on her face, wears gorgeous clothing, and makes an effort to be attractive by saying nice things and paying compliments?
The need for us to purify ourselves from evils, and not to wait for the Lord to do it without our participation, is like a servant coming in with his face and clothes covered in soot or dung, approaching his master and saying, "Lord, wash me." Surely his master would tell him, "You foolish servant! What are you saying? Look, there is the water, the soap, and a towel. Don't you have hands? Don't they work? Wash yourself!"
The Lord God is going to say, "The means of being purified come from me. Your willingness and power come from me. Therefore use these gifts and endowments of mine as your own and you will be purified."
There is a belief nowadays that goodwill is just our doing good, and if we do that, we are not doing evil. The idea therefore is that the first step toward goodwill is to do good and the second step is not to do evil. This is completely upside-down, however. The first step toward goodwill is to remove evils and the second step is to do good, because there is a law that is universal to the spiritual world and also therefore to the physical world: The less evil we intend, the more good we intend. Therefore the more we turn away from hell (from which all evil ascends), the more we turn toward heaven (from which all goodness descends). The more we reject the Devil, then, the more we are accepted by the Lord. People cannot stand between the Devil and the Lord with a flexible neck and pray at the same time to each of them. People like this are those whom the Lord meant when he said,
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. It would have been better if you were cold or hot; but since you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot I am about to spew you out my mouth. (Revelation 3:15, 16)
Could anyone leading a troop of soldiers join a battle between two armies and fight on both sides at once? Can we focus on doing evil to our neighbors and also doing good to them? Would our evil not then lie hidden inside our good actions? Although evil that conceals itself does not appear in our actions, it is still obvious from many things when we reflect on it in the right way. The Lord says, "No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and Mammon"645 (Luke 16:13).
Still, none of us can purify ourselves from evils by our own power and our own force. On the other hand, neither can we purify ourselves without having power and force as if they were our own. If we did not
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