Precepts of the Decalog #1

By Emanuel Swedenborg
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Article I.

After the Last Judgment Was Executed, a New Church Was Promised, Which Is Meant in the Book Of Revelation by the New Jerusalem

1. Explain Revelation 21:1-20. Also Revelation 22:1-5.

2. Show from the Word elsewhere that by Jerusalem is meant the Church, as in the following passages:

Isaiah 1:1; 2:1; 3:8; 5:3; 7:1; 10:10-12, 32; 22:10; 31:5; 33:20; 36:2, 7, 20; 37:10, 32; 40:2; 41:27; 44:26, 28; 52:9; 62:1, 7; 64:10; 65:18; 66:10, 20. 27:13; 30:19, 2:3; 3:1. 4:3; 24:23; 28:14; 31:9; 65:19; 66:13, 5:3; 8:14; 22:21.40:9; 51:17; 52:1-2; 62:6.

"Daughter of Jerusalem": Lamentations 2:13, 15. Micah 4:8. Zephaniah 3:14. Zechariah 9:9.

Jeremiah 1:3, 15; 2:2; 3:17; 4:3, 10-11; 5:1; 6:1; 7:17, 34; 8:5; 9:11; 11:6, 13; 13:9; 14:2, 16; 17:19, 21, 26, 27; 19:7, 13; 22:19; 23:14, 15; 25:8; 26:18; 27:3, 20, 21; 29:2; 32:2, 44; 33:10, 13, 16; 34:19; 35:11; 36:9; 37:5, 12; 38:28; 39:8; 40:1; 44:2, 6, 9, 13, 17, 21; 51:50; 52:12-14. 4:16; 6:6; 34:1, 7; 39:1; 52:4.27:18; 29:25; 34:8; 35:11.24:1; 27:20; 29:1, 2, 4, 20.4:5; 15:4; 34:6; 52:1, 3.4:4; 8:1; 11:2, 9, 12; 13:13; 17:20, 25; 18:11; 19:3; 25:2; 32:32; 35:13, 17; 42:18, 4:14; 6:8; 52:29; 13:27; 15:5.Lamentations 1:7, 8, 17; 2:10; 4:12.

Ezekiel 4:1, 7; 5:5; 8:3; 9:4, 8; 13:16; 14:22; 16:2-3; 17:12; 21:2, 20, 22; 22:19; 23:4; 33:21; 36:38.24:2; 26:2, 4:16; 12:10, 11:15; 12:19; 15:6.

Daniel 1:1; 6:10; 9:2, 12, 16, 25; 5:2, 3; 9:7.

Joel 3:1, 5-6, 16-17, 20.

Amos 2:5; 1:2.

Obadiah 1:11, 20.

Micah 1:1, 5, 9, 12; 3:10, 12; 4:2.

Zechariah 1:12, 14, 16-17, 19; 2:2, 4, 12; 3:2; 7:7; 8:3-4, 8, 15; 12:2-3, 6; 14:4, 10-11, 17; 12:2, 9; 14:2, 12, 16. 14:8, 14; 9:10. 8:22; 12:6, 11; 14:21. 12:5, 7-8, 10; 13:1.Malachi 3:4; 2:11.

Zephaniah 1:4, 12, 3:16.

Psalms 51:18; 79:1, 3; 122:3, 6; 125:2; 128:5; 137:6, 7; 147:2; 68:29; 135:21. 102:21; 116:19; 122:2; 137:5; 147:12.

3. Some mention of preceding events in the book of Revelation, as concerning the dragon 1 and the scarlet beast, 2 and their destruction. 3

4. The Last Judgment - that it has been described, and needs to be further described.

5. Why a New Church is established following the execution of a Last Judgment.

6. That it is not established before then in order to keep holy things from being profaned.

7. That a promise was given at the time that the spiritual meaning of the Word would be disclosed. Moreover, that the Lord alone is the Word.

8. His Advent then.

9. That heaven has therefore been opened to me.

Article II.

The Church Is Now at an End, and among Few Today Is There Any Religion

1. People do not know regarding the Lord that He alone is the God who rules heaven and earth, thus that He is one God in person and essence, in whom is the Trinity; and yet all religion is founded on a concept of God and on adoration and worship of Him.

