This chapter, though it introduces a new subject, is a continuation of the same discourse which our Lord had commenced in the temple. The last chapter concludes with the parable of the householder, who planted a vineyard and let it out to husbandmen; the present begins with the parable of the king who made a marriage for his son. The moral of this parable is much the same as that of the last. Those who are called refuse to come, and are rejected; others are invited, who come, and are accepted. Those who refuse, and lose their election, are the Jews; those who come, and are chosen, are the Gentiles. But however similar their moral, the parables teach a different lesson however similar in their structure, each delivers a different truth. Relatively to each other, the parable of the vineyard has more reference to the intellectual life of man; that of the marriage of the king’s son has more respect to his moral life. The vineyard produces the grape, from which is expressed the wine, which is the symbol of spiritual truth, the marriage is celebrated by a dinner, which is the symbol of spiritual good; the drink and the meat being symbolical of nourishment for the understanding and for the will.
1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Whole Chapter cited. That the Lord was not Mary’s son is also evident from the words of the Lord to the Pharisees that He was not David’s son, wherefore neither was He Mary’s. Ath., Page 47,
1-9. Man can also acquire for himself the life of faith and charity, for man acquires this life for himself when he goes to the Lord, Who is life itself, and access to Him is not closed to any man, for the Lord continually invites every one to come to Him, for He said (John vi. 35-37) and in this passage. Who does not know that the invitation or call is universal, and also the grace of reception? . T. 358.
1-14. That there is a marriage of the church with the Lord may be evident from these passages. R. 812.
Nearly similar to the supper (Luke xiv. 16-25) ^s what is signified by the marriage to which they were invitedo By the supper is understood heaven and the church. By those who were invited and excused themselves are understood the Jews, with whom the church then was, for the church specifically is where the Word is, and where the Lord is known by the Word. E. 252. That to celebrate a marriage signifies to be joined with the Lord, and that to enter into marriage is to be received into heaven by the Lord is manifest from these passages. M. 41.
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
2 et seq. In the Word all things are representative of spiritual and heavenly things, and are real correspondences, for the Word has come down from heaven, and because it has come down from there, it is in its origin the Divine celestial and spiritual, to which those things which are in the sense of the letter correspond. It is from this that things relating to the heavenly marriage,, which is the conjunction of good and truth, fall into such as correspond, and thus into those that relate to marriages on earth. It is from this also that the Lord likened the kingdom of the heavens, that is His kingdom in heaven and His kingdom on earth, which is the church, to a man, a king, who made a marriage feast for his son, and bade many to it. A. 4434.
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son. No symbol for the church and heaven is higher than that of marriage. Marriage is the highest emblem of the union, in all its forms and degrees, that constitutes Heaven and gives felicity. Marriage is the union of two souls, which were so created that each finds in the other what it has not in itself but which is essential to complete life and perfect happiness. The masculine and feminine souls are the impersonations of the two essential principles of all being, and of all perfection and happiness – the true and the good, the intellectual and the voluntary. Heaven and the church are, in themselves, nothing but the union of goodness and truth. This union must exist in the mind, before any one can be a true member of the church or an inhabitant of heaven. The church and heaven must be in man, before he can be in the church and heaven. This is only saying that every one must have in himself the heavenly marriage of goodness and truth, or of love and faith, before he can belong to “the kingdom of heaven, which, is like unto a king who made a marriage for his son.” The son for whom the king made a marriage is Jesus, considered as the Son of God. The Lord, from the Divine, in and by the human, desires to enter into a covenant with the church, as his bride and wife. The consummation of this union was the end for which the Lord came into the world. The humanity which God assumed and glorified in the world was the Bridegroom of the divine nuptials; for actual conjunction between God and fallen man, or a fallen church, could only be effected through a humanity born of the church, and raised by glorification into union with the Divine nature. The Father, who made the marriage for the Son, is called a certain king, or rather, a man, a king. These two titles are expressive of the Divine love and wisdom, as existing united in the Divine nature; and they are no doubt introduced in harmony with the nature and object of the parable, to indicat, that as the divine marriage of love and wisdom existed eternally and essentially in God, so it was the object of the incarnation that it might exist also in man – first in the man Christ Jesus, and through him in every man willing to be saved and made happy.
3 And sent forth, his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding. This is in accordance with ancient custom. The guests were invited long before the marriage took place, and even before the time for its celebration was fixed; and when the day came, and all things were ready, servants were sent out to call the guests to the marriage feast. In this respect the symbol accurately corresponds with the fact. Long before the Lord came into the world, God, by his servants the prophets, had bidden his people to this approaching marriage. The invitation had been given to the Jews, but through them to all others. No time had been fixed for it, but its accomplishment was declared to be certain. When, in the fulness of time, the Bridegroom appeared, and sent forth his servants the apostles to call them that were bidden to the marriage, it was only to give effect to an invitation which had previously been given and accepted. And they would not come. Those who with pride had accepted the invitation, and had longed for the time when they should be called to the wedding, were found, when the blessed moment had arrived, to be utterly disinclined to come to it. Something like this comes within our ordinary experience. Events and occasions that we look forward to with eagerness sometimes find us indifferent or disinclined when they come. And if this is the case in natural things, much more is it so in spiritual things. The Jews refused the call of the apostles, because the kingdom of Jesus disappointed their expectations. They looked for a king and a kingdom surrounded with pomp and glory, and saw nothing but meanness and obscurity. Moral grandeur had no charms for them, They would not come to a marriage where the union of love and wisdom was to be solemnized, where mercy and peace were to meet together, and righteousness and truth kiss each other, and where the table spread for the guests should present a feast for the gratification and nourishment of the soul. This conduct is not peculiar to the Jews. They were too faithful types of the natural man in all ages of the world. The religion of Jesus is too pure and unworldly to be otherwise than repulsive to the merely natural mind. We all know it by experience. And if there were none but the principles of the natural man in us – if in the little world within there were none but the chief priest, and the scribe, and the Pharisee – we should all be as unbelieving and unwilling as the sophisticated Jews. And so far as we are merely natural, the call to the blessings of the gospel will remain unheeded. But Divine mercy does not leave us even when we refuse its call.
4 As in the case of the Jews, so in ours, he sent forth other servants, with a still more urgent call, enforced with still higher inducements. Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. It is thus we ever find striking and affecting instances of that long-suffering and abundance in goodness and truth so consistent with the Divine nature. As in the former parable, so in this, we must regard the second message and the second messengers, as having a distinct character from the first. The appeal is now more to the will than to the intellect; the guests are not called to the marriage simply, but to the dinner, all things being ready. The king has done his part to the uttermost, and only waits to receive those for whom the provision has been made. And what is that provision? It is first expressed by the one word, dinner. Dinners signify the good of charity, in which the Lord dwells with man; their dining and supping together, denoting consociation by love, and all conjunction. The marriage feast is that good which the Lord’s incarnation has provided, as the means of a blessed consociation and conjunction between his children and himself. And that good proceeds from the Lord’s humanity, the glorification of which was the preparation of the feast, which stands ready for every willing guest. But the dinner itself is described: “My oxen and fatlings are killed.” Oxen are emblems of the good of the natural affections, and fatlings of the good of innocence.
