Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Category — Life and Morality

Third Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11.)

Or in the order of the Greek, “Our bread the daily give us this day.”

Bread, or loaf, stands for food, and when it stands alone it includes drink as well; thus it represents all the things of love and wisdom, all things of the good and the true, of cognitions and scientifics, by which the spiritual body is fed.

After praying, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven so upon the land,” man looks to his cooperation with the Lord as if from himself, and thus towards the coming of the Lord’s Kingdom. But in order that man may cooperate as of himself towards this end he must have a spiritual body, which can cooperate. If man regenerates he receives the initiament of such a body, but this body must be fed from day to day with celestial food, in order that it may grow, and become strong, and in order that it may recover when sick.

This broad must be received doily, or day by day. Day by day, or daily, signifies into the eternal, an eternal series of states following each other, according to the Divine order of Providence. No man can foresee, know, or understand this Divine series, and hence cannot provide for it. The Lord alone can foresee and provide, and the Lord in His Divine Providence does so. The daily bread therefore represents the Divine Providence.

Because man does not know the future, and therefore can not provide for the future, the Lord says: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.” (Matt. 6:25)

The Divine Providence is in the least particular and singular things, as well as in the generals, and in such least thing it provides for the succeeding state, in an eternal series. This is the miracle of miracles. Man’s prayer should be that in each day or state he should be kept in the stream of Providence, so that living in the present he may find the spiritual food that is necessary for that state, and be thus kept in the stream which loads from day to day according to the Divine Order into the Lord’s eternal life.

Providence is threefold: it operates immediately from the Lord into the soul of man; it operates mediately through the heavens and the spiritual world into the mind; and it operates from without through the natural body which is in the world. The immediate operation into the soul is above the consciousness of men and angels. Man or angel cannot perceive this operation, but he can believe in it. The operation of the spiritual world into the mind most men are totally unaware of, but if one reflects on one’s affections and thoughts, which are all from the spiritual world, in the light of Doctrine, one can come to perceive this operation of the Divine Providence. In fact this should become with man s primary thing.

When most people speak of the Divine Providence they think solely of its operation from without, that is, of things which happen to them from without.

As long as one views Providence in this way one has only s natural idea of the Divine Providence. There is nothing indeed, not the least thing which happens to man, which is not of the Divine Providence, or of the Divine Permission, which is also of Providence. But this operation of Providence apart from the other two operations could not save a man. The three operations of Providence work together so as to make one operation of the Divine Providence. Without this one operation which is threefold there could be no provision of man’s daily broad, and thereby for his spiritual life.

Read the full third sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn


Second Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer


“Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, as in heaven so upon the earth.” (Matthew 6: 10.)

Before considering our text for today, let us review the first words of the Prayer, “Our Father who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy Name.” As we said in our last sermon, Our Father, or Father of us, stands for the Lord as the Divine Love, thus the Lord as the Esse, Being and Life of all in heaven and in the Church. To call the Lord our Father signifies a desire to become His children by means of re-birth or regeneration. To become tho Lord’s childron is to be in innocence.

Concerning innocence we read: “The nature of innocence may be seen in a mirror from little children, in that they love their parents and trust in them alone, having no care but to please them; and accordingly they have food and clothing not merely for their needs, but also for their delight; and as they love their parents they do with tho delight of affection whatever is agreeable to them, thus not only what they command but also what they suppose them to wish to command, and moreover have no self regard whatever, not to mention many other characteristics of infancy. But it is known that the innocence of little children is not innocence, but only its semblance. Innocence itself dwells solely in wisdom… and wisdom consists in bearing oneself towards the Lord, out of the good of love and of faith, as do little children towards their parents in the way just stated.” (A.C.6107.)

It is only out of such innocence one can know and believe the Name of the Lord and hallow it. The Name of the Lord, as is known, is the Word and Doctrine thence, that is, it is the Genuine understanding of the Word. None others than those who are in innocence can believe in the Word genuinely understood and hallow and sanctify the true, which is the Lord’s Name. Such alone are in Doctrine which is spiritual from a celestial origin.

