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Deuteronomy Chapter 15

Verses 1-6. All idea of merit to be relinquished in spiritual things.
Verses 7-11. The spiritual aspirations to be satisfied as far as possible.
Verses 12-18. Inferior goods and uses are not to be despised, but to be endowed from the spiritual mind.
Verses 19-23. All good things to be ascribed to the Lord, and are not to be made use of for evil ends.
  1. At the end of every seven years you shall make a release.
  1. And when you are advanced to a state of the love of what is good there shall come a period of peace, when good shall be conjoined to the soul, because it shall be seen to be from the Lord and not from the man himself.
  1. And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lends ought to his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD's release.
  1. And this is the manner of that conjunction and relinquishing of merit on the part of the man himself: every good thing which has been acquired by the practice of good from the spiritual principles of the soul shall be ascribed to the Lord, and will then be conjoined to the soul by Him. The soul shall no more ascribe to itself any of the principles derived from genuine good or charity, because they shall be clearly perceived to flow into the soul from the Lord.
  1. Of a foreigner you may exact it again: but that which is your with your brother your hand shall release;
  1. External things which are not of the spiritual man in the soul may be regarded as coming from the man himself; but the soul shall relinquish all merit in the real spiritual good with which it is gifted from heaven;
  1. Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it:
  1. To the end that all that is imperfect and wanting in the soul may be made perfect and enriched, for the Lord will then abundantly endow the soul with good in those heavenly states which you shall receive as an inheritance from the Divine Love and Wisdom as if they were your own:
  1. Only if you carefully hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command you this day.
  1. Only let the soul carefully attend to carry out the perceptions which it has of the Divine Love and Wisdom, to observe to do all the Lord's will as perceived in its states of enlightenment.
  1. For the LORD your God blesses you, as he promised you: and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; and you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.
  1. For the Divine Goodness and Wisdom enrich the soul, according to the promises in the Word; and the spiritual man shall impart truth in abundance to the faculties of the soul, but shall not derive its wisdom from them; and it shall rule the truths and affections of the natural man, but they shall not dominate over the spiritual man.
  1. If there be among you a poor man of one of your brethren within any of your gates in your land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your poor brother:
  1. If there be in the soul a humble acknowledgement that the soul has nothing from itself in spiritual things and a desire for better things in any state to which the Divine Love and Wisdom have brought the soul in order to introduce it to a more heavenly condition; you shall not avert the interior will, nor shut off the communication of the mind from those humble and good desires, which are of the spiritual man.
  1. But you shall open your hand wide to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
  1. But you shall give full play to those feelings, and shall endeavour to the best of your ability to satisfy the cravings which they introduce into the mind.
  1. Beware that there be not a thought in your wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and your eye be evil against your poor brother, and you give him nought; and he cry to the LORD against you, and it be sin to you.
  1. Beware lest you cherish the thought arising from the evil unregenerate heart, saying, it is most certain that in a holy celestial state everything good is perceived to come from the Lord; and your understanding regard as evil the humble strivings after good in the soul, and you in no way endeavour to satisfy them; and thus the good impulses from the Lord be rejected within you, and thus you open your soul to evil.
  1. You shall surely give him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him: because that for this thing the LORD your God shall bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand to.
  1. You shall earnestly endeavour to satisfy these cravings, and you shall bend your will so that it loves to gratify them; because in this way the Divine Love and Wisdom will be conjoined to the soul in all its efforts after usefulness, and in all the exercise of its powers.
  1. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command you, saying, You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and to your needy, in your land.
  1. For the feeling of its own insufficiency and the endeavour after higher attainments will never cease in the regenerating soul; therefore it is the Lord's will that the soul should endeavour with all its powers to satisfy those spiritual aspirations of the soul, when it feels its deficiency of truth and desires more, and when it feels its own evil and seeks after good.
  1. And if your brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold to you, and serve you six years; then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.
  1. If some good and useful principle, either of truth or in the affections of the external man, derived from inferior motives such as the hope of reward in the next life, has been made use of by the spiritual man, and been serviceable to him during the first stages of regeneration; when the soul has been brought to a state of celestial love, principles from such motives will no longer influence the mind.
  1. And when you sendest him out free from you, you shall not let him go away empty:
  1. And when the soul is no longer influenced by these external motives, you shall not dismiss the principles derived from them from the mind as nothing worth;
  1. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, and out of your floor, and out of your winepress: of that with which the LORD your God has blessed you you shall give to him.
