The Bible

 

Matthew 6:28

King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

← Previous    Full Chapter    Next →

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Matthew 6      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1, 2. That good ought to be done from the love of good, and not with a view to please men, otherwise the love of God is not in it, neither true blessedness.

Verse 3. That it ought to be done from the Lord, and not from self.

Verse 4. That good thus done brings its own reward from the Divine Good in which it originates.

Verse 5. That truth, in like manner, ought to be spoken from the love of truth, and not to please men, because in this latter case it brings no delight along with it but what arises from human glory.

Verse 6. That it ought to be spoken from the will of good, separated from evil, and opened to the Divine Good; in which case it is accepting of the blessedness of that good.

Verses 7, 8. That in speaking the truth before the Divine, in supplication, the expressions are not attended to, but the affections and thoughts in the expressions.

Verse 9. Which affections and thoughts ought to be open inwards to the reception of the Divine Good, and to acknowledge the Divine Humanity of the Lord to be that good.

Verse 10. And to receive thence Truth Divine, that so the external man may be conformable to the internal.

Verse 11. And thus to incorporate the heavenly goods and truths of the Word continually into the life.

Verse 12. And to give them back again to the Lord, in devout acknowledgement that they are His gifts.

Verse 13. Confessing that the Lord alone defends man under all assaults of evil spirits, and finally delivers him from their power, whilst he acknowledges in true humiliation that all good and truth are from the Lord alone, and nothing from man.

Verses 14, 15. That the Lord separates evil from man, in proportion as man is in the will that it may be separated, but not otherwise.

Verses 16-18. That a defect of truth and good ought not to induce external sadness and severity, but should lead to internal sanctification and purity; in which latter case heavenly good is presently communicated, and heavenly joy succeeds.

Verse 19. That the knowledges of good and truth ought not to be stored up in the external memory only, or in the natural understanding only, because in that case, not being incorporated into the life, they may be taken away and lost.

Verse 20. But they ought to be stored up in the internal man, by influencing the will and its love, in which case they cannot perish, being incorporated into the life.

Verse 21. That the state of the will and its love depends upon the state of its reception of the knowledges of good and truth.

Verse 22. That if the understanding of truth be grounded in the will of good, man becomes enlightened with true wisdom in all things belonging to salvation.

Verse 23. But it is otherwise, if the understanding of truth be grounded in the love of evil, for in this case truth is falsified, which is a worse state than that of mere ignorance.

Verse 24. That man cannot be principled at the same time both in good and evil, or in love to the Lord and self-love; for one must be the ruling love, and the other must serve.

Verse 25. That the good of love with its intelligence, and all the truths of faith, are continually provided for man by the Lord.

Verse 26. That all things of spiritual intelligence are continually nourished by good from the Lord, without any care of their own, much more the things of celestial love.

Verse 27. And that man cannot give increase to that intelligence and love by any care of his own separate from the Divine Providence.

Verse 28. That in like manner all inferior truths are provided of the Lord.

Verse 29. And that in them is contained Divine Truth and Good.

Verse 30. That if the Lord's Divine Providence thus extends to the lowest things and principles in the regenerate life, how much more to the higher?

Verse 31. That therefore man ought to depend upon the Divine Providence for sustenance in all degrees of his life, and not to trust to his own prudence.

Verse 32. That the unregenerate are more solicitous about external or natural life, than about internal or spiritual life, when yet the Lord wills that external or natural life, and the things thereof, should administer to internal or spiritual life.

Verse 33. That therefore spiritual truth and good ought to be exalted above natural; in which case both are preserved.

Verse 34. That man ought thus to love at all times under the protection and blessing of the Divine Providence of the Lord, and free from care and anxiety.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 8478

Heaven and Hell 281

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Song of Solomon 2:1

Bible Word Meanings

thought
Those who are 'anxious' are not content with their own lot, and do not trust the Divine, but only themselves. They only look to worldly...

raiment
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

Grow
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Analyzing the Lord's Prayer
Look at the Prayer to see which parts are statements and which are requests. 
Activity | Ages over 11

