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Deuteronomy Chapter 24

Verses 1-4. When the things loved do not accord with the things believed to be right in the soul, it is in a state analogous to divorce, and the things so loved by the external man and believed to be wrong must not be conjoined to the interior will.
Verse 5. When the understanding of truths is conjoined to its corresponding affection, a state of peace ensues.
Verse 6. No one is to be deprived of the truths of doctrine they live by.
Verse 7. Anything that perverts spiritual goods and truths to worldly uses is to be destroyed.
Verses 8, 9. Caution against the danger of profanation.
Verses 10-13. In imparting truths the endeavour should be made to enable others to see from themselves, and not to force upon them one's own view.
Verses 14, 15. Those who do good from inferior motives are not to be deprived of them.
Verse 16. Evil does not condemn till it is made a man's own by consent of the will and of the understanding.
Verses 17, 18. External things are not to be despised, for the whole soul was in externals till redeemed thence by the Lord.
Verses 19-22. The soul must not return from states of good to the states of truth by which the former were gained, and which are for those still striving to reach them; a state of truth is one of bondage compared to a state of good.
  1. When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
  1. When the interior understanding of truth or perception of good in the soul has through its obscurity become conjoined to some discordant affection of performing uses in the life from the will-principle so that they have made a one; and it comes to pass that the understanding loses all delight in this affection because some difference of inclination (or supposed taint of evil in the latter) is discovered—that is to say, the things loved by the will do not agree with the highest perceptions of the understanding—it is provided that there should be a complete and absolute separation between the things believed in and thought to be right by the understanding and the things loved by the will; and the latter are separated from the interior mind, and have complete freedom from its perceptions:
  1. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.
  1. And when they are separated from the interior mind, which is under the government of the perception of good, or interior understanding of truth, they can become conjoined to other principles in the soul which will operate with them—that is to say, the uses performed by the will are done from other motives than because they accord with the highest perceptions of right.
  1. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
  1. But if the latter principles separate from that affection, and become completely removed from it, and leave it free, or if they perish out of the mind after having been conjoined to that affection with delight—that is, if uses are performed simply from necessity or from some selfish motive, and not with the co-operation of any of the truths or perceptions of duty in the soul—
  1. Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance.
  1. It is not lawful for the interior understanding of truth, or perception of right and wrong which had removed that affection from it, again to take it into the interior soul after that it has been clearly perceived to be discordant, and to be defiled with evil motives; for this would be to act against the conscience, and mix good and evil in the soul, and so cause all the influx from the Lord to be averted from the soul; and would bring evil upon all the states with which the Divine Love and Wisdom desire to gift the soul, as its own.
    [Note.—For this would be to endeavour to serve both God and Mammon at the same time. Either the good uses which a man performs act with and are performed from his religious convictions (in which case the soul is married), or they are divorced—that is, outside the real character altogether: that this last is an imperfect state, and called hardness of heart, is evident from Matt 19:3-12, which is explained in detail in AE 710. It is there shown that in the marriages in the heavens, the understanding of truth or perception of good must be united with the affection which corresponds with it, nor can it be united with any other (see also Mark 12:25). And that a man should leave that evil and falsity which he has hereditarily from education or religion and become conjoined to the affection which corresponds to his perception, and these two will then act as a one (Matt 19:5, 6). And that this love of doing uses in accord with the perceptions of duty must never be put away unless it is seen to proceed from evil motives, and thus become an affection of evil and falsity (verse 9). In verse 12 are described those who are unwilling to be conjoined to the affection of evil, whereby the understanding of good and truth would be perverted or dissipated; and by no means contains any disapproval of natural marriage corresponding to heavenly marriage—that is to say, where the feminine affection of good corresponds exactly with the masculine perception of good. But see the detailed explanation at AE 710]
  1. When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he has taken.
  1. When any perception of good or truth becomes conjoined to its corresponding affection of doing good in any state of the soul, temptations cease, and there is no more labour; and the soul enjoys a period of heavenly peace in that state in which the newly-acquired love of good uses finds its ability to act from the perception of good to which it is joined.
  1. No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he takes a man's life to pledge.
  1. No one is to be deprived of the truths of doctrines they live by; for this is to deprive them of the means of regeneration. (See AC 9213.)
  1. If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and makes merchandise of him, or sells him; then that thief shall die; and you shall put evil away from among you.
  1. If any principle or faculty of the soul alienates spiritual truths by making them subservient to worldly ends; this principle must be destroyed as a thief of the real goods of the soul; and thus will evil be removed from the regenerate life.
  1. Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that you observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so you shall observe to do.
  1. Take heed and beware of the danger of profanation or of sinning against knowledge, and watch diligently against it, and do everything that good from the Lord and the truths that minister thereto shall teach you; as directed by perception or conscience through the Word to the soul, to avoid it. [Note.—The directions about cleansing from leprosy are given in Lev. xiii., xiv., and refer in general to discriminations between profanation from ignorance, and profanation after faith and acknowledgement; and to the cleansing of the soul that is necessary to remove it; that it must be apparently from one's selfhood, though in reality from the Lord; that it must be full and complete, till horror is excited by evil, and till evils are driven without the soul by serious repentance, and till genuine truths are implanted. To simulate a good life in externals, and to will evil internally, is profanation. (See AE 1045-1064.)
  1. Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam by the way, after that you were come forth out of Egypt.
  1. Remember how it has happened that even the good of faith itself has become profaned during the progress of regeneration in the soul by rejecting the influx of the Divine Love and Wisdom. (The good of faith is the affection of doing good acquired by truths; it is profaned when applied to self-aggrandizement, as in Miriam's case.)
  1. When you do lend your brother any thing, you shall not go into his house to fetch his pledge.
  1. 10-13: "That the creditor should stand without, and the pledge should be brought forth to him, signifies how reply is to be made to truths communicated, for by lending is signified the communication of truth, and by taking a pledge the reply. That these things are signified no one can know but from such things as are doing in the other life, thus unless he knows what it is to enter into the house, and what it is to stand abroad, and thus what it is to bring forth abroad. They in the other life, who enter into the house of another, and discourse together in one chamber, so communicate their thoughts with all who are there that they know no other than that they themselves think those things from themselves; but if they stand abroad, in this case indeed the thoughts are perceived, but as from another, and not from themselves. This happens every day in the other life; wherefore they who are of one opinion, or of one sentiment, appear together in one house, and especially if in one chamber of the house; and when the same dissent, then they are parted to pieces from the eyes of those who dissent. Such appearances are continually and everywhere presented in the other life. The reason is, because parity of thoughts conjoins and causes presence, for thought is internal sight, and distances of places in the other life are not as in the world. Hence it is evident what is meant by not entering into the house, but standing abroad and taking a pledge, namely, that is not to bind or inflame another to confirm his own truths, but to hear and apprehend the answers, such as they are, in himself; for he who binds and inflames another to confirm his own truths, causes the other not to speak or think from himself, but from him; and when any one thinks or speaks from another, the truths belonging to him are disturbed, and yet he is not amended; unless in the case of such a one as is yet ignorant of those truths. From these considerations it is further manifest that in all the things of the Word there are things which correspond to such as are in the spiritual world." (AC 9213.)
  1. You shall stand abroad, and the man to whom you do lend shall bring out the pledge abroad to you.
  1. And if the man be poor, you shall not sleep with his pledge:
  1. 12 13: These words also signify that those who are in external truths or rituals of worship are not to be deprived of them; and if they have been removed, they should be restored before they enter into their obscure state caused by external loves, for they are their only means of attaining spiritual life in that state.
  1. In any case you shall deliver him the pledge again when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own clothing, and bless you: and it shall be righteousness to you before the LORD your God.
  1. Those (principles or persons) who do good for the sake of reward are not to be oppressed (or discouraged) in their belief, if they acknowledge the good to be done by the Lord's help, and not by themselves alone; whether they be in internal truths, or those who desire to be instructed in the external and introductory truths of the Church.
  1. You shall not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of your brethren, or of your strangers that are in your land within your gates:
  1. In this state the expectation of reward is not to be taken from them, otherwise, when they come to an obscure state caused by external loves and anxieties, their love of good and truth might perish; for they are in an external state, and this is their only motive to good; and if deprived of it, they might lose their faith and trust in the Lord, and fall into sin.
  1. At his day you shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it: lest he cry against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.
  1. The desire to do good is not to be condemned because what is evil or mistaken may proceed from it; nor are truths themselves to be condemned (per se) though they may be professed and cherished from an imperfect motive: guilt is imputed to man when it proceeds from the will and understanding together, and is made his own by actual commission.
  1. The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
  1. Be careful not to weaken external things which desire to be brought into conformity with spiritual; or those which are consistent with truth but without spiritual good; or to take away by any manner whatever the external truths of those who are in good, but without genuine truths:
  1. You shall not pervert the judgement of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's clothing to pledge:
  1. It must be ever present in the thought of the regenerate that spiritual truths in themselves are but scientific knowledges, subservient to worldly loves in the natural state of the mind, till the soul is brought out of an external (to a spiritual) state by the Divine Love and Wisdom; hence is the Divine law that external truths are not to be despised, for they all may conduce to good (as explained in the preceding verses).
  1. But you shall remember that you were a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you thence: therefore I command you to do this thing.
  1. When the soul is advancing from a state of truth to a state of good, and has become less occupied about doctrines; the soul must not return to its former state for the sake of these doctrines: they are for those who are still learning the truth, or who are being led by truth to the life of good, or for those who are in truth and not yet in good; that you may be gifted by the Divine Love and Wisdom with a celestial proprium, or a new will for good as if from yourself.
  1. When you cuttest down your harvest in your field, and have forgot a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
  1. Or when you are advancing to a state of love to the Lord you shall not return to the states by which your perception of this state was formed; they are for those who are still learning, or are being led towards them, or desire them, but have not yet attained them.
  1. When you beatest your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
  1. Or when you are advancing to a state of spiritual love (and the goods of charity) you shall not return to a state of spiritual truth with the idea of increasing such goods; that state is for those who are still learning, or are being led towards spiritual good, or desire but have not yet attained it.
  1. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
  1. And remember that a state of truth is a state of bondage as compared with that of good, from which you have been brought by the Lord in regeneration; therefore is this command not to return to it. (Matt 24:16-18.)

DEUTERONOMY 24    Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  notes  -  discussion  -  Deuteronomy  -  BM Home  -  Full Page