What is the Essence of Charity To The Neighbor

For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me”  (Matthew 25:35-36)


Abstract:  The purpose of this article is to illustrate these verses in Matthew 25:35-36. That the Lord was explaining a very deep and beautiful truth. When we love the Lord with all our heart and spend time in His WORD (Bible), the natural result will be to express the Lord’s love to the neighbor. Taken from the Bible commentary by Emanuel Swedenborg.

Key to blog text

Bold highlighting = Important terms and concepts. Blue highlighting = Words, terms, and concepts containing primarily a spiritual sense or TRUTHRed highlighting = Words, terms, and concepts containing a sense directly related to The Lord Himself or LOVEGray highlighting = Words, terms, and concepts relating to Evil and Hell.  Italic letters in (parentheses) = My emphasis.


Emanuel Swedenborg Commentary on Matthew 25:35-36, the spiritual meaning as read by the angels in heaven. Italic letters in (parentheses) = My emphasis


The essence of charity towards the neighbour is the affection of good (love to God) and of truth (love of His Bible / WORD).

and the acknowledgement by man that what is of himself is evil and the false; (that only God has/is Love and truth)

yea, the (concept of) neighbour is good (love to God) and truth (love of His Bible / WORD) itself, and to be affected by these principles is to have charity (charity is a by-product of Love to the Lord and Love of His Truth. By having this Love to the Lord and His Truth and by being in His presence, one cannot help but have charity toward the neighbor).

The opposite to the neighbour is evil and the false, which principle he holds in aversion who has charity (people will secretly hate those who love the neighbor);

he therefore who has charity towards the neighbour is affected with good and truth, because they are from the Lord,

and holds in aversion what is evil and false, because they are from self.

And when he does this, he is in humiliation from the acknowledgement of what he is of himself (nothing good), and when he is in humiliation he is in a state of the reception of good and truth from the Lord.

These are the things of charity, which are involved in the internal sense (spiritual) in these words of the Lord,

I was an hungered, and you gave Me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me to drink: I was a sojourner, and you gathered Me: naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came to Me.

That these words involve such things, no one can know but from the internal sense (spiritual).

The ancients (peoples before the flood), who had the doctrinals (faith) of charity (love to neighbor), knew these things;

but at this day (present-day and time) they appear so remote, (unseen) that everyone will wonder at its being said that they are involved in (found in) the above words (that the Lord spoke).

Moreover, the angels attendant (watching over) on man have no other perception (understanding) of those words (the Lord spoke),

for by being hungry”, they have a perception of those (understanding), who from affection (love of reading Bible), desire good (love to the Lord, and a desire to obey His commands);

by one (person) that is “thirsty”, those, who from affection (love of reading Bible), desire truth (righteousness and justice);

by a “sojourner” those who are willing to be instructed (to learn a kingdom lifestyle);

by the “naked”, those who acknowledge (will admit) that there is nothing of good (love) and truth (righteousness) in themselves;

by the ”sick”, those who acknowledge (will admit) that in themselves (inner person) there is nothing but evil;

and by the “bound and in prison”, those who acknowledge that in themselves (inner person) there is nothing but the false (rejection of the TRUTH and substitutions of their own perceptions and ideas).

If these things be reduced into one sense, they signify the things just above mentioned (what is love or charity toward the neighbor).