Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing - Deepstash

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The Eternal vs. The Perishable

The Eternal vs. The Perishable

Kierkegaard detailed the various differences between these two. The perishable is something that changes with time, while the eternal is something that is always the same, such as truth and God's commandments. The possession of the eternal in one's heart is what distinguishes a believing human from an animal, a plant, or a non-believer. “What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth” (Ecclesiastes 3:9)? Kierkegaard implies that our lives have meaning only when we live by and work for the eternal.

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KIERKEGAARD

Immortality cannot be a final alteration that crept in, so to speak, at the moment of death as the final stage. On the contrary, it is a changelessness that is not altered by the passage of the years. Therefore, to the old man’s words that “all has its time,” the wise Solomon adds, “God made all things beautiful in his time; also he hath set eternity within man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

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KIERKEGAARD

If there is, then, something eternal in a man, it must be able to exist and to be grasped within every change...But as for the Eternal, the time never comes when a man has grown away from it, or has become older—than the Eternal.

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KIERKEGAARD

If the wisdom of life should ever alter that which concerns the eternal in a man to the point of changing it into something temporal, then this would be folly whether it be spoken by an old man or by a youth. For in relation to the Eternal, age gives no justification for speaking absurdly, and youth does not exclude one from being able to grasp what is true.

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KIERKEGAARD

No, when an old person has outgrown the childish and the youthful, ordinary language calls this, maturity and a gain. But willfully ever to have outgrown the Eternal is spoken of as falling away from God and as perdition; and only the life of the ungodly “shall be as the snail that melts, as it goes” (Psalm 58:8).

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Summary of Chap 2: Remorse, Repentance, Confession

Summary of Chap 2: Remorse, Repentance, Confession

Eternal is acquired by repentance. Repentance must happen immediately ("at the eleventh hour") but not so immediate that it lacks preparation. Repentance must be approached with a collected mind, earnestness, and deep sincerity. Delaying the act of repentance leads to delusion, and then to perdition. Guilt of past wrongdoing should never be forgotten; its repentance should only grow deeper with time. Forgetting the Eternal subjects one to self-deception. Ignorance can be cured by learning, but self-deception can only be cured by acquiring purity of heart.

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KIERKEGAARD

One dare not say of repentance and remorse that it has its time; that there is a time to be carefree and a time to be prostrated in repentance. Such talk would be: to the anxious urgency of repentance—unpardonably slow; to the grieving after God—sacrilege; to what should be done this very day, in this instant, in this moment of danger—senseless dela y. For there is indeed danger. There is a danger that is called delusion. It is unable to check itself. It goes on and on: then it is called perdition.

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KIERKEGAARD

But repentance and remorse know how to make use of time in fear and trembling. When remorse awakens concern, whether it be in the youth, or in the old man, it awakens it always at the eleventh hour. It does not have much time at its disposal, for it is at the eleventh hour. It is not deceived by a false notion of a long life, for it is at the eleventh hour...He who repents at any other hour of the day repents in the temporal sense. He fortifies himself by a false and hasty conception of the insignificance of his guilt...His remorse is not in true inwardness of spirit. 

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KIERKEGAARD

Remorse should be an action with a collected mind...so that new life may be born of it...In a setting of freedom, bearing the impress of eternity, repentance should have its time...even its time of preparation...there is a sense of reverence, a holy fear, a humility, that that which is to be done in the pure sincerity of this act of repentance may not become vain and overhasty...[Preparation] is an intense agitation of heart that is already in alliance with what is to be done there. From the point of view of the Eternal, repentance must come instantaneously...

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KIERKEGAARD

It is not a gain that guilt should be wholly forgotten. On the contrary, it is loss and perdition. But it is a gain to win an inner intensity of heart through a deeper and deeper inner sorrowing over guilt. It is not a gain to notice, because of a man’s forgetfulness, that he is growing older. But it is a gain to notice that a man has grown older by the deeper and deeper penetration into his heart of the transformation wrought by remorse. One should be able to tell the age of a tree from its bark; in truth one can also tell a man’s age in the Good by the intensity of his repentance.

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KIERKEGAARD

But he that in truth becomes at one with himself, he is in the silence...This silence is the simple festivity of the holy act of confession...when we are thinking of divine things, the deeper the stillness the better. When the wanderer comes away from the much-traveled noisy highway into places of quiet...he must examine himself, as if he must speak out what lies hidden in the depths of his soul. It seems to him...as if something inexpressible thrusts itself forward from his innermost being, the unspeakable, for which indeed language has no vessel of expression.

