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Deuteronomy Chapter 1

Verses 1-8. A General Summary.
Verses 9-18. The selection of right principles in the mind.
Verses 19-21. Invitation to enter upon the heavenly life.
Verses 22-25. A search into what constitutes the heavenly life.
Verses 26-40. The unwillingness of the unregenerate heart to enter upon it.
Verses 41-46. The attempt to do so from selfhood and defeat in temptation.

  1. These be the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
  1. These are the instructions given by Divine truth for all those who are regenerating before they have entered into the heavenly state, and while the soul still suffers from a defect of true spiritual life, and is in externals, though in sound doctrine after it has been delivered from the falses of evil (Red Sea) by the power of the Lord, and entered into the first state of spiritual love (or the love of genuine truth) after victory in temptation (Paran), and is in a state midway between worldly and heavenly affections and thoughts. (See AC 1676.) [Note.—The meaning of some of the proper names in this verse is obscure as they do not occur elsewhere; it must be gathered from the context. The person Laban indicates the good in which man is held while worldly and heavenly affections are both entertained by him (AC 4063, 4145).]
  1. (There are eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir to Kadeshbarnea.)
  1. This state, in which the soul is in truth from the Divine law, is the one immediately preceding the complete state of the affection of interior or rational truth, which is approached by the exercise of truth from love. [Note.—The number eleven signifies a condition just preceding the complete state denoted by the number twelve.]
  1. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them;
  1. It comes to pass in this state, when the period of temptations which precedes the commencement of the regenerate life is nearly completed [Note.—The number forty signifies temptations. (See AC index, "Numbers.")], and when a new order of things is being planted in the soul, that the minds of those regenerating receive these instructions by means of Divine truth from the Lord out of heaven.
  1. After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei:
  1. After that the Lord has destroyed the love of self, the chief of evils which dwell in the natural affections, as far as it opposes the commencement of the regenerate life, and the love of the world which bears rule in the unregenerate mind and has its seat in the fallacies and pleasures of the senses.
  1. On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,
  1. Before the soul has entered upon the truly spiritual life, while it is yet in external things, it begins to receive this mandate by perception derived from the Word, namely:—
  1. The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying, You have dwelt long enough in this mount:
  1. That the Divine goodness and truth of the Lord teach, when the soul receives the true doctrine of the Church from heaven, that it must not remain in a state in which the acquisition of knowledges has been accounted the chief thing in the spiritual life.
  1. Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and to all the places near thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and to Lebanon, to the great river, the river Euphrates.
  1. And that the state of the mind must now be inverted, and progression made in the heavenly life, it is necessary to explore the evils existing in the mind from self-love, and its kindred evils, and that the new regenerate principles received from the Lord must pervade all things of doctrine, and all things of life, the conduct of external business, and the way in which truth is to be received, and the acquisition of knowledges, and the whole extension of the Church in things rational and in all that pertains to contemplation and thought. [Note.—"The reason why the river is twice mentioned, namely, the great river, the river Euphrates, is, because by the great river is signified the influx of things spiritual into things rational, and by the river Euphrates the influx of things rational into things natural, thus by both is signified the influx of things spiritual by the rational principle into things natural" (AE 569).]
  1. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them and to their seed after them.
  1. It is perceived that the Lord has placed the blessings of the heavenly life within reach of the soul that is regenerating. It is for man himself to work out his salvation, and to appropriate in his measure what has been provided by the Lord when He glorified His Divine Humanity (the Lord Jesus Christ) both as to the celestial, spiritual, and natural principles, and which is promised to those who follow Him in the regeneration (AE 768). [Note.—For those who are unacquainted with the writings of Swedenborg it may be mentioned that the internal or spiritual meaning of the histories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as referring to the glorification of the Lord when incarnate on earth is elaborately unfolded in the "Arcana Coelestia.'']
  1. And I spoke to you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:
  1. And it is also perceived in that state that it is not sufficient for the regenerating soul to be under the guidance of the Divine truths proceeding immediately from the Word alone.
  1. The LORD your God has multiplied you, and, behold, you are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.
  1. The goodness and truth of the Lord have filled the mind with new perceptions and thoughts, and already in this state there is a plenitude of truths in the soul.
  1. (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as you are, and bless you, as he has promised you!)
  1. And the Lord, who is Father of all the regenerate, will increase these truths more and more indefinitely, and bless the spiritual life therewith as promised in the Word (AC 2575).
  1. How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?
  1. All the difficulties and doubts as to the right course of action in external things and disputes as to truth which now arise in the soul cannot be always determined by the direct application of the Divine Word.
  1. Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.
  1. The soul must select from the faculties of the mind such as conduce to wisdom and intelligence in both the rational and natural faculties, and the external life must be governed by them under Divine truth. [N.B.— "Knowing or known among your tribes"—wisdom and intelligence brought down to the natural principle (AC 5287).]