The term killed should rather be sacrificed; and to sacrifice is to make holy. The Lord made the natural affections and the natural innocence of the humanity he assumed, holy in himself, when he purified and consecrated them to his indwelling Divinity. And now they are offered to us as holy and divine things, living and life-giving. And has not the Lord said, “He that eateth me shall live by me”? In him all, fulness dwells; all things are ready; and the perpetual Divine call is, “Come to the marriage.”
5 But how many imitate the Jews of old, who made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise. The natural man is not only indifferent to the good and truth offered to him in the gospel, but he turns away from them, his will to evil, and his understanding to falsity – “one to his farm, and another to his merchandise.” It is only the inordinate love of the world that is antagonistic to the love and life of heaven. It is not by employing the hands, but by devoting the heart to the world, that we despise the call, and forfeit our right to the kingdom of God. Here, as in the Scriptures generally, the effect is put for the cause, the labour for the love; by mistaking which, some have sought heaven by renouncing the active duties of life, which is neither a means nor an evidence of being crucified to the world. This neglect of divine and heavenly things for those that pertain to this life, is a too common one. But we are to reflect at the same time that it is not the world itself, with its labours and rewards, that is opposed to the kingdom of God, with its duties and blessings.
6 When the heart and intellect are turned away from heavenly things, and devoted to earthly things, a further progress in iniquity must follow. The husbandmen were not satisfied with refusing the call of their lord, and giving themselves up to the world. The remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. The word remnant here is the same that, in reference to the virtuous, signifies the remains of goodness and truth, whose awakening in the mind forms the beginning of regeneration, and which are more and more developed in its progress. But the evil have remains stored up in their minds as well as the good. Or rather, remains are stored up in infancy and childhood in all minds, though differing in quality and quantity. It is through these remains that the well-disposed are regenerated, and it is through these that the ill- disposed are called, or by which the call is heard. And when they turn to evil, it is the remains of goodness and truth in themselves that they destroy. It is in this way that they lay hold of the Lord’s servants, and entreat them spitefully, and slay them. For all the evil and destruction of good and truth that the wicked effect, they effect in themselves. And these three acts of violence mark the complete rejection of everything true and good: for the remnant taking the servants is expressive of violence offered to heavenly truths in the will, spitefully using them, of violence offered to those truths in the understanding; and slaying them, of violence offered to them in the life, which is their death or extinction.
7 But every consummated state of evil is followed by judgment. Those who destroy heavenly truth in themselves, turn that truth into an instrument of their own destruction. The servants who were sent to invite the guests to the wedding are slain, but in their stead there comes forth an army to avenge them. When the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. The crime of the guests – for they had previously accepted the invitation – has armed the truth against them, and the sword which their sins have unsheathed will not return to the scabbard till it has cut them off, and wiped out the stain which they had left upon the law of righteousness. The law of retaliation, which exists in its perfection in the spiritual life and in the spiritual world, does not imply anything like vindictive justice in the mind or dealings of God. It is simply the result of a law of order, that action and re-action are equal, and that their actual equality is necessary to the existence of equilibrium, on which the conservation of all things depends. The king is represented as hearing what those he had bidden to his son’s marriage had done to his servants. Hearing is that sense which communicates more immediately with the will, as sight does with the understanding. The king hearing implies that the evil committed was not only a crime against the Divine wisdom, but against the Divine love – not only against the truth, but against the good of truth. The armies he sent forth are the truths of the Lord’s Word and kingdom, which subdue opposing evils and falsities, and deprive them of the power of doing violence to the principles, and through them to the inhabitants of heaven. The king’s armies killed those murderers and burned their cities, – everything possessing or relating to life, both in the will and the understanding, is destroyed and consumed, every truth relating to life or doctrine is removed, and death reigns in the will and desolation in the understanding Such is the final result of refusing the offers of salvation, and continuing in enmity and deadly hostility to the Author and the means of life. Even this is exhibited to some extent in the present world, if not in the case of persons, yet in that of churches. Such a consummation overtook the Jewish church, whose crimes and devastation are described in the natural sense of the parable. On that occasion, when the Jews had refused the call to the kingdom of the Messiah, and had slain the Messiah himself, the church amongst them was consummated and the Lord turned to another people.
8, 9. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. The freeness of the gospel, and the offer of salvation to all, could not be more clearly set forth than in this parable, and especially in this part of it. Human benevolence often gets soured by disappointments, and the deserving frequently suffer for the sins of the undeserving. Not so with the Divine benevolence. In fact, the present parable is constructed as if to teach its that the Divine benevolence is even enlarged by human perverseness and malignity – on the principle that where sin has abounded, grace has much more abounded. Oh the richness of the wisdom and goodness of God! its depths are past finding out.
9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
9 Way stands for truth. Hence it is that way also in common human discourse stands for truth, for the speech of man has derived this, like several other expressions, from the spiritual world. From this ground now it is that in the Word by way, path, by-path, orbit, street, and rows of houses are signified truths, and in the opposite sense falses. A. 10422.
10 When they that were bidden had refused to come, the king’s servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. Figuratively, those who were called to supply the place of the first-bidden guests are the Gentiles, who were adopted to form a visible church, in place of the unbelieving Jews. Spiritually, they are those who are in ignorance of the truth, but who are not indisposed to receive it. The servants are commanded to go out into the highways in search of the new guests. These are literally ways of ways, places where two or more ways meet or cross, places like the Latin compitum, where the country people assembled to keep their wakes and perform their sacrifices, where therefore, numbers of persons were likely to be found. These central places, into which the converging ways poured their numerous contributions, represented the rational mind, where the thoughts assemble, some entering from the natural mind and some from the spiritual, or – some from the world and some from heaven, and where, therefore, there are “both bad and good.” Viewed in relation to persons, the Gentiles, who are historically meant, being without the light of revelation, were guided by the light of nature, thus of reason, with such spiritual aids as tradition and the reflected light of the Word afforded them. They were, therefore, in the highways of intellectual and moral truth when called to the wedding to which, whatever their defects, they willingly came.
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
11, 12. Garments are truths also in regard to the one not clothed in a wedding garment. A. 2576.
11-13. As to its being said in the Word that there entered one also who was not clothed in a wedding garment, and that he was cast out, it was shown how this is. There are those who have been imbued with such deceit-fulness in their life in the body, that they can counterfeit angels of light, and when they are in that hypocritical state in the other life, they then can insinuate themselves into the nearest heavenly societies. But they do not remain there long, for just as soon as they perceive the sphere of mutual love there, they are seized with fear and horror, and cast themselves down, and it then appears in the world of spirits as if they were cast down by force. A. 2132.
