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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Ethics of Swedenborg: The Social Good
By Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772)
 
From ‘Doctrine of Charity’

THE GENERAL good arises out of the goods of use which individuals perform; and the goods of use that individuals perform subsist from the general good.  1
  The goods of use which individuals perform, out of which the general good arises, are ministries, offices, callings, and various employments.  2
  All the vocations and employments in a kingdom, commonwealth, or community, regarded as to the goods of use, constitute a form which corresponds to the heavenly form.  3
  They also constitute a form which corresponds to the human form.  4
  In this form each individual is a good of use, according to the extent of his calling and employment.  5
  It is well known that every man is born to be of use, and that he may perform uses to others; and he who does not is called a useless member, and is cast off. He who performs uses for himself alone is also useless, though not called so. In a well-constituted commonwealth, therefore, provision is made that no one shall be useless. If useless, he is compelled to some work; and a beggar is compelled, if he is in health.  6
  The general good consists in these things:—That in the society or kingdom there shall be: I. What is Divine among them. II. That there shall be justice among them. III. That there shall be morality among them. IV. That there shall be industry, knowledge, and uprightness among them. V. That there shall be the necessaries of life. VI. That there shall be the things necessary to their occupations. VII. That there shall be the things necessary for protection. VIII. That there shall be a sufficiency of wealth; because from this come the three former necessaries.  7
  From these arises the general good; and yet it does not come of these themselves, but from the individuals there, and through the goods of use which individuals perform. As for instance, even what is Divine is there through ministers; and justice through magistrates and judges: so morality exists by means of the Divine and of justice; and necessaries by means of industrial occupations and commerce: and so on.  8
  All the vocations 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 office, some calling or employment, and in work. Such are all the heavenly societies, that no one may be useless. No one who desires to live in ease, or only to talk and walk and sleep, is tolerated there. All things there are so ordered that each is assigned a place nearer or more remote from the centre according to his use. In proportion as they are nearer the centre, the palaces are more magnificent; as they are more remote from the centre, they are less magnificent. They are different in the east, in the west, in the south, and in the north.  9
 
 
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