 An Eternal Perspective
An examination of why having an eternal perspective is important, especially in our marriages.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Blessings: Life Is Eternal
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Blessings: The Word of God
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Border for the Lord's Prayer Calligraphy
Color the border around this calligraphy of the Lord's Prayer.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Clothes That Angels Wear
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Conversation with God
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Dare to Give
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Divine Providence and Tragedy
The Lord respects our freedom because He loves us. He respects it so much that He allows us to get into trouble, and then as far as we are willing, He brings us new strength out of our troubles
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Do Not Worry
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 Earthly vs. Heavenly Treasures
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 For Reflection: Treasure of the Heart
How can we gather spiritual treasure and bring forth good?
Activity | Ages over 15

 Give Us This Day
Project | Ages up to 6

 Golden Rule and Prayer Crossword Puzzle
Crossword puzzle about the Golden Rule and the Lord's Prayer.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Heavenly Clothing
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 His Kingdom
Article | Ages over 18

 Identify and Name False Gods
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Infinite Meaning in the Lord's Prayer
Think of ways that you can become more “connected” with the Lord and the people around you.
Activity | Ages over 15

 Kingdom of God
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Looking More Closely at Flowers
Ways to help children appreciate the beauty of flowers the Lord has created. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Lord's Prayer Book
Illustrate your own book about the Lord's Prayer, following the suggestions given below each phrase of the prayer.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Lord's Prayer in Folding Hands
Put the text of the Lord's Prayer in hands that can be folded in prayer.
Project | Ages up to 10

 Make a Border for the Lord's Prayer Calligraphy
Make your own border for the Lord's Prayer.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Make a Mural of the Lord's Prayer
Make a mural with a section depicting each portion of the Lord's prayer. Then illustrate what each part means to you.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Memory Verse: Our Daily Bread
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Lord Protects Us
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Trusting in the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 No Other Gods
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Our Father, Who Art in Heaven
How, then, should we pray, and what should we ask for from the Lord? One of His disciples asked the Lord this while He was on earth.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: Holy Is His Name
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Praying to the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Trusting in the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Relationship With God
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Seek First the Kingdom of God
The most important thing for us to do is to think about the Lord and try to obey what He says.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Simplicity
In order for us to receive the Lord's words, we must be simple - simple in the sense of being single-minded, looking to one source of truth, and in having our internal and external thoughts agree. 
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Spiritual Treasure
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Taking Care for the Morrow
We must work and plan for the future but trust that the Lord has the ability and the desire to lead us to heavenly happiness. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Glory of the Lord
We can know and love the Lord in His glorified human even better than the disciples did.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Life Which Lasts Forever
Death is a new beginning. We continue to be the same people. We meet up with people we know. And husbands and wives who had been separated by death are reunited. This is a beautiful picture, and it can provide tremendous reassurance.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father
Make a picture of the Lord who is our Father in heaven, always looking out for us. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 1)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 2)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord's Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is a way of talking directly to the Lord who is our Heavenly Father. The Lord gave us this prayer because it can lead our minds to the important things that will make our spirits grow strong. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 The Lord's Prayer
The Lord's prayer in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 The Lord’s Prayer
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord’s Prayer
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord's Prayer Calligraphy with Violet Border
The Lord's Prayer with a lovely border of violets around it.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 The Second Coming
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Sermon on Mount: Do Not Worry
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on Mount: How to Pray
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on the Mount
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Sermon on the Mount (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer
Activity | Ages over 15

 Thy Kingdom Come
Activity | Ages over 15

 Treasures in Heaven
What would you put in a treasure box for life here on earth? What would you put in a treasure box for heaven?
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Treasures in Heaven, Treasures on Earth
On one chest, write what you would put in a treasure box for life here on earth. In the other treasure chest, write what you would want to pack in a treasure box for heaven.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Trusting in the Lord's Providence Bookmarks
Print out these beautiful bookmarks with quotes about trusting in the Lord. 
Project | Ages over 15

 Understanding the Meaning of the Lord's Prayer
This is an overview of the deeper meaning of the prayer.
Activity | Ages over 11

 Vain Repetitions
Activity | Ages over 15

 Why Did God Create Me?
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

Commentary

 

Worrying About the Future      

By Rev. Brian W. Keith

A little boy, hands clasped tightly and eye squinched shut, says his prayers.

Consider the simple faith expressed in this psalm to the Lord. A confidence that evil will be punished and that good will always prevail. The future is bright. There is no need to worry.

