Exodus 19: Preparations for receiving the Ten Commandments, continued
16 And it was on the third day, when it was morning, that there were voices and lightnings, and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the voice of a trumpet exceedingly firm, and all the people who were in the camp were frightened.
17 And Moses made the people go forth out of the camp to meet God; and they took their stand in the lower parts of the mountain.
18 And Mount Sinai smoked, the whole of it, because Jehovah descended on it in fire; and the smoke of it ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled mightily.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet was going, and growing strong mightily, Moses spoke, and God answered him in a voice.
20 And Jehovah came down on Mount Sinai, to the head of the mountain; and Jehovah called Moses to the head of the mountain, and Moses went up.
21 And Jehovah said to Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest perhaps they break through to Jehovah to see, and many of them fall.
22 And the priests also, who approach Jehovah, shall sanctify themselves, lest perhaps Jehovah make a rupture in them.
23 And Moses said to Jehovah, The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for Thou didst charge us, saying, Set a border for the mountain and sanctify it.
24 And Jehovah said to him, Go, get down; and come up, thou, and Aaron with thee; and let not the priests and the people break through to come up to Jehovah, lest perchance He make a rupture in them.
25 And Moses went down to the people and told them.
The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem, from the Precepts of the Decalogue
1. All religion has relation to life, and the life of religion is to do good. Every man who has religion knows and acknowledges that he who lives well is saved, and that he who lives wickedly is damned; for he knows and acknowledges that the man who lives well thinks well, not only about God but also about his neighbor; but not so the man whose life is evil. The life of man is his love, and that which he loves he not only does willingly but also thinks willingly. The reason therefore why it is said that the life is to do good is that the doing of good acts as one with the thinking of good; and unless they act as one in a man, they are not part of his life.
Life 8. The reason why all religion is of life is that after death everyone is his own life. For everyone’s life stays the same as it had been in this world and is not changed, as an evil life cannot be converted into a good one, nor a good life into an evil one, because they are opposites, and conversion into what is opposite is extinction. And being opposites, a good life is called life, and an evil one death. This is why religion is of life, and why life is to do what is good...
Life 9. No one can do good, which is good, from himself.
Life 17. That no one can from himself do any good that is really good, is taught by the Lord in John:
A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27).
He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5)...
In short: that is not good which is from man; but that is good which is from the Lord.
Life 18. So far as a man flees from evils as sins, so far he does what is good not from himself, but from the Lord.
Life 22. Two things however are required: first, the man must flee from evils because they are sins, that is, because they are hellish and devilish, and therefore contrary to the Lord and the Divine laws, and secondly, he must do this as of himself, while knowing and believing that it is of the Lord.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- Why do you think the Lord gave us the Ten Commandments from a mountain top?
- Can you think of examples (perhaps including in your life) of the fact that we cannot live crookedly and think straight?
- Can you think of illustrations of the truth that it is real life and freedom to follow the Lord and death and slavery not to?
- Some people accuse the New Church of teaching salvation by meritorious works because the Doctrine emphasizes keeping the Commandments. Why is this accusation not true?