When such Doctrine, in the internal of the mind, comes into existance out of celestial innocence, there is a looking towards tho bringing of this Doctrine down into natural life; whorefore tho next words of tho Prayer are, “Thy Kingdom come.” The Lord as the Divine Love is “Our Father who art in heaven.” The Lord as the Divine True of Doctrine is the King. The word Kingdom implies a king who reigns.

The Kingdom consists of all who obey the Lord as the Divine True, thus all who obey the laws of tho Divine True which are the laws of His Kingdom or Church. Man therefore, after saying “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name,” prays for the coming of the Lord’s Kingdom. In this state it is a prayer; for many things must be fulfilled before the Kingdom can come. It is only at the end of the prayer that it is said, “Thine is the Kingdom.” Between the prayer, “Thy Kingdom come,” and the fulfillment “Thine is the Kingdom,” the rest of tho Prayer must be fulfilled, namely, “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

“Our Father who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy Name,” is the reception of the Lord in the inmost of the mind. “Thy Kingdom, in the heavens” is the rational as a receptacle of the Divine True of the Lord. “Thy Kingdom, on earth” is the natural as a receptacle of the Divine True of the Lord.

When the rational mind, not only in generals, but in particulars and singulars, looks continually to the Lord, and His Word, so that all the thinking from day to day and moment to moment is a praise and glorification of the Lord, and is a thanksgiving for His Mercy, then the Lord’s Kingdom is established in the Kingdom of heaven, which is within him. The internal Church is constituted of those who are in this Kingdom of heaven.

Read the full second sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn




In the past year abortion was made legal in the United States by decision of the Supreme Court. The legalization of abortion has taken place or is about to take place in many other formerly Christian countries. By this action the civil laws protecting the lives of unborn children have been removed. The right or wrong of abortion is left to the conscience of the expectant mothers, or to their whims, if they have not a conscience.

The conscience of those of the Church on such a matter must be formed from the teachings of the Word of the Lord, and with us this means, in the first place, from the teachings of the Third Testament. Because this subject has not been publicly considered in the Church, the teachings of the Word that have relation to it are not widely known within the Church. Under the present circumstances it is needful that they be brought to the attention of all in the Church.

The Third Testament does not speak directly of abortion, but it does speak of the life of the embryo in the womb, and the teachings on this subject must be considered by those in the Church.

In the Arcana Coelestia 3570:4 it is said: “It is known that the soul of man begins in the ovum of the mother, and is perfected next in her womb, and there is given round with a tender body, and indeed with such that the soul through it can act suitably in the world into which it is to be born” This does not mean that the soul is from the mother. The general teaching of the Word is that the soul is from the father. But the soul which is present in the seed of the father is not the soul of a man until it is conjoined with the ovum of the mother. The beginning of the soul of an individual man is when the soul in the seed from the father is conjoined with the ovum of the mother.

In the work entitled “The Divine Wisdom”, (generally to be found at the end of the sixth volume of the Apocalypse Explained,) in the second chapter, it is said that the Lord has created with man, and afterwards forma with him, a receptacle of love, which is the will, and adjoins to this a receptacle of wisdom, which is his understanding. And further on in the beginning of that chapter it is said: “1. That these forms, which are the receptacles of love and wisdom, first exist with man conceived and being born in the womb.” In the “Divine Wisdom”, chapter III, the summary of the contents of the chapter reads as follows: “1. That the Lord conjoins Himself to man in the womb of the mother from first conception, and forms him. 2. That He conjoins Himself in those two receptacles, in one through love, in the other through wisdom. 3. That love and wisdom simultaneously and unanimously form all and single things, but still distinguish themselves in them. 4. That the receptacles are distinguished into three degrees with man, one with another, and that the two superior degrees are the dwelling-places of the Lord, but not the lowest. 5. That one receptacle is for the will of the future man, and the other for his understanding; and yet nothing whatever of his will and understanding is present in the formation. 6. That in the embryo before it has been born there is life, but that the embryo is not conscious of it.”

Further on in that third chapter, in treating of the first of the above listed subjects, it is said: “All this work of preparation of Himself the Lord does in the womb.” And further in the same section, “While man is in the womb he is in a state of innocence; thence his first state after birth is a state of innocence; and the Lord does not dwell with man unless in his innocence, wherefore especially then when he is as if innocence. Likewise man then is in a state of peace.” And under the sixth subject of this chapter, it is said: .. “, out of which, the embryo lives in the womb is not his, but the Lord’s alone, Who alone is Life”.