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KIERKEGAARD

And the sea is sufficient unto itself. Whether it lies like a child and amuses itself with its soft ripples as a child that plays with its mouth, or at noon lies like a drowsy thinker in carefree enjoyment and allows its gaze to wander over all, or in the night ponders deeply over its own being; whether in order to see what is going on, it cunningly conceals itself as though it no longer existed, or whether it rages in its own passion: the sea has a deep ground, it knows well enough what it knows. That which has that deep ground always knows this; but there is no sharing of this knowledge.

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Summary of Chap 3: Variety and Great Moments are Not One Thing

Summary of Chap 3: Variety and Great Moments are Not One Thing

Pleasure, honor, riches, power, and other worldly aims are not in essence the good or one thing, and so willing them is double-mindedness. Double-mindedness is having two wills: wanting the good but unable to wrench away from the bad. Earthly sagacity can corrupt one's soul and lead one to perdition by using sophistry to encourage mediocrity and indolence. One who wills only the good will continue to do in eternity (salvation), and one who is double-minded will continue to be so in eternity (damnation). True love is a great teacher for leading someone onto the path of willing the good.

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KIERKEGAARD

It is only by a painful route that this way leads to the Good, namely, when the wanderer turns around and goes back. For as the Good is only a single thing, so all ways lead to the Good, even the false ones: when the repentant one follows the same way back.

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KIERKEGAARD

For the Good without condition and without qualification, without preface and without compromise is, absolutely the only thing that a man may and should will, and is only one thing.

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KIERKEGAARD

The person who wills one thing that is not the Good, he does not truly will one thing. It is a delusion, an illusion, a deception, a self-deception that he wills only one thing. For in his innermost being he is, he is bound to be, double-minded...For pleasure and honor and riches and power and all that this world has to offer only appear to be one thing. It is not, nor does it remain one thing, while everything else is in change or while he himself is in change. It is not in all circumstances the same. 

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KIERKEGAARD

The sensual one will not slip past death, who has dominion over what belongs to the earth and who will change into nothing the one thing which the sensual person desires.

And last of all, there is the change of eternity, which changes all. Then only the Good remains and it remains the blessed possession of the man that has willed only one thing. 

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KIERKEGAARD

So also with riches and power and the world that passes away and the lust thereof. The one who has willed either of them, even if he only willed one thing, must, to his own agony, continue to will it when it has passed, and learn by the agony of contradiction that it is not one thing. But the one who in truth willed one thing and therefore willed the Good, even if he be sacrificed for it, why should he not go on willing the same in eternity, the same thing that he was willing to die for? Why should he not will the same, when it has triumphed in eternity?

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KIERKEGAARD

The one who truly loves does not love once and for all. Nor does he use a part of his love, and then again another part. For to change it into small coins is not to use it rightly. No, he loves with all of his love. It is wholly present in each expression. He continues to give it away as a whole, and yet he keeps it intact as a whole, in his heart.

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KIERKEGAARD

Is not despair simply double-mindedness? For what is despairing other than to have two wills? For whether the weakling despairs over not being able to wrench himself away from the bad, or whether the brazen one despairs over not being able to tear himself completely away from the Good: they are both double-minded, they both have two wills. Neither of them honestly wills one thing, however desperately they may seem to will it.

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KIERKEGAARD

Love, from time to time, has in this way helped a man along the right path. Faithfully he only willed one thing, his love. For it, he would live and die. For it, he would sacrifice all and in it alone he would have his eternal reward. Yet the act of being in love is still not in the deepest sense the Good. But it may possibly become for him a helpful educator, who will finally lead him by the possession of his beloved one or perhaps by her loss, in truth to will one thing and to will the Good...a man is educated by many means; and true love is also an education toward the Good.

KIERKEGAARD

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KIERKEGAARD

Sin is the corruption of man. Salvation, therefore, lies only in the purity with which a man wills the Good. That very earthly and devilish cleverness distorts this into a temptation to perdition; weakness is a man’s misfortune; strength the sole salvation... How shall one describe the nature of such a man? It is said of a singer that by overscreeching he can crack his voice. In like fashion, such a man’s nature by overscreeching itself and the voice of conscience, has cracked.

