness. We do not focus on ourselves, on payment, or on reward; we focus only on the pleasure of perceiving truths that relate to faith and doing good actions that relate to love. The more our spirituality increases, the more blissful that pleasure becomes. This process is the source of our salvation, which is called eternal life.

This human state is comparable to the things that are most beautiful and most pleasant in our world. In fact, it is compared with them in the Word. It is compared to fruit-bearing trees, and the gardens in which they stand; flowering fields; precious stones and exquisite food. This state is also compared to weddings and the festivities and celebrations that follow them.

When this state is upside-down, however–that is, when an earthly self lies within our spirituality, and therefore we are inwardly devils although we are outwardly angels–then our state is comparable to a dead person in a coffin made out of precious, gilded wood. This state is also like a skeleton dressed up in someone’s clothes riding around in a magnificent carriage. It is like a corpse in a tomb that is built like the temple of Diana. Our inner self can be pictured as a mass of snakes in a cave, while our outer self is like butterflies whose wings are tinged with colors of every kind; yet these butterflies glue their polluted eggs to the leaves of productive trees, with the result that the fruit is consumed. In this state our inner self could be compared to a hawk, and our outer self to a dove: our faith and goodwill are like a hawk flying over a fleeing dove that eventually becomes worn out; then the hawk flies down and devours it.

from True Christianity, Section 361

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