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Deuteronomy Chapter 2

Verses 1-7. Hereditary good nature will not avail for regeneration.
Verses 8-15. The character is not made spiritual by external worship.
Verses 14, 15. The loss of self-confidence.
Verses 16-23. The soul must not remain in a state of falsified truths, but pass beyond them.
Verses 24-37. The destruction of the domination of self-love in the external mind.
  1. Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spoke to me: and we compassed mount Seir many days.
  1. And the state of the soul is then changed, and regeneration is continued in states of desolation and of assaults from evil spirits, as the soul had been warned by Divine truth; and it is led through a series of experiences under the influence of the apparent good in the will part of the natural mind.
  1. And the LORD spoke to me, saying,
  1. And the soul has a fresh perception from the Lord through Divine truth.
  1. You have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.
  1. That these states under the influence of the natural will are advanced to the full, and that it is time for the soul to advance to knowledges of truth from a celestial origin (AE 405); that is, to truths derived from the genuine love of what is good.
  1. And command you the people, saying, You are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take you good heed to yourselves therefore:
  1. And the soul perceives from the Lord through the Word that it is to pass by and leave on one side the external states of charity derived from the apparent natural good which is in the will before regeneration, which also reverences and fears to offend against the holy truths of faith. Great care must be taken, therefore, by the regenerating soul,
  1. Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir to Esau for a possession.
  1. Not to confound this good with spiritual good, for the Church will not be formed in such states, not even as to its lowest natural things; for the Lord has so ordered it that this voluntary part of the natural mind receives influx from Him without the intervention of truths by an internal way.
  1. You shall buy meat of them for money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water of them for money, that you may drink.
  1. The regenerating soul shall draw forth good from this principle by means of its knowledges of good derived from the Word to nourish it, and it shall acquire truths from it by means of its knowledges of truth derived from the Word that the understanding may be replenished therewith.
  1. For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the works of your hand: he knows your walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.
  1. For the goodness and wisdom of the Lord have been with the soul, blessing it with the means of obtaining these things. All its progress through states of apparent loss of goodness and truth have been under the Lord's providence. His love and wisdom have been with it in all its temptations, and it has lost no really good thing.
    [Note (verses 1-7).—This somewhat obscure passage seems to describe how the soul in the earlier stages of regeneration is brought into contact with the apparent integrity and benevolence which exist in the world from such motives as the fear of the law, love of approbation, etc. The soul cannot be regenerated in such states which are not spiritual; but the goods and maxims practised from such states may be added to the spiritual character, and may finally become celestial by being practised from the genuine love of goodness infused into the soul by the Lord.]
  1. And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from Eziongaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab.
  1. And after the mind has passed from under the influence of the apparent love of good and charity, which is in the natural mind from motives which are not spiritual, and from the influence of the doctrines and maxims belonging thereto which are really worldly [N.B.—Elath and Ezion-gaber were places by the Red Sea where Solomon had a navy of ships. (See 1 Kings ix. 26.)], a new state is reached in the soul, and it is brought into the defect of good and truth, such as exists with those who are in mere external worship, by which the genuine good of worship is adulterated. [Note.—The genuine good of worship is the sincere love of the Lord (that is, of His character as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ) above all things and the earnest desire to carry out His will in every thought and action of life. When worship is made to consist in anything else as its chief characteristic, such as in ceremonial or in doctrinals, or when external worship is the result of other motives, as from custom, habit, or for the sake of respectability, it is adulterated with evil.]
  1. And the LORD said to me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give you of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar to the children of Lot for a possession.
  1. And the soul is commanded by the Lord through the Word not to be hostile to what proceeds from imperfect external worship, nor to contend with it by fighting against it from spiritual truths; for genuine spiritual truth will not be formed in the soul by dispossessing the states derived from external worship, for the Lord has provided the love of external worship for the benefit of those faculties in the soul which can only receive a religious principle derived from external things.
  1. The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims;
  1. This region of the mind was occupied in former states by false persuasions derived from hereditary evil, of a character that perverted all the goods and truths in the soul, and deeply rooted in the mind, like all the ideas derived from self-love.
  1. Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites called them Emims.
  1. Which also filled the mind with the idea of its own super-eminence, as all principles derived from love of self, and are very powerful on account of their proceeding from hereditary evil in the will; but those who are in external worship consider only the outward results of these things.