Consider all the things said in the second and third chapters of the above quoted Work. Consider also what is said at the end of the Divine Love and Wisdom, number 432, concerning the quality of the initiament of man from conception.

From these teachings it must be clear to all that the embryo in the womb, in its conception and in its formation, is called a man, and has working within it the life that is of the Lord. Nothing on earth can be compared to the wonders that are taking place within it, except the miracle of regeneration by the Lord, through which a man receives the Lord’s life as the life of Heaven within him. Abortion, which is the killing of such a being, cannot be taken lightly, as now it is in the world. Any in the Church who consider themselves to be faced with the question of abortion cannot but regard it as an evil, only to be excused if some worse evil might result without it, such as the death of the mother and the child. And the judgment as to what is a worse evil is a most grievous one, requiring the best available knowledge from the Church and from the doctors.

It is taught in the “Divine Wisdom” chapter 3, section 5, that the embryo has no proper life of its own until the lungs are opened. This teaching has generally been understood to mean that an embryo has no eternal life until it has drawn the first breath at birth, although some students of this subject in the New Church believe that this is not involved in that teaching, and that every embryo has eternal life from its conception. From the idea that an embryo has no eternal life until its first breath at birth, some have argued that the killing of an embryo is in no sense a form of murder. But even if we were to take it for certain that an embryo has no eternal life until its birth, what does this really have to do with the question as to the degree of the evil of abortion? Must we not still face the question as to which is the greater crime, to kill a man after he has been born, and has an eternal existence before him, or to kill that which has been prepared for an eternal existence and which could have an eternal existence, if it were to live?

Some also argue that the killing of an embryo is no worse than the prevention of the conception of an embryo, whether this is done by abstention or by the employ­ment of other means of birth control. The fallacy in this argument appears to me to be that while the male sperm is a potential human soul, it is not in fact the soul of a man until conjoined with the ovum of the mother. A male sperm is not by itself a human life begun. It cannot by itself ever become an eternal being. An embryo is the beginning of a human life, and it can become an eternal being.

There are many human problems which force those who have to face them to consider the possibility of abortion. There is sometimes the danger or even the certainty that a mother will die if a pregnancy is continued: there is the shame of a woman who must bear an illegitimate child: there is the fear of giving birth to a deformed or hopelessly retarded child due to disease or to the influence of drugs: there is the problem of what should be done in the unlikely event of conception following rape; there is the problem of what must be done if a pregnancy would bring about the mental breakdown of a mother. These are heart-rending problems. We do not propose to enter into all these problems in this short paper, but we ask that you consider them and consult with your pastors about them, and with your doctors. Let your conscience be formed from the Word and from the best enlightened knowledge you can obtain from the world. Do this while you are under no pressure from any such problem. Most of you will never have to face any of these problems. But it is best to have your thought, your conscience, formed clearly about them, rather than to face them in a panic, in that unlikely event that you are forced to do so.

It may be said that the Church needs much more light to face such a moral problem as abortion, and that we here are facing it only out of an external understand­ing, from the sense of the letter of the Third Testament. To this we must reply that the Church and every one in it must face such problems in such light from the Word as we now have. The giving of any more interior light in the Word depends on our living what we  see to be true in the  sense of its  letter. Certainly we need more  light, more Love, more Mercy.  But  if we do  nothing, with  that which  He has given us , how  can we by Him be prepared to receive more?

If you  wish to see what is represented in  the Word by an embryo, consider  what is said in the  Apocalypse Explained,  number 710:  “’And having the womb’ That it signifies nascent doctrine out of the good of love celestial lb evident’ out of the signification of to have in the womb when concerning the Church which is signified by the woman, that it is the nascent doctrine of the true out of the good of love celestial. By the womb is signified inmost love conjugial, and thence love celestial in the whole complex. And by the embryo who is in the womb, the true of doctrine out of the good of love celestial; for by him is signified a like thing as by the male son whom she brought forth, concerning whom in the fifth verse following, through whom the doctrine of the true out of the good of love is signified; with the difference that the embryo, because still in the womb, draws more from the good of innocence than after he has been born.”