  1. But you shall endow them with the interior good and truth which spring from spiritual motives, and from the more exalted truths of the spiritual man; with those things which you have freely received from the Divine Love and Wisdom shall you endow that external principle.
  1. And you shall remember that you were a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you: therefore I command you this thing today.
  1. It shall be ever present in the thought of the spiritual man that the spiritual principle itself was in a state of bondage in the unregenerate condition, and was brought out thence by the Divine Love and Wisdom; and therefore this command is given by the Lord in your regenerate state.
  1. And it shall be, if he say to you, I will not go away from you; because he loves you and your house, because he is well with you;
  1. And it shall be that if you perceive that these external principles cannot be separated from the soul; because they are in agreement with its state and with the interior will, and because the external man is satisfied with the former state;
  1. Then you shall take an aul, and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant for ever. And also to your maidservant you shall do likewise.
  1. Then you shall reduce these external truths to obedience, and by obedience conjoin them to truths introductory to higher states, and in this capacity they will always be serviceable to the regenerate life; and the same shall be done with the external affections.
  1. It shall not seem hard to you, when you sendest him away free from you; for he has been worth a double hired servant to you, in serving you six years: and the LORD your God shall bless you in all that you do.
  1. It shall not seem hard, however, to the internal man when these exterior principles are entirely removed from the soul; for they have performed their service for the spiritual man in conjoining to him interior things during the states of temptation-combat; and the Divine Love and Wisdom will be more closely united to the soul in its future progress.
    [Note (verses 12-18).—There is to be no waste in the kingdom of the Lord; nothing is to be despised because it is of less use than other things; but everything is to be judiciously used with care and prudence according to its usefulness.]
  1. All the firstling males that come of your herd and of your flock you shall sanctify to the LORD your God: you shall do no work with the firstling of your bullock, nor shear the firstling of your sheep.
  1. All the genuine truths originating in charity in the soul, both those derived from love to the neighbour and those derived from love to the Lord (AC 3325), shall be ascribed to the Divine Love and Wisdom (AE 725); you shall not perform your offices to the neighbour, that is, your duties in the world which are taught by those truths, for the sake of self; nor make use of the holy goods and truths of the Church for any selfish end.
  1. You shall eat it before the LORD your God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, you and your household.
  1. They are to be received in the soul as flowing from the Divine Love and Wisdom, and to be carried out in the life for the sake of the Divine Humanity in every state to which the Lord in His Providence shall lead you; they shall thus be conjoined to the interior will, and to all the subordinate faculties.
  1. And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.
  1. And if there be anything of evil or falsity in these affections of the soul, if you can not carry them out in the life, or if your perception of truth is destroyed by them, or there is any other imperfection in them, they are not then to be received as genuine good and truth from the Divine Love and Wisdom.
  1. You shall eat it within your gates: the unclean and the clean person shall eat it alike, as the roebuck, and as the hart.
  1. They are then to be received in the external mind only, as things that may support alike true or false principles, as the natural affection of good in the external man and the truth thence derived.
  1. Only you shall not eat the blood thereof; you shall pour it upon the ground as water.
  1. Only you shall not in this case confound them with the truths derived from the Lord's Divine Humanity, which are to be received in the natural mind as coming direct by influx from heaven. [Note.—Or, by translating the word "blood" in the evil instead of the good sense, this verse may be rendered, Only you shall not appropriate therefrom any principle which does violence to the truths, proceeding from the Lord's Divine Humanity; you shall reject it as a heresy of the external man. See chap. xii., verses 23-25. Blood signifies the very essence of a thing, specially as to truth; thus to drink the blood of the Lord (John 6:53-56), or to be washed, and to overcome evil with the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14, and 12:11), signifies to be vivified, and purified by the influx of the Divine Life. The same is signified by the wine of the sacrament, which is the Divine Life as to Truth; whereas the bread signifies the Divine Life as to Good. The Church of Rome unconsciously bears witness to the law of correspondences, by withholding the cup from the laity, and also withholding the Word and checking the free search after truth among the people. See AC Index, " Blood," "Supper."]

DEUTERONOMY 15    Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  notes  -  discussion  -  Deuteronomy  -  BM Home  -  Full Page