Category — Judging
We read: “Judge not lest ye be judged; for with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged. (Matt. 7:1-2) Without Doctrine this can be adduced to confirm that it is not to be said of evil that it is evil, thus that we are not to judge that an evil person is evil. But from Doctrine it is allowable to judge, but justly. For the Lord says, Judge a just judgment.” (John 7:21, S.S. 512)
In the above passage from the Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, is pointed out an apparent contradiction in the New Testament, a contradiction which can only be reconciled by Doctrine. When we come to examine the Newest, and last, Testament, the Writings of Swedenborg, we again find an apparent contradiction in what is said concerning judging.
We read: “Therefore a man is never allowed to judge concerning another as to the quality of his spiritual life; for the Lord alone knows this. But everyone is allowed to judge concerning another as to his quality as to moral and civil life; for this is of importance to society.” (A.C. 22843).
Similar teaching to the above is given in various places in the Latin Word as is well known in the Church. On the other hand we read:
“Love and faith are meant in the spiritual sense by works … From this it is that works signify, not the things which appear in outward form, but the things of the will and the thought. That this is so is known to every one who reflects. Who that is wise regards a man from his deeds alone and not from his will? If the will is good he loves the deeds; but if the will is evil he does not love the deeds. He sees the deeds but interprets them according to the intention of the will. He that is spiritual attends still less to the deeds, but explores the will; for the reason already given that deeds in themselves are nothing, but all that they are is from the will (A. E. 983)
Moral and civil goods can be seal in natural light, a light in which all but the insane can see.
That moral and civil good and evil San be seen in natural light is taught in the Arcana Coelestia as follows:
“The Israelitish nation might have known these laws (that parents are to be honored, that murder, adultery and theft are not to be committed, and that no one should bear false witness) from natural light alone; for what nation is there which does not know them?” (A.C. 8862)
It is self-evident that every man can see natural truth in natural light, not only the truths of natural science, but also truths of civil and moral life, and can judge concerning them from a faculty of natural rational understanding. Were not this true the world would be insane and human society would be impossible.