It is to be feared that the present acceptance of abortion, and the inhuman lack of feeling with regard to it, is an ultimate of the hatred of the hells against all innocence, against the nascent Doctrine of the Church. That cold, cruel hatred works its way into the minds of ignorant men, resting in men besotted with the superficial reasonings of the loves of self, of the world, and of pleasures.

Read the paper on Abortion by Rev. Philip Odhner


Self-humiliation; despisal of others in comparison with oneself, – a sermon on Arcana Coelestia 2327

“That the state of humiliation is the essential state of worship itself, comes from the fact that so far as the heart is humbled, so far the love of self and all the evil therefrom ceases; and so far as this ceases, so far the good and the true, that is, charity and faith, flow in from the Lord; for that which stands in the way of the reception of these is principally the love of self, in which there is contempt for others in comparison with oneself; hatred and revenge if self is not treated with honor; and also unmercifulness and cruelty; thus the worst evils of all, and unto these goods and trues cannot be introduced, for they are opposites.” (Arcana Coelestia, 2327.)

In our last sermon we treated of the worst evils which are hatred, and revenge, cunning and deceit, which include unmercifulness and cruelty.

But in the present sermon we will especially treat of the fifth interior evil that is often included in such a series as in our text, namely, “despising others in comparison with oneself.”

We are told that the higher angels regard themselves as least worthy of all and are therefore the farthest removed from despising others in comparison with themselves.

One of the most common and worst forms of despising others in com¬parison with oneself is on the basis of religion. There is the story of the Sunday school teacher who told the children the story of the Pharisee, “who stood and prayed within himself, God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. While the publican, standing afar off, would not lift so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” The Sunday school teacher after speaking about this parable closed her class with the words, “Let us thank the Lord that we are not like the Pharisee.”

The Jews in their despisal thanked God that they were not like other peoples, and the Christians in their despisal of the Jews and Gentiles, thanked God as in the above story, that they were not like the Jewish Pharisee. Not that they necessarily do this openly but, as is said of the Pharisee, in prayer with himself.

In the New Church generally many tend to despise those in the Christian Church. In the Academy from its beginning there were those who despised those in Convention, and 3ome in the Lord’s New Church, who despise especially those in the General Church, and there are those in the General Church who despise those in the Lord’s New Church. It may be noted that the despisal is most strongly directed against those who are most closely spiritually related.

Read the full sermon on AC 2327 by T. Pitcairn


On trust in the Lord and self-confidence


It is better to trust in Jehovah than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in Jehovah than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalm 118:8,9)

Confidence in man in our text signifies, the confidence in man’s own goodness, and ability to do what is good; and confidence, in princes signifies, a trust in ones own truth and the ability to do what is true out of ones own prudence.

The world preaches self confidence, and the worlds idea of self confidence and its importance tends to creep into the Church.

We read: “There are two things which are put off by all who enter into heaven, namely their proprium and consequent confidence, and self merit, or their own justice, and they put on a celestial proprium which is from the Lord’s merit and justice,” (A.C. 4007:4.)

Again: “The sensual man is in self confidence and in faith that he is wiser than anybody else… and when he has persuaded himself of this in all things which he says there is that confidence and faith, hence his speech being resonant with these things, fascinates and infatuates the mind of others, for the sound of confidence and faith produces such an effect… From this it can be seen why their teeth were as those of lions signifies that sensual men seem to themselves to have understanding, and thereby power over all things.” (A.E. 556.)

In the world it is realized that self confidence has such apparent power, as described above and therefore it is encouraged, and teachers try to instill it, and this is so even in the Church.

A man in order to live and be a useful citizen must have a certain confidence, otherwise he hangs down his hands in despair and does nothing. In childhood and youth, and with every one before regeneration, there is as yet little perception and therefore little confidence in the Lord. In place of this well disposed children have confidence in their parents, who are representative of the Lord and the Church to them. It is right to encourage young people who lack confidence, to have confidence that they have the ability to accomplish things, and as long as there is a certain Innocence this does no harm, but is useful. But as innocence recedes, the danger of self confidence increases; and even with the young great care should be taken not to encourage a kind of self confidence, which is of such a quality, that it can with the greatest difficulty be overcome in later life. If there is not some beginnings of humiliation with the young, it is with the very greatest difficulty acquired in later life.

