He who abstains from thefts understood in the wide sense, nay, who even shuns them, for any other reason than on account of his religion and for eternal life, is not purified from them; for no other motive opens heaven. For the Lord removes the evils in man by means of heaven, as by heaven he removes the hells, For example, administrators of goods, higher and lower, merchants, judges, officers of every kind, and labourers; if they abstain from thefts, that is from unlawful gains and usuries, and even shun them, for the acquisition of a good name, and thereby of honour and gain, or on account of civil and moral laws,—in a word from any natural love or any natural fear, thus on account of outward restraints alone and not from religion, their interiors are yet full of thefts and robbery. And when outward restraints are taken away from them, as is the case with every one after death, they break forth. The apparent sincerity and rectitude of such is only a mask, pretence, and cunning.
Now in proportion as the different kinds and species of thefts are removed, and the more they are removed, the different kinds and species of good to which they oppositely correspond, and which in general relate to what is sincere, right, and just, enter in and occupy their place. For when a man is averse to and shuns unlawful gains acquired by fraud and cunning, in so far he purposes what is sincere, right, and just; and at length begins to love what is sincere because it is sincere, what is right because it is right, and what is just because it is just. He begins to love them because they are from the Lord and the love of the Lord is in them. For to love the Lord is not merely to love His person, but to love those things that come from the Lord; for these are the Lord with man. Thus it is also to love sincerity itself, right itself, justice itself; and as these are the Lord, therefore in the degree that a man loves them, and so acts from them, in that degree he acts from the Lord. And in that degree the Lord removes insincerity and injustice as to the very intentions and purposes wherein their roots are; and every time with less resistance and conflict, thus with easier labour, than in the beginnings. Thus a man thinks from conscience, and acts from integrity; not the man indeed of himself, but as if from himself; for he then acknowledges, from faith as well as from perception, that it appears indeed as if he thought and did these things from himself, when yet they are not from himself but from the Lord. (A. E. n. 972, 973.)
Take for example administrators of the goods of others, higher and lower: If they deprive their king, their country, or their master of his goods, clandestinely or by artifice, or under fair pretence by fraud, they have no religion and no conscience; for they hold in contempt and render null the Divine law concern-