We might assume that the author was an idealistic youth - one who has never experienced pain or disappointment. Yet this psalm did not come from any naive child. It was written by a very old man, a man who had known incredible hardships. It is a psalm of David.

Think of David. Although from a shepherd he became king, he also knew hardship. As a youth he had to flee for his life from the jealous Saul. He felt the grief over being responsible for the death of his infant son. Later, as king, he saw his children rape and kill one another. He was forced to flee Jerusalem for his life, because his own son Absalom had rebelled. Then he regained his throne at the cost of his beloved Absalom's life.

David experienced intense pain. Yet he could advise us not to worry about those who do evil. All we need do is trust in the Lord and do good. Indeed, he claims that those who commit their way to the Lord will have everything they need, even if it be but a little in comparison with those who are evil. There is nothing in the future to fear. The good will be rewarded for their efforts.

Comparing this psalm with David's life, we may think that he had an unrealistic view of providence. But consider a similar teaching from the doctrines of the New Church: "When the Lord is present with someone, he leads him, and provides that all things which happen, whether sad or joyful, befall him for good; this is the Divine providence" (Arcana Coelestia 6303). Whatever happens - being promoted or fired, realizing our dreams or having them dashed - all result in good!

A difficult idea to accept - in large part because it seems like the Lord thereby is just manipulating us, causing evil to come into our lives.

But such is not the case. The Lord would never make anything bad happen. And He would prefer that we never suffer any pain. His providence is a gentle leading which causes good things to happen, and tolerates evil things. However He permits us to hurt ourselves and He allows others to cause us pain. Not as punishment, but as the result of free choices by individuals and groups.

One of the greatest stumbling blocks to sensing mercy in His providence is that when we feel pain or worry about serious problems we think that is all there is in life. We cannot see beyond the suffering, the hurt. But while we are occupied with worry, the Lord is already looking ahead - to what can come from the experience, to how He can lead us to grow in spite of the difficulty. For the Lord's view is eternal. He sees hope when we see none. He leads to happiness when we feel hurt.

The apparently random and purposeless events in life are described in the Heavenly Doctrines with pebbles. The Lord allows a person "to go here and there, so that the moments of his life appear like scattered pebbles. But the Lord then sees whether he fills up that space between them; He sees what is lacking and where; and then, continually, what is next in order, after a hundred or a thousand years" (Spiritual Experiences 4692[m]). The Lord's sight and providence encompasses eons of time. He sees all we are, and all we might become. He then gradually provides for it - not immediately, but over the course of an eternal lifetime. Whatever happens, whatever decisions we make, or whatever others do to us - the Lord eventually turns everything to good.

Unfortunately, our view is seldom as long. We cannot see how things will turn out in twenty, much less two thousand years. And when we are suffering our sight is even more limited. So we worry about what will happen. We may try to trust in His guidance, but we are more likely to feel abandoned by the Lord. Whatever He might be doing is both invisible and insensible to us.

In such a frame of mind we might wish we could see the future, be certain of how things will work out. If we were assured of the specific outcome, or knew exactly which path were the best to follow, we could really trust in the Lord - have confidence in Him to lead us.

Yet, in this, as in all other things, the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. He does not hide the workings of providence from us as a test of our trust, or a puzzle for us to sort out. The Divine does not tease us. But the Lord is fully aware that if we were to know the future, or if we received the "right" answers to our specific questions by a voice out of heaven, we would wind up destroying ourselves.

Imagine what we would feel like if someone predicted every last thing that we would experience for the 24 hours. At first we would disbelieve, but what if the predictions started coming true? It would be disturbing, to say the least. And would we not begin to feel restricted, and try to prevent the predictions from coming true?

We value our freedom, our sense of self. We will protect it at all costs. When we are forced to do something, or if we are pressured into one course of action, do we not rebel, wanting to act against that pressure?

Such resistance is not adolescent or infantile reaction to authority. It stems from our inner freedom of thought. For us to be human beings we need to think things out for ourselves and then act in freedom. Whatever choices we make determine the kind of person we become - and whether our choices are good or bad, at least they make us who we choose to be, not who someone else forces us to be.

Yet, when we are confused or suffering, we have a tremendous yearning to see something of the potential the Lord sees for us and those we love. Unfortunately, if we were able to glimpse it, we would probably work against it. A paradox which can be frustrating and lead us to worry about the future.