Humility, on the part of man and confidence in the Lord and His Church, are the opposites of self confidence.

We read: “Humiliation is the essential of all adoration and worship; for without humiliation the Lord cannot be worshipped and adored, because the Divine of the Lord cannot inflow into a proud heart, that is into a heart full of the love of self, for such a heart is hard; and is called in the Word ‘a heart of stone’. But the Divine of the Lord can inflow into a humble heart, because this is soft, and is called in the Word ‘A heart of flesh.’ That *afar off’ denotes from the heart, is because those in humiliation remove themselves from the Lord, for the reason that they regard themselves as unworthy to approach the most holy Divine, because, while they are in humiliation, they are in the self-acknowledgment that of themselves they are nothing but evil, nay, profane. When they acknowledge this from the heart, they are in true humiliation”

Read the full sermon on Psalm 118:8,9 by T. Pitcairn


Self-exploration, self-examination


The Third Testament places great importance on self-exploration. It is taught that a man must repent of his evils, in order that the Lord may save him. And it is taught that actual repentance is to explore one self, to see one’s own evils, to acknowledge them, confess them, and to desist from them. This is called the Christian Religion itself in the Divine Providence 278. As stated in the True Christian Religion 528, ”Actual Repentance is to explore self, to cognize and acknowledge one’s sins, to make supplication to the Lord, and to begin a new life.” Self-exploration is the beginning of repentance. From the Word, and from the Doctrine of the Church out of the Word, man knows what evils are, and that they are sins against the Lord, preventing the reception of the Lord’s life, the life of Heaven, with man. The whole purpose of man’s knowing and understanding these things is that he might see them in him­self and shun them as sins against the Lord. In this class we will treat of the teachings of the Word and of the Doctrine of the Church about the seeing of evils in oneself which is by self exploration.

At the outset we would lay stress on the truth that the purpose of the exploration is to see one’s evils. It is not to see whether there are goods or evils in one’s life, but to see the evils there. Some have supposed that the exploration is to see whether they have acted out of good, or whether out of evil. In relation to repentance the Word says nothing at all about finding whether one has acted out of good; the whole purpose is to see the evils in oneself and repent of them.

In general, the instruction given in the Word about self-exploration is as follows;

1. That man should explore the acts of his life. (True Christian Religion 525.) This is the most external exploration. One may wonder why this explora­tion is necessary, since everyone knows what one has done. But one might very well have said or done something which is contrary to the broader natural meaning of the Commandments which he would not notice in himself except by reflection. You might say or do something against another without realizing that it is wrong, or even under the supposition at the time that it was good to say or do it. For example, one may defame another, destroying his good name, a thing which is forbidden under the Commandment not to kill, and also under not to bear false witness. (True Christian Religion 309,321.) Reflection on one’s deeds and words is therefore necessary, and should not be neglected. But it is also taught that exploration of the deeds and speech is not sufficient. This is be­cause from the love of one’s own honor, reputation and gain, one may clean up the external life which appears before others. One may put away all external evils of the body, not because they are sins against God, but because they are hurtful to one’s own selfish purposes in life. This teaching, however, must not be used as an excuse for not exploring our deeds and speech. It is possible and necessary for a man to see and shun such external evils as sins against the Lord. And this is the beginning of repentance. As said in the footnote to the Doctrine of Charity, number 5, if the exploration is only as to acts, it does not find much, and this is not sufficient.

Read the full doctrinal class on self-exploration by Rev. P.N. Odhner


The Use and Abuse of Drugs


In recent years there has been a great increase in the taking of drugs by young people in this country, and even by children. The taking by the young of marihuana, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD, and the derivatives of opium, especially heroin, has become a serious problem for the whole country, and especially for parents. There is nothing new about the abuse of drugs Arguments about the use and abuse of Cannabis, the hemp plant from which mari­huana is obtained, were recorded in China over 4,600 years ago. The abuse of other drugs is also very old, as for example the abuse of alcohol related in the Word in the story of Noah. What is new is the turning of so many of the young people in this country to such abuses. The problem has become one that everyone has to consider in some form or another, and it is therefore useful to review the principles which should guide the thoughts and feelings of those of the Church with regard to it.