  1. And you answered me, and said, The thing which you have spoken is good for us to do.
  1. And it is perceived throughout the whole mind that this is a wise course.
  1. So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.
  1. Thus by influx from Divine truth the best principles are selected to conduce to true wisdom and rationality and made rulers over the mind, primary truths in successive order from the truth proceeding immediately from the Divine to those communicating with the most external things. [Note.— This subject will be found more particularly explained in the explanation of Exodus 18:17-23 in the "Arcana Coelestia," and particularly in Nos. AC 8712-8717, etc.]
  1. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.
  1. And in this state these primary truths receive illustration from the Divine truth of the Word, which gives them a just understanding of the subordinate goods in the mind, and enables them to determine rightly what is really good and true and what is in accordance with those principles in natural things.
  1. You shall not respect persons in judgement; but you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgement is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it to me, and I will hear it.
  1. No worldly end is to be had in view in deciding on the best course. Those which would be disadvantageous from a worldly point of view must be considered equally with those which would be advantageous, nor must the mind be careful about the result in this world, for all things are overruled by the Lord's Divine Providence; and if the thing is too hard to be decided by a man's own rationality, it must be brought to the truth flowing immediately from the Divine principle, and wisdom will be given.
  1. And I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do.
  1. Thus was a state induced in which all things in the mind were under the influence and government of Divine truth from the Word.
    [Note (verses 9-18).—If a man had simply to follow certain dictates given him from the Word, and found them ready applied to every difficulty arising in life, he would be as far as spiritual thought is concerned a mere machine. It is by having apparently to decide for himself and to work out difficulties by his own reasoning powers, with the Divine truths of the Word as an ultimate Court of Appeal, that he attains true understanding in spiritual things.]
  1. And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which you saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadeshbarnea.
  1. And when the soul left the state in which it had been instructed in truths from the Word, it passed through temptations in which, the mind appeared deprived of all joy and happiness, and was oppressed by evils and falses. These are perceived to be in the soul when it is in a state of self-love, and for this reason it is remitted into this state by the Lord, after which the regenerating soul comes into the affection of interior or rational truth (Kadesh-barnea).
  1. And I said to you, You are come to the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God does give to us.
  1. And the soul is instructed by Divine truth that it is of itself in a state of self-love, and that it is able to overcome it by means of good and truth from the Lord.
  1. Behold, the LORD your God has set the land before you: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has said to you; fear not, neither be discouraged.
  1. It is perceived that the Divine Love and Wisdom (the God of those regenerating) provide opportunities for them to enter into the heavenly state. The soul must make use of them and strive to obtain it, according to the perception given to those who are in good from the Divine Love and Wisdom; it must not doubt the possibility of overcoming evil or be discouraged by it. [Note.—It is the doctrine of the New Church that the Lord Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the Divine Love and Wisdom; so that whether we say the Lord Jesus Christ is the God of those regenerating or the Divine Love and Wisdom, it is the same thing.]
  1. And you came near to me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.
  1. And the whole soul in such a state earnestly consults the Divine truths of the Word, and desires to direct all its powers to inquire into what constitutes the heavenly life, that the soul may know how to attain it and what doctrines are conducive thereto.
  1. And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:
  1. And this desire is approved by the conscience instructed by Divine truth; and it selects from the faculties of the mind every thought and volition which is suitable for the purpose.
  1. And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came to the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.
  1. And they direct the thoughts within towards the interiors of the mind and its motives, and all things derived from them and towards the doctrines of the Church which produce good and search them out.
  1. And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down to us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God does give us.
  1. And they examine into the results of those principles in the life, and by their means the soul is illustrated as to these things, and perceives that it is being conducted by the goodness and wisdom of the Lord to such states as produce real happiness.
  1. Notwithstanding you would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:
  1. But the evil will of the proprium does not relish or desire to be elevated to these heavenly states, but rebels against the perception given through the understanding by the goodness and wisdom of the Lord.
  1. And you murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he has brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
  1. And produces discontent in the inmost recesses of the heart, and suggests the thought that it was an evil thing that the Lord had permitted the mind to have a clear light of heavenly things, and delivered it from the thraldom of old fallacies to show to the soul the evils of the will which would now destroy it.
  1. Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.
  1. And doubted to what state the soul was being led. The inclination towards evil discouraged all the faculties of the mind and turned its affections away from heaven, suggesting that the falses which favour hereditary evil are more powerful and influential than the truths of the Church, and that the doctrinals or principles of action in their favour are strong, and will prevent the soul from entering into heavenly things; and, moreover, in them the soul had some perception of the gigantic power of the persuasions lying rooted in the hidden springs of action, and ever favouring some selfish end.
  1. Then I said to you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.
  1. Then the perception of Divine truth given to the soul from heaven replies that it is not to dread these things or succumb to them.