Who are understood by the man that had not on a wedding garment see previous paragraph under A. 2132. A. 5954.
The remission of sins is the separation of evil from good, and the rejection of evil to the sides, which cannot be effected in him in whom all good has been destroyed. They are such also, who are meant by him that had not on a wedding garment, who was bound hand and foot, and cast out into outer darkness. A. 9013.
It sometimes happens that hypocrites insinuate themselves into societies, who have learned to hide their interiors, and to compose their exteriors so as to appear in the form of the good in which those are who belong to the society, and thus to feign themselves angels of light. But these cannot stay there long, for they begin to feel inward anguish, to be tortured, to grow livid in the face, and to seem deprived of life, in consequence of the contrariety of life which flows in and affects them. Whereupon they cast themselves down suddenly into the hell where are their like, and no more long to ascend. These are they who are meant by the one found among the invited guests, not clothed with a wedding garment, who was cast out into outer darkness. H. 48.
He who is not in truths, is said not to be clothed with a wedding garment. H. 180.
Their internal has been diabolical, and the external as if Divine. These are they who are meant by the devils who make themselves angels of light. Also by him who in the marriage house was not clothed in a wedding garment. P. 223.
The “wedding garment” is Divine truth from the Word. R. 166.
The wedding garment is faith in the Lord as the Son of God, the God of heaven and earth, and one with the Father. T. 380.
It was because garments signify truths, that he who was found among those called to the wedding, not clothed with wedding garments was ejected, and cast into outer darkness. T. 686.
By a wedding garment is signified the intelligence of the spiritual man, which is derived from the knowledges of truth and good. By him who had not on a wedding garment, is signified a hypocrite, who by a moral life feigns the spiritual, when yet it is merely natural. To bind him hand and foot signifies to deprive him of the knowledges which he has derived from the Word, and by which he has counterfeited the spiritual man, to cast him into outer darkness signifies, to cast him among those who are in falsities derived from evil. E. 195.
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. The prominence given to the circumstance of a man coming into the guest-chamber without a wedding garment is striking, and must be instructive. It no doubt teaches us that besides receiving and accepting the call, there is still something else required to make us children of the marriage. We must put on the marriage garment. We must be clothed with the garment of righteousness. The guests were not admitted into the guest-chamber in their own raiment, but in garments provided for them by the king. So we are not admitted into the heavenly marriage in our own righteousness, but must be clothed in a righteousness derived from the Lord. This is the only true, and therefore the only saving righteousness, for all our righteousness is of him. We must not imagine that the righteousness we receive from the Lord is put on to cover and conceal our corruptions. Righteousness cannot be acquired but by living it. “He that doeth righteousness is righteous.” It may seem as, if the righteousness we acquire by doing it is our own righteousness. Self-righteousness and Christ’s righteousness are both alike acquired by doing righteousness: the difference is, one is acquired by doing righteousness from self, the other by doing righteousness from the Lord. Christ does not impart or impute to us right thoughts and affections, words and works, without any cultivation or practice of our own; but he, as the Spirit and power of righteousness, worketh in us to will and do what is righteous, and that righteousness which we will and do from him is his, because he is its author. As we do not derive it from ourselves, we are not to ascribe it to ourselves, but must give him the glory. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake” (Ps. cxv. 1). Understood in its particular sense, the guests who came to the wedding are the thoughts and affections of the rational mind, and the king coming in to see the, guests is the influx of divine truth into them. The object of this is to see, or enable us to perceive, the quality of our thoughts; and affections, to distinguish and separate between the good and the bad, that the good may receive spiritual light, and the bad be cast into outer darkness. This is the judgment effected in every human mind, When brought under the influence of divine truth. And as every work is like itself in all its degrees, the judgment which takes place on good and evil persons is of the same character, and has the same results. The divine, present in the light of truth, reveals the character, “for whatsoever doth make manifest is light” (Eph. v. 13); and the revelation of the inward character brings the good into the fullness of light, and leaves the evil in the depth of darkness. The description of the judgment in the parable is written for our admonition, and it is no doubt profitable to reflect upon it.
12 When the king saw the strange guest, he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. When, in this world, God questions us through his Word, it is for the purpose of leading us to self-examination, as the means of forming a just estimate of our own state. In the other world there is a conformity between state and place which admits of no violation. No heavenly state, no heavenly place; no heaven within, no heaven without. Not only the Lord himself sees, but he gives every soul to see, that there can be no possible violation of this law. Plausibly as we may reason ourselves into the contrary belief in this world, in the other world, when all sophistries are removed by the revealing light of truth, the self-convicted all-penetrating and revealed soul remains speechless. The evil in the other life are not sent to their final abode in hell until they are not only convicted but convinced of sin – till they see their evil condition, and are convinced that they are unfit for any place but that to which their evil, like a millstone about their neck, draws them down into the deep. How solemn and impressive! And how fearful are the consequences!
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
13 See Chapter VIII., 12. A. 1839.
See Chapter VIII., 12. A. 4175.
See Chapter VIII., 12. A. 4424.
See Chapter VIII., 12. A. 9052.
See Chapter VIII., 12. H. 575.
See Chapter VIII., 12. R. 413.
See Chapter VIII., 12. R. 435.
See Chapter VIII., 12. E. 526.
See Chapter VIII., 12. E. 556.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In conformity with the condition of things in this world, the Lord is represented in Scripture as casting the wicked into hell, and in the other world they appear as if cast headlong into the infernal abodes; while the real truth is, the evil cast themselves into hell, or rather, evil itself casts or drags them down into hell, their headlong course being but a symbol of their inverted state. But there is a gradation in the vastation of the evil, which this parable unfolds. They are bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness. This implies total deprivation of all seeming good and truth. The hands are the powers of the internal man, the feet of the external. In this world these are free; in the other world, with the evil, they are bound. In this world the external man can do good, while the internal man wills evil. This is necessary here for the preservation of external order, and of man’s capability of reformation. In the other life, where reformation is no longer possible, no seeming can exist; the external acts as the internal wills. An evil internal brings the external under subjection to itself, and that subjection is a state of bondage. And while the powers of the will are deprived of good, and become subject to evil, the understanding is deprived of truth and immersed in falsity, which is meant by being cast into outer darkness. There are two kinds or degrees of falsity – one that originates in the will, another in the understanding. Intellectual falsity is darkness, voluntary falsity is outer darkness. The one is the negation of truth, the other is its perversion; the one shuts out the light, the other turns the light into darkness: “And if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” In this state of spiritual darkness “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” These are signs and symbols of anguish, but not simply of the anguish of suffering. In the other world the wicked no doubt weep, but theirs are partly the tears of a disappointed devouring selfishness and insatiate ambition. Their tears are like those of Alexander, who, having conquered the world, wept that there were no more worlds to conquer. They gnash their teeth – but they do, so as did the infuriated Jews when, rushing on the saintly Stephen, they “gnashed on him with their teeth.” Weeping is expressive of a state of the will, gnashing the teeth of a state of the understanding. The will weeps when its desires are resisted – the understanding gnashes when its notions are opposed. Gnashing of the teeth is the continual dispute of falses with each other, consequently of those who are in falses these disputes are heard out of hell as gnashings of the teeth, and are actually turned into gnashings of the teeth when truth from heaven flows in.