Most drugs have some definite use. For the most part these are medi­cal uses, for the cure or prevention of diseases, for the relief of physical pains and mental tensions. Some have a use as mild stimulants, such as tea and coffee. Wine, which contains alcohol, has the highest symbolic use in the Holy Supper, Wine and other alcoholic liquors are used also socially, and as foods, and as means of relaxation. As to the real use of drugs, it would be better that a man be guided by his physician as to the use of any of them.

The main reason why people take drugs, apart from their proper use, is because they produce euphoria. Euphoria is “A feeling of well-being, of elation, especially one that is groundless, disproportionate to its cause, or inappropriate to one’s life situation.” (Webster.) It is thus a feeling of well-being artificially brought about. Some drugs are such that there is a physical dependency on them. With others there is a psychological dependency, and with some, both. Some are more harmful than others to the body and mind of man. In some cases, the harm done to the body or mind or both is beyond dispute. In other cases, the harm done has not yet been scientifically determined Because of the recent upsurge in the taking of drugs by the young, much research has recently been instituted in order to discover what the different drugs actually do to a man. It is to be hoped that this research will be increased, and that definitive findings beyond dispute will be made. Unfortunately this may take considerable time. Bodily harm done by certain forms of smoking tobacco have only been seriously considered in recent years, although the smoking habit has been with us for hundreds of years.

It is important that people should learn about the drugs, especially parents of young people and children, and keep themselves informed as to the findings of the researches being made. It is not good to confront the young people and children with arguments based merely on emotion or panic and ignorance. Opposition to the taking of drugs is necessary, but enlightened opposition is far more effective than unenlightened opposition.

When some disorder such as this taking of drugs first arises, people have to judge about it from the individual cases which they know or have heard about. From this, generalizations are made which are sometimes not true. As we know in the case of alcohol, for some alcohol is wholly destructive to the whole life of a man but in other cases it is not. So also in the case of the abuse of the milder or “soft” drugs, with some the results are terrible, and with others not so terrible. With some the taking of the milder drugs leads on to the taking of the less mild ones and to horrible waste of human lives, and with others it does not lead on to this . Unfortunately there is no way of telling ahead of time what hidden preconditions or influences are going to make this difference. The number of tragedies brought on by alcohol alone is enough to cause one to wonder whether its social uses are worth the risk to those unfortunates who will destroy their lives by the abuse of it. And this is even more the ca3e with other, drugs, whose effect on the mind is more immediate The number of people, especially now among the young, who go from the milder to the harder drugs is frightening, and the number of tragedies, broken lives, suicides, murders, laid to the taking of drugs is also frightening The argument is sometimes raised in favor of the taking of drugs that the milder ones are no worse than the abuse of alcohol. This is not a very good argument. There is no use in the abuse of alcohol, only very great harm. Why should human society want to add another such danger to itself?

Read the full doctrinal class on the use and abuse of drugs by P.N.Odhner


View of the church on the changing moralities of the world regarding sex


In the history of the so-called Christian world there have been many changes with regard to the morals of the peoples in relation to marriage and sex. There have been times when a very strict moral sense prevailed, and there have been times when there was scarcely any moral sense. There have been all manner of ups and downs in this relation, and every conceivable combination and mixture of ups and downs. There have been times when the ruling classes had a strict moral sense, and the common people had hardly any; and other times when the ruling classes were worse than what we have today, and the morals of the common people were much better than their rulers. There have been times when all the pre-marital relations between the sexes were strictly governed, but after marriage, at least on the part of the men, varying degrees of adultery were commonly accepted. And vice versa.

To me the whole question of the morals of Christians in relation to marriage and sex is a wonderful thing. As to doctrine, even from the beginning, there was the absence of any idea of the eternity of marriage. Consider the teachings of Paul about marriage: “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.” (1 Cor. 7:8,9.) From a misunderstanding of the Lord’s words about marriage in Heaven, they had the idea that marriage was only for this world. At the same time they saw that the Lord in the New Testament likened His whole relation to the Church to marriage, many times, in both the Old and the New Testaments. And they had the. Ten Commandments, confirmed and infilled by the Lord in the New Testament. And from this they could know that there was something very holy in marriage. But in general it must be said that the doctrinal teachings of the Church, making marriage a thing of this world only, did not help the Christians in their moral view of marriage and sex.

