The Sixth Commandment
And I, John, saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell in a tabernacle with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, their God.
AE 1002:2. From what has been thus far presented we can infer what good results from chastity in marriage, consequently what the good works of chastity are that a man does who shuns adulteries as sins against God. The good works of chastity concern the married pair themselves, or their offspring and posterity, or the heavenly societies.
The good works of chastity that concern the married pair themselves are spiritual and heavenly loves, intelligence and wisdom, innocence and peace, power and protection against the hells and against the evils and the falsities from them, and manifold joys and felicities to eternity. Those who live in chaste marriages as described before have all of these.
The good works of chastity that concern the offspring and posterity are that so many and so great evils do not become innate in families. For the ruling love of parents is transmitted into the offspring and sometimes to remote posterity and becomes their hereditary nature. This is broken and softened with parents who shun adulteries as infernal and love marriages as heavenly.
AE 1002:3. The good works of chastity that concern the heavenly societies are that chaste marriages are the delights of heaven, that they are its seminaries, and that they are its supports. They supply delights to heaven by communication [or sharing]; they are seminaries to heaven by producing offspring; and they are supports to heaven by their power against the hells. For at the presence of conjugial love diabolical spirits become furious, insane, and mentally impotent, and cast themselves into the deep.
AE 982:5. Since adultery is hell with man and marriage is heaven with him, it follows that so far as a man loves adultery he removes himself from heaven; consequently adulteries close heaven and open hell, and this they do so far as they are believed to be allowable and are perceived to be more delightful than marriages. The man, therefore, who confirms himself in adulteries and commits them from the favor and consent of his will, and turns away from marriage, closes heaven to himself, until finally he ceases to believe anything of the church or of the Word, and becomes a wholly sensual man.
AE 989. All this makes clear that it is from adulteries that man has hell, unless he is reformed by the Lord by means of truths and a life according to them. And no one can be reformed unless he shuns adulteries as infernal and loves marriages as heavenly.
AE 1006:3. But it is to be known that adulteries are more and less infernal and abominable. The adulteries that spring from more grievous evils and their falsities are more grievous, and those from the milder evils and their falsities are milder.... There are sodomitic hells for those who were in evils from a love of ruling over others from mere delight in ruling, and who were in no delight of use.
AE 1008:2. The reason Christians abhor adulteries less than the Gentiles, and even than some barbarous nations, is because at present in the Christian world there is no marriage of good and truth, but a marriage of evil and falsity. For the religion and doctrine of faith separated from good works is a religion and doctrine of truth separated from good. And truth separated from good is not truth, but interiorly regarded is falsity; and good separated from truth is not good, but interiorly regarded is evil. Consequently, in the Christian religion there is the doctrine of falsity and evil. From this origin a desire and favor for adultery from hell flow in, and this is why adulteries are believed in the Christian world to be allowable and are practiced without shame. For, as has been said above, the conjunction of evil and falsity is spiritual adultery, from which, according to correspondence, natural adultery exists....
AE 1010:4. Adulteries are all the acts of promiscuity that destroy conjugial love.... But that which does not destroy the conjugial and does not extinguish its love is fornication, springing from a certain instinct of nature towards marriage, which for various reasons cannot yet be entered into.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- Can you envision some of the benefits described here coming out of working on (your) marriage—or working to prepare for marriage by repentance?
- Notice how the benefits are not just for the married partner, but for their descendants and for the heavens. Clearly, “this is from the LORD; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23). It is marvelous how the Lord has set up creation that good things are shared universally, and we all depend on each other (really on the Lord, but by means of each other).
- Do you see evidence that the ex-Christian world regards adulteries as allowable, more than other parts of the world?
- Why is fornication (or pre-marital sex) distinguished from adultery? What conditions make fornication more or less harmful?