14 Our Lord concludes his parable with the moral: For many are called, but few are chosen. We cannot, of course, understand this to apply literally to the relative numbers of the called and chosen of the last invited guests, although it might seem to be so intended. If it refers to relative numbers, it must be of the whole of those invited from first to last. But the remark is understood to be true with respect to the whole human race. Numbers in the Word do not, however, signify quantity, but quality. The few are those who are in charity and its faith; the many are those who are in faith without charity. The guest who came without wedding garment represents not all individual, but a, class – the class who have faith without works, and who, being destitute of the garment of righteousness, cannot be admitted to the kingdom of heaven.
15 Not conciliated, but rather exasperated, by the Lord’s teaching, in which there was an obvious allusion to the Jews, then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. The Pharisees representing and even personating those who are religionists in name, but, not in deed, we see the same opposition to the Lord’s love and truth that we had so often occasion to observe in those malignant and deceitful enemies of the Just one, – their opposition to the Lord’s love being meant by their “going,” and their opposition to the Lord’s truth being meant by their “taking counsel,” their purpose to “entangle him in his talk” being expressive of the lust of perverting and destroying the truth. To accomplish this.
16 They sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians. The Lord’s disciples represent in the principles of the church, those of the Pharisees represent all the principles opposed to and subversive of the church. These signify especially false principles, the kindred evils of which are meant by the Herodians. These, therefore, are sent out or put forth to entangle Jesus in his talk. They address him with feigned respect, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou, regardest not the person of men. The truth is often spoken by those, who in their hearts deny it. The Lord is indeed true, and teaches the way of God in truth. He is the truth and the way, and he is the good to which it leads. He cares not for any man, for he regards not the person of men. He cares not for mere human good, and still less for mere human truth. He regards not the person of men, is, literally, he looketh not on the face of men. The same expression occurs in the Old Testament. Man looketh on the face, but the Lord looketh on the heart. The face signifies the understanding, the heart signifies the will. The Lord looks not on the face, on the understanding, at a man’s intelligence and belief only, but he looks on the heart, at a man’s goodness and love. In this, therefore, the deceitful messengers spake truly. But they had a purpose and speaking and describing the truth, – they might make the truth speak falsehood, or might be able so to construe the words of truth as to make it appear false, and so compass its destruction. And now comes the grand question, by which they had hoped their object might be gained.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? The clever deceitfulness of this question is universally admitted. It was so framed that either a negative or an affirmative answer, one of which they supposed must be given, would equally answer their purpose. Had he said it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar, he would have become odious to the Jewish people; had he said it was not lawful, he would have become obnoxious to the Roman government.
18-22. But Jesus perceived their wickedness and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him Caesar’s. Then saith, he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s. Who can read this answer without being struck with wonder and admiration at the wisdom it displays? It is a perfect exemplification of the Lord’s own teaching, when he sent his disciples forth, as sheep in the midst of wolves: “Be ye, therefore, wise as serpents and harmless as doves” Complete was the discomfiture of his enemies, and great must have been their dismay, when Jesus answered their question, so as to close their lips in silence, without even approaching the snare they had so cunningly and confidently laid for him! But the Lord not only defeated his enemies, but instructed them. And this wicked attempt has apparently procured for the world one of the finest lessons of wisdom that it possesses. “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,” has become a maxim that felicitously expresses in a sentence the whole duty of man, as a subject of the Divine and religion thus inculcates the duty of rendering obedience and giving support to the civil government under which we live, since by this we, are maintaining the cause of order; while at the same time, we are to render unto God the obedience and service which are due to Him, as the Author of spiritual order, and through this, of civil order also. The Pharisees and Herodians coming to Jesus with praise upon their lips and malice in their hearts, to submit to him their pretended difficulty, spiritually means, that they who are in hypocritical worship while they outwardly reverence the Word, inwardly disbelieve and hate it, secretly labouring to pervert its holy truths; because they expose and reprove their evils. When they inquire in the Word, it is abut the regulation of the external man, without any regard to the government of the internal. The Lord saying to them, when they acknowledged the image and superscription on the tribute money to be acknowledged in Caesar’s “Render, therefore, unto Caesar the things which are Caesars and unto God the things that are God’s,” signifies that the Word teaches, by representatives and significatives, that, as the external man bears the image and superscription of this world, for which he was created, he ought therefore to submit to and be regulated by its laws of moral and civil life; but that as the internal man bears the image of heaven, for which he was created, he ought to submit to and be regulated by the laws of heavenly and spiritual life. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, signifies that the truth which the Lord taught is incomprehensible to those who are, in hypocritical worship, therefore they reject the internal of the Word.
23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
23-32. By these words the Lord taught two things. First, that a man rises again after death, and secondly, that in heaven they are not given in marriage. That a man rises again after death He taught by these words, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, and when He said, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive. That in heaven they are not given in marriage He taught by these words, Those who shall be accounted worthy to attain to another generation neither marry nor are given in marriage. That none other than spiritual marriages are here meant is very evident from the words which immediately follow. Spiritual marriages mean conjunction with the Lord, which is effected on earth, and when it is effected on earth it is also effected in the heavens. Therefore in the heavens there is no repetition of nuptials, nor are they again given in marriage. M. 41.
23-33- Of the nature of the soul, of faith, of the Lord, of spiritual and celestial life, of the life after death, the Jews were entirely ignorant. Therefore in the time of the Lord many of them denied the resurrection, as is evident from Matthew. When a man is such that he does not believe he is to live after death, he also disbelieves that there is any spiritual and celestial internal. Such they are who live in mere lusts, because they live a mere life of the body and of the world, especially those who are immersed in loathsome avarice. A. 1200.