It would be much better if we could just let go and trust the Lord to make the best of whatever we do. That is what the angels do. They have no memory of past events from their earthly life to trouble them. Nor do they have any desire to know what is to come. For they are content in the present. Imagine if we could be so fully engaged in our present activities, dealing with what we can do rather than what is beyond our power, that we had no time to worry about the future! It is a goal worth striving for.

But for now, we tend to worry. We tend to worry about our jobs, our health, our children, the international situation, our spiritual state. It can on go on and on. Certainly some amount of thoughtful consideration is important. We are meant to make plans for the future - use good judgment to provide for our families. And we can delight in looking forward to continued productivity or happier times. But planning and worrying about what might or might not occur can become excessive.

The Psalms admonish us: "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret - it only causes harm" (37:8). Do not worry, it only causes pain. Thinking too much of the future can lead us to forget that the Lord's providence is silently guiding us. The doctrines of the New Church point out that, "a longing to know the future is innate with most people; but this longing derives its origin from the love of evil" (Divine Providence 179).

Anxiety about the future stems from a lack of confidence that the Lord can lead us to happiness. Since He works invisibly, we can think that we are the only ones who have any direct influence upon what happens. It is a subtle trust in self, and denial that the Lord can be relied upon. Certainly it appears as if we have to do all the work, but it is not the reality. For we could not have created ourselves. We can't even make ourselves happy!

So the Heavenly Doctrines describe the Lord's providence "as when one walks in thick forests, the exit out of which he does not know; but when he finds it, he attributes the discovery to himself, whereas providence meantime is as one who stands in a tower, sees the wanderings of such a person, and leads him without his knowing it to the place of exit" (Spiritual Experiences 4393). The Lord is in the tower, inspiring our thoughts, motivating our actions so that we can be led from darkness into light.

But His guiding can only be effective when we cooperate. We have to search for ways out of the forest. The Lord gave us the ability to think so we would use it. If we sit back and ponder our situation, how hopeless it may seem, little is accomplished. Can we add one cubit to our height by worrying about it? We also need to act. If we stand around and complain about how lost we are, or how unfair life is, it is very difficult for the Lord to lead us anywhere. He will not drag us out of our forests against our wills.

It is as the Psalm said: "Trust in the Lord and do good." Such simple advice, but so true! We cannot alter the past, but we can do something in the present, enabling the Lord to create a happy future.

There will still be times of selfishness where we long to know how things could possibly work out, and there will still be things happening to us which are not pleasant. We cannot control life. But we can avoid being defeated by it. We have been given the knowledge of how the Lord operates to bring about happiness in the long term. We have been given the freedom to act with reason. We have the basis for trusting in Him.

Let us then listen to the Psalm, not worrying about the future, not worrying about what is or what might be. Let us do the good that we can, and leave the rest to the Lord. After all, He should be able to do a much better job than we. Let us commit our ways to the Lord, trusting in Him, and He can give us the heavenly desires of our hearts.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6303; Divine Providence 176; Spiritual Experiences 2178, 4393, 4692)

Commentary

 

Man (as in person or human being)      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

← Previous   Next →

Face-towers depicting Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Bayon-temple in Angkor, Cambodia (late 12th to beginning 13th century), by Manfred Werner

"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with shades of meaning that are difficult to express in English. Swedenborg, meanwhile, uses two different words in the original Latin: "vir," which is a singular male person, and "homo," which usually has a meaning akin to "mankind" or "humanity" – but is sometimes used for a singular male person as well.

When used in the sense of "human" or "mankind," the meaning of "man" is based on the fact that the Lord is the perfect, divine human, and is in a way the archetype for our humanity. The Lord is, in His essence, love itself – perfect, infinite, divine love, which is the source of all life. So in the ultimate sense, "man" represents the Lord's love and goodness. In less exalted uses, it represents the love and goodness that exists in churches, societies and individual people. That's because the love we have, as individuals and collectively, is a reflection of the Lord's love, and our humanity is a reflection of the Lord's humanity.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 477, 1894, 4287 [4-5], 7424, 7523)

To continue browsing while you watch, play the video in a new window.

This video is a product of the New Christian Bible Study Corporation. Follow this link for more information and more explanations - text, pictures, audio files, and videos: www.newchristianbiblestudy.org


Translate: