New Thought Library is an online public library with free downloads.
This library should make your reading, research and writing projects easier.
Fully processed books have yellow page scan links to check text accuracy.
File numbers for .jpg and .htm files etc... match the original page numbers for accuracy and ease of use.
This enables writers to create reference links for research or publication. Use it, send in additions and keep in mind that your support means more free books, better processing and more downloads.
III. Shunning Evils
In the previous chapter two things are said to be necessary that works
may be good, namely, that the Divine of the Lord be acknowledged, and
that the evils forbidden in the Decalogue be shunned as sins. The evils
enumerated in the Decalogue include all the evils that can ever exist;
therefore the Decalogue is called the ten commandments, because "ten"
- The first commandment, "Thou shalt not worship other gods," includes not
loving self and the world; for he that loves self and the world above
all things worships other gods; for everyone's god is that which he
loves above all things.
- The second commandment, "Thou shalt not profane the name of God,"
includes not to despise the Word and doctrine from the Word, and thus
the church, and not to reject these from the heart, for these are God's
- The fifth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," included the shunning of
frauds and unlawful gains, for these also are thefts.
- The sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," includes having
delight in adulteries and having no delight in marriages, and in
particular cherishing filthy thoughts respecting such things as pertain
to marriage, for these are adulteries.
- The seventh commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," includes not hating the
neighbor nor loving revenge; for hatred and revenge breathe murder.
- The eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," includes
not to lie and blaspheme; for lies and blasphemies are false
- The ninth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house,"
includes not wishing to possess or to divert to oneself the goods of
others against their will.
- The tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, his
man-servants," and so on, includes not wishing to rule over others and
to subject them to oneself, for the things here enumerated mean the
things that are man's own. Anyone can see that these eight commandments
relate to evils that must be shunned, and not to goods that must be
done. (A.E., n. 935.)
But many, I know, think in their heart that no one can of himself shun
these evils enumerated in the Decalogue, because man is born in sins and
has therefore no power of himself to shun them. But let such know that
anyone who thinks in his heart that there is a God, that the Lord is the
God of heaven and earth, that the Word is from Him, and is therefore
holy, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after
death, has the ability to shun these evils. But he who despises these
truths and casts them out of his mind, and still more he who denies
them, is not able. For how can one who never thinks about God think
that anything is a sin against God? And how can one who never thinks
about heaven, hell, and the life after death, shun evils as sins? Such
a man does not know what sin is.
Man is placed in the middle between heaven and hell. Out of heaven
goods unceasingly flow in, and out of hell evils unceasingly flow in;
and as man is between he has freedom to think what is good or to think
what is evil. This freedom the Lord never takes away from anyone, for
it belongs to his life, and is the means of his reformation. So far,
therefore, as man from this freedom has the thought and desire to shun
evils because they are sins, and prays to the Lord for help, so far does
the Lord take them away and give man the ability to refrain from them as
if of himself, and then to shun them.
Everyone is able from natural freedom to shun these same evils because
of their being contrary to human laws. This every citizen of a kingdom
does who fears the penalties of the civil law, or the loss of life,
reputation, honor, wealth, and thus of office, gain, and pleasures; even
an evil man does this. And the life of such a man appears exactly the
same in external form as the life of one who shuns these evils because
they are contrary to the Divine laws; but in internal form it is wholly
unlike it. The one acts from natural freedom only, which is from man;
the other acts from spiritual freedom, which is from the Lord; both
acting from freedom. When a man is able to shun these same evils from
natural freedom, why is he not able to shun them from spiritual freedom,
in which he is constantly held by the Lord, provided he thinks to will
this because there is a heaven, a hell, a life after death, punishment
and reward, and prays to the Lord for help?
Let it be noted, that every man when he is beginning the spiritual life
because he wishes to be saved, fears sins on account of the punishments
of hell, but afterward on account of the sin itself, because it is in
itself abominable, and finally on account of the truth and good that he
loves, thus for the Lord's sake. For so far as anyone loves truth and
good, thus the Lord, he so far turns away from what is contrary to
these, which is evil. All this makes clear that he that believes in the
Lord shuns evils as sins; and conversely, he that shuns evils as sins
believes; consequently to shun evils as sins is the sign of faith.
(A.E., n. 936.)
But as all the evils into which man is born derive their roots from a
love of ruling over others and from a love of possessing the goods of
others, and all the delights of man's own life flow forth from these two
loves, and all evils are from them, so the loves and delights of these
evils belong to man's own life. And since evils belong to the life of
man, it follows that man from himself can be no means refrain from them,
for this would be from his own life to refrain from his own life. An
ability to refrain from them of the Lord is therefore provided, and that
he may have this ability the freedom to think that which he wills and to
pray to the Lord for help is granted him. He has this freedom because
he is in the middle between heaven and hell, consequently between good
and evil. And being in the middle he is in equilibrium; and he who is
in equilibrium is able easily and as of his own accord to turn himself
the one way or the other; and the more so because the Lord continually
resists evils and repels them, and raises man up and draws him to
Himself. And yet there is combat, because the evils which belong to
man's life are stirred up by the evils that unceasingly rise up from
hell; and then man must fight against them, and, indeed, as if of
himself. If he does not fight as if of himself the evils are not set
aside. (A.E., n. 938.)
Links to Additional Media for Spiritual Life and the Word of God by Emanuel Swedenborg such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.