23-30. The same day came to him the Sadducees, which, say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. The denial of the resurrection was equivalent in those days to the denial of man’s immortality. This is evident from the argument; for the impossibility of restoring every wife to her own husband was intended to show the absurd results of the doctrine of immortality. But in the spiritual sense, which is here necessary to obtain from the relation its proper instruction, the denial of the resurrection is the denial of regeneration. In the spiritual sense resurrection signifies regeneration. Regeneration is a resurrection from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness. The denial of resurrection therefore represents, and, indeed, involves, the denial of regeneration. If man had no hope of rising again, he would have no desire to be born again. The affirmation or denial of the one doctrine implies that of the other. The spiritual Sadducee is one who says there is no spirit, therefore no spirituality. Such is the character of those who now come to Jesus, and endeavour to wrest from him an admission of the truth of their opinion. It is not to be supposed incredible that men should endeavour to confirm from the Word a doctrine which it was the main object of the Word to reveal. Did not the Sadducees believe in Moses, and yet disbelieve in the soul’s immortality? But what is regeneration? It is the heavenly marriage, or the union of good and truth in the human mind Therefore, the Sadducees proceed to speak about marriage. And as their belief was, that there is no resurrection, they endeavour to prove their doctrine by a question on the subject of marriage. If seven men had successively one woman to wife, whose wife could she finally be of the seven? It is one of the principles of regeneration, that in the heavenly marriage every good must have its own truth, and every truth its own good. The marriage is heavenly only in proportion as the good and truth are really each other’s. If a good and a truth, not having this mutual relation, are externally conjoined, they are not truly united, and remain unfruitful in good affections and true thoughts, and in the use and happiness that result from them. In the progress of regeneration there must sometimes be repeated external unions and dissolutions, before the true union takes place. It was in reference to this, and to represent it, that in the representative church it was a law, that if a man died leaving no seed, the next of kin should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. The case which the Sadducees proposed was one in which a woman had been the wife of seven brothers. In the spiritual sense, seven does not mean a certain number, but a particular quality; it means what is complete, and also what is holy. A woman who had had seven husbands, and at last herself dying childless, represents a good, to which truths of every kind and degree had been adjoined, but between which and itself there had been no real union, and from which there had been no spiritual offspring – no works of love and wisdom as the fruits of true marriage. Such a good must be a spurious good; perhaps an ardent feeling of natural charity or benevolence, that may be successively wedded to many different schemes of usefulness, but all equally unwise and equally fruitless of good results and the end of all may be, that, cheated and baffled, the feeling itself at last may die out, and leave the heart hardened by disappointment and disgust. If, instead of learning wisdom, we only increase in folly by experience, there can be no profitable end of our exertions. The final state is only a more perfect or complete form of the present. If the soul has been betrothed on earth, it may be married in heaven; but if good has had no real love for truth, or truth for good, on earth, it can have none in heaven. In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage. If the heavenly marriage of good and truth is not effected here, it cannot be effected hereafter. Greatly do those err who suppose that any one of a succession of fruitless marriages between the will and the intellect, while man lives in the body, can become the one final and fruitful marriage of the will and intellect when he comes to live in the spirit. They err, not knowing the Scriptures; for it is the unalterable law of divine truth, that as the tree falls so it lies. The eternal state is but a continuation of the temporal state – the heavenly of the earthly. No heavenly marriage here, no heaven hereafter. They err, not knowing the power of God. Divine love itself, though it can exalt and bless every legitimate union of the good and the true, cannot change the false into the true, or the evil into the good, nor can it change the infernal into the heavenly marriage. Those who attain the blessed resurrection into the new life on earth, and into the abodes of the blest in heaven, are as the angels of God there. An angel-man is already in the heavenly marriage; for the union of love and wisdom form the angel, or the angelic state. With the angel there is no marrying and giving in marriage, – no new, union of the understanding with the will, or of the will with the understanding, for this reciprocal union is already perfect. They are Hephzibah, and their land Beulah, for the Lord delighteth in them, and their land is married.
We may observe that resurrection is not only to be understood of the whole man, but of every part of the man, and in every stage of his regeneration. Every elevation of a good and truth out of the natural mind into the spiritual is a resurrection. Every principle thus raised up puts off the natural body and puts on the spiritual. Thus it is that the Christian dies daily and rises daily. But the principles thus elevated out of the natural into the spiritual mind consist not of single truths or goods, but of goods and truths united. Their union is essential to their elevation. It is only by living the truth received into the natural mind, and so uniting it with good, that it becomes spiritual. Here, too, the marriage takes place on earth, or in the natural mind, and not in heaven, or the spiritual mind. The principles thus raised up are neither married nor given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven; for the union of the good and the true is as essential to the angelic principle as to the angel.
We have said nothing here on the subject of marriage in heaven. Of this we have spoken elsewhere. Our Lord, it is commonly supposed, here teaches that marriage does not exist in heaven. It is true that in heaven they are neither married nor given in marriage. This does not mean that there is no marriage in heaven, but that there can be no marriage in heaven but between those who are in the marriage of goodness and truth and as this marriage cannot be given in heaven except to those in whom it existed upon earth, so neither can true marriage. As the distinction of the sexes is essentially of the soul, and is therefore spiritual and eternal, so also is the union of the sexes. In heaven marriage exists in its highest perfection and blessedness. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a marriage, and marriage is the most perfect type and realization of heaven.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
31 et seq. The Sadducees openly denied the resurrection, but they did better than those at the present day who say they do not deny, because it is according to the doctrine of faith, and yet do deny in heart, so that they say contrary to what they believe, and believe contrary to what they say. A. Preface Chapter xvi.
31, 32. That a man lives a man after death has been heretofore unknown in the world, and, what is surprising, it has been unknown even in the Christian world, where they have the Word, and illustration thence concerning eternal life, and where the Lord Himself teaches that all the dead rise again. M. 28.
31, 32. But, continues our Lord to the Sadducees, as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of, Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. In the Old Testament there is no very direct revelation of the immortality of the soul but our Lord shows it to be taught where none had ever before suspected any evidence of it to exist. When God proclaimed out of the bush that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, these patriarchs had long been dead. Our Lord gives this to the Sadducees as a proof of the resurrection. These, dead to men, were alive to God. They were living in the eternal world. Unless they had been so, God could not have called himself their God; for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto him. Resurrection, we may here perceive, is applied to the spirit, not to the body: for the bodies of the patriarchs were in the grave, their souls had ascended to heaven. This is the resurrection of the Scriptures – the rising of the living from the dead, the soul from the body.
In the spiritual sense Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the celestial, spiritual, and natural principles derived from the Lord in man. These are formed in him by regeneration, and therefore are living; what is of man as an unregenerate being is dead. God is the God of the spiritual principles in man, because, being derived from him, they are in connection with him; but he is not the God of the natural principles of man’s selfhood, for these have no connection with him as the Life. In a more specific sense the Lord is the God of the affections of good and perceptions of truth, because they have his life, in them; but he is not the God of the outward knowledge in which the are received and dwell; for this, being of the world, is put off like a body, when the spiritual, as the soul, ascends above the regions of time and space.
32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
33And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
32 That man lives after death the Word teaches. A. 10597.
See Chapter VIII., 11. N. 228.
33 We read that when the multitude heard this that the Lord had said, they were astonished at his doctrine. Well they might. He had opened up a new view of the resurrection, and drawn a light from the Scriptures which neither the Sadducees nor the Pharisees had ever known them to contain. But this astonishment implies admiration. And as the multitude represented the simple affections and unsophisticated thoughts of the human mind, their approbation teaches us that common feeling and common sense are not so closed against the admission of heavenly truth as sentiment and philosophy.
34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
34-40. That heaven and hell are from the human race, the church might also have known from the Word, and made it part of its doctrine, if it had admitted enlightenment from heaven, and had attended to the Lord’s words to the thief (Luke xxiii. 43) and to what He said to the Sadducees concerning the resurrection. J. 19.
