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Deuteronomy Chapter 4

Verses 1-13. The absolute necessity of obeying the Divine commands.
Verses 14-24. That nothing from selfhood is to be put in the place of Divine truth, and that truth alone, unless worked out in the life, cannot save.
Verses 25-31. If the soul acts from itself it must perish, but if it seeks Divine Wisdom it will be saved.
Verses 32-40. That Providence continually assists regeneration, as may be manifest from the past; that the soul should therefore trust in the Lord and none else, and their sole duty is to carry out His laws.
Verses 41-43. Evils committed through ignorance or errors of doctrine do not condemn.
Verses 44-49. Reiteration of the Divine Law in the state to which the soul has arrived.
  1. Now therefore hearken, O Israel, to the statutes and to the judgements, which I teach you, for to do them, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers gives you.
  1. The principal duty, therefore, of those regenerating is to obey and implicitly carry out all the commands which they receive through the Divine Word, both as to general principles and as to the perception given about each particular case, that they may acquire spiritual life, and enter into and enjoy those more interior states to which the Divine Goodness and Wisdom of the Lord (which have led the regenerate by Divine Providence in all ages) are seeking to guide them.
  1. You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
  1. Nothing shall be added to the perception from Divine truth within the soul as to what is right to do, neither shall any part of it be disregarded, that the whole may be carried out in the life as directed by the Divine Goodness and Wisdom revealed in the Word.
  1. Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD your God has destroyed them from among you.
  1. It has been evident to the understanding what are the pernicious results of false worship conjoined with a life of evil. For all the false opinions which favour a life of evil in one who pretends to religion are destroyed in the soul by the truths that are perceived by those regenerating from the Divine Goodness and Wisdom.
  1. But you that did cleave to the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
  1. But all those thoughts and affections that uphold a life of good derived from the Divine Goodness and Wisdom as revealed in the Word and in the Lord Jesus Christ are preserved every one and confirmed in the soul.
  1. Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgements, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land whither you go to possess it.
  1. It is now evident to the regenerating soul that the Word illustrated by influx from Divine Goodness and Wisdom instructs the soul in all things, both in general principles and in particular cases, and points out the things which are necessary to be done in order to attain to heavenly life.
  1. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
  1. Attend to these, therefore, and work them out patiently in the life; for this is the true wisdom and intelligence of the regenerate, and will be perceived to be such by all things in the soul that desire genuine good, which will receive these principles, and will acknowledge that a life in accordance with them is real wisdom and intelligence.
  1. For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
  1. For what affections so tend towards good, and bring the soul to so Divine a state as those derived from the Lord as perfect Divine Love and Wisdom (as displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ)?
  1. And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgements so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
  1. And what affections so lead towards good, or are in accordance with such just directions for the general conduct of life and for each particular case, as the new perceptions of the Divine Word which are given to the soul in this state?
  1. Only take heed to yourself, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life: but teach them your sons, and your sons' sons;
  1. Only let the regenerating watch and keep their souls diligently, lest they forget the directions which have been given them in their states of illustration, and lest the will should not act from them in any state they may be passing through, but let them impress them upon all their thoughts and principles of action.
  1. Specially the day that you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
  1. Specially that state in which they manifestly perceived the absolute necessity of obeying the commands proceeding from the Divine Goodness and Wisdom, and when by the Lord's Providence the whole attention of the soul was brought to bear upon eternal things, and made to perceive the Divine instructions given in the Word, that it might learn to regard the Lord's will in every state of natural life, and that all their thoughts and actions might bear the impress of it.
  1. And you came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
  1. These are the states in which the soul approaches the state of love to the Lord and comes under its influence, and perceives the Divine Love, and the defilement of the love of self burning within the soul even to the centre, and all the darkness in spiritual things, and obscurity and dense evils thence resulting.
  1. And the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only you heard a voice.
  1. Then it is that the soul has a perception from the Divine Love, and of its own evils; it perceives the Lord's will revealed in the truths of the Word, and it perceives that no external or simulated goodness in natural things will avail for salvation, but that the perception given of the Lord's will must be carried out in the life.
  1. And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
  1. And understands the definite conditions of salvation, which it is absolutely necessary for those who would be saved to carry out, namely, to work out the whole law of the Lord as far as they are able in the life; and the Word of the Lord is thus to be impressed upon the memory and upon the life.
  1. And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgements, that you might do them in the land whither you go over to possess it.
  1. And the soul receives illustration from the Lord through the Word in that state of the things relating to the general principles of action which form the true worship of Him, and to conduct of life in the world, that are to be carried out in the regenerate state upon which the soul is now entering, and the quality of which it must acquire.
  1. Take you therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
  1. It is necessary, therefore, to watch what passes in the soul with jealous care, for it was perceived that nothing from self which simulates good in externals is to be worshiped in the place of the pure goodness and truth which proceeds from the Lord's Humanity in that state in which the soul received illustration from the Lord, proceeding from the Divine Love, as to what is necessary for salvation.
  1. Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
  1. Lest the soul should turn away from the Divine and worship what proceeds from its own evil proprium, and make a god of it, and imagine the desires and thoughts that proceed therefrom, and which are from the loves of self and the world, and merely put on a semblance of good in externals, to be genuine good and truth.
  1. The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air,
  1. The affections proceeding from the evils of the proprium, which put on the appearance of good in the natural mind, and the false intelligence, which seems to be rational externally, and to lift the mind to real truth, but really proceeds from the loves of self and the world, and is infatuation.
  1. The likeness of any thing that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
  1. Or worship as the chief good the mere pleasures of the senses separate from spiritual life, and believe as the only truths the appearances which are derived from the fallacies of the senses apart from revelation.
  1. And lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, should be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD your God has divided to all nations under the whole heaven.
  1. And lest the understanding be lifted up with pride, and when the delights are perceived of self-love, the love of the world, and all the falses derived from them which surround self-love, the soul should be compelled by the natural evil inclination of the heart to worship and love them supremely, though these things were intended by the goodness and wisdom of the Lord to be subservient to all the good thoughts and affections implanted by Him in the soul.
  1. But the LORD has taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be to him a people of inheritance, as you are this day.
  1. But the Lord has taken the regenerate and brought them forth out of the evil loves of the natural man, a state in which religion is made to consist in mere knowledges, and the mind is under the dominion of the evil proprium, to receive the life derived from Divine truth operating on the soul as is being developed in the present state.
  1. Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in to that good land, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance:
  1. Furthermore, the soul has turned away and perverted even the Divine truth of the Word itself to the service of evil by the perversity of the natural man, so that it is not possible for truths alone to conduct the soul to interior religion, or for the soul, when in a state of believing truths only, to possess those heavenly states which the Divine Goodness and Wisdom desire to give it.
  1. But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but you shall go over, and possess that good land.
  1. But truth must be stored in the memory while the soul is in an external state, and cannot, while it is regarded as the chief thing, conduct the soul to the internal life of goodness; but when truths are carried out into the life, the soul shall enter into it and possess it.
    [Note (verse 21, etc.).—Even truths themselves are productive of evil if a man begins to imagine himself superior to others on account of them. The possession of truths, which are spiritual riches, is a serious responsibility, and the more truths a man thinks he has, the more is it necessary for him to examine if they are made use of in the life; for truths, like Moses, will die on this side of Jordan, and will not accompany the soul in the next world except so far as they have been worked but in the life (Matt 7:21-27).]
  1. Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD your God has forbidden you.
  1. Let the regenerate take great heed, therefore, of what passes in the soul, lest they forget the conditions on which alone it is possible for the Divine Goodness and Wisdom to conduct them to heaven, namely, by carrying out the Divine will in the life; and lest they worship as the supreme good the false imaginations proceeding from their own evil heart, or any appearance of good or truth in externals, which is contrary to the perception given them of the Divine Goodness and Wisdom.
  1. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
  1. For thus all the influx from the Divine Love and Wisdom within the soul will be consumed by the lusts arising from the loves of self and the world, and become hatred against Divine good.
  1. When you shall beget children, and children's children, and you shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD your God, to provoke him to anger:
  1. As the mind develops fresh truths and principles derived from them in series, and after the soul has become fully initiated into the goods and truths of the Church, when it turns away from the Divine, and worships what proceeds from self-derived intelligence, and calls the evil desires of the proprium good, and shall thus sin against the perception given by the Divine Love and Wisdom so as to avert them from the soul.
  1. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over Jordan to possess it; you shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
  1. The Divine Word shows clearly now to the soul, both in its internal and external senses, that in such case all that is of the Church with man and the internal good and truth now possessed by the soul will utterly perish, heavenly states will no more be experienced, and spiritual life will utterly die out.
  1. And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and you shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
  1. And goods and truths will be lost amongst the hereditary evils of the soul, and will be obscured by the falses into which the Divine influx of truth into the soul will be turned.
  1. And there you shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
  1. And in that state the soul will be under the dominion of the worship of what is false proceeding from its own corrupt hereditary nature, evil in its motive, untrue in its principles, without perception of real truth or desire to carry it out, without the power of appropriating spiritual nourishment from heaven, or true perception of things as they really are.
  1. But if from there you shall seek the LORD your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
  1. But if even in that deplorable state the soul shall sincerely seek Divine Goodness and Wisdom, it shall find them if it really search for them with all the power of the will and understanding.
  1. When you are in tribulation, and all these things are come upon you, even in the latter days, if you turn to the LORD your God, and shall be obedient to his voice;
  1. When it is in temptations, and all these things come upon the soul, when the state comes in which nothing of good and truth seems left, if it then looks to Divine Goodness and Wisdom, and endeavours to carry out the dictates received therefrom
  1. (For the LORD your God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which he swore to them.
  1. (For the Lord arranges or permits all things by Divine Love and Wisdom in Providence out of pure love and mercy), He will not cease to help the soul in every possible way, nor will He permit it (if it desires good) to be destroyed by evil; nor will He be absent in its struggles, in which He Himself will take part, and thereby conjoin the soul with Himself, as He has declared in the Word that He becomes conjoined with those who strive after good.
  1. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven to the other, whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is, or has been heard like it?
  1. For let the soul examine and ask now of the states that are past in its former experiences since the Lord first caused spiritual good and truth to appear in the natural mind by regeneration, and into all the perceptions which it has of spiritual and internal things, and see if there has ever been such a revelation of Divine goodness as what the Lord has done by assuming Humanity to effect man's regeneration, or if man could have conceived of anything greater.
  1. Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?
  1. Or could there be any other principles in which is revealed so clearly the will of the Lord proceeding from Divine Love as those (proceeding from that Humanity) which have been revealed to the soul, and which it is also enabled to live out?
  1. Or has God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
  1. Or are there other truths which have been able to draw forth what is good and separate it from the evil in the soul by temptations, by clear revelations of truth, by the manifest operation of Divine Providence, by contest against evil, by the power of internal truth, and by Divine Omnipotence, and by protection from evils and falses, according to all that has been done by the Divine Goodness and Wisdom upon all the falsities which favoured evil in the natural mind, as has been evident to the perception of the understanding?
  1. Unto you it was showed, that you might know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
  1. It has been given to the soul to perceive these things in order that it might know that the revelation of goodness and truth as manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only true revelation of the Divine Being and His attributes. Besides this there is no just conception of what is good and true.
  1. Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, that he might instruct you: and upon earth he showed you his great fire; and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire.
  1. By illustration in the interiors of the mind He causes the regenerate to understand His will, that He may teach them to follow Him; and in their natural life He shows them the operation of His Divine Love, and it is perceived that all His commands proceed from that Love.
