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Deuteronomy Chapter 21

Verses 1-9. On the purification of the external man from the guilt of rejecting the Divine Influx when this has been done through ignorance.
Verses 10-14. On the adoption of natural affections by the spiritual man.
Verses 15-17. Things inferior are not to be put before others of more importance in the formation of the character because they are more pleasing to the natural disposition.
Verses 18-21. What stubbornly opposes good and truth in the soul is to be destroyed out of it.
Verses 22, 23. Evils once seen and acknowledged to be destroyed there and then, and not suffered to remain in succeeding states.
  1. If one be found slain in the land which the LORD your God gives you to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who has slain him:
  1. If the Divine Spirit or Influx of good and truth from heaven be found profaned, perverted, or extinguished in the soul in the new states which the Divine Love and Wisdom have given you as your own in regeneration, being destroyed in the external man, and it be not known what caused it to perish;
  1. Then your elders and your judges shall come forth, and they shall measure to the cities which are round about him that is slain:
  1. Then shall the soul, by means of its truths which are from good, and the power of judgement in spiritual things given it, consider the doctrines believed in which are most allied to the state in which the Divine Spirit is perceived to be quenched in the external man:
  1. And it shall be, that the city which is next to the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which has not been worked with, and which has not drawn in the yoke;
  1. And with respect to that doctrine of faith which has most affinity with the state in which the Divine influence is extinguished, the primary truths in that doctrine shall take of the good of the natural man which is in innocence from not having yet attracted to the soul the falses of faith and evils of self-love by the service of lusts;
  1. And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:
  1. And the primary truths of that doctrine agreeing with good, together with the good of the natural man which is in innocence, shall be brought to a perception of their ignorance and obscure state, in which there are naturally no genuine truths and goods of faith, and in that state of humiliation the soul shall reject all that is evil in the doctrines imbibed into the external memory, and be freed from the evils resulting, because the influx from heaven was destroyed through ignorance (AC 9262, see also AC 8902, 4503):
  1. And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD your God has chosen to minister to him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:
  1. And the good desires and aspirations received from the Lord both in spiritual and natural things shall be more closely adjoined to the interiors of the soul; for these are what minister the things of the Divine Love and Wisdom to the soul, and confer upon it the qualities derived from the Divine Humanity (the Lord Jesus Christ); and by perception derived from them shall every difficulty as to doctrine and as to life be decided:
  1. And all the elders of that city, that are next to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:
  1. And all the truths derived from good in that doctrine, which was allied to the state in which the Divine Influx was found extinguished in the soul, shall be purified from the guilt of profaning or rejecting Divine truth, being expiated by the innocence of ignorance of the external man:
  1. And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.
  1. And through them the soul shall confess and perceive that these holy influences have not been profaned or extinguished through any intention of the will, nor with the knowledge of the understanding.
  1. Be merciful, O LORD, to your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and lay not innocent blood to your people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.
  1. Be merciful, O Lord, to the regenerating soul which You have brought forth from its hereditary evil condition, and let not the heinous sin of quenching the Divine Spirit which flows from You come upon the spiritual man; and the soul shall be delivered from the evil that comes from the rejection or perversion of Divine truth.
  1. So shall you put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when you shall do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.
  1. And thus you shall be saved from the rejection or perversion of the Divine Influx into the soul, when you shall carry out the Lord's will as far as perception of it is given you.
    [Note (verses 1-9).—From this passage may we not learn that the soul will sometimes discover in the course of regeneration that all the good that flows in from heaven is extinguished by the evil tendencies of the natural man? but need not despair; for is it not warned in the Word beforehand that the unregenerate heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked? Only let the regenerating be careful that all their powers are directed to guard against the tendencies to evil in the external man being conjoined to the interior soul, by being embraced by the affections, and permitted by the understanding. If the soul is in the perception that all good is from the Lord and implores His aid, and that all evil is from hell and its own perverted tendencies, and desires to shun them; no evil will be imputed to it. (See AC 10219, 6325, 6203-4). The Lord Himself had all the tendencies to evil that we have from His Humanity derived from the mother, but as He never permitted them to be conjoined to Himself by adoption, He was without sin, and conjoined this perfected Humanity in Himself to the Divinity, which was His interior soul. Thus by His conquest over these tendencies to evil the human race became conjoined to the Divinity, and it is by our conquest over these tendencies by the Divine aid thus acquired, that we become conjoined to the Divine life— that is, saved. (See AC 1414, 9452.)]
  1. When you go forth to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God has delivered them into your hands, and you have taken them captive,
  1. When the soul is remitted into externals to combat the evils and falsities which exist in the external mind, and the Divine Love and Wisdom have reduced them under the power of the regenerate will, and they are under its control,
  1. And see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire to her, that you would have her to your wife;
  1. And you perceive amongst these external things now subject to the regenerate will, affections of the natural man, well-pleasing and delightful to the soul, and the soul desires these, and to have them adjoined to its life,
  1. Then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
  1. These affections shall then be introduced into the interiors of the soul by the regenerate will; and shall there be purified from the things belonging thereto, which are unclean, and void of spiritual life in externals (AC 3301);
  1. And she shall put the clothing of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in your house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that you shall go in to her, and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.