The truths of faith grounded in love are those which treat of love to the Lord, and of charity toward the neighbour, for those are the truths which love dictates. The whole Word is the doctrine of such truths, for the Word in its spiritual sense treats solely of such things as relate to the Lord and to the neighbour. Hence also the Word is alive. This is meant by what the Lord says, that on those two precepts hang the law and the prophets. A. 9841.
That God, charity, and faith are the three universals of the church, because they are the universal means of salvation, is known, acknowledged, and perceived by every Christian who studies the Word. It appears from the Word in this ” that the first commandment and precept is that men should love God above all things, and the neighbour as themselves.” T. 722.
For what doth the Word teach but faith and charity, because these are the two essentials of salvation ? T. 357.
They who place the all of salvation, and thence the .all of heaven and the church in faith alone, and nothing thereof in the goods of charity which are good works, make love to God and love toward their neighbour of no esteem or value, when notwithstanding the Lord teaches, that on those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, the law and the prophets stand for all things in the Word. E. 797.
Of what advantage is faith, or knowledge outward and inward, and doctrine of faith, but that a man may become such as faith teaches? The primary thing that it teaches is chanty. This is the end of all it has in view. A. 344.
See Chapter III., 8, 9. A. 1017.
All precepts, indeed the law and the prophets are founded on the one law, to love the Lord above all things, and the neighbour as one’s self. A. 1038.
On these two things, namely loving God more than one’s self, and loving the neighbour as one’s self hang all the law and the prophets, that is the whole doctrine of faith. A. 2037.
A life of the knowledges of faith is no other than a life of charity, for the law and the prophets, that is the whole doctrine of faith, with all its knowledges, consists in love to the Lord, and in love toward the neighbour, as is plain to anyone from the Lord’s words in Matthew, but still the doctrinals or knowledges of faith are most necessary for forming the life of charity, which cannot be formed without them. A. 2049.
The doctrinals and dogmas of faith are not faith, but matters of faith, for they are one and all for the sake of the end, that a man may become such as they teach him to be. This may be clearly evident from the Lord’s words that upon love to God, and love toward the neighbour hang all the law and the prophets, that is the whole doctrine of faith. A. 2116,
See Chapter III., 8, 9. A. 2371.
The goods of the celestial kingdom or church are the good of love to the Lord, and the good of mutual love,, and the goods of the spiritual kingdom or church are the good of charity toward their neighbour, and the good of faith. These goods and the truths thence derived are treated of in the Word throughout. A. 9780. 36-40. See Chapter V., 17. A. 4859.
34-36. But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Truth, when it does not convince, hardens; and even when it silences one faculty, does not satisfy another. If the Sadducees represent the natural understanding, and the Pharisees the natural will, we see bow the defeat of the one may rouse the opposition of the other. The Pharisees, who were antagonists of the Sadducees, though they could unite with them in pursuing the common purpose of compassing the Lord’s destruction, were not dissatisfied with the defeat they had sustained. As the Pharisees were gathered together, so are the affections and thoughts drawn into closer connection with each other, when their power is to be exerted to effect a common object. They put forward a lawyer, as the mind puts forth its science to refute or entangle. Then one of them which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? No vain or unimportant inquiry certainly, if it were honestly intended. It was meant as a temptation. And do we not sometimes tempt the truth, by endeavouring to extort from the Word an answer to our questions that will enable us to evade the force of its injunctions? And even then we sometimes outwardly honour it the most, as the lawyer did when he addressed Jesus as Rabbi, or Master; for this title is expressive of the Lord’s character as divine truth, as Lord is of divine good. Thus to address the Lord is equivalent to Saying, “Thou art the Truth itself, the Great Teacher; I come to thee as the only authority in questions relating to eternal life.” Whether or not the lawyer profited by the answer, it is one that has settled a great and momentous question, and must ever remain on the page of revelation as one of the memorable sayings of Him who spake as never man spake.
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
37 In many passages of the Word it is said “from the heart and from the soul” or “from the whole heart and from the whole soul,” and by this is signified that it is from all the will and all the understanding. A. 2930.
The heart stands for the life of love, and the soul for the life of faith, strength for those things which proceed from the life of love, thus which are of the heart or the will; and mind for those things which proceed from the life of faith, thus which are from the soul or an enlightened understanding. A. 9050.
The conjunction of the will and the understanding in man is meant in the Word by heart and soul, and by heart and spirit, for example that God should be loved from the whole heart and from the whole soul. Life 86.
It is known throughout the entire world, and acknowledged by every wise man from interior perception, that there is one God, Who is the Creator of the universe, and it is known from the Word that God the Creator of the universe is called Jehovah, from Being, because He alone is. Jehovah is called the Lord from eternity, because Jehovah assumed the Human, in order that He might save men from hell, and then he commanded His disciples to call Him Lord. W. 282.
Since the understanding corresponds to the lungs, and hence thought to the respiration of the lungs, therefore by soul and spirit in the Word is signified the understanding. The heart signifies the love of the will. W. 383.
By soul in the Word where man is spoken of, his spiritual life is signified, which is also the life of his understanding, and as the understanding is the understanding from truths and truths are of faith, therefore the truth of faith is signified by soul. It is manifest that by soul and heart man’s life is meant. R. 681.
You are all souls, of whose immortality you have heard, thought, said, and written so much, and because you are forms of love and wisdom from God, you can never die. M. 315.
That the name Jehovah God is in itself holy, is evident from that name, in that the Jews from their earliest day have not dared, and do not dare to say Jehovah, and for their sake the evangelists and apostles were not willing to say it, and therefore said Lord instead of Jehovah, as is evident from various passages transferred from the Old Testament to the New, where the name Lord is used instead of Jehovah. That the name Jesus in like manner is holy, is known from the saying of the apostle, that at that name the knee is bent, and is to be bent, in heaven and in earth. T. 297.
Who does not believe the soul to be man’s inmost and most subtile essence? Yet what is essence without a form, but a mere thing of reasoning? The soul therefore is a form. It is a form of all things of love and all of wisdom, all things of love are called affections, and all of wisdom are called perceptions. T. 697.
By loving Jehovah God with the whole heart and with the whole soul, is understood with all the will and all the understanding, likewise with all the love and all the faith, for the heart signifies the love and the will, and the soul the faith and the understanding. E. 750.
37-39. In the natural sense, which is that of the letter, this commandment also means that no one but God, and nothing but that proceeds from God, is to be loved above all things, which is according to the Lord’s words. T. 293.
That man can keep God’s commandments, and that this is to love Him, is evident from these words. T. 369.
Love the Lord with all thy heart and the neighbour as thyself. D. P., Page 37.
37-40. See Chapter VII., 12. A. 922.
The Word in its internal sense treats of nothing else than love to the Lord and love toward the neighbour, wherefore the Lord says that on these two commandments hang the law and the prophets, that is, the whole Word. A. 3427.
