The Third Commandment
Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
AC 8885. Remember. That this signifies what is perpetual in the thought, is evident from the signification of "remembering," when said of such a thing as must not be forgotten in any way, as being what is perpetual in the thought. ...Whatever universally reigns with man... is perpetually in his thought, even when he is meditating on other things, or is engaged in business affairs. A person’s thought involves many things together, for it is the form of many things which have entered in turn. Those things which come to clear perception are at the time in the center and thus in the light of the internal sight, while all other things are then at the sides all around. Those which are in the surrounding parts are in obscurity... But the things which are still more remote, and are not on the same plane but tend downward, are such as the man has rejected and holds in aversion. Such things are evils and falsities with good people, and goods and truths with evil people.
AC 8885:2. Within a person’s thought itself are those things which are perpetually there, that is, which universally reign there, which are his inmost things. From these man regards those things which are not perpetually there (that is, those things which do not yet universally reign) as being outside of himself and also as beneath himself, and as not yet being related to him. From these he can at that time choose and link to himself ones which agree with the inmost; and when they have been linked to and at length combined with them, the inmost, that is, those reigning universally, are made stronger. This is done by means of new truths in the case of those who are good, and by means of new falsities, or by wrong application of truths, in the case of the evil.
AC 8885:3. Be it known further that that which universally reigns is that which has been insinuated into the will itself, for the will itself is the inmost of man, because it has been formed from his love. For whatever man loves, he wills, and that which he loves above all things, he inmostly wills. But the understanding serves to make plain before others the things which the man wills, that is, the things he loves; and it also serves to bend the wills of others by ideas formulated in various ways to make their wills comply with his own. When this is the case, love or affection flows from the will into the intellectual ideas also, and by a certain kind of inspiration gives them life and moves them....
AC 8886. The Sabbath day. This signifies:
- in the supreme sense, the union of the Divine Itself and the Divine Human of the Lord;
- in the internal sense, the conjunction of the Divine Human with the heavens, thus heaven,
- and so the marriage of good and truth there...
As such things are signified by "the Sabbath," therefore in the representative church it was most holy, and was that which was to be perpetually in the thought, that is, which was to reign universally...
AC 8887. To keep it holy... By "keeping the Sabbath holy" is signified... in the internal sense that those things which are signified by "the Sabbath" are not to be violated in any manner, namely, the union of the Lord’s Divine essence with His Human essence, also the union of His [Divine Human] with the heavens, and the consequent conjunction in these of good and truth... For if these things are violated, spiritual life perishes with that man, and becomes a life that is merely natural and afterward sensual. And then falsity is readily learned in place of truth, and evil in place of good, for falsity and evil then universally reign with him.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- What kind of things do you always remember, or have in the background of your thought even when you are focused on other things?
- How important is it to come to church regularly, in order to remember the Lord and eternal life? What are meant to be the uses of coming to church?
- Do you see why it is so important for us to “remember” the union of the Divine itself with the Divine Human in the Lord? What difference does that make to us?
- The Sabbath also means “the marriage of good and truth” in the angels of heaven (and the people of the Church on earth). Do you have an idea and a feeling for what this marriage of goodness and truth means, in practical terms?
- Can you see how, if we abandon looking to the Lord, we end up in a life that is merely natural and sensual?
- The Jewish Sabbath is on what we call Saturday. Since the Jews profaned the Sabbath so badly by crucifying the Lord on Friday, the eve of the Sabbath, Christians see the day of His resurrection as “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10). How important is it to keep the Sabbath on a certain day?