Yet consider the fact that the Christians altogether rejected polygamy. The Lord in the New Testament indeed taught monogamy, but not directly; that is, there is no direct command about it. Why did they reject polygamy? Modern scholars might say that it was because Christian¬ity spread among people inclined already toward monogamy. But it was more than that. The whole idea of the Divinity of the Lord, the acknowledgment of the Divine in the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the soul of Christianity, is against polygamy. So much so that that acknowledgment and polygamy cannot be together at all. You can see this from the fact that conjugial love cannot exist unless between one man and one woman, and never with more than one. And conjugial love is out of the marriage of the good and the true. And the conjugial in its inmost and supreme is the union of the Divine and the Human in the Lord. (A.C. 6179,6343.) Again you can see this in this way, that the Lord united the Human to the Divine. This He did in order that the minds of men, their human things, might be united to Him. If a man acknowledges the Divine in the Lord, there is present with him, working in Him, the idea that the human of man can be conjoined to the Lord, thus also the human thing of marriage. And the only kind of marriage that can be united is monogamous marriage. It is important for us all to see this, for in it we can see a relation between the inmost things and the outmost things of life, which those of the Church must come more and more to see in the things of life.

The Christian Church existed by influx from the Divine Human of the Lord, and it existed where the Divine of the Lord was acknowledged. And from this there came a kind of perception, not rationally formed, but living in their minds, of the holiness of marriage. From this there was a kind of perception even of the eternity of marriage, which came forth not in doctrine but in the ideas of the common people and In their poetry and literature. There was something of this in the souls of Christians, and the stamp of it is still there by a kind of heredity, in Christian peoples, and in those from their stock

Read the full doctrinal class by P.N.Odhner on moralities regarding sex


First series of sermons on the Ten Commandments

A sermon on Exodus 20:1-2 by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn.

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of servants,”

The contents of the twentieth chapter of Exodus, which contains the Ten Commandments, is given in the Arcana Coelestia as follows: “In this chapter the subject treated of in the internal sense is the Divine True things which are to be implanted in the good with those who are of the Lord’s Spiritual Church. The Ten Commandments of the Decalogue denote these trues. The commandments concerning sacrifices, and concerning, the altar, which follow in this chapter denote the external trues which are of worship.” (A.C. 8859).

The eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Exodus treat of the ordering of the mind by Divine Good, from first to last, and the preparation for the reception of Divine True from the Lord out of heaven in good, with those who are of the spiritual Church. This has been the subject of our doctrinal classes. These Divine True things which are now to be implanted are the Ten Commandments in their internal sense. Until there is good ground in which the Ten Commandments in their internal sense can be implanted, the essence of the Ten Commandments cannot be given to the Spiritual Church. It is evident that the good here spoken of is not the good, of life which is out of living according to the Ten Commandments in their internal sense, for prior to the giving of the Commandments in their internal sense, such good is not possible. What then is the good, in which the internal sense of the Commandments is to be implanted?

This good is expressed in the nineteenth chapter by the words of people: “All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do.” (Ex. 19:8)

The good in this state involves a desire and longing for a new life according to the new trues contained in the Ten Commandments. Such a desire and such a longing can only come from a perception that the life we are now in is not truly life, and that we therefore need the trues of eternal life if we are not to spiritually die. This alone is the good ground which con receive the true things which ore to be revealed. All the preceding chapters of Exodus, all the temptations described are for the sake of preparing this good ground.