    [Note (verses 10, 11).—Some idea may be formed of the power of persuasions derived from hereditary evil and the desires of the natural mind by reflecting how self-interest twists and imperceptibly warps one's thoughts, and how difficult it is to form a clear and impartial judgement in any matter in which one's interests are involved; also how any passion or desire of the natural mind when it obtains any power over the soul obliterates all the rational considerations that would check it.]
  1. The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did to the land of his possession, which the LORD gave to them.
  1. The persuasions of falsity arising from self-love and other unbridled passions also occupied the will part of the mind originally, but were succeeded by the natural good proceeding from external motives when it had destroyed those evils and taken their place in the mind, as spiritual influences from heaven are finally enabled to drive out evils from the interiors of the soul, in which the Lord has ordained they should have dominion, if the regenerating soul will open the mind to receive them.
  1. Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered.
  1. The soul can now be raised from its state of desolations into one of external goodness and order, and, led by Divine truth, it passes the boundary which introduces it into the life of good.
    [Note (verses 10-13).—In this passage is described how the regenerating soul is led through imperfect to better states. Any motive that will assist in driving out sin is at first adopted till the soul is fully prepared to receive truly spiritual life from heaven.]
  1. And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD swore to them.
  1. And the state in which the soul comes from the affection of interior or rational truth into the commencement of the life of good is one in which truths are in fullness, and a new state is commencing in which the self-will of the evil proprium is becoming subdued, and the soul is convinced of its insufficiency to contend in its own strength against evil as declared by the Lord.
  1. For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed.
  1. For indeed the providence of the Lord had been directed to destroy these thoughts and affections derived from the evil proprium throughout the soul till they were consumed.
  1. So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people,
  1. So it came to pass that when all self-derived power and confidence were consumed and destroyed from among the new spiritual principles received into the soul,
  1. That the LORD spoke to me, saying,
  1. That the soul perceived by Divine truth
  1. You are to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day:
  1. That it was now prepared to pass over through the good of external and imperfect worship and the things derived from it.
  1. And when you comest near over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give you of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it to the children of Lot for a possession.
  1. And the soul comes into contact with those principles in the mind which are derived from falsified truth; these are not to be attacked or meddled with, for the Lord will not found the Church in the regenerating soul upon doctrines derived from falsified truths; for these can only exist with those who are of the perverted external Church (or form a state of falsified external religion in the soul).
  1. (That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;
  1. This region of the mind was also full of ideas of conceit derived from self-love; and falsities derived from the love of pre-eminence dwelt there in previous states of the soul, and their outward results are perceived to be evil by those who are in external truth.
  1. A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:
  1. These false persuasions are derived from hereditary evil and pervert all the goods and truths of the soul, and are deeply rooted, as all those derived from self-love; but the Lord destroyed them by means of the doctrines of external truth, and they succeeded them and dwelt in that region of the mind:
  1. As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even to this day:
  1. As He did to the external affections of good which dwelt in the will part of the mind when He destroyed the persuasions of self-love from before them, and they succeeded them and dwelt in their stead even to the present condition of the soul.
  1. And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even to Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)
  1. And the falsities which were in the intellect to its utmost boundaries, the truths which were by the science of truth from the Word, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.
    [Note (verses 16-23).—This passage appears to describe the progress of regeneration in the truths believed, as verses 1-15 had described the regeneration of motives in the will, and shows how merely apparent truths, and even falsities, are turned to good account. Thus, for example, the falsity may exist in the mind from the letter of the Divine Word misunderstood, or from the doctrines of old and perverted Churches, that the Lord is a severe and arbitrary God of vengeance, who must by all means avenge sin even if the innocent suffer in the place of the guilty; and this false idea may be useful at first to hold sin in check by sheer terror, till the soul is prepared to receive the perception that nothing can exist with the Lord inconsistent with pure love and mercy towards both the good and the evil, which is the only conclusion the soul can arrive at when it grasps the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of the character of God.]
  1. Rise you up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle.
  1. The regenerating soul must rise above these external motives and fallacies, and continue its heavenward journey, and pass into a state which will bring it into conflict with its more interior evils; and it perceives that the Lord will give it power to overcome the evils of self-love, the chief evil of the soul that opposes regeneration, and that the regenerate will will be supreme in the external mind now occupied by the love of self, and that it is the duty of those regenerating to drive out these evils and strive against them strenuously.