The Word is doctrine itself, thus all doctrine which is of the church is from the Word. But doctrine itself from the literal sense of the Word is one only, namely, the doctrine of charity and love, of charity toward the neighbour, and of love to the Lord, for this doctrine, and life according to it is the whole Word, as the Lord teaches. A. 3445.
The whole Sacred Scripture is nothing else than the doctrine of love and charity, which the Lord also teaches. The law and the prophets are the Word in all and each of its parts. A. 6632.
The Word in itself is nothing but the doctrine of love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbour, as the Lord also teaches. A. 7262.
To love God and the neighbour is of life, because the all of life is of love, insomuch that without love there is no life, and such as the love is, such is the life. The law and the prophets are the whole Word. A. 9383.
All the truths of the church have respect to two lovesr namely love to God and love toward the neighbour, that the whole Word, which is the Divine truth itself, from which all the truths of the Word are derived, hangs on those two loves is evident from Matthew. A. 10307,
That love to the Lord and love toward the neighbour comprehend in themselves all Divine truths may be evident from what the Lord Himself says of these two loves. H. 19.
See Chapter XXIL, 37-40, statement under A. 6632,. repeated in N. 9.
See Chapter XXIL, 37-40, statement under A. 7262, repeated in N. 107.
See Chapter X., 39. R. 556,
Love to the Lord is to have faith in the Lord and to do His precepts, and to do His precepts is love toward the neighbour, since to do His precepts is to do uses to the neighbour. R. 903.
That all things of heaven and the church are from the good of love, and the good of love from the Lord, can not be seen and hence not known, unless it is demonstrated. The reason that it is not known, because not seen, is because good does not enter into man’s thought as truth does, for truth is seen in the thought, because it is from the light of heaven, but good is only felt, because it is from the heat of heaven, and rarely does anyone, when he reflects upon the things which he thinks, attend to those which he feels, but to those which he sees. This is the reason that the learned attribute all things to thought, and not to affection, and that the church attributes all things to faith and not to love. . . . This is the cause of his not knowing that the good of love is the all of heaven and of the church, and that this is not in man except from the Lord, and that it does not flow in from the Lord with any one but him who shuns evils with their enjoyments as sins. These are the things which lire meant by the Lord’s words, that the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments. R. 908.
It is known that all things pertaining to doctrine and life have relation to love to God, and love toward the neighbour, all things belonging to these loves are contained in the Decalogue. That the whole Word teaches nothing else, is evident from these words of the Lord.
See Chapter XII., 33. T. 483.
That to love the Lord is to obey his precepts, He Himself teaches in John xiv. 21—24. E. 250.
The reason why these precepts were to be bound upon the foreheads of the Israelites (Deuteronomy vi. 5, 8 : Exodus xiii. 9, 16) and upon their hand was because on them hang all the law and the prophets. E. 427.
That the Word also in its ultimate or natural sense is full of the good of love may appear from these words of the Lord. E. 597.
To love God above all things, and our neighbour as ourselves is to keep the commandments, or do His precepts. E. 785.
The first thing that faith teaches, to which men should yield obedience, is love to the Lord and love to the neighbour. In Matthew He calls it the first and great commandment. A. 36.
By Moses and the prophets, and also by the law and the prophets, are meant all things that are written in the books of Moses, and in the books of the prophets. L. 9.
From the doctrine of love and charity, which teaches what external things involve, the internal sense of the Word is known, inasmuch as the internal sense of the Word is the doctrine itself of love to the Lord, and charity towards the neighbour, which also the Lord teaches, saying that on those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. A. 9409.
37-40. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with, all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. To this the Lord added, the second is like unto it, Thou, shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. And he summed up the declaration by saying., On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Love to God and love to man are the sum of all revelation and the essence of all religion. God and man are the only objects to which our affections can be directed or our services rendered. They exhaust all our aims, and employ all our powers. Love to God and man are, in Revelation and religion, what the heart and lungs are in the human body. They are the vital principles on which the life of all the other parts depends. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The other precepts and truths of the Word are but the particulars and singulars, of which these are the generals and universals. The other precepts all proceed from them, and return into them again. They are as the rays of the sun, which, while they reveal their source, return not to him void, but accomplish his purpose, that which he pleases – to clothe the earth with beauty and enrich it with fruit. Love to God is to be manifested in love to man. God and man are loved when God’s love to man is manifested in man’s love to his neighbour. Love to God is not strictly a personal affection, but an affection for the attributes which constitute his nature. God is goodness itself and truth itself. To love these is to love God. And to love these is to do them. To do good from him is to love his goodness; to speak truth from him is to love his truth. “He that doeth my commandments,” said our Lord, “he it is that loveth me.” Love to God is said to be the great requirement of the law; for to have respect to God in all we do is the great essential of religion. To shun evil because it is sin against God, and to do good because it is agreeable to his will, – this is to love God; and this is the first and great commandment because to have respect to God in all we will, and think, and do, is the first and great excellence of character. This is to love God with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the mind. We love our neighbour as ourselves when we do to another as we would that another should do to us. Yet we are to love our neighbour with a love like that with which we love God. For the second commandment is “like unto” the first. We love God as goodness itself; we are to love our neighbour as the image of goodness. Good in our neighbour is that which we are to love, for good is our neighbour; and a human being is only our neighbour in so far as he has God’s goodness in him. Yet we are to love every man, but we are to love him for his good, that good may be in him, and that the good in him may be increased and perfected. We may love a man so as to injure him, as we love our children so as to spoil them by injudicious fond indulgence, in which case we love the person, but hate the neighbour – we love him, not for his good, but for our own gratification.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.
40 See Chapter VII., 12. A. 7463; A. 6752.
They who falsify the Word see things contrary to their doctrine from a thousand places in the Word, where it is said that evils are to be shunned, and goods to be done, also that they who do goods come into heaven, and they who do evils into hell, also that faith without works is dead and diabolical. The whole Word is nothing but love to the Lord and love toward the neighbour.R. 136. 42-45.
See Chapter XII., 46-49. E. 205.
He was thus no longer the son of David as to the flesh. And further in regard to the separation and putting off of the maternal human, those do not comprehend this who have merely corporeal ideas respecting the Lord’s Human, and think of it as of the human of any other man, hence to such these things are stumbling blocks. They do not know that such as the life is, such is the man, and that the Divine Esse of life or Jehovah, was in the Lord from conception, and that a similar JEsse of life existed (came forth) in His Human by means of the union. A. 2649.
From these passages it is evident that the Lord as to the glorified Human was not the son of Mary, nor of David. What His glorified Human was He showed to Peter, James, and John, when He was transfigured before them. (Matthew xvii. 1-8.) L. 35.
See Chapter XII., 46-49. T. 102.
Verse 44 quoted. D. P., Page 8.