  1. The LORD your God which goes before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;
  1. The goodness and wisdom of the Lord's providence which lead the soul will contend for it against them, according to all that has been already done upon the falses by which the natural mind was bound, as has been manifestly perceived.
  1. And in the wilderness, where you have seen how that the LORD your God bare you, as a man does bear his son, in all the way that you went, until you came into this place.
  1. And in states of defect of truth and temptation, when it has been manifestly perceived how the soul has been supported by the Divine goodness and wisdom as a man does bear his son (or as the genuine desire after good ever upholds truth in the mind) [N.B.—The love of what is good begets and educates truth in the soul, which is as it were its son] in all the changes it has gone through in its progression to its present state.
  1. Yet in this thing you did not believe the LORD your God,
  1. But in this the unregenerate heart is unwilling to rest in the assurance given it by the Divine Goodness and Wisdom,
  1. Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in a cloud by day.
  1. Who Himself when incarnate trod the path of regeneration before each soul to prepare for each a suitable state of heaven and peace (John 14:2), and is present with His Divine love in states of obscurity and trial to show the regenerating soul the path it should tread, and tempers also states of illustration according to the reception of each.
  1. And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was angry, and swore, saying,
  1. Thus the unregenerate heart rejects the guidance of the Lord, and hence it is a law of Divine order proceeding from the Providence of the Lord which foresees and arranges all things.
  1. Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I swore to give to your fathers.
  1. That it is impossible for any of the thoughts and affections of the unregenerate natural heart to enter into those heavenly states which are promised by the Lord in the Word to those who will receive real goodness from Himself.
  1. Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he has trodden upon, and to his children, because he has wholly followed the LORD.
  1. Only those who are in good derived from such truths as they possess, these shall have a clear perception of good, and shall possess permanently all those holy states which they have patiently practised, and all things derived from such principles, because they bring out into the life the truths learned in the mind. [Note.—Caleb afterwards dwelt in Hebron (see Numbers xiv. xv.), which signifies the spiritual Church. (See AC 2909.)]
  1. Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, You also shall not go in thither.
  1. Divine truths themselves are dissipated from the mind unless they are carried out into the life, and it is a law of heaven that truth alone cannot save.
  1. But Joshua the son of Nun, which stands before you, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
  1. But truth which combats without ceasing against evils and has Divine truth present with it, this shall lead the soul to heaven. Let this principle have full play, for it will cause the whole man to become spiritual and possess heavenly happiness.
  1. Moreover your little ones, which you said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and to them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
  1. And, moreover, all those innocent principles which the mind had persuaded itself would succumb to evil, and whatever thoughts and affections in the soul in former states had nothing in them of self-wisdom derived from the proprium, these shall be with the soul in heaven, and to them will the Lord give those blessed states that they may possess them. [Note.—As to the knowledge of good and evil derived from self-wisdom or science, see AC 122-130.]
  1. But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.
  1. But it is necessary, in order that the evil cravings of the unregenerate heart may be removed, that the soul should be brought back into a state of temptation and trial, and where evil spirits will infest it and draw those evils forth.
  1. Then you answered and said to me, We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. And when you had girded on every man his weapons of war, you were ready to go up into the hill.
  1. And when this is perceived the soul comes into a state of external humiliation and confession of sin from fear of punishment, and desires to enter into the heavenly state and combat with its evils, and to carry out in its own strength all the dictates of Divine Love and Wisdom. It calls to mind all the maxims of virtue and doctrinals which have been learned, and thinks itself quite prepared with these to enter at once into an interior and spiritual state.
  1. And the LORD said to me, Say to them. Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest you be smitten before your enemies.
  1. But the Lord says to the soul through the Word that it should not attempt to attain heaven or fight against evil in its own strength; for the Lord would not be with it in such case, and it would succumb to evil in temptations.
  1. So I spoke to you; and you would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill.
  1. And though this is declared to it, the unregenerate will will not hear, but rebels against the warning given from heaven, and exposes the soul to temptation, and endeavours presumptuously in its own strength to enter into states for which it is not prepared.
  1. And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even to Hormah.
  1. And the evils of self-love which lie latent in such a state rush out upon and overflow the soul with falses derived from evil, destroying all that was celestial and spiritual in the natural good in which it had trusted, so that the soul is reduced to despair.
    [Note.—There is an allusion here in the simile to wasps, which endeavour to take the honey from the hive and are chased and driven away by bees. So the natural unregenerate heart would desire the joys of heaven without the labours necessary to attain them, and finds that joy on such terms brings a sting with it.]
  1. And you returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear to you.
  1. And the soul is brought back to its former state, and, being full of grief, cries to the Lord, and it seems as though the Lord would not hear nor regard.
  1. So you abode in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you abode there.
  1. And the mind was then remitted into a state of acquiring rational truths to the full from genuine affection, as far as it was able to receive them.

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