  1. This day will I begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of you, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of you.
  1. And in this state the Lord begins to put the dread of committing sin and the fear of resisting good impulses from heaven upon all the principles of action in the whole mind, and they hear the Divine will as given in the conscience, and are in great fear and anxiety lest it should be transgressed.
  1. And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying,
  1. And the soul explores by means of Divine truth from the state of defect of good in which it is into those principles of the mind which are under the dominion of selfish loves, to see if there is any agreement to be made with them by the regenerating soul.
  1. Let me pass through your land: I will go along by the high way, I will neither turn to the right hand nor to the left.
  1. The regenerate will is desirous to continue its progress through these motives of action derived from self-respect and esteem. Using them only so far as is necessary, it would go straight forward towards higher things, being guided by the clear truths of the Word, and would not swerve either into evil or falsity.
  1. You shall sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink: only I will pass through on my feet;
  1. It is willing to acquire from those principles and motives such conformity with custom as is necessary for life in the world by means of its perception of what is good from the Word that it may be sustained; and such worldly maxims as are essential, by means of its knowledge of truth, that the mind may be well stored with worldly information, only these things will only be used by the regenerate as transitory and comparatively inferior things.
  1. (As the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did to me;) until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the LORD our God gives us.
  1. (As the principles of good which were in the soul before regeneration, and the external goods which were in the inferior things of worship, were used by the soul), until it shall become fully regenerated and enter into those holy states which the Divine Love and Wisdom are preparing for it.
  1. But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD your God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into your hand, as appears this day.
  1. But self-love, which reigns supreme in the natural mind before regeneration, will not suffer the regenerate thus to proceed unmolested on their heavenly journey; for it is diametrically opposed both in will and opinion to all good and truth from the Lord, and refuses all agreement with spiritual things, and must therefore be entirely overcome and conquered in the state to which the soul has now arrived.
  1. And the LORD said to me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before you: begin to possess, that you may inherit his land.
  1. And it is perceived by the Divine truth of the Word that the soul now has power from the Lord to obtain victory over self-love and all things derived from it; and that it should begin to practise from spiritual principles the goods formerly done from this motive that they may be conjoined to the soul as genuine good.
  1. Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz.
  1. Then self-love comes out to oppose the religious progress of the soul, together with all the arguments that are derived from it in the state to which the soul has now progressed.
  1. And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.
  1. And the goodness and wisdom of the Lord deliver the regenerate from the domination of this principle, and enable them to overcome it with all the apparent truths and opinions which are derived from it.
  1. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
  1. And all the doctrines hitherto subservient to this motive come now under the influence of the regenerate will; and all the falses, affections of evil, and evil intentions in such doctrines are entirely rooted out, and none suffered to remain:
  1. Only the cattle we took for a prey to ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.
  1. But such natural subservient affections of this old principle as are innocent in themselves are adopted by the regenerate will, and whatever is of use in its principles is appropriated to the regenerate.
  1. From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even to Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all to us:
  1. From its tenets, which are proximate to truths, but falsified, and from those derived from the fallacies of the senses even to natural good, which is closely allied to genuine good received from the Word, there is no principle of action derived from the love of self which is not to be under the dominion of the regenerate will: the goodness and wisdom of the Lord will place them all under its control:
  1. Only to the land of the children of Ammon you came not, nor to any place of the river Jabbok, nor to the cities in the mountains, nor to whatever the LORD our God forbad us.
  1. Only the soul must not adopt the principles of external worship derived from falses, nor any of their falsified truths, nor any of its doctrines which were joined with evils, nor anything that it perceives to be inimical to the Divine goodness and wisdom of the Lord.
    [Note (verses 24-37) — This passage appears to describe how the Lord reduces the selfishness of the heart in the external mind, and how the external morality arising from the love of reputation in the world cannot be adjoined to the Christian character without temptation-combats against the selfish motives which induce it in the unregenerate state, and how it is finally made spiritual by adoption from higher motives. The love of self reigns in man when he only regards himself and his own in what he thinks and does, and places this before the public good. (See AC 7366-7377.)]

DEUTERONOMY 2    Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  notes  -  discussion  -  Deuteronomy  -  BM Home  -  Full Page