  1. And all things that were remote from spiritual life in these affections shall be put off (AC 3703), and they shall become more closely conjoined to the regenerate will, and shall arrive at a new state in which the evils and falsities formerly belonging to that state are buried in oblivion (AE 555) : and after this these affections maybe conjoined to the regenerating soul, the regenerate will derived from the Lord will impart its own quality to them, and they will be helpful to the regenerate life.
  1. And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall let her go whither she will; but you shall not sell her at all for money, you shall not make merchandise of her, because you have humbled her.
  1. And it shall be that if these affections cease to be delightful and helpful to the regenerating soul, then you shall relinquish them; but you shall not alienate them from spiritual uses to the service of self, you shall not turn them to selfish and worldly ends, because you have adjoined them to your spiritual life.
    [Note (verses 10-14).—Thus, for example, these verses seem to teach that when the regenerating soul examines the depths of the heart to cast out the evils therefrom; many things will be found, such as the desire for wealth, worldly position, and so forth, which are not harmful in themselves, but only become so when they dominate over the spiritual man; and that these may be adopted by the latter, purified from evil and turned to good uses, and thus become helpful to regeneration, but they are not necessary to spiritual life, and may be relinquished; but having adopted them, they must not be deprived of all that is spiritual by being turned exclusively to worldly and selfish ends.]
  1. If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:
  1. If the regenerating soul has conjoined to it the affection of good and truth spiritual, and the affection of good and truth natural (that is, the affection of doing good from really wise principles derived from heaven, which are internal and spiritual; and the affection of doing good from the natural disposition or good-nature, as it is called, which is external), and one is delightful to the will and the other is distasteful; and from both are derived principles of life and doctrine in the character, both from the internal and the external affection, and those principles which are really essential to spiritual life are derived from the affection which is distasteful to the will:
  1. Then it shall be, when he makes his sons to inherit that which he has, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
  1. Then it shall be that when the soul in the course of regeneration begins to acquire goods and truths by means of the principles derived from these affections, those principles derived from the affection of the natural disposition, and which are therefore agreeable to the will, must not be put before those derived from the affection distasteful to the will, if the latter are perceived to be the real essential principles of life derived from heaven:
  1. But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he has: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
  1. But those principles which are felt to be of primary importance and real truths derived from heaven, even though they are repugnant to the natural disposition, must be allowed to have a double share in the formation of the regenerate character; for thereby comes the first dawning of spiritual life in the soul; and these principles are given to have the primary share in the formation of the regenerate character. [Note.—This subject may be further illustrated by the account of Jacob's wives, Rachel and Leah (see AC 3919), also by the consideration of the conduct of parents towards their children, where it would be well-pleasing to indulge them, but really wise to correct them; —generally to give, from good-nature, people what they clamour for is natural, and to give them what is believed to be for their good ultimately is spiritual—and to give the same to the various appetites and desires of one's own mind is to behave with like wisdom towards oneself. (See AC 988, 4992, 5008, 5028, 5032, etc.)]
  1. If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken to them:
  1. If there be in the mind a stubborn and rebellious principle derived from the false doctrines received from education, which will not obey the perception given by the good and truths of the Church, and when these have done everything possible to bring it into conformity, still will not obey:
  1. Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place;
  1. Then shall the regenerating soul by means of the goods and truths of the Church lay hold of this stubborn principle, and bring it out to light before such truths derived from good as exist in the doctrines from which it is derived, and to such elementary truths as may exist in the state derived from those doctrines.
  1. And they shall say to the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
  1. And by means of the good and truth of the Church it shall be made evident to the perception of truth existing from that doctrine that the principle is unyielding to the influences of good and truth, and opposes them, and quenches the Divine Influx in the soul; and eagerly appropriates evil, and imbibes falses which dissipate true wisdom.
  1. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shall you put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
  1. Then all that is really good and true in that doctrine will combine to destroy that stubborn principle in the natural mind by the plain truths of the Word, that it trouble the soul no more: thus will evil be removed from the midst of the soul; and all that is spiritual in the soul shall perceive and obey, and fear to act against the good and truth of the Church. (See also AE 655.)
    [Note.— This passage (verses 18-21) has relation to the violation of truth, as is evident from the signification of stoning (see AC 5156), and shows that one may judge of doctrines by the effect they have on the life; if they reject good influences and lead the soul to love evil or to neglect virtue, they must be destroyed; no matter how true they have been deemed, or how much they have been cherished by the soul before.]
  1. And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and you hang him on a tree:
  1. When there shall be found in the soul an evil which ought to be destroyed; and it is seen to induce a state utterly devoid of spiritual life, so that it must be rejected as utterly averse to the good of heaven and the Church:
  1. His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that your land be not defiled, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance.
  1. You shall not permit any remnant of this evil to remain in the proprium through the period of temptation to succeeding states of regeneration, but shall entirely reject it in the state in which its malignity has been fully perceived (for evils that are seen and acknowledged separate the soul from all spiritual life if not removed); that the holy states be not denied, with which the soul is gifted by the Divine Love and Wisdom in regeneration. (See also AE 655.)

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