  1. And because he loved your fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought you out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
  1. It is because the Lord loves the desires of the regenerating soul to attain to genuine good from Himself that He endows it with abundance of truths, and brings it by means of His omnipotent power to a clear perception of truth, and from the dominion of the falsities which favour evil in the natural unregenerate heart.
  1. To drive out nations from before you greater and mightier than you are, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.
  1. To enable it to overcome evils in the soul, which are far greater and more powerful than the soul's desires for good would be without continual help from heaven, and to bring the soul to heaven and plant therein goods and truths in the place of evil, as can be seen even in this present state.
  1. Know therefore this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
  1. Let the mind, therefore, clearly perceive in this state and accept it in the will that the goodness and truth proceeding from the Lord as revealed in His Humanity are all-powerful, and alone to be worshiped both in the internal domain of motives and thoughts and the external domain of life and actions; there is nothing else of real power for good.
  1. You shall keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days upon the earth, which the LORD your God gives you, for ever.
  1. The whole duty of those who are regenerating, therefore, consists in regulating the life by His laws, and in everything obeying His will, as far as it is given to the soul to perceive it, in the state to which it has arrived, that it may go well with the man who is regenerating, and with all the desires and thoughts with which the soul shall be endowed, and that the fullness of his states of good and truth in the external mind may be amplified in the existence with which he will be endowed by the Divine Goodness and Wisdom in heaven for ever.
  1. Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
  1. Then the soul is provided by means of Divine truth from the Word with complete doctrines in the external mind derived from love to the Lord.
  1. That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing to one of these cities he might live:
  1. That when the soul through error has destroyed anything of spiritual life, it may take refuge in them and be blameless if the destruction of what is spiritual takes place from ignorance and not from premeditated evil in the heart; and that by embracing these doctrines his spiritual life might be preserved.
  1. Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.
  1. There are doctrines adapted for those states in which goodness and truth are vastated in the mind in which the soul depends upon truths and faith as all-important, and for those in which the soul is endeavouring to carry out what it knows in the natural life, in which works are considered all-important. And for the more perfect states in the natural principle when the soul endeavours to act from spiritual motives and from the new regenerate will.
    [Note (verses 41-43).—These verses seem to indicate that doctrines are provided from the Word suited to the states and capacities of all, and even if a soul should act against and destroy what is of true charity, still if this is done from error and from mistaken religious tenets conscientiously believed, no guilt will be imputed to him. And if the soul is in doubt as to what are good and truth, let him take refuge in the doctrines of truth as far as they have been revealed to him in the Word, and abide therein, and his spiritual life will be preserved.]
  1. And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
  1. And these are the rules of action which those who are regenerating receive from the Divine Word.
  1. These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgements, which Moses spoke to the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt.
  1. These are the things clearly perceived to be true by the illustration given from heaven, the instructions relating to general principles, and the laws for guiding the life in individual cases which those who are regenerating receive through the Word, after they have rejected the fallacies belonging to the natural man.
  1. On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Bethpeor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:
  1. Before they enter upon the internal state of good, whilst still in external principles and in the first stage of regeneration in that region of the mind formerly occupied by the love of self, the chief evil of the soul, which dominated over the natural mind, but which was conquered by Divine truth from the Word and the new regenerate principles of the mind derived therefrom after the soul was delivered from the bondage of its old fallacies,
  1. And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
  1. And the natural mind became occupied by the new desires and truths given from heaven, where the love of self and the love of the world formerly reigned, the two chief ruling evils which were in the natural mind before regeneration, and obscured the influx of good from heaven;
  1. From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even to mount Sion, which is Hermon,
  1. From its first beginning, when the regenerating soul began to draw real truth from the Word, even to its inmost state, which is a rational perception of spiritual things,
  1. And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even to the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.
  1. And all the doctrinals of the external Church derived from good, even to the sciences of spiritual things now under the control of things derived from the spiritual man.

DEUTERONOMY 4    Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  notes  -  discussion  -  Deuteronomy  -  BM Home  -  Full Page