As long as the old life rules in man, and as long as the old life is felt by man as real life, and therefore as delightful he does not as yet have in him the good, which can receive the internal sense of the Ten Commandments. It is only after man has been led through temptations even to despair that the old life ceases to have a hold on man and he comes to long for a new life. When this desire or longing has become sufficiently strong The Divine True of the internal sense of the Decalogue can be received in this good…

Download the full following sermons:

Sermon on Exodus 20:1-2

Sermon on Exodus 20:3

Sermon on Exodus 20:4

Sermon on Exodus 20:5,6

Sermon 1 on Exodus 20:7

Sermon 2 on Exodus 20:7

Sermon 3 on Exodus 20:7

Sermon on Exodus 20:8

Sermon on Exodus 20:9


He that loveth his life shall lose it: and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal

“Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it: and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

Our text commences with the words “Amen, Amen”, or, as in the King James version of the Bible “Verily, Verily”, or it might be said “Truly, Truly”. When the Lord said “Amen, Amen”, it means that what follows is of the greatest importance.

The word “Amen” comes from the Hebrew word meaning the true. The repetition of the word “Amen” means that the true must be received in both the understanding and in the will, and thus this true must rule in the whole of man’s life.

On account of the great importance of the teaching of our text, this teaching is given in different terms seven times in the New Testament “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of M; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39) “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24,25) And nearly the same words are repeated in Mark 8:34,35 and in Luke 9:23,24. In Luke 17:33 it is said “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

In the Apocalypse it is said: “And they loved not their soul, even unto death.” (12:11)

In explication of these texts we read: “And they loved not their souls unto death”,…signifies the faithful who have endured temptation, and who have regarded the life of the world as of no account in comparison with the life of Heaven.” (A.E.750)

Again “Jesus said Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth aiid die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringth forth much fruit.(John 12:24) The same is true of man, who that he may rise again, must die both as to the body and as to his proprium, which is in itself infer¬nal; for unless both of these die, he does not have the life of Heaven.” (A.E. 899)

Read the full sermon by Theodore Pitcairn on John 12:24-25

Subjects: proprium, loosing one’s life, self-satisfaction, pride in one’s own intelligence, personal things


Angelic life consists in use

“Angelic life consists in use,

“Therefore angelic happiness is in use, and from use, and according to use; that is according to the good of love and charity” (A.C. 454).

We frequently read that the Lord’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of uses, and this, for the reason that the Lord Himself is Use itself, for His Divine Love and Wisdom, cannot but go forth in use. Wherefore to be in use is to be in the Lord, Who is use Itself. To be in the Holy Spirit is to be in uses from the Lord. Wherefore we reads

“None can see whether the doctrine of their Church is true, except those who are in the affection of truth for the sake of the uses of life. They who have this end are continually enlightened by the Lord.” (A.C.8521)

“A man who is in the affection of use, from use, that is for the sake of use, is a heaven in the least form.” (Div. Love XII).

“That in proportion as a men is in the love of use, in the same proportion he loves Him, loves the neighbor and is a man. To love the Lord means to do uses to the Church, our country, human society, and our fellow citizen. To be in the Lord means to be a use. And to be a man means to perform uses to the neighbor from the Lord for the sake of the Lord. For uses which are goods, are from the Lord and consequently are Divine; nay they are the Lord Himself with man. He cannot be conjoined in love with any man except through his own Divine things, for man cannot love the Lord from himself; the Lord Himself must draw him…..and therefore to love the Lord as a person, and not to love uses, is to love Him from self which is not to love Him. The celestial angels are not aware that to love the Lord is anything else than to do goods, which are uses; and they say that uses are the Lord with them. By uses they mean, the uses and goods of ministry, of administration, of functions, as well with priests and magistrates as with traders and working men. The good works which do not flow from their occupation they do not call uses; but alms, benefactions, and gratuities. Thus to love the Lord is to do uses, aquo (or from Him as a source;)and to love the neighbor is to do uses adquem (or to them as an object of uses…) and love thus returns to Him from whom it is.

“The Church and Heaven are from the Lord as one man, whose forms are made up of all who love uses by doing them; and the uses themselves are what compose this man, because it is a spiritual man, which does not consist of persons, but of uses with them. Still all who receive from the Lord the love of uses are there; and these are they who do uses, for the sake of the neighbor, for the sake of use, and for the sake of the Lord. It follows that all these are in the Lord. In the spiritual idea man is not a person, but a use.” (Div. Wis. XIII)

From the above the great importance of use and the love of use can be seen. And yet with us is there not a prejudice against emphasizing the importance of use, particularly the importance of natural uses…

Read the full doctrinal class by Theodore Pitcairn