Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/306

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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

-citizens; and they are also placed by their wealth in a position to perform any uses to which the affection of good leads them.

From what has been said it may now be seen what is meant in the Word by good works; namely, all the works that are done by man while evils are being removed as sins. For the works that are afterwards done are not done by the man otherwise than as by him; they are in truth done by the Lord; and works that are done by the Lord are all good, and are called goods of life, goods of charity, and good works. For example, all the judgments of a judge who has justice for his end and venerates and loves this as Divine, while he detests adjudications for the sake of reward, for friendship, or from favour, as flagitious; for so he consults the good of his country, by causing justice and judgment to reign therein as in heaven, and so he consults the peace of every harmless citizen, and protects him from the violence of evil-doers; all which are good works. The offices of administrators also and the dealings of merchants are all good works when they shun illicit gains as sins against the Divine laws. While man is shunning evils as sins he daily learns what a good work is, and the affection of doing good increases with him, and the affection of knowing truths for the sake of good; for the more truths he knows the more fully and wisely he can act, and therefore the more truly good his works become. Cease therefore to inquire in thyself what are the good works that I may do, or what good shall I do that I may receive eternal life. Only abstain from evils as sins, and look to the Lord, and the Lord will teach and lead thee. (A. E. n. 977-979.)

 

The Eighth Commandment.

"Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour." To bear false witness against the neighbour, or testify falsely, in the natural sense most obviously means to act the part of a false witness before a judge, or before others out of a court of justice, against any one who is inconsiderately accused of any evil, and to asseverate this by the name of God or anything holy, or by himself and such things of himself as are of some repute. In a wider natural sense this commandment forbids lies of every kind, and artful hypocrisies which regard an evil end; and also to traduce and defame the neighbour, so that his honour, name, and fame, on which the character of the whole man depends, are injured. In the widest natural sense it forbids plots, deceits, and premeditated evils against any one, from various motives, as from enmity, hatred, revenge, envy, rivalry, etc.; for these evils conceal within them the testifying to what is false.