Arcana Coelestia #8873


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8873. 'You shall not bow down to them, and you shall not serve them' means that no Divine worship must be offered to them. This is clear from the meaning of 'bowing down' as humility, dealt with in 2153, 5682, 6266, 7068; and from the meaning of 'serving' as submissiveness, dealt with in 5164. The reason why Divine worship is meant is that humility and submissiveness are the essentials of worship; for without them worship is not worship, only bodily actions which are an imitation of those made by people engaged in true worship. Such actions have no life at all in them. Life from the Lord flows only into a humble and submissive heart, since it is fitted to receive. And it is fitted to receive because when a heart is truly humble no self-love or love of the world stands in the way. The reason why both expressions are used is that 'bowing down' means worship springing from the good of love, and 'serving' worship springing from the truth of faith.

(References: Exodus 20:5)

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The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 129

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.