The Fourth Commandment

[This is taken from Emanuel Swedenborg's Spiritual Life and the Word of God.]


The fourth commandment of the Decalogue is that parents must be honored.

This commandment was given because honor to parents represented and thus signified love to the Lord and love toward the church, for “father” in the heavenly sense, that is, the Heavenly Father, is the Lord; and “mother” in the heavenly sense, that is, the heavenly mother, is the church; “honor” signifies good of love; and “length of days,” which such will have, signifies the happiness of eternal life.  So is this commandment understood in heaven, where no father but the Lord is known, and no mother but the kingdom of the Lord, which is also the church.  For the Lord gives life from Himself, and through the church He gives nourishment. That in the heavenly sense no father in the world can be meant, and indeed, when man is in a heavenly idea, can be mentioned, the Lord teaches in Matthew:

“Call no man your father on earth; for one is your Father who is in the heavens” (xxiii. 9).

That “Father” signifies the Lord in relation to Divine good may be seen in the Apocalypse Explained (n. 32, 200, 254, 297).  That “mother” signifies the Lord’s kingdom, the church, and Divine truth, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 289, 2691, 2717, 3703, 5581, 8897); that “length of days” signifies the happiness of eternal life (n. 8898); and the “honor” signifies good of love (n. 8897), and Apocalypse Explained (n. 228, 345).  All this makes clear that the third and fourth commandments involve arcana relating to the Lord, namely, acknowledgment and confession of His Divine, and worship of Him from good of love.  (A.E., n. 966.)






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