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Summary of Chap 4: The Reward Disease

Summary of Chap 4: The Reward Disease

Willing the good means willing it even when worldly rewards are not present. To will both the good and worldly rewards is double-mindedness. While the good has its reward in eternity, willing the good is often rewarded by worldly ingratitude and suffering. While the good is never deceived, people are often deceived by the likeness of the good. The double-minded cannot choose between the good and the reward, he just stalls there. One who starts out determined to will the good, but becomes weary when confronted by prolonged opposition from the world, sadly didn't endure until the very end. 

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KIERKEGAARD

The Good is one thing; the reward is another that may be present and may be absent for the time being, or until the very last. When he, then, wills the Good for the sake of the reward, he does not will one thing but two.

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KIERKEGAARD

But if the world itself is not Good in its innermost being; if, as the Scripture says, it still “lieth in wickedness,”10 or if it is far from being as one for whom it is a rare exception not to will the Good; if this be so, then earthly reward is of a doubtful character. And hence it is all the more likely that the world will reward what it takes for the Good, what to a certain degree resembles the Good, what, as those impudent ones taught, has the Good’s appearance—and those impudent ones were not lacking in intimate knowledge of the world. Hence reward is indeed that which Tempts.

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KIERKEGAARD

To will the Good for the sake of reward is double-mindedness. To will one thing is...to will the Good without considering the reward...The reward can of course come without a man’s willing it...the reward may come from God. But when a man considers that all reward in the outer realm can become what the world’s reward always is—a temptation for him, then he must guard himself even against true reward just in order rightly to be able to will the Good. Oh, that he might not forget, that this, even such a desire to guard himself, may once more be a temptation to pride.

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KIERKEGAARD

Now, that the Good has its own reward is indeed forever certain. There is nothing so certain. It is not even more certain that God exists, for that is one and the same thing. But here on earth, Good is often temporarily rewarded by ingratitude, by lack of appreciation, by poverty, by contempt, by many sufferings, and now and then by death. It is not this reward to which we refer when we say that the Good has its reward. Yet this is the reward that comes in the external world and that comes first of all.

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KIERKEGAARD

But no one can deceive the Good, nay, not in all eternity! Not in all eternity! Yes, it is just there that one has the least chance of deceiving it. Perhaps here on earth it can be accomplished; not that the Good is deceived, but men may be deceived by the likeness of the Good.

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KIERKEGAARD

The double-minded one stands at a parting of the ways. Two visions appear: the Good and the reward. It is not in his power to bring them into agreement, for they are fundamentally different...Only that reward which God for all eternity adds to the Good in the inner realm, only that is in truth homogeneous with the Good. So he stands pondering and reflecting...—a symbol of double-mindedness...But one thing he cannot do, one and only one thing he is not able to do: he cannot answer the question about which of the two ways he is taking.

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KIERKEGAARD

he wills the Good and detests vice—when vice seems to be loathsome; that he wills the approbation of good people—when they are in the majority and possess the power; that he will benefit the good cause—when it is so good as to confer some advantage upon him. Yet in sincerity he dares not say definitely what he wills...Now suppose that the reward is missing, which has previously happened in this world. What would he do then?...Does he, then, will the reward? Yes, but he will not plainly admit it. As a matter of fact he does occasionally will the Good—to save his face.

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KIERKEGAARD

Perhaps there was a man who really in all sincerity willed the Good...But then he became weary. He clutched after the reward in the narrower sense, and after an easier understanding of the reward...He could not bear with the Eternal. He could not endure the opposition of the world and of the people. So first he claimed the reward, under the interpretation that there ought to be an agreement between the Good and the world. Finally, he demanded the reward alone. In this fashion he slipped backwards. Oh, sad end to a good beginning!

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KIERKEGAARD

He looked about him where so many others helped themselves to the reward. The tempter began to frighten him into a feeling of faintheartedness as to why he did not wish to be like the others and why he insisted upon running after the vagaries of imagination instead of laying hold on the "certain". Then his mind was changed...His courage was shattered. Perhaps he did not find what he now sought in the world. And so he went down, he the deceived one, whom the world deceived as to the reward, when he willed the Good and whom the world betrayed most terribly, when it got him to forsake the Good.

KIERKEGAARD

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CURATED BY

arianna9006

Remember the past, love and be loved, safeguard truth and justice.

CURATOR'S NOTE

Summary of Chap 1: Man and the Eternal

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