2. People do not know that faith is nothing else but truth, and they do not know whether what they call faith is the truth or not. (Excerpt some passages from the little work on the Lord. 4 )

Today's faith - say what it is. Also that there are degrees of justification. Whether they are truths may be concluded from the following observations.

If this is faith, there is no need for truths, nor for charity, and not even for any concept of them.

It is not known what charity is.

There is no knowledge of evil and good.

Article III.

Every person is a person after death, and he is then what his love is, and a person's love is the life which awaits everyone after death to eternity.

1. Everyone is examined after death to discover the nature of his love.

2. Every spirit is a form of his affection.

3. The whole of heaven is distinguished into societies in accordance with the varieties of their affections, and the whole of hell into societies in accordance with the varieties of their lusts.

4. Whatever the character of a person's affection, such is the character of his thought.

Article IV.

The devil in, a person resides in the evil qualities of his life, and the Lord in the good qualities of his life

Article V.

To refrain from evils is to do good, and this is the essence of religion

1. Some observations regarding combats and temptations or trials.

2. To refrain from evils is no other than to drive away the devil, and to the degree that a person does this he is conjoined with the Lord and heaven is opened, and for as long as he does not, he is in hell.

Article VI.

A person who refrains from evils because they are sins has faith, and this to the degree of his refraining

Some truths are matters of faith and not of life. To the degree that truths which are matters of life are applied to one's life, to the same degree truths which are matters of faith become truths of one's faith, and the latter not a whit more or less than the former.

List truths of faith which are otherwise matters of knowledge and not faith.

On the prayer of the English before the Holy Supper, 5 and on that of the Swedish also, including excerpts from "Obstacles to the Impenitent." 6

Therefore there are two tables [of the Decalogue], and they are called a covenant. In the measure that a person carries into practice the one, in the same measure the other is opened.

Article VII.

The Ten Commandments of the Decalogue contain in summary all tenets of religion

1. Many observations regarding the holiness of the Decalogue.


A recapitulation of the seven articles, with the observation that no one can deny that they are the essence of religion.


1Revelation 12, 13:1-4, 16:12, 13, 20:1-3.

2Revelation 17:1-17.

3Revelation 18:21-24, 20:1-3, 7-10.

4. A reference either to The Lord (De Domino), a draft not published by the writer, or to The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Lord (Amsterdam, 1763).

5. The way and means to be received as worthy partakers of that Holy Table is First, to examine your lives and Conversations by the rule of God's commandments, and wherein soever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended either by will, word or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life; and if ye shall perceive your offences to be such, as are not only against God, but also against your neighbors, then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction according to the utmost of your power, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other, and being likewise ready to forgive others that have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offences of God's hand, for otherwise the receiving of the Holy Communion doth nothing else but increase your damnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, or hinderer or slanderer of His word, or adulterer, or be in malice or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent you of your sins, or else come not to the Holy Table; lest after the taking of that Holy Sacrament the Devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you with all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul." (From The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem 5.)

6. A cautionary appendix inserted in all Swedish Lutheran psalm books prior to 1819, from which the writer took the following in The Apocalypse Explained 885[5]: "The holy will of God and His manifest command is for those who believe to perform good works. When these are done for just reasons and aim at a true end, which look especially to the glory of God and service of the neighbor, then they are acceptable to God for Christ's sake. Indeed, out of pure mercy He rewards them, even so that man has recompense for every good that he does. For God bestows praise and honor, and eternal blessing, on those who patiently pursue eternal life through works. Therefore God also regards as closely the works of men as He showed in His declaration to the seven churches in Asia [Revelation 2, 3], and to all men where the Last Judgment is spoken of. So, too, the Apostle Paul, to exhort his listeners to good works, employed these admonitions, saying, 'Let us not weary to do good, for in due time we shall reap it without ceasing' [Galatians 6:8-9, cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:13]. Consequently those who are rich in good works manifest by this that they are rich in faith, since it is faith, when it is a living faith, that accomplishes these through charity. Indeed, faith, which alone justifies, never exists alone and apart, but carries with it good works, as a good tree does good fruits, as the sun does light, as fire does heat, and as water does wetness." See also Divine Providence 258[5].

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Many thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and to Rev. N.B. Rogers, translator, for the permission to use this translation.