41-46. When the Pharisees, to whom the Lord delivered this great lesson, were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he ? In teaching his interrogators to love God, the Lord endeavours to draw their minds to the God they ought to love. His question, What think ye of Christ? may indeed seem to have no relation to the subject on which he had been speaking. But there is an important connection between the first of all the commandments of the law, and the first of all the doctrines of the Bible. In some respects they are identical. We therefore find that in the record of this conversation, as given by Mark, the Lord answers the question of the scribe by Saying, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” The question, then, which is the great commandment, leads us to the supreme Object of love, as well as to the supreme love with which he is to be regarded. And this is the more evident when we reflect that Christ was God, yea, the one God whom Israel was taught to believe in and love as their one Lord. Jesus asks, the Pharisees, “whose son is he?” But this is the very question by which the great doctrine of Christ’s divinity, consequently his sole divinity, was and is to be determined. The Pharisees answered that he was the son of David. Our Lord’s object in asking the question was to refute the error and overturn the belief in his being the son of a finite being, and therefore himself finite. When he demanded of them, How then doth, David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? He silenced them as he had done the Sadducees for they perceived at once that if David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And What is the result of this? Is it that Jesus is the Son of God. This, indeed conveys to the natural mind the idea of Christ as the personal son of a personal father. But properly understood, it conveys the idea of his identity with the Father; for it involves the idea that the Son is divine; and as the humanity which the Lord assumed and glorified in the world is the Son of God, it teaches the great truth; that the Lord’s humanity is divine, and one with the essential divinity, as the body is one with the soul. The Lords question, therefore, has an intimate connection with that of the Pharisees. He is, indeed, the God who is to be loved with all the heart. In him we see the Being whose love is life. He brought the Father forth to view. He rendered the invisible Divine visible, the Incomprehensible comprehensible; in him God was and is brought near to our thoughts, and made dear to our affections; and the Christian is able, far more perfectly than the Jew, to love the one God with all his heart and soul, because that God who was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, has given the believer an object that he can truly and supremely love. So complete was the Lords demonstration of his own divinity, that no man, among the Pharisees, was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
So important and so precious is this great doctrine of Christianity that we have thought it desirable to dwell at some length upon it. We may offer at the same time a few words having reference to its internal sense. There is an actual duality in the Lord, pointed out in this passage, as in that in the psalm to which it refers. The nature of this duality is not so clearly preserved in our translation. In the original of the psalm the Lord who sits at the right hand is not called by the same name as the Lord at whose right hand he sits. It there reads, “Jehovah said unto my Adon.” Jehovah is the name of the Lord as to his divine love, while Adonai is a name of the Lord as to his divine wisdom. And wisdom sits at the right hand of love; for all the power of love is by wisdom. The enemies of God are placed under the dominion of wisdom, for it is by wisdom the Divine love subdues and holds all disorder under subjection. But the subjugation here spoken of is not only general, but special. It relates to the subjugation of the powers of darkness and of nature under the power of the Lord’s humanity. It was Adonai specifically that assumed the human nature: it was the Word that was made flesh. And the Word was made flesh, that the enemies of the Word might be subjugated and made his footstool. The enemies were the powers of darkness and the refractory powers of human nature. The Lord in the flesh conquered hell, and glorified himself by making his humanity divine. In both of these great works he made his foes his footstool. He reduced all under submission to himself. And as he did so in and to himself, he does so now in man. His foes in its are the evils that rise up against the rule of his divine government, and the powers of the mind that have become perverted. By regeneration the Lord makes these foes his footstool, so that his rule is established in our hearts and souls, by every thought being brought into subjection to the authority of Christ. It is by this that we come experimentally to know that Christ is not the on of David but the Son of the living God. It is by this that the power of his divinity, or of his divine humanity, is felt within our consciousness and our conscience. It is this that, from a different cause and in a different way, silences all questions and completes all the Lord’s answers – that ends all mental controversy between truth and error, and all conflict between good and evil.
43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
43-45. That in Psalm ex. 1-5 the Lord is treated of He Himself teaches. To make His enemies His footstool, to rule in the midst of His enemies. A. 1725.
The internal sense instructs what is meant in those passages by sitting at the right hand, namely Divine Omnipotence, thus also it is said, sit at the right hand of power, and at the right hand of the power of God. A. 8281.
The saying of Jehovah to my Lord signifies that it was concerning the Lord when in the world. That by Lord is meant the Lord as to the Divine human, is manifest from Matthew. Sit thou on my right hand signifies the Omnipotence of Divine good by Divine truth, which the Lord then was, and from which He fought and conquered. That to sit on the right hand signifies a state of power, and when concerning the Divine, it stands for Omnipotence. A. 9809.
That the things in Psalm ex. i were said of the Lord, the Lord Himself teaches in Matthew. In this passage is described His dominion over the hells by sitting at the right hand, for by the right hand is signified the power which Divine truth has’from Divine good. The hells and the evils and falses thence derived are the foes, who were to be placed for His footstool, and also the enemies in the midst of whom He was to have dominion. A. 10019.
44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
44 That the language of the Word is according to appearances of space is manifest from almost everything in it. To sit on the right hand is from the idea of place, thus according to appearance, when nevertheless it is a state of the Divine power of the Lord which is thus described. A. 3387.
That the Lord our God here is the Lord may be seen.
44 That this treats of the Lord cannot be apparent in the literal sense of the passage cited, as found in David, but still that no other than the Lord is meant He here teaches in Matthew. A. 2135.
By sitting at the right hand of God is signified a state of power from truth which is from good, which when predicated of the Lord is Omnipotence, and also the Divine truth which proceeds from the Divine good. A. 4592.
To these may be added some passages which speak more openly of the coming of the Lord. Isaiah vii. 14 ; ix, 6, 7 : Jeremiah xxiii. 5, 6 ; xxxiii. 15, 16. L. 6.
That these things were said concerning the Lord is evident from the Lord’s own words. L. 14.
That these things are said concerning the Lord is well known, and thereby is described the combat of the Lord in the world against the hells, and the subjugation of them, which was effected from Divine good by Divine truth. The right hand there signifies Divine truth. By enemies are signified the hells, and by making them the Lord’s footstool is signified His complete subjugation of them. E. 298.
By a stool for the feet here natural things are signified, as well sensual as scientific, and man’s rational things therefrom. These are called enemies when they pervert worship, and this from the literal sense of the Word, so that there is worship only in externals, and either no internal worship, or what is defiled. When those things are thus perverted and defiled they are called enemies, but because, when viewed in themselves, they have reference to internal worship, when this is restored, then the things which belong to external worship, as well as those which belong to the literal sense of the Word, become a stool for His feet. A. 2162.
By sitting at the right hand is signified the Lord’s Divine Omnipotence, by making His enemies His footstool, the entire subjugation and prostration of the hells. E. 850.
AUTHOR: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (COMPILED BY ROBERT S. FISCHER AND LOUIS G. HOECK 1906)
COMMENTARY AUTHOR: WILLIAM BRUCE (1866)
PICTURES: JAMES TISSOT Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum