<< MATTHEW XXV: Spiritual Meaning >>

FV959THIS chapter is a continuation of the discourse which our Lord addressed to his disciples on the subject of his second coming and of the judgment connected with it. The whole of this concluding portion of his discourse relates to judgment. This is presented under three different images, - the parables of the ten virgins, of the talents, and of the sheep and the goats. The last may not be strictly a parable, but it is, no doubt, in some of its features parabolical. These parables, like the others delivered by our Lord, are distinguished for their beauty, richness, and instructive wisdom.

Before proceeding to consider these parables, it may be useful to say a few words on the subject of general and particular judgments. This distinction is not sufficiently attended to, and seems not to be well understood. Most Christians have an impression, amounting almost to a conviction, that the soul enters immediately after death into heaven or hell; and yet a belief almost universally prevails, that all are to be judged at the last day, which is understood to mean the end of the world. A revelation of the spiritual sense of the Word, and of the nature and economy of the spiritual world, has shown how these two ideas may be reconciled with each other. What the religious world has hitherto understood to mean the end of the world, is, we have seen (ch. xxiv. 3), the end of the church, or the close of the religious dispensation. And as there have been several dispensations in the world, there have been several general judgements. There has been such a judgment at the end of every dispensation; for the general judgment is that which brings the dispensation to a close, and prepares for or forms the commencement of a new one. The judgement which is described in this chapter, is that which our Lord predicted would take place at the end of the dispensation which he then established. And this is called the last judgment, both because that dispensation is the last which will ever come to an end, and because the judgment upon it is the last general judgment that will ever take place. The church of the Lord's second advent is the crowning dispensation, and will endure for ever. No general judgement will therefore ever again take place, because none will ever be required. Every individual will in future be judged immediately after death. It is only when circumstances exist that prevent the regular occurrence of particular judgement, that a general judgment can take place. We will explain how this is. The whole spiritual world consists of three general divisions. Heaven and hell form two of these, and are opposite to each other in situation, as they are in state. Between these there is a third region; and this is intermediate in situation, because its inhabitants are intermediate in state, between the two opposite kingdoms we have mentioned. Heaven and hell are the ultimate and eternal abodes of the good and the evil. But the intermediate region, called the world of spirits, is the immediate and temporary abode of all who depart from the natural world. Both the good and the evil pass through it on their way to their final abode. Here they are prepared for their ultimate destination. The preparation consists in separating from the good any evil that adheres to them before they enter heaven, and in separating from the evil any good that adheres to them before they enter hell. The time they remain in the world of spirits is determined by the ease or difficulty with which this separation is effected. This is the normal state of things - the appointed order of progression. That which gives rise to a general judgment is an interruption of this order, a derangement of that state. Circumstances arise out of the decline of the church on earth which prevent the regular and progressive separation of good and evil in those who enter the world of spirits; and the consequence is, that those in whom the separation cannot be effected, remain in that intermediate place till the end of the dispensation, when a general judgment effects - upon all what a particular judgment could not previously accomplish upon each. So long as evil and good are mixed in the minds of departed spirits, so long good and evil spirits, like good and evil men on earth, can remain together; but when an extraordinary divine operation separates good and evil in the minds of such spirits, then, as a natural and necessary consequence, good and evil spirits are separated from each other, and the good pass into heaven, and the evil into hell. This is the judgment which is treated of in the present chapter - a judgment that took place in the spiritual world, where all judgment must and does take place, and which was effected on those only who had belonged to the Christian dispensation, not on all who had lived from the beginning of the world. This mingling of the evil and the good in the world of spirits, or intermediate state, is described in the parable of the wheat and tares being allowed to grow up together until the harvest, which is called the end of the world - literally, the consummation of the age - and which spiritually means the end of the church. The general judgment which took place at the time of the Lord's incarnation was upon the Noetic dispensation, which commenced after the event described as a flood. The dispensation that succeeded this, called the Israelitish, was not, as we have seen, a church in the proper sense of the term, but only the representative or shadow of a church, and may be considered as a prolongation of the dispensation proper, till the fulness of time, when the Lord should come into the world. The good and the evil belonging to this dispensation, who, like the wheat and the tares, had been allowed to grow up together in the world of spirits until the harvest, were those on whom the Lord performed a general judgment at the time of his first coming This judgment could not be effected till after the Lord had completed the glorification of his humanity and the subjugation of the powers of darkness; for these two works prepared the way for the separation of the good and the evil in the intermediate state, and for the evil being cast into hell, and the good raised into heaven. Besides being described in these parables, this work is spoken of in other parts of the Scriptures. We read that the Lord was "put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah" (I Pet. iii. 18). These spirits in prison were of the Noetic dispensation. The prison in which they were cannot mean hell, from which there is no deliverance, but must be the intermediate to the temporary inhabitants of which the Lord could preach redemption. These spirits were the prisoners of hope spoken of by the prophet Zechariah (ix. 12), and the bound and in prison whom the Redeemer came to deliver (Isa. lxi. 1; xlii. 7). In agreement with this, the Apostles' Creed states as an article of early faith, that the Lord, when put to death descended into hell - that is, into hades, the name, among the early Christians, of the intermediate state. The spirits in prison who accepted the deliverance which the Lord preached, he carried with him into heaven at the time of his ascension; as it is written, "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive" (Ps. lxviii. 18). The whole subject of the Lord's ascension into heaven after his descent into hades is stated by the apostle Paul. "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things" (Eph. iv. 8).

The description which the Scriptures give of the judgment which took place at the Lord's first coming enables us to form in idea of that which took place at his second advent, a vision of which was presented to the Apocalyptic seer, which he thus describes, - "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death" (Rev. xx. 11-14). Hades is clearly a different place from the burning lake, and is evidently the temporary abode of souls, preparatory to the final judgment. This intermediate world presents to us in this instance its evil side, as it sometimes does in the Word. We have here only to concern ourselves with the fact that, as hades was cast into the lake at the time of the judgment, it must be a different place from it.

In all the parables recorded in this chapter there are three leading points in which they have a common resemblance. The good and the evil form one company, or congregated mass of human beings mixed together, and undistinguished from each other as to their opposite characters. This is the first aspect in which they are presented before us. Then comes the judgment. Its first effect is to distinguish and separate the evil from the good - the wise from the foolish virgins, the faithful from the unfaithful servants, the sheep from the goats; and its second effect is to consign the good and the evil to their proper and final habitations.


1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  

Whole Chapter cited. That by the he-goat in the 8th chapter of Daniel and by the goats in the 25th chapter of Matthew are meant those who are in faith separate from charity, may be evident from their being contrasted with the ram and the sheep there mentioned. By the ram and the sheep are meant those who are in charity, for the Lord is called the Shepherd in the Word, the church the sheepfold, and the men of the church in general are called the flock, and separately sheep. Now since the sheep are those who are in charity, the goats art those who are not in charity.                             F. 61.
Of the Reformed, they who were in faith separate from charity, not merely in doctrine but also in life, were cast into hell, while they who were in the same faith as to doctrine alone and still were in charity as to life, were raised into heaven.  F. 64.
See Chapter XXIV., whole chapter.                      E. 5.
Falses from evil cannot be expelled from a man in a moment, but by degrees, for if they were to be expelled in a  moment man would expire, inasmuch as they constitute his life. Those who separate faith from the goods of charity, which are works, are signified by the goats. By the sheep those who are in charity.                 E. 716.
The separation of those who live according to the Divine truths of the Lord from those who do not live according to them, for the latter are evil and the former are good, is signified by the last judgment, also from the passages in the Word, where the last judgment is treated of, as in Matthew xxv., where the separation of the and the goats is described.      E. 875.

That the Lord has come in the fulness of time and will judge is understood by His words in Matthew xxv. Inv. 30.
The last judgment was not effected upon others of the Reformed than upon those who in the world confessed God, read the Word, heard preachings, went to the Sacrament of the supper, and did not neglect the solemnities of the worship of the church, and yet regarded adulteries, thefts of various kinds, lying, revenge, hatred and the like allowable. These although they confessed God, still made nothing of sins against Him, they read the Word, and yet made nothing of its precepts of life. . . . The same are also meant by the goats in Matthew xxv., to whom it is not said that they did evils, but that they omitted to do goods which are goods, because they do not shun evils as sins.                  C. J. 16.
1.     Ten signifies all, and therefore the Lord likened the kingdom of the heavens to ten virgins.                Life 61.
Since ten signifies all, both persons and things, the Lord therefore compared the kingdom of the heavens to ten virgins.                                                           R. 101.
1,2.     By the ten virgins all in the church are signified, by five are signified some part or some.               R. 427.
Oil signifies love and charity, and they are among the foolish ones who hear the Lord, that is read the Word "and do not do it."                                             R. 433.
The reason why the Lord compared the kingdom of the heavens to ten virgins is, because the kingdom of the heavens signifies the church, as does also a virgin. Ten virgins signify all who are of the church. The reason of its being said that five were wise and five foolish was, because five signify some of them, or all who are of such a quality on one part. That a virgin signifies the church may appear from many passages of the Word, where mention is made of the virgin of Zion, of Jerusalem, of Israel, by whom the church is signified.    E. 548.
By the ten virgins to whom the kingdom of heaven is likened, are signified all who are of the church, for ten signify all, and virgins the church, but by five are signified some, or some portion, thus that some were prudent and some were foolish, lamps — the knowledges of truth and good, in this case from the Word, also the truths of doctrine and of faith. Oil — the good of love and of charity. By the bridegroom is understood the Lord, and by nuptials— heaven and the church, which are called nuptials from the marriage of good and truth. Where that marriage is not, there neither exists heaven nor the church, therefore they are called foolish who know the truths of faith, and have not the good of love, and they who have the good of love are called prudent. Virgin and daughter in the Word signify the affection of good and truth, and it is by virtue of that affection that a church is a church.                           E. 675.
1, 2 et seq. By the bridegroom is understood the Lord, by virgins—-the church, and by lamps the truths of faith.                                                                 E. 1189.
l-io.     As virgins signify the church, therefore the Lord likened it to ten virgins invited to a marriage.        M. 21.

See Chapter XXII., 1-14.                                  M. 41.
Spiritual nuptials which relate to the marriage of good and truth take place on earth, but not after departure thence, thus not in the heavens, as it is said of the five foolish virgins, who were also invited to the nuptials, that they could not enter, because they were not in the marriage of good and truth, for they had no oil but only lamps. Oil signifies good, and lamps truth, and to be given in marriage means to enter heaven, where the marriage of good and truth takes place.                      M. 44.

The bridegroom stands for the Lord. M. 117.
1—11.     By the oil is meant fire and thus love.      R. 468.
By oil is signified the good of love to  the Lord, and the good of neighbourly love or  charity, and by lamps,  the truths which are called truths of faith. Hence it is evident that in the spiritual sense, this parable treats of those who know truths from the Word, or from the doctrine of the church, and are not principled in the good of love and charity, that is do not live according to those truths. Such persons are meant by the virgins who had no oil in their lamps, and who on that account were not admitted into heaven.                                           E. 375.
1-12. The good which is from the Lord is the bridegroom. The virgins who had oil in their lamps, are they who have good in their truths, but they who had not oil in their lamps are they, who have not good in truths. A. 9182.
That in the several things which are here said there is a spiritual sense and thence a Divine Holiness, no one sees but he who knows that there is a spiritual sense, and what its quality is. In the spiritual sense the kingdom of God (or of the heavens) means heaven and the church, by the bridegroom is meant the Lord, by the wedding — the marriage of the Lord with heaven and the church through the good of love and of faith. By virgins are signified those who are of the church, by ten all, by five some, by lamps the truths of faith, by oil the good of love, by sleeping and rising the life of man in the world which is natural, and his life after death which is spiritual. By buying to procure for themselves, by going to them that sell and buying oil to procure for themselves the good of love from others after death. Because it is no longer procurable, therefore, though they came with lamps and the oil which they had bought to the door where the wedding was, still it was said to them by the bridegroom, I know you not. The reason is because man remains after the life in the world, such as he had lived in the world. From this example it is manifest that the Lord spake by mere correspondences. S. 17.
See Chapter XXI., 33-41.                                  Life 2.
See Chapter IX., 15.                                         R. 812.
See Chapter XXV., 1-12 under S. 17. Statement repeated in                                                             T. 199.
See Chapter XIII., 4, 5, adding: They are like the five virgins who had lamps, but no oil.                 T. 527.
They who merely understand and talk about truths and goods, are like the foolish virgins who had lamps but no oil, while they who not only understand and talk about them, but also will and do them, are the wise virgins who were admitted to the wedding, the former stood at the door and knocked, but were not admitted. T. 719.
By virgins in the Word are signified those who are of the church, by lamps the things that belong to faith, by oil the good of love. By the five foolish virgins who had no oil in their lamps they who are in faith and not in love.                    E. 212.
By the five foolish virgins who took no oil in their lamps, are understood those who are principled in faith and not in the good of charity, by the five wise virgins who took oil in their lamps, those who are also in the good of charity. Lamps signify faith, and oil the good of charity.               E. 250.
The subject here treated of is concerning conjunction with the Lord by love and faith, the marriage also signifies that conjunction, oil signifies the good of love, and lamps the truths of faith. By midnight when the cry was made is signified the last judgment, and in general the last state of the life of man, when he must be adjudged either to heaven or to hell. By the foolish virgins then saying to the wise " give us of your oil " and the wise answering them that they should go to those who sell, is signified the state of all after death, in that they who have not the good of love in their faith, or the truth of faith derived from the good of love, are then i desirous to procure it for themselves, but in vain, as according to the quality of the life of man in the world such he remains. . . . By not knowing them is signified that the Lord was not conjoined to them, for spiritual love conjoins, and not faith without love. The Lord has an abode with those who are in love and thence in faith. These He knows, because He is Himself there. E. 252.
By lamps are here signified the truths of faith, by oil — the good of love.                                             E. 274.
By the fire of the altar was signified Divine love celestial, and by the fire of the candlestick, which was flame, Divine love spiritual. Hence it is that by the oil of which the fire of the flame was made in the lamps of the candlestick, is signified the Divine love, likewise by the oil which the five prudent virgins had in their lamps.  E. 504.
See Chapter VI., 22, 23, add : and they are also meant by the five foolish virgins, who had no oil in their lamps to whom the bridegroom said at his coming I know you not.                                         Wis. xi. 6.
1-13. Ten and five signify remains — ten more, five fewer.                                              A. 5291.
See Chapter XXIV., 42.                    R. 158.
By the ten virgins are understood all who are of the church, by five some of them, this number having such a signification. By lamps are signified the things which pertain to faith, by oil what pertains to love. Hence by the five wise virgins are understood they who are principled in love and thence in faith, by the five foolish virgins they who are not principled in love, but in faith alone. As these latter are in no spiritual life, therefore, because they are excluded out of heaven, the Lord said unto them / know you not, for they only have spiritual life who are principled in love and charity, as these are they who possess faith.               E. 187.
The Parable of the ten virgins also describes the advent of the Lord and the state of heaven, which is closed to those who have no oil, that is charity, it is therefore said to them watch, for yc know neither the day nor tJie hour wherein the Son of Man cometh. D. P., Page 9.

1-14. Then shall tht kingdom of the heavens be like unto ten virgins, signifies the last period of the old church and the first of the new. The church is the Lord's kingdom on earth. The ten virgins are all those who are in the church, both those who are in good and truth, and who are in evil and falsity. Ten in the internal sense means remains and also fulness, thus all. Who took their lamps, signifies spiritual things in which is the celestial, or truth in which there is good, or what is the same faith in which there is charity toward the neighbour, and charity in which there is love to the Lord, for oil is the good of love. But lamps in which there is no oil mean the same, in which there is not good. . . . And went forth to meet the bridegroom, signifies their reception. . . . Verse 5 signifies delay and thence doubt. To slumber in the internal sense is to grow sluggish from delay in the things of the church, to sleep is to cherish, doubt—the prudent a doubt in which is affirmation, the foolish a doubt in which is negation. Verse 6. The time which is the last of the old church and the first of the new is called night in the Word, when the state of the church is treated of. The cry means" change. The following words signify the same as a judgment namely, acceptance and rejection. Verse 7 means preparation of all, for those who are in truths in which there is no good are equally in the belief of being received, as those who are in truths in which there is good, for they think that faith alone saves, not knowing that there is no faith where there is no charity. Verse 8 signifies that they wish good to be communicated by others to their empty truths, or their destitute faith, for in the other life all spiritual and celestial things are mutually communicated, but only through good.
Verse 9 signifies that it cannot be communicated because the little of truth that they had would be taken away from them. They who make a vaunt of the good of merit are they that sell (see note to Matthew vii. 22, 23). Such are they here meant by the foolish virgins. Verse 11 signifies their too late application. They that were ready went in with him to the marriage, means that they who were in good and thence in truth were received into heaven. . . . The door was shut — others cannot enter. Verses 11, 12. They wish to enter in from faith alone without charity, and from works in which there is not the Lord's life, but the life of self. They who are not in conjunction are said not to be known. Verse 13 signifies the study of life according to the precepts of faith, which is to watch. (See also note to Matthew vii. 24, 26.)                                                               A. 4638.
1 et seq. The Lord likened the kingdom of the heavens, that is, His kingdom in heaven and His kingdom on earth which is the church to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  A. 4434.
Virgins signify those who have loved truths, because they are   truths,   thus   from a spiritual   affection.    The reason that these are meant by virgins is, that a virgin signifies the church as a bride, who wishes to be conjoined to the Lord, and to become a wife.           R. 620. By the bridegroom is also meant the Lord.       R. 797. Because virgins signify the church, the Lord likened it to ten virgins invited to a marriage.     T. 748.
1,2, 10. Baptism as regeneration is represented both in heaven and in the world by many things, in heaven by the marriage of the church with the Lord, and by the five prudent virgins who had lamps and oil, and entered in with the bridegroom to the marriage.   T. 687.



1. Having offered these remarks on the subject of judgment, we now proceed to consider the parables in which it is described. The parable of the ten virgins is one of the most attractive of the many which our Lord delivered and has left for the edification of his church. Important as it is to have right views on the nature of the general judgment, yet particular judgment is that in which we have the deepest, because an immediate personal interest. It will therefore be most profitable for us to consider the parable in this application. For every divine work is like itself in its general and particular operations. The less is an image or epitome of the greater; and the same description applies to both. So with the parable of the ten virgins. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. A virgin is a common symbol of the church, and of the church both in its pure and corrupt state. The virgin daughter of Zion and of Jerusalem are other names for the church, but even the virgin daughters of Israel can do a very horrible thing (Jer. xviii. 13), and in doing it, must represent the church, and the members of the church, in a corrupt state. Among the reasons for virgins being taken to represent the church in the present instance, there is one that appears to deserve attention. The three parables which the Lord employs in this chapter to describe the same event, we cannot suppose to be mere variations of the same idea. The things signified are as different as the symbols. The three parables are descriptions of the judgment on three different classes of persons. The virgins are they who are judged as to their affection for and against the principles of goodness; the servants to whom the Lord delivered talents are they who are judged as to their affections for or against the principles of truth; And the sheep and the goats are they who are judged as to their affections for or against goodness and truth in the actions of life. Thus discriminated, the parables may be understood in relation to an individual as well as to a multitude. There are ten virgins. In the natural sense this may be considered to mean an indefinite number, but in the spiritual sense numbers have a definite signification. Both revelation and creation bear testimony to these numbers being the result of a divine law. All the laws of divine order are collected into the ten commandments but these are still more summarily expressed in the two general precepts of love to God and love to man, as the ten commandments were written on two tables by the finger of God. The number of the virgins in the parable, spiritually understood, has therefore a distinct and instructive meaning. The virgins are ten in number, not only because that is an indefinite number, used to express all who were to be judged, but because it expresses all who have been instructed in the knowledge of the Divine laws, and have had the ability, the means, and the opportunity of preparing themselves to enter with the bridegroom into the marriage - with the Lord the Saviour into the kingdom of heaven. One of the particulars in which these ten virgins were alike was that they took their lamps. The lamp as the means of affording light, is employed here, and in other parts of Scripture, Is a symbol of light itself; and light is a universally recognized emblem of truth, which is intellectual light. As a lamp is the emblem of truth that enlightens the mind so is it of the Word itself, from which all true enlightenment comes. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. cxix. 105). The possession of the Word as an immediate revelation from God is that which peculiarly distinguishes the members of the Lord's visible church from the heathen. God has nowhere left himself without a witness, but the direct light of revelation is the highest testimony which he vouchsafes to man. It is not, however, the Word as a book, precious as it is, that makes it a lamp which we can take to light us on our way, but it is the Word as a record in our mind. The Word can only be a lamp to guide us on our way so far as its truths are engraven on our heart or inscribed on our memory. The parable assumes that the ten virgins were each possessed of a lamp. Each one of those whom they represent is in possession of the Word, even to having its general truths impressed upon their minds. But the parable begins by saying of the virgins that they took their lamps. To take the lamp is to apprehend the truths of the Word, and even to take hold of them by faith, - for those who belong to the church, and profess to be Christians, must at least have some nominal belief in its principles. There is another particular in which the ten virgins resembled each other: they went forth to meet the bridegroom. The taking of their lamps and going forth to meet the bridegroom describes the commencement of the religious life, when the Word, previously possessed, becomes an object of mental apprehension and personal faith, when men go forth to meet the bridegroom, by coming to the Lord, either really or nominally, as the Redeemer and Saviour.

2. But while all possessed the Word, and had a knowledge of its truths, and professed belief in them, the virgins were yet essentially different in character, for five of them were wise, and five were foolish. No words could express greater opposition of state and character than this. In the language of Scripture, wisdom and folly do not mean keenness and obtuseness of intellect, but moral excellence and depravity. The wise and the foolish of the Scriptures are the good and the evil. Wisdom and knowledge are sometimes confounded with each other, but they are entirely different. Wisdom is knowledge reduced to practice; knowledge teaches us the way of life and happiness, and the wise are they who walk in it. But he who knows how to be happy, and yet acts in such a way as to bring certain misery on himself, cannot be considered wise, but in the most emphatic sense is foolish. There can be no wisdom without knowledge, but there may be knowledge without wisdom.

3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

3. What is an external in man without an internal, but like a temple without worship, or a vineyard consisting merely of vines and leaves without grapes. Or like the lamps in the hands of the foolish virgins, who had no oil. T. 676.
3—13. They who in the world have not acknowledged God and shunned evils as sins, soon weary of truths and recede, and they who have acknowledged them with the lips, but not with the heart, are like the foolish virgins who had lamps but no oil. P. 328.
3, 4 et seq. The virgins who took lamps and not oil stand for those who hear the Word, read it and say that they believe, and yet do nothing of good, and if they do good, it is not from the love of good or truth, but from the love of self and the world. A. 9780.



3, 4. The Lord, after telling us that five were wise and five were foolish, shows in what their wisdom and folly consisted, and in what it was exhibited. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. All alike had the lamp of truth, but the wise only had the oil of love. Here is the grand distinction between wisdom and folly. Splendid talents, high intelligence, ardent zeal, may not be claimed by the wise more than by the foolish. In all matters of intellect, the spiritually foolish may even outshine the spiritually wise. Intellectual acuteness does not constitute wisdom, and is not incompatible with folly. But this is a point that will be more clearly seen in a future part of the parable. We need only remark here, that wherever oil is mentioned throughout the Scriptures, love is the grace which is meant by it. And the Scriptures throughout as invariably teach that love is the essence of religion: "God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1 John iv. 16). If Christian love is that which enables us to dwell in the bosom of divine love, it is evident that those who are destitute of that heavenly grace cannot enter heaven.

4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

4, By the virgins are signified affections. That the wise took oil in their vessels means that there was good in truths, and thus charity in faith. Oil means good, lamps stand for love. A. 3079.

5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

5, 6. Whilst man is in life from the Lord, he is in a state of watching or wakefulness, but when he is in life from self he is in a state of sleep. E. 1006.
5-7, Midnight stands for the last time of the old church, when there is nothing of faith because nothing of charity, also for the first time of the new church. A. 6000.



5. The bridegroom whom the ten virgins went out to meet did not immediately come. And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. Whether we consider the scene of this transaction to be in the natural or in the spiritual world, it teaches us here an instructive lesson. As the lord, when he delivered talents to his servants, left them and went into a far country, whence he returned to receive his own with usury, so does the bridegroom tarry, after he has invited the guests to the wedding. His tarrying is the interval between our being endowed with the means of living for heaven, and our entering into the spiritual world, to realize what we have prepared ourselves for receiving. During this important period the wise and foolish live undistinguished from each other, and even are all slumbering and sleeping. This common condition is significant. An external state of life is meant by sleep, and an internal state by wakefulness. Life in this world is as sleep, compared with life in the eternal world, which, comparatively, is wakefulness. The spirit of man, which is the real man, while in the body, is in a state of comparative, dullness and obscurity, both as to the will and understanding, which in the parable is expressed by slumbering and sleeping. This is a state or condition of being which is incident to the real and the nominal members of the church alike, the difference being, that the same external condition covers two different states of mind.

6. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Midnight is the time of the end, and the midnight cry is the announcement of a new beginning. The end of the church, the end of life, the end of a particular state, is expressed in the Scriptures by night, and especially by midnight. When the midnight of the Jewish church arrived, there was a cry made of the same purport as that in the parable. John was "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare Ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." So with every one individually at the end of life. When the day of preparation is ended, the midnight cry is raised, that the bridegroom cometh, and that we must go out to meet him. The Lord comes to us by the messenger of death, and calls us to go out of the body and out of the world to meet him.

7. Awakened by the midnight cry, then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. When we pass out of time into eternity, we awaken to the consciousness of a new and higher state of existence. The material body and all the conditions of time and space being removed, the soul is set free; and the spiritual world, which before was a matter of faith, becomes an object of sight. What an awakening is this! Its immediate effect is to call into activity the faculties both of the will and the understanding which is expressed by the virgins arising and trimming their lamps. Arising is predicated of the will and its affections, and trimming the lamp, of the understanding and its thoughts. When, even in this life, the affections are greatly excited, they rise above their ordinary condition into one of intense feeling, and when the thoughts are powerfully directed to a subject, they concentrate their energies, and endeavour to bring increased light to bear upon it. How much more must this be the case with us all when we awake in the eternal world, and hear the midnight cry, "Prepare to meet thy God!"

8. And now the fatal truth dawns upon the minds of the foolish ones. The lamps which they have trimmed are going out, and they have no oil to feed the dying flame. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone (going) out. During their abode in the world they were able to keep the lamp of faith from dying out by that fictitious love which simulates the true - the love of knowledge, that simulates the love of truth. But in the spiritual world, where earthly counterfeits are of no avail, the fictitious fountain dries up, and the lamp of faith which has no true spiritual love to support it gradually dies out. But the foolish see that the wise have oil, and they desire to receive from them what they had neglected to acquire for themselves.

9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

9, 10. To buy signifies appropriation. A. 5374.
By the prudent virgins are signified those in the church with whom faith is conjoined to charity, by the foolish those in the church with whom faith is separated from charity, for lamps signify the truths of faith, oil the good of love. They had not acquired for themselves the good of love and thereby vivified the truths of faith, when they lived in the world, and yet no one can procure these after death, so as to retain them. E. 840.



9. But the wise refused to supply the need of their destitute companions. They answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Works of supererogation find no place here. "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him, that he should still live for ever" (Ps. xlix. 7, 9). The wise know that the greatest measure of goodness is little enough for themselves, and that, little or much, it is incapable of being imparted to another. They therefore give the sage advice, "but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves." The heavenly oil cannot be obtained as a gift, it must be bought with a price. But who are they that sell? The Divine Being himself is the only Author of love and goodness, and he calls upon all to come to him and buy. But the laws of divine order are the delegated sellers of the holy oil, and they tell us the price at which we must purchase it. We must sell all that we have, do the work of repentance, and bring forth the fruits of righteousness. These laws are holy truths, which yield the oil of love and goodness to all who obey them. We must therefore go and buy for ourselves. For although the Lord gives without money and without price, yet he cannot give of his own love except to those who relinquish their self-love to obtain it.

10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

10-12. Communication with heaven and through heaven is effected by good of charity and of love, but not by truths which are called truths of faith, without good therein, wherefore these latter are called foolish, but the former wise. To these latter the door is said to be shut, because they do not communicate with heaven, that is through heaven with the Lord. A. 8989.
There are both ways and doors in the spiritual world, and angelic spirits actually go in the ways, and enter through the doors, when they enter into heaven. Therefore doors, gates, and portals, are often mentioned in the Word, and by them entrance is signified. R. 176.
The state of man after death is treated of. They who are principled in faith alone and not in love, cannot be admitted into heaven, even although they should then desire it, and this in consequence of the nature of their faith. This is signified by the door being shut, and their being refused admission when they knocked. E. 208.



10. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. The bridegroom's coming during the absence of the foolish virgins, or their absence at the time of his coming, is expressive of an entire dissimilarity of state between them and him, and of their consequent unpreparedness to enter into the marriage. But the wise, who were ready, entered with him. Entering with the Lord into the marriage is not only entering into heaven as a place, but into heaven as a state, and this is a state of the internal mind, and of the conjunction of goodness and truth there; for the Lord enters with the righteous into the heaven of their inner man, and there dwells with them eternally in the union of love and faith. And when he has entered with them into this heavenly and eternal marriage, the door is effectually and for ever shut against the intrusion of all external things that can disturb their peace and happiness. But the door which shuts the righteous in shuts the unrighteous out. The door that is shut against the foolish is the door of their own minds - in particular, that by which there is a communication between the spiritual and natural minds - for the spiritual mind is man's particular heaven. During a man's life in the world that door is never absolutely shut - at least, never so fixedly closed as to be incapable of being opened by sincere repentance. For the Lord stands at this door and knocks; and the door at which God knocks, man must be able to open. But in the other life he can no longer do so. He who has not opened the door of his heart in this World, cannot open it in the next. And when the door that opens into the inner man is closed, the natural mind is left in darkness and death. The darkness of the outer mind, when all light from the inner mind is shut out, is the outer darkness into which the wicked are said to be cast at the judgment; and is that in which the virgins are understood to have been left, when, with extinguished lamps, they were shut out from the glory of the marriage in heaven.

11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

11. 12. See Chapter VII., 22, 23. A. 6806.
See Chapter VII., 22, 23 add: the same faith
is also meant by the lamps without oil with the five
foolish virgins. A. 7778.
See Matthew VII., 22, 23, add: they were also meant by the foolish virgins, who had not oil in their
lamps. A. 9192.
They who are in persuasive faith (see A. 9364) are also meant by the foolish five virgins. A. 9369.
See Chapter VII., 22, 23. N. 119.
12. See Chapter V., 18, 26. R. 23,



11. Afterward came also the other virgins saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. As the desire to be happy is common to all mankind, so the desire to enter heaven is common to all who have belonged to the church, who believe heaven to be the abode of happiness, admission into which many think is all that is necessary to be made for ever happy. And if heaven be considered as the heaven of the inner mail, the evil still desire that the door that gives admittance into it should be opened by the Lord even in the other life.

12. But the Lord answers the foolish virgins: Verily I sag unto you, I know you not. God's knowledge of the evil is like their knowledge of him. The evil may know the Lord intellectually, but they know him not savingly. So the Lord with them. As God, the Lord knows the evil; but as Saviour, be knows them not. Their names were not written in the Lamb's book of life. They have no saving knowledge of, no saving interest in, his incarnation and redemption. Neither have they the mark of his children. The Lord's Dame is not written in their foreheads, nor in their hands - neither in their hearts, nor in their lives, - how, then, can the Lord know them? Their names are not written in heaven, how can they be known there? They are not in the Lord, and the Lord is Not in them. The inevitable consequence is, that there is no ground of communion, no means of conjunction, between them nothing but the great gulf, which makes complete and eternal separation.

13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

13. See Chapter XXIV., 42. A. 4636.

It is evident that the Lord here meant Himself. R. 812.
The last statement is repeated in M. 41.
The bridegroom whom the five prepared virgins went forth to meet, and with whom they entered in to the marriage, is the Lord. M. 117.
See Chapter XXIV., 50. E. 194.
The subject here treated of is the consummation of the age and the coming of the Lord. Coro. 5.



13. How solemn, then, is the warning, Watch therefore, for Ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh! Our happy ignorance of the time when we shall be called into the presence of the Lord, affords us the opportunity of preparing for the judgment. Our preparation must be begun when we are free from the immediate apprehension of the event which ends it. We must keep watch even when we see no signs of danger. We know that the thief will come, therefore our watching call never be in vain. And unless we are constantly watchful, we may at any time be surprised, and all our previous anxiety and labour lost. Watch, therefore. But what is the duty of a spiritual watchman? It is not to live in fear and apprehension; for this rather exposes us to danger than preserves as from it. Those, who are prepared for the intruder watch with a tranquil mind; it is the unready that need to fear the enemy. To watch, therefore, is to have set our house in order, and wait the coming of the event which We know must come. And come when he may, may the Lord then find us ready!

14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

14-21. See Chapter XIII., 45, 46, add : and in the opposite sense knowledges of falsity and evil, to gain the world by the latter, and heaven by the former. R- 759-14-30. See Chapter III., 7. A. 4314.
Every one whether condemned or saved has a certain measure which is capable of being filled. The evil have a certain measure of evil and falsity, and the good a certain measure of good and truth. This measure with every one is filled in the other life, but some have a greater measure, some a less. This measure is acquired in the world by means of the affections, which are of the love. The limits and degrees of the extension of that measure are seen plainly in the other life and cannot there be transcended, but can be filled, and also actually are filled — with goods and truths in the case of those who have been in the affection for good and truth, and with evils and falsities in the case of those who have been in the affection of evil and falsity. Hence it is evident that this measure is the faculty gained in the world for receiving either evil and falsity, or good and truth. This state is what is meant by a full state and is signified by thirty. It is described by the Lord in the parables of the talents, and at length in Matthew xxv. 29. A. 7984.
See Chapter XXL, 33-41. Life 2.
If you wish to be led by the Divine providence, use prudence as a servant and minister who faithfully dispenses the goods of his master. This prudence is a talent given to the servants to trade with, an account of which they must render. The prudence itself seems to man as his own, so long as man keeps shut up within him the deadliest enemy of God and the Divine providence, the love of himself. P. 210.
Does not the Lord give the pounds and the talents, that man may trade with them and get gain, and as he gains, give him eternal life? R. 463.
See Chapter XIII., 44. R. 606.
The difference between love toward the neighbour and the exercise of it toward man individually, and toward man collectively or a society, is like that between the respective duties of a citizen, a magistrate, and a duke ; and like that between him who traded with two talents, and him who traded with five. T. 413.
See Chapter XXV., 14-30 under R. 463. Statement repeated. T. 462.
See Chapter XXL, 33-41. T. 483.
That the knowledges of good and truth, derived from the Word, are to be taken away from those who have not procured for themselves spiritual life, is also understood in the parables of the Lord concerning the talents and the pounds, given to the servants to trade with and to gain by. E. 193.
By the man is here meant the Lord. By His travelling into a far country is meant His departure out of the world. By five and by ten here are signified something and much, thus that the first from some knowledges of truth and good procured for himself much wisdom, the reason why from him who has procured for himself nothing of intelligence is taken away that which he hath, and given to him who has much, is because after death, when man becomes a spirit, he carries with him all and everything which he has imbibed from the Word, and from the doctrine of the church ; but they who have thereby procured for themselves nothing of intelligence are inwardly evil, and abuse the truths and goods of heaven and the church, which they possessed in the memory only, for the purposes of ruling over, and doing evil to the simple good who belong to the ultimate heaven. This is the reason why those goods and truths are taken away from them, and given to them who have much, as the latter do not abuse, but perform uses with them. E. 675.
Trading signified the acquisition and possession of truths. E. 840.
The parable of the talents given to the servants also signifies the coming of the Lord, therefore an account of everything was rendered as may be read in verse 19. D. P., Page 9.
14-17 et seq. It is the remains, which are goods and truths from the Lord stored up with man, that receive life then (in reformation and regeneration). The goods and truths are acquired from infancy, even to the time of reformation, with one person more, with another fewer. These are reserved in his internal man, nor can they be brought forward, before his external man has been reduced to correspondence, which is effected chiefly by temptations, and by many kinds of vastation, for until corporeal things, which are contrary to them, become quiescent, celestial and spiritual things cannot flow in, this is the reason why everyone is reformed according to his state and capacity. This also the Lord teaches in thre parable concerning the man who went abroad. A. 2967.
14-18 et seq. By the servant who received five talents are signified those who have admitted goods and truths from the Lord, and thus who have received remains ; by him who received two — those who have joined charity to faith when well on in years, and by him who received one — those who have received faith alone, without charity. Of the last it is said that he hid his Lord's silver in the earth, silver in the internal sense, means the truth which is of faith, and faith without charity cannot make gain, or bear fruit. A. 5291.



14-30. The parable of the talents presents the subject of probationary life and final decision, under another aspect than the parable of the tell virgins. It throws considerable light upon the nature of the state which awaits us hereafter, and the conditions oil which our future happiness or misery depends. Nothing call be more clear than the testimony it gives to the doctrine, that every human being has faculties given him by the Lord, which he is at liberty either to use or to abuse, and that in the use which he makes of them he is left to his own free determination. It, indeed, is plain that this faculty of free determination, and everything else that be possesses, is given him by the Lord; and that, if be is saved, the Lord is sole Author of his salvation. This is the reason that all the traders in this parable are described as the Lord's servants, who of course ascribe all that they possess to him, as properly his own, both what they had originally received and what they had gained by trading. Regarded in the light of the spiritual sense, it brings before us another class of minds, or the human mind in another of its conditions than the previous parable. The virgins representing those who are favourable or opposed to that principle of the kingdom of God which is the object of the will and its affections - the principle of love, - the servants represent those whose affections are favourable or opposed to that principle of the kingdom which is the immediate object of the understanding and its thoughts - the principle of truth.

14. The first thing we have to notice in the parable is the Lord's being compared to a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. This teacbes two important particulars relating to the manner in which the Lord proceeds in his dealings with his creatures. The first is, that all that man possesses, by the use of which he may attain to eternal happiness, is a free gift to him from the. Lord alone, and which, if he makes right use of it, is finally given to him as his own - that is, is confirmed to him so as never to be taken from him - although he himself will ever acknowledge with thankfulness that it, together with himself, of right belongs wholly to the Lord. This is plainly taught by the circumstance that the talents which each of the servants received were given them by their lord, who evidently is the Lord the Saviour. Another important truth we learn is, that during man's abode in the world, be is left so much to his own disposal that, according to all appearance, he is entirely his own master, independently of the Being from whom all that he has is derived. Of the Divine presence he has no sensible perception, insomuch that if he were to judge by outward appearance only, as exhibited by his senses, or even as suggested by his consciousness, without the testimony of revelation or the dictates of enlightened reason, he might fall into doubt even of the existence of a God, as we know many actually do. This is evidently taught by the circumstance of the lord of the servants "travelling into a far country." In this, as in many other sayings in the Holy Word, an action or proceeding is ascribed to the Lord which in reality is all appearance produced by a change of state which takes place in mail. Heaven, and the spiritual world in general, being the scene of the Lord's more immediate presence, is called "a far country," in respect to the natural world, as is also the natural world in respect to heaven. But man is so created that he possesses in his own mind both a spiritual world and a natural. His soul, or spiritual part, which is to live after death, is his spiritual world; and his body, or natural part, is his natural world. His soul or spiritual part, again, is divided into distinct regions, in the inmost of which the Lord himself has his residence, and by virtue of possessing which he receives from the Lord, who dwells in it, the faculties of liberty and rationality, and with these, the faculty of living to eternity. In the order of his creation, the inmost region is first formed by the Lord, and the lower regions of his mind and body in their respective order; and it is in the lowest of these that he first comes to be sensible of his existence. While the Lord remains ever present in the inmost of his soul, man, as it were, recedes from the Lord, which is expressed by the Lord's going into a far country. Here, then, we see, man stands in this world of nature, and having come from God, he is to return to God again. In the meantime, he is endowed with talents to trade with, on the use or abuse of which his eternal happiness or misery depends. Those oil whom the Lord bestows his goods are called his own servants. They are called his own, because the parable relates more especially to those who are within the church, and who nominally at least, belong to the Lord, from their possessing that Divine revelation through which there is a more immediate communication, and may be a more intimate connection, between God and men, There is a special reason, also, for their being called servants. The servants so often spoken of in Scripture were not free, but bond; and being the property of their masters, their entire gains, like themselves, belonged to him who bestowed the talents upon them. In the spiritual sense, servants denote those within the church who are possessed of truth - of that truth which makes men free, if they employ it to attain to a state of good, which is a state of freedom.

15. The goods which the lord gave consisted of talents, and these are given to three different servants. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability - and straightway took his Journey. As the parable describes the divine economy more especially with the professing Members of the church, the number of members is limited to three, because this number expresses the idea of completeness, as applicable to those of the spiritual class, or who are receptive of truths, and who are especially meant by servants not only here, but wherever they are mentioned in the Word. The servants, too, receive each a different number of talents. The talents denote the knowledges of divine truth which are given by the Lord to every man, with the faculty of apprehending and using them aright. But are we to understand that these are given in allotted portions - to some more, to others less? Here again the language is adapted to express the appearance rather than the reality. The Holy Word and the influences of the Holy Spirit are offered in equal fulness to all, and are received by every one "according to his several ability," the measure of reception being only limited by the capacity to receive, which every one acquires for himself, chiefly by his habits and manners of life. Thus, out of the treasury of infinite wisdom some take five talents, some two, and some one. And when it is said that the Lord gives them, the meaning is, that whatever each takes is a free gift from him. But the number of the talents, like that of the servants, has a distinct spiritual signification. And here also the appearance is different from the reality. Numbers signify quality rather than quantity. The larger number does not therefore always stand for more, and the smaller for less; but each has a meaning determined by its relation to the principles whose quality it is intended to express. The five talents signify goodness and truth stored up in the human mind as remains, which is done chiefly during infancy, childhood, and youth; the two talents signify good and truth acquired by instruction and study at a more advanced age, and possessed as knowledge; and the one talent signifies truth alone, acquired from some degree of choice at a still nearer approach to manhood, and laid up in the memory. These may be said to include all principles acquired, and all states formed during that period of life when, by the Lord's providence, man is being gifted with the possessions which properly constitute the talents necessary for every one to possess, that he may be qualified for entering on the regenerate life. Spiritually understood, the talents are not bestowed all at once; they are given gradually, and the period occupied in God's bestowing and man's acquiring them extends from earliest infancy to the age of manhood and womanhood, and includes both the storing up of remains and the acquisition of knowledge.

16, 17, Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. The talents bestowed by the Lord were given to trade with, and in this their true value consists. In all the comparisons which infinite wisdom has adopted to instruct us as to the nature of the kingdom of heaven, there is one prevailing idea ever presented before us. That one idea is the earnest use of means to attain some great practical end ever presented before us. There must be fervent prayer, earnest seeking, determined striving and persevering labour, - and all these with the promised end in view of securing a blessing, finding a treasure, reaching a goal gathering the clustered grapes, or reaping the abundant harvest. The whole duty of man as a probationary being may be expressed in the Lord's one word, "Labour." God gives the means and the power; man has to use the means. In this his great duty consists; on this his salvation depends. God cannot do more for man than give him the talents; man should not do less for himself than use them, that he may render them back to their Giver with increase. To say that the Lord does not save his creatures without their own exertions is the same as to say that he cannot. There is no doubt he would if be could. He who made man what he is must deal with him as he is, - a free agent. He who gave him freewill cannot force or act against it. This would be a contradiction, which with God is impossible. We must therefore use our talents: we must trade with them The knowledge, of which the talents are the symbol, is the knowledge of our duty, and at the same time the faculty of doing it. Our duty is to do the will of God, which is, that we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. Spiritual life is not separate from natural life, but within it. We trade with the Lord's talents when we employ the Lord's principles in doing our daily work.

But here we come to the ever-recurring fact, that while a bountiful Providence sees that all receive talents sufficient for their need, and which only require to be used to make their possessors rich towards God, yet some only of these favoured servants carry out the purpose and do the will of their merciful Benefactor. Happily, there are some who are wise and grateful enough to apply their talents to the great use for which they were bestowed. "Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, be also gained other two." They who gain five talents by trading, and they who gain two, are such as make a good use of divine mercies, and acquire to themselves intelligence and wisdom by living a life of charity and faith. And here we observe that each gains by trading a sum equal to that with which he had commenced his career in life. In this circumstance there is an instructive truth. The trading of the servants signifies that part of man's duty and labour which consists in reducing one's knowledge to practice - in making the religion of the mind the religion of the life. This is the true labour, and the result is the true gain of life. Our great labour consists in bringing the external into harmony with the internal, the natural mind with the spiritual, our words and works with our affections and thoughts. And this is done gradually by intelligence, zeal, and perseverance. Every evil that we successfully resist removes some principle or element of discord, and every good we do establishes a harmony between the inner and the outer life. And as we go on in this progressive way, ceasing to do evil and learning to do well, our principles grow out into habits. Every talent that we faithfully use gains another talent; and it is indeed a solid and eternal gain - for that which has become practical has become confirmed, and remains with us for ever.

18. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. This one talent, if it were to be Considered as representing the most limited capacity which man can have for the reception of God's spiritual gifts, and the least of the gifts which God bestows, is yet evidently intended to be understood as sufficient for all the purposes for which God's gifts are bestowed. The servant who received the one talent was left, like the others, to occupy till his lord came and he, like the others, had it in his power to double his sum by trading. So far, therefore, the Lord is equal, giving all the capacity and the means of eternal life; and so far all men are equal, in being placed every one in a condition to work out his salvation. Considered in its spiritual sense, it teaches a still more distinct and instructive lesson. For, understanding the one talent as the symbol of truth which the Lord teaches every one through Holy Scripture, every one has it in his power, because the power is ever given him, to add to his truth goodness and this is all that God requires of man, and all that is necessary for his salvation. But this servant, instead of employing his one talent, went and digged in the earth, and his lord's money. Every one sees in this slothful servant a type of those who neglect to improve the talents and means which God bestows upon them for spiritual and eternal uses. But the spiritual sense gives emphasis to this lesson. For the earth, as we have often had occasion to point out, is a symbol of man's earthly or natural mind. The picture here is most instructive. This servant did not spend his lord's talent as the prodigal son wasted his father's substance. He carefully preserved it; and that he might be able to restore it to its owner, he buried it in the earth, where it might safely remain till the time of restitution. This servant is the type of those in the church who cultivate a knowledge of the truth, not from any spiritual love or for any practical purpose, but for the mere pleasure of knowing it for the vanity of display. This cultivation of the truth, or of the natural mind for its reception, is meant by digging; and to express the idea that the end for which the mind was cultivated was earthly, he who hid the talent is said to have digged in the earth. This servant is by no means necessarily a singular character. Many an intellect may be dazzled with the light and charmed with the beauty of truth, without the heart being influenced by its moral excellence, or brought under its moral power. These, and all others who make an intellectual acknowledgment of the truth, but go no further, "hide their lord's money." They do not conceal or neglect the knowledge of which the money is the symbol. Men hide the talent, as their Lord's, when they do not in heart acknowledge the talent they possess to be his, and when they hide its spiritual worth in their unspiritual lives, not letting their light so shine before men that they may see their good works, and glorify their Father who is in heaven.

19. But the day of reckoning comes at last; and then is it seen who have been faithful and who unfaithful to the trust reposed in them; and then are to be revealed the opposite consequences of industry and idleness. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. We speak of the brevity, the uncertainty of even the longest time allotted to man on earth. But time spiritually is state. The long time of the Lord's coming to judgment is his long-suffering. This is the experience of each of us, how long or short soever our stay may be in this present probationary world. His unerring wisdom measures out our needful period of existence in this world; and his unfailing love attends us in every state through which we pass. And all that a watchful Providence can do is done to make our time of reckoning a time of joy and the realization of eternal happiness. This long time is with the Lord a time of striving with us, prompting us with his love, guiding us with his wisdom, and aiding us with all the agencies he has appointed, to lead us to repentance and holiness. But, long as the period may be that the Lord affords to his servants to improve their talents, the time comes when he "reckoneth with them." Reckoning is an ordeal through which all must pass.

20. When the lord reckoned with his servants, he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. It is a principle plainly laid down, and a duty strenuously enforced, in the Divine Word, that man is to regard nothing as his own, but that whatever he acquires or possesses is to be ascribed to God as its true Owner. It may seem, as to many it has seemed, that God is jealous of his honour, and makes this demand upon his creatures that he may receive from them what is his due. The true view of this important matter is, that the Lord makes this demand, not because he can derive any honour from the homage of his creatures, but because it is the means of increasing their own perfection and blessedness. Spiritual gifts and acquirements are blessings, because they are the means of connecting us with the Lord, who is the only source of blessing. They are the channels through which the love and light of God flow down into the soul, and can only be so in virtue of man looking through them to him as the Author of every good. This is the reason the Lord comes to reckon with us, as we shall see in the result to the faithful servants. The Lord comes indeed to every one at an hour when he thinks not, by the solemn visitation which brings us into his more immediate presence in the eternal world. And as this is an event that is common to all, the subject of the final reckoning is to all one of deep and solemn interest. In the parable the lord reckons first with the servants who had improved their talents. They bring the original sum, with the increase they had acquired by industry, and give the whole to their lord as his, - thus not only acknowledging him as the giver of the means of acquiring riches, but as the rightful owner of the wealth acquired. And in this they are figures of those who claim no merit for their works, but ascribe all the merit of goodness to him who alone has a title to it. We have already spoken of the important practical truth expressed in the servants doubling the sum which had been entrusted to them for the purpose of trading with it. This, we have seen, is done when we use truth so as to make it the means of acquiring goodness - faith as the means of acquiring charity.

21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

21, 23. All are born into evils of every kind. These cannot be removed, except by Divine truths from the Word, namely by the application thereof to life, wherefore to those who have gained it, it is said (Verses 21, 23,) and to him who gained nothing (Verse 30). E. 675.



21. But the doubling of our talent by trading not only implies that what was received into the mind has been reproduced in the life but that this has been done faithfully and fully, as expressed in the salutation of the lord, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Good is a quality of the will, and faithfulness is a quality of the understanding; the one is an attribute of charity, the other of faith. To be entitled to the approbation of having done well, we must be both good and faithful. To have the Divine approbation for fidelity and goodness is great comfort. But this is followed by reward. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. The principles of goodness and truth which have been confirmed in the life are, in the other life, greatly multiplied and exalted. This is the general lesson which this award of the lord to the servants teaches us. But it contains a more specific meaning. Few and many, we have seen (ch. xx. 16), signify principles of goodness and truth. But how does this apply in the present case? We have seen that their receiving talents and trading with them means receiving truth, and by means of that truth acquiring goodness. When goodness is acquired, it gives the capacity of being further enriched with truth, but with truth of a higher kind. We have, on a former occasion, shown that there is truth which leads to good, and there is truth which is derived from good. The truth which is derived from good may be rather called wisdom than truth. It is not the light of knowledge, which teaches us what goodness is, and shows us the way to attain it, but the light of love, or the truth by which love goes forth in wise, and therefore beneficent acts - deeds of enlightened charity. That the reward of the servants of this parable consists in enriching goodness with truths of wisdom, appears from the manner in which the reward is expressed in Luke, where the lord says to the servant who had gained ten pounds, "Be thou over ten cities;" and so of the other who had gained five pounds, "Be thou over five cities" (ch. xix. 16, 19). Cities, wherever mentioned in the Word, have relation to the understanding, and to truths and doctrines of which the understanding is receptive. But the servants being made rulers over many things is further expressive of the good and faithful being gifted with the rule and government of all their lower affections and thoughts, which implies the complete submission of the external to the will and wisdom of the internal man. Besides all this, there was one other and final reward bestowed upon them in the blessed words addressed to each, Enter thou into the joy of thy lord. This is the highest award that the Lord can make to the regenerate man. The joy of our Lord is the joy of having his love dwelling in the heart, and manifesting itself in all the delights of heaven for ever. In accordance with the particular sense, in its application to the mind, the servant enters into the joy of his lord when the joy of the internal man and his spiritual affections is imparted to the external man and his natural affections; for when these two parts of the mind are brought into harmony and unity, all internal joys descend into external joy and delight, that the Christian's joy may be full. Then too, it is that the joy of the Lord is imparted to man, and that he is prepared to enter into the joy of heaven.

22, 23. What is said of the servant who gained five talents is repeated in these verses of him who gained two, the meaning of which it is unnecessary further to explain.

24, 25. We come now to the less pleasing, but not less necessary and profitable, subject of neglected talents, as presented to us under the character of the unfaithful servant. Then he which had received the one talent came. This servant comes into the presence of his lord with as much confidence as the others. He does not confess to having been guilty of any want of fidelity to him; on the contrary he considered that it had discharged his duty when he restored to him the money he had placed in his hands. He even justifies himself in the course he had followed, on the ground of his master's severity. Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou, hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. In these words we have an exact description of the manner in which every merely natural man views the merciful Lord, the Author of all good. Although every blessing he enjoys is from the Lord, he still regards him as a hard man, reaping where he has not sown, and gathering where he has not strawed. In their hearts all view the Lord as a hard master whose state of mind is wholly uninfluenced by a spirit of love, of which he is the Source, and is immersed in love of an opposite nature, as is the love of self and of the world. And as they nevertheless know that the Lord requires of man the fruits of charity and faith, whilst they are conscious of being destitute of both, they in their own minds throw the blame on the Lord, endeavouring to justify themselves by pretending that deficiency is owing to his not having implanted those gifts in their nature. It is indeed true that genuine charity and faith are not implanted in our nature, which by birth is replete with contrary sentiments; yet it is equally true that the means are afforded, the talents given, by which we may acquire them; but because such persons as are here spoken of live only according to their natural inclinations, they never make the acquisition. To be afraid is a term expressive of the inward dread which such persons feel, when they think of the Lord, from a consciousness of the contrariety between their own state and his nature; as to go and hide their talent in the earth is to immure the noble faculties with which they are endowed in the corruptions of the natural man, by making them subservient to merely natural ends and objects.

25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

25. They who know what sin is, and still more they who know many other things from the Word, and teach them, and who do not examine themselves, and consequently see no sin in themselves, may be compared to those who scrape up wealth and lay it up in chests and coffers, making no further use of it than to look at it and count it. Such are like the trader who hid his talent in the earth. T. 527.
26-30. The talent and pound to trade with will be taken away from a man if he gains nothing. To trade and to gain signify to procure truths and goods to one's self. R. 164.
26, 28-30. Knowledges of good and truth with the evil are applied to evil uses, and knowledges of good and truth with the good are applied to good uses, the knowledges are the same, but the application to uses constitutes their quality with every one. A. 7770.



26, 27. But it may appear remarkable that the lord, instead of expressing any displeasure at the injustice of calling him a man who reaps where he has not sown, goes in his answer on the supposition that he is so, but thence infers a duty to have devolved on the servant which he had not performed. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. By this he teaches us that the duty of serving him is incumbent even on the natural man, and that those who are so engaged in outward things as not to acquire a principle of pure and exalted charity and faith, ought nevertheless to do good from the simple motive of obedience, and to keep the divine laws, if only with a view of being rewarded in heaven. To do good merely with a view to reward, though that be a reward in heaven, is the lowest motive from which man call do anything like real good at all; yet if those who do it are sincere in their obedience, and in shunning evils as sins, their motive may be purified, and they will not be finally rejected. In brief, a service which begins in fear may end in love; if not in the perfect love which casteth out fear, at least in love that casts out the slavish element that makes fear unworthy of him who is its Object.

28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

28, 29. See Chapter XIII., 12. A. 4424.
See Chapter XIII., 12. P. 17.
See Chapter XIII., 12. R. 676.
From the evil are taken away the things which they have, and they are given to the good. E. 242.
28-30. All the evil who flock out of the world are first separated from the goods and truths which they know only from memory, and thence professed with their lips, and when they are separated from these, their interiors appear, which consist of nothing but heaps of falses originating in evils. When they are in these they have no longer any power, they then fall down headlong into hell, as heavy bodies in the air fall to the earth. That goods and truths are taken away from the evil is known from the Word, for the Lord says in Matthew : E. 783,
29. See Chapter XIII., 12. A. 2449.

See Chapter XXV., 14-30. A. 7984.
See Chapter XIII., 12. H. 349.
See Chapter XIII., 12. P. 227.
See Chapter XIII., 12. R. 948.
See Chapter XIII., 12. E. 112.
See Chapter XIII., 12. E. 413.

That good and truth are taken away from the evil in the other life, and given to the good. N. 21, 30.

See Chapter VIII., 12. A. 4175.
See Chapter VIII., 12. A. 4424.
See Chapter VIII., 12. A. 9052.
See Chapter VIII., 12. H. 575.
See Chapter VIII., 12. R. 413.
See Chapter VIII., 12. R. 435.
See Chapter VIII., 12. E. 526.
See Chapter VIII., 12. E. 556.



28. While the servants that improved their talents were made rulers over more than they had thus faithfully used, the slothful servant was deprived of the one talent which he had neglected to improve. Take therefore the talent from, him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. We know it is a universal law that any power is enfeebled by neglect, whilst it is increased by action. Spiritual gifts are subject to the same law. If we neglect the right use of our faculties, they become enfeebled or depraved. If we neglect the use of knowledge, it will vanish away. The use of knowledge does not consist in teaching it to others, but in applying it to ourselves not in communicating it to another's understanding, but in applying it to our own heart. If religious knowledge is not thus applied, it will be taken from us. Not that the Lord forcibly deprives us of it, but because, having no spiritual capacity or love for it, it cannot remain. There can be no truth where there is no good, no faith without love. Those who enter the other world with knowledge which they mistake for truth, and with persuasion which they mistake for faith, soon find themselves destitute of even the semblance of any. On the other hand, they who have doubled their talents, by adding goodness to their truth and charity to their faith, have increased their capacity, and find themselves enriched with a great and endless increase. The one talent is taken from the unfaithful servant and given to him that hath ten talents. It is not given unto him that had two, although he had been as faithful, and had gained as much, according to the extent of his means, as the other. There is a reason for this. The five talents, we have seen (v. 15), denote a state less full and perfect than the two. The two signify the knowledge of good and truth in equality, and the two gained besides them signify good and truth, or charity and faith, acquired as principles of life; and this practical union of charity and faith constitutes the heavenly marriage. But the number five signifies the remains of good and truth; and, indeed, a defective state of remains, such as they may be supposed to have acquired who have enjoyed to but a limited extent the advantages of a right education. That these were able to gain their other five talents, teaches us that even a defective state of remains is no hindrance to salvation. A full state of remains is meant by ten. Such a state as that meant by five, though imperfect, may be filled up and perfected in the other life. And such a state is perfected by knowledges. Therefore it was that the talent of received knowledge, of which the mere intellectual cultivator of truth was deprived, was given to him who had ten talents.

29. The contrast, expressed as a seeming paradox, that unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath, is thus to be understood: he who has good shall be enriched with truth but he who is destitute of good will be deprived of truth. In the Gospel of Luke, (viii. 18), "that which he hath" is called "that which he seemeth to have;" for with the evil and faithless truth is but a seeming possession. They have it in their memory but not in their hearts; and the memory is but the storehouse of the mind - the Scripture "barn" of hoarded wealth, of which death deprives a man for ever. "This night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall these things be?" The great law of heaven, and indeed of life, is, - so much of good, so much of truth; so much of charity, so much of faith. He who has no good has in reality no truth; he who has no charity has no faith. Good and charity can, however, have a certain existence without truth and faith. Men may live in this world, of which the heathen furnish an example, without the knowledge of revealed truth, and therefore without the faith of Jesus Christ as revealed in the gospel; - but they may nevertheless live in charity and virtue, as far as their own knowledge extends. Such, in the other life, will have truth added to their goodness, and faith to their charity.

30. The sentence upon such is: Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. We have already spoken of the meaning of this language. The darkness into which the evil are cast is the darkness of their own minds, from which the light of saving truth has been excluded, the light in which they lived in the world being only the light of knowledge. It is like that which the earth is said to have enjoyed before the sun was made and placed in the firmament, - a temporary light which precedes that of the permanent, but which cannot continue to be a substitute for it. But this is called not simply darkness, but outer darkness; for this is the darkness not of ignorance, nor even of error, but the darkness of perverted truth - the light turned into darkness; "and if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, which is expressive of the bitterness of suffering arising from the absence of all good and truth, and the presence of evil and falsity in the moral and intellectual life.

Here again we find a solemn lesson. Life and death are set before us in strong terms. Life, if we are faithful to the mercies we enjoy, death if we are unfaithful and unprofitable.

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:                                               

31. The throne of glory, in the internal sense, is here the Divine truth, which is from the Divine good in heaven. He that sitteth on that throne is the Lord, Whoy as He is a Judge from the Divine truth, is here called a King. A. 5313.
By thrones are signified all things of truth, from which and according to which judgment is effected. The same is also meant by the angels with whom the Lord is to come to judgment. A. 5313.
As holiness is predicated of the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord, therefore angels, because they receive it, are called holy. A. 8302,
31 The Lord alone is holy, and that alone is holy which proceeds from the Lord. Therefore He is called the Holy One of Israel, the Redeemer, Preserver, Regenerator, and hence heaven itself is called the habitation of holiness. From these considerations it is evident on what ground it is, that the angels are called holy. Not that they are holy of themselves, but of the Lord. A. 9229.
See Chapter XXIV., 30. A. 9429.
See Chapter XVI., 27. A. 9807.
The Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is what in the Word is called holy. Hence it is evident how it is to be understood that angels are called holy. A. 9820.
The angels said also that the lower parts of the fifth earth in the starry heavens were inhabited as well by the good as by the evil, but well separated, in order that the evil might be ruled through the good by the Lord. That cloud which in descending gradually appeared bright and in the human form and then as a flaming radiance, was an angelic society, in the midst of which was the Lord. From this it was manifest what is meant by the Lord's words in the Evangelists where He speaks of the last judgment. U. 171.
By virtue of truths from the Lord the angels are called holy. R. 586.
The Divine truth is meant by glory. R. 629.
That He that sat upon the throne is the Lord is manifest.R. 808.
By glory is meant the glory of the Word, or the Divine truth in the Lord. R. 897.
The Son of Man signifies Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. E. 63.
See Chapter XIII., 41, 49. E. 130.
See Chapter X., 32. E. 200.
The reason why the angels, prophets and apostles are called holy is, because by them, in the spiritual sense, is understood Divine truth. Jerusalem is called the holy city, because by that city, in the spiritual sense, is understood the church, as to the doctrine of truth. E. 204.
Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne (Psalm Ixxxix. 14). The same is also signified by the throne of glory, where it is predicated of the Lord, for glory signifies Divine truth. Hence it is clear what is meant by the throne of glory in Jeremiah xiv. 21 and xvii. T2. E. 253.
By a throne is signified heaven, and by one sitting upon it the Lord as to His Divine in heaven. E. 297.
To sit upon the throne of His glory signifies to be in His Divine truth from which is judgment. E. 687.
Inasmuch an the Father and the Son of God are one, therefore the Lord says that when He cometh to judgment He shall come in the glory of His Father (Mark viii. 38 : Luke ix. 26) and in His own glory in Matthew xxv. E. 852.
When the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father. D. P., Page 9.
31, 32. That v/ell-disposed men are also called sheep, evil men are called goats. A. 10132.
Verses quoted. Inv. 30.
31-33. When the Son oj Man shall come in His glory, signifies when the Divine truth shall come in its light, which takes place with every man when he dies, for he then comes into the light of heaven, in which he can perceive what is true and good, and hence what is his quality. The Son of Man, in the internal sense of the Word, is the Lord as to Divine truth, and so is the Divine truth from the Lord. Glory is the intelligence and wisdom thence derived, which appear as light, and before angels as the splendour of light. This splendour of light in which are wisdom and intelligence derived from the Divine truth which is from the Lord, is what in the Word is called glory. The holy angels are the truths which are from the Lord's Divine good, for the angels are recipients of the life of truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine good, and as far as they receive, so far are they angels. Because the subject is here the state of every one after death, and the judgment of every one according to his life, it is said that all the holy angels will be with. Him. This signifies that the judgment would be effected by means of heaven, for all influx of Divine truth takes place through heaven. Immediate influx can be received by no one. Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, signifies judgment, for a throne is predicated of the Lord's royalty, which is the Divine truth, and the Divine truth is that from which and according to which is judgment. And before Him shall be gathered all nations. By nations in the internal sense are signified goods, and in the opposite sense evils. The remainder of verse 32 signifies the separation of good from evil, for the sheep are they who are in good, and the goats they who are in evil. Verse 33 signifies separation according to truths from good, and according to falsities from evil. They who are in truths from good, in the other life actually appear to the right, and they who are in falsities from evil to the left. Hence to be set on the right hand and on the left, is to be arranged according to life. A. 4808-9.
Sitting upon the throne signifies the Lord. R. 230.
That judgment belongs to the Lord alone, He Himself also teaches. E. 267.

31-40. That sheep here stand for goods, that is for those who are in good is quite evident. By he-goats in particular, are signified those who are in faith and in no charity. A. 4169.
See Chapter XXV., 31, 32. A. 10132.
See Chapter VII., 15. E. 1154.
31-46. One who is unacquainted with the internal
sense cannot but think that these words were spoken by the Lord of some final day, when all in the whole world will be gathered before Him, and then will be judged. But one who is acquainted with the internal sense, and who has learned from other passages in the Word that the Lord judges no one to everlasting fire, but that everyone judges himself, that is casts himself into it, and who has also learned that the final judgment of everyone is when he dies, may know in some measure what those words involve in general. They mean in particular that in the other life everyone receives recompense according to his life in the world. A. 4663.
The church which acknowledges faith alone as a principle, cannot know what charity is, nor even what the neighbour is, and thus not what heaven is. That a life of faith saves, the Lord teaches plainly in Matthew. A. 4721.
Not that the truths which proceed from the Lord condemn anyone, for all the truths which proceed from the Lord are from His Divine good, thus are nothing but mercies. But as men do not receive the mercy of the Lord, they expose themselves to condemnation, since they are then in evils and evils condemn. Neither do the truths which proceed from the Lord save, if man believes that he is saved by the truths of faith with him, and not by mercy, for man is in evils, and. of himself is in hell, but by the mercy of the Lord he is withheld from evil and kept in good, and this by strong force. That by judgments both are signified, the condemnation of the evil and the salvation of the good, is manifest from those passages in the Word where the last judgment is treated of. A. 7206.
See Chapter XVI., 27. A. 8256.
Truth Divine does not judge anyone, but flows in and arranges that it may be received, and according to reception is then effected judgment in accordance with the laws of order, which is meant by judgment by the Lord. A. 8685.
See Chapter V., 19, 20. Life 2.
They who are in faith separate from charity are meant by the goats, shown from their neglect of charity as is taught in Matthew. F. 68.
That by the goats are meant they who do not the good things of charity, and by the sheep they who do, is evident from the scope of the chapter. Both said that they knew not that to do good to their neighbour was to do it to the Lord, but they are instructed, if not before yet at the day of judgment, that to do good is to love the Lord. E. 250.
By the he-goat is there signified faith separate from charity (Daniel viii. 7, 10) and by the ram faith conjoined to charity, the same as by the goats and sheep in Matthew. E. 632.
See Chapter V., 19. E. 785.
The common opinion is that by the goats there mentioned are understood all the wicked, and it has not hitherto been known that by the goats are there understood those who separate faith from charity, or who are in such faith, and by the sheep those who are in faith grounded in charity. E. 817,
The works of charity are enumerated which the sheep performed, but which the goats did not. E. 817.
Similar (referring to the coming of the Lord) the parable of the sheep and the goats. D. P., Page 9.
31 et seq. That a throne signifies heaven and also judgment. The last judgment is here treated of. R. 229.
See Chapter XVI., 27. T. 643.
31, 33, The Lord is called the Son of Man when judgment is treated of. L. 25.

31, 34, 40. A further reason why a throne was called a throne of glory was that judgments were made from truths. A. 5922.
31, 34, 41. That the Lord is called King is evident from these passages. R. 664.



31-46. Another parable the Lord puts forth, that of the sheep and the goats, which is one of the most impressive that he delivered, or the Word contains. The certainty of a final judgment by a just and omniscient Judge is one of the most solemn admonitions that Revelation addresses to the children of men. God has wisely implanted in our nature a dread of pain and a love of pleasure; and on this parent stem he engrafts the religious fear and hope which become our guard and incentive in the progress of the Christian life. Without these to keep the mind awake and active, there could be no determination of its powers, either of understanding or will, to the concerns of eternal life; for without fear and hope there could be no interest awakened in the doctrine of heaven and hell, nor consequently, in that of a judgment to the one or the other. Certain that we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, to receive according to the things done in the body, whether they be good or evil, we may see in this parable, as it may be called, the nature of the ordeal through which we must pass.

31. The scene presented before us is of the utmost grandeur and solemnity. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. By outward glory, which affects the sense, the Scriptures describe inward glory, which affects the mind. The glory in which the Lord comes is the lustre of his divine truth. But the glory of the Lord's second coming in the Spirit is presented, as a contrast to the humility in which he made his first advent in the flesh. He is still, indeed, "the Son of man." And this name is descriptive of the Lord as the Word that was made flesh, the Divine truth accommodated to the apprehension of men; which, being that by which men were redeemed and are saved, is that by which they are to be judged. But while the Lord is still the Son of man, he is the Son of man glorified. He comes in his glory. Instead of being attended by a few humble disciples, as on earth, he has "all the holy angels with him." These are not, indeed, a different race from the disciples, but are the disciples themselves, and such as they, glorified. Having all the angels, he has all heaven with him, for "angels" is but another name for heaven. But why has he the angels with him? They cannot judge, nor assist him in judgment. Is it to add splendour and dignity to the grand tribunal? Angels rather shade the Lord's glory than enhance it. It is therefore to moderate the effects of his own transcendent glory upon those who are to be judged that the Lord comes to judgment, having all his holy angels with him. He comes through heaven: he bows the heavens and comes down, shading his glory by the finite perception of angelic minds. And the very "throne of his glory" upon which he sits is intended to moderate his judgment; for heaven is God's throne. And men are judged by the Divine truth as it is in heaven for they are judged by the laws of the kingdom in which they are to live, or from which they are to be excluded.

32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

32. That separation precedes judgment is evident from the Lord's words in Matthew. A. 2405.
Sheep stand for those who are in charity and thence in faith, he-goats those who are in the truths of faith without charity. A. 10042.
Those also who are in truths derived from good are meant by the sheep, which are on the right hand, but those who are in truths not derived from good are meant by the goats, which are on the left hand. By the right hand are also meant those who are in the light of truth from good. A. 10061.
32, 33. By he-goats are signified those who are in faith separate, that is, who place doctrine before life, and at length have no care about life, when yet life, and not doctrine separate makes the man. The life remains after death, but not doctrine, except so far as it partakes of the life. A. 4769.
This signifies that the Lord will separate those who are in truths and at the same time in good, from those who are in truths and not in good, for in the spiritual sense of the Word, by the right hand is signified good, and by the left hand truth, in like manner by the sheep and by the goats. J. 49.
32-46. Because the life of the internal man thus exists in the works of the external man, therefore the Lord in speaking of the last judgment recounts nothing but works, and says that those who have done good works shall enter into life eternal, and those who have done evil works into condemnation. A. 3934.
That works and deeds are the outward life of man and that by them the quality of the inward life is manifested, is evident. H. 471.
Where the Lord predicts concerning the last judgment, He makes mention only of works, and declares that they who have done good works shall enter into life eternal, that they who have done evil works shall go into condemnation. E. 98.

Sheep those who are in the good of charity, goats those who are in faith alone. E. 316.
32, 33 et seq. The first heaven was composed of all those upon whom the last judgment was effected, these also are they whom the Lord described as goats, who made for themselves a semblance of heaven. J. 69.
32, 33, 41-46. Many, especially those who have confirmed themselves in faith separate from charity, do not know that they are in hell, when in evils, nor do they even know what evils are, because they think nothing about them. They neglect to think about evil, and because they neglect this, they are continually in evil. They are meant by the goats spoken of by the Lord in Matthew. P. 101.
32, 34, 41. That the good and the just are saved before the evil and the unjust perish is evident from the Word, as where the last judgment is treated of in Matthew, when it is said that the sheep are separated from the goats, and the sheep are told to entej into the Lord's kingdom, before the goats are told to depart into everlasting fire. A. 2438.



32. Seated on the throne of his glory, before him shall be gathered all nations. Nations denote those who are in good or in evil, as peoples denote those who are in truth or falsity. But nations in this instance include all who were to be judged, both the good and the evil. They are "gathered before him." This implies more than bringing all in a body into his presence, which is but a natural idea. The spiritual idea is that of being brought under the immediate inspection of his searching truth, that their state may be made manifest, as it were, in the light of his countenance. The first act of the Divine Judge was to separate them one from another. The good and the evil were mingled together until the time of the judgment and one part of the judgment was to separate them into two great divisions. How this separation was effected has already been spoken of. It was by making their interior characters manifest. Persons can live in society with each other so long as they unite in matters in which they have a common interest, or so long as they meet on common ground. Persons can act very harmoniously in business or pleasure, or even on morals, who would disagree on religion: in short, people can go on very well together in worldly matters who could not go on together in spiritual matters. Whenever their minds are raised to this higher platform, many of the best natural friends disagree and separate. Such was the case in the judgment. When their internals, where spiritual things reside and eternal concerns reign, are opened, and they are brought together, not as moral but as spiritual beings, they separate from each other as a necessary result. It is said that the Lord separated them, because his divine truth was the cause of separation, by bringing their internal states to view. He separated them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. Here the Lord is the Pastor, and the people are his sheep. And he is represented under this character when his love is that attribute of his nature which is being exhibited in relation to his people; and they are called his sheep when their love to him and to each other is understood. Sheep are the symbols of those who are principled more especially in the grace of charity. And those who are of the opposite character are called goats. Goats are the types of those who are in faith; but here they denote those who are in faith alone, without charity. The goats are those who have lived within the pale of the church, and have made profession of faith, but, have been destitute of any of that living charity without which faith is dead.

In the New Testament Jesus is invariably set forth as the Judge, of the world. Not that he is a distinct person from the Father, but because Jesus in the New Testament is the same with Jehovah in the Old. In the Old Testament Jehovah is declared to be the Judge of all the earth; and we have no reason to suppose that in this divine work he will give his glory to another. Yet there is a distinction. In the New Testament it is said the Father judges no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, because he is the Son of man. When we understand that the Father is the principle of Divine Love in the Deity, and the Son is the principle of Divine Wisdom or Truth in the Deity, we see clearly the meaning of the declaration of the gospel to be, what we know must be the case, that all judgment is effected by Divine Truth, not by Divine Good. Divine Good judges no man but by Truth. And so it is said that God will judge the world by Jesus Christ (Rom. ii. 16), and, indeed, by the man Jesus Christ (Acts xvii. 31): for it is by the Word made flesh that all judgment is performed. But what is it that God does not do by Jesus Christ? He created (John i. 10) and redeemed the world by Jesus Christ; nor is the sanctification and salvation of the world an exception, for the Son sends the Holy Spirit from the Father. And what is this but the same law operating, that all which Divine Good does, it does by Truth; all that Divine Love does, it does by Wisdom?

33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.     

33-39, 42-45. The Ancient Church distinguished the neighbour or neighbours toward whom they should perform the works of charity into classes, some they called maimed, some lame, some blind, and some deaf, meaning those who were spiritually so. Some also they called hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and in prison, and some widows, orphans, needy, poor, and miserable, by whom they meant no other than those who were such as to truth and good, and who were to be suitably instructed, led on their way, and thus provided for as to their souls. A. 4302.
33, 34 et seq. The right hand when predicated of the Lord signifies both omnipotence and omniscience. By the right hand when predicated of angels and of men are understood the wisdom and intelligence which they have from Divine good by Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. E. 298.
33, 34, 41. By the right hand, where the sheep are, is understood the good of charity and of faith thence derived, and by the left hand, where the goats are, is understood faith separate from charity. The reason why it is said to the sheep that they should inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world is, because in the heavens at the right hand is south, where all are who are in truths from good, for in the southern part is the Divine proceeding itself of such a quality, which is meant by the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. Hence also they are called the blessed of the Father, for by the Father is understood the Divine good, from which are all things of heaven. Concerning the goats who are on the left side it is called everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, because the evil prepare for themselves their own hell. They are called cursed, because by the cursed in the Word are understood all who avert themselves from the Lord, for such reject charity and the faith of the church.
E. 600.
34. Here heaven is called eternal life, elsewhere simply life. A. 2658.
To prepare heaven is to prepare those who are to be introduced into heaven, for heaven is given according to preparation, that is according to the reception of good, for heaven is in man, and he has a place in heaven according to the state of life and of faith in which he is.
A. 9305.
Those who are regenerated are also called born of the Lord, sons of the kingdom, sons of the Father, and heirs.
R. 20.
"From the foundation of the world" signifies the first establishment of the church, as well the Jewish as the Christian. R. 589.
See Chapter XIX., 29. R. 890.
That they who have done good shall possess as an inheritance a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. These do not trust to reward on account of their merit, but they are an the faith of the promise from grace. With them the enjoyment in doing good to the neighbour is a reward. T. 440.
They who receive the Lord, that is, who have faith in Him and are not in evils of life are called heirs. T. 729.
By benediction or blessing when predicated of a man is understood nothing else but the reception of Divine truth and Divine good, because in them are contained heaven and eternal felicity. E. 340.
The foundation of the world signifying the first establishment of the church. By the world in the Word various things are signified, namely, both the world in general, and the good and evil therein, also the evil only who are in the world, and thence also the hells. By the world is also sometimes signified the same as by the earth, namely, the church, which is here understood by the foundation of the world. E. 807.
The establishment of the church is understood by the foundation of the world. E. 1057.



33. A further and still more decisive sign of the characters of these two classes is afforded by what is further related of them, that the Lord shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. For right and left are expressive of good and truth. Those on the right hand of the Judge are those who are in good, and thence in truth; and those on the left are those who are in truth without good.

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 
 34-36. The works which are here enumerated are the very works of charity in their order. By one who is hungry the angels have a perception of those who from affection desire good. By one who is thirsty of those who from affection desire truth, by a stranger of those who are willing to be instructed, by one who is naked of those who acknowledge that there is nothing of good and of truth in themselves, by one who is sick of those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but evil, by the bound, or those who are in prison of those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but falsity. A. 495 7.
Verses quoted. A. 5037.
34-40. That the Lord is in good He Himself taught in Matthew, when He said to those who had been in good, that they gave Him to eat, that they gave Him to drink, took Him in, clothed Him, visited Him, and in prison came to Him, and afterward that so far as they did it to one of the least of His brethren, they did it to Him. A. 6711.
In these six kinds of good, when understood in the spiritual sense, are comprehended all the kinds of neighbour. Hence likewise it is evident that when good is loved the Lord is loved, for it is the Lord from Whom good is, Who is in good, and Who is good itself. N. 90.
34-46. As regards judgment it is twofold, from g-'od and from truth. The faithful are judged from good, but the unfaithful from truth. That the faithful are judged from good is evident from verses 34-40, and that the unfaithful are judged from truth verses 41-46. To be judged from good is to be saved, because they have received it, but to be judged from truth is to be condemned, because they have rejected good. A. 2335.
See Chapter VII., 22, 23. add : for example the things found in Matthew. A. 2371.
See Chapter X., 41, 42. A. 3451.
By John xxi. 21-23 was also foretold that faith would despise works, and yet tha: these are with the Lord, as may likewise be very evident from the Lord's words to the sheep and to the goats, in which words, nothing but works are spoken of. A. 6073.
34 et seq. All who do good from religion reject after death the doctrine of the ciiurch of the present day concerning three Divine persons from eternity, and also its
faith applied to the three in order, and they turn to the Lord God the Saviour, and accept with pleasure what belongs to the New Church. But the others who have not practised charity from religion are hearts of adamant, thus hard hearts. T. 536.
34-36, 40. By the works here spoken of are signified all classes of charity, and in what degree the several classes are good, for they are good who are the neighbours toward whom charity is to be exercised. The Lord in the supreme sense is the neighbour, for He says (see Verse 40). A. 3419.
34, 35, 40. To possess the kingdom of the Lord or heaven as an inheritance is said of those who are in good. The goods of charity themselves are also enumerated in their order. A. 9338.
34, 40. See Chapter XXV.y 31. A. 5313.



34. But we now come to the deeply interesting subject of the judgment itself. And here we may remark that the Lord now calls himself a King. This name has the same spiritual signification as the Son of man; but it denotes divine truth of a higher degree - that is, in relation to man. This character corresponds with the throne on which it is said he shall sit. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Those who are blessed of his Father are they who are blessed with his love - who have his love dwelling in their hearts, and who enjoy all the blessing which results from it. This is that of inheriting the kingdom which implies, that those who have the love of God dwelling in their hearts shall receive as an inheritance the truth of God, which is his kingdom, into their understandings, and shall have the government of that truth established in them. This kingdom is said to be prepared from the foundation of the world. In the proximate sense this means from the foundation of the church, which the world signifies. The Lord is said to have been slain from the foundation of the world, which literally was from the foundation of the Christian church. But the kingdom is prepared for the righteous individually from the foundation of the church in themselves. It is no less truly prepared for us, because it is prepared in us. It is no less a divine provision because it is a state of life within us, than it would be if it were solely a place without us. We carry our inheritance in ourselves, yet it is the Lord's gift, being entirely his work.

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

35. See Chapter V., 3, 6. E. 118.
35, 36. Charity in its essence is to will well to the neighbour, to be affected with good, and to acknowledge good as the neighbour, consequently those who are in good, with a difference according to the degree of their good. Hence charity, because it is affected with good, is affected with mercv toward those who are in miseries. 5132.
By nakedness is also signified ignorance of good and truth. R. 213.
35-45. in the Ancient Church they reduced into classes all the goods which were of charity toward the neighbour, that is all those who were in good, and this with many distinctions, to which they also gave names, calling them the poor, the miserable, the oppressed, the sick, the naked, the hungry, the thirsty, captives or those in prison, strangers, orphans and widows, some also the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the maimed, beside many others. The Lord spake according to this doctrinal in the words of the Old Testament, on which ac-
count such terms so often occur there, and He Himself spoke again according to the same doctrinal as in Matthew. A. 2417.

Here by hungering and thirsting are signified to be in ignorance and in spiritual want, by giving to eat and drink — to instruct and to enlighten from spiritual affection or charity, wherefore it is also said, I was a stranger and ye took me not in, for by a stranger are signified those who are out of the church, and desire to be instructed and receive the doctrines thereof, and to live according to them. E. 386.

35, 37, 42, 44- See Chapter V., 6. R. 323.
35, 42. By these words are signified spiritual hunger and thirst, likewise spiritual eating and drinking. Spiritual hunger and thirst are the affection and desire for good and truth, spiritual eating and drinking are instruction, reception and appropriation. It is here said concerning the Lord that He hungred and thirsted, because from His Divine love He desires the salvation of all. E. 617.



35, 36. Having saluted those on his right hand as the blessed of his Father, the Lord, as the Judge, proceeds to show forth the grounds of their blessedness and their acceptance. For I was an hungered, and Ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. In reading the Scriptures we are constantly met with the declaration that, we are to be judged by the deeds done in the body. And in this portion of the Word, where the very process of judgment is described, there is no mention of anything but works. The assembled multitude are not judged on the ground of what they had believed, nor even of what they had felt, but of what they had done. Not that faith and feeling are excluded. Without faith and love there can be no good work. Every work that is really good must include both. Hence it is, that in judging men by their works, God judges them at the same time by the faith and love that produced them. The whole of our affections and thoughts are comprehended in our works. There they are in their fulness. They are fixed when they are lived, and form our permanent and individual character. In their simplest acceptation, the Lord's words addressed to the blessed contain a beautiful summary of the works of charity, in relation to the temporal condition of men. And although, when understood spiritually, they relate to the still higher uses of ministering to the soul in its sufferings and sorrows, we are by no means to suppose that the greater supersedes the less. The charity that ministers to the body is not to be severed from the charity that ministers to the soul. Those who are principled in spiritual charity will never dream that they perform the whole duties of Christian love by ministering only to the spiritual wants of their fellow-creatures; they will extend their active sympathies to their entire nature, the physical and the spiritual. It is incumbent on us to take our share in the labour of love necessary for diminishing the sum of human misery. But to be able to do even the natural works of charity with advantage, it is necessary to understand what spiritual charity is, which the spiritual meaning of our Lord's language makes known. In the spiritual sense the hungry are those who from affection desire good, and the thirsty are those who desire truth; the strangers or sojourners are those who desire knowledge, for sojourners were those from other lands who came to learn the law among the Israelites; the naked are those who see their need of, and desire to be clothed with the garment of righteousness; the sick are those who are sensible of their diseased moral and spiritual condition, and desire to be restored to health of mind and soul; and the prisoners are those who are in bondage to sin, or are suffering from trial and temptation, and earnestly desire to realize in their lives and experience the truth that makes them free. To minister to these is the work of spiritual charity. To be able, under Providence, in any degree to satisfy the desire of the human will with good, and of the understanding with truth; to give knowledge to the ignorant and lead to righteousness him who is out of the way; to heal the diseased affections, and give freedom to the imprisoned thoughts; these are works as much more important than the deeds of natural charity, as the value of the soul is greater than that of the body. But to be able and willing to perform this work of spiritual charity to others, we must be careful to do it for ourselves. This personal duty is equally involved in the Lord's words with that which we owe to our neighbour. This we shall perceive if we like the terms in their abstract sense. For while the hungry denote those who desire good, hunger is the desire itself of good; thirst is the desire of truth; sojourning is the desire for instruction; nakedness and sickness are the acknowledgment that we have nothing good or true of ourselves; and being in prison, is the confession that in ourselves we are wholly possessed by falsities. In our own case, as well as in that of our neighbour we may see the force and beauty of the Lord's language "I was an hungered, and Ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and Ye gave me drink." Our sense of spiritual wants, and our desire to have those wants supplied, are from the Lord, and are the Lord in us; for he is present with us in everything that we derive from him, and in every desire we have for his love and truth. And every act we do, to satisfy our own or our neighbour's spiritual wants, is an act of charity done to the Lord himself. The Lord is our neighbour in the highest sense and in the super-eminent degree, and he is the origin of all spiritual brotherhood. Men are our neighbours and our brethren spiritually, so far as they have the Lord dwelling in them. It is not the person of any man, but the Lords image in him that is the neighbour we are to love. It may seem from this as if none but the good are our neighbours, and are to be loved and ministered unto. We are to love the evil, not as evil, but as having a capacity for good; and our charity to them consists in acting towards them in such a way as to turn them from evil to good. Good is our neighbour. So far as our actions tend to strengthen this heavenly attribute in ourselves and others, so far are we in the true love of the neighbour; and, so far as our actions tend to weaken this attribute in ourselves and others, so far we are destitute of that love. Whenever this attribute, this grace, in ourselves and in others, is hungry, and thirsty, and naked, and sick, and in prison, it is the duty of Christian charity to minister to its wants; to give it the food it requires for its support; the clothing it needs for its protection the medicine it needs for its cure; the comfort it needs in its temptations. These are the deeds of charity for which the Lord called the sheep the blessed of his Father.

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

36, 38, 43, 44. Naked signifies those who are not in truths, and yet desire truths, also who acknowledge that there is nothing of good and truth in them. A. 9960.
36, 43. Naked stands for the good, who acknowledge that there is nothing of good and truth in themselves. A. 5433.
By captivity spiritual captivity is meant, which is to be seduced and so led away from truths and goods, and to be led on into falsities and evils. The same as by captives is also signified by the bound. R. 591.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

37, 38. The answer given by those on the right hand means, that if they had seen the Lord Himself, every one of them would have done those offices, yet not from love toward Him, but from fear, because He was to be the judge of the universe, thus not for His sake, but for the sake of themselves. These and similar things are what are signified by those on the right hand so answering, and as the evil also do the same kind of things in outward form, therefore they who were on the left gave nearly the same answer. A. 5066.
37-40. When the Lord is acknowledged and the neighbour is loved, then the Lord is in the love toward the neighbour whether man knows it or not. This also is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew. A. 10129.
37-46. The Lord regards not external but internal things, and as man testifies to his internals not by worship only but by charity and its acts, the Lord answered : (see Verse 40). They are called brethren who are in the good of charity and life. The Lord calls Himself King, because His royalty is the Divine truth, from which and according to which judgment is effected, but from and according to it the good are judged in one way, and the evil in another. The good, because they have received Divine truth, are judged from good, and thus from mercy ; the evil because they have not received Divine truth, are judged from truth, and thus not from mercy, for this they have rejected, and hence they continue to reject it in the other life. That they on the right hand are called just, signifies that they are in the Lord's justice. All who are in the good of charity are called the just, not that they are just from themselves, but from the Lord. That they on the left hand are called cursed and their punishment is called eternal fire is, because they have averted themselves from good and truth, and turned to evil and falsity. A curse, in the internal sense of the Word, signifies aversion. The eternal fire into which they must depart, is not natural fire, nor is it torment of conscience, but it is lust for evil, for the lusts in man are spiritual fires, which consume him in the life of the body, and torment him in the other life. From those fires the infernals torture one another in direful ways. That eternal fire is not natural fire is evident. Extracts from A. 5067-5071.
37-40, 46. The good of charity toward the neighbour is exterior good, which is signified by just. In this passage they are called just, who have performed the goods of charity toward the neighbour which are there enumerated. A. 9263. 37, 46. See Chapter XIII., 43. A. 10331.



37-39. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? This disavowal by the righteous of the virtue ascribed to them is designed to show the absence of all idea of merit from true righteousness. The good do not think of the value of their works: they do good for the sake of good. They do it, indeed, in obedience to the Lord, and thus for his sake; but what they do for the Lord's sake they do for the sake of the goodness which the Lord essentially and pre-eminently is. They know that the good they are enabled to do is from him, but they do not think of good being done to him, as if it enriched him or added to his glory. Therefore they say, "When saw we thee in need, and ministered unto thy necessities?"

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

40. See Chapter XVIIL, 15. A. 2360.
All conjunction is by love and charity, for spiritual conjunction is nothing but love and charity. Love to the Lord is conjunction with Him, and charity toward the neighbour is likewise, this is evident from the words of the Lord in Matthew. A. 4191.
See Chapter XII., 48, 49. A. 5409.
See Chapter XIL, 49. A. 6756.
It is to be noted that the end is what qualifies all the actions of man, if the end or intention be to do good for the sake of reputation, or to procure honours or gain, in this case the good which man does is not good, because it is for the sake of himself, thus also from himself. But if the end be to do good for the sake of a fellow-citizen, or of a man's country, or of the church, thus for the sake of the neighbour, in this case the good which a man does is good, for it is for the sake of good itself. Thus also it is for the sake of the Lord, for such good is not from man, but from the Lord. This good is what is meant by the Lord in Matthew. A. 9210.
That the Lord is good itself is evident, where the good of love and of charity are enumerated. They are called brethren who are in good. A. 10336.
See Chapter XIL, 49. R. 32.
See Chapter XIL, 49. M. 120.
See Chapter XIL, 49, 50. E. 746.
The reason why the Lord says these things of Himself is, that He is in those who are such. A. 4959.
Violence offered to those who are in the life of charity and faith, is the same as offering violence to the Lord Himself, according to the word of the Lord in Matthew. E. 394.



40. To this disavowal of merit in the good they had done the King answers, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as Ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. What merciful condescension is this! What love, to call his creatures brethren! It is true that he had borne their frail nature, and had hungered and thirsted, and endured the extreme of all human suffering. But he was now in glory. Yet he calls the needy and the suffering his brethren. It is remarkable that the Lord never directly calls his disciples his brethren till after his glorification, or in reference to it. After he was risen he desired Mary Magdalene to go and tell his "brethren" that he ascended to his Father and their Father. Why was this? Because the Lord was more truly and fully man after his resurrection than before it. Then also his disciples could become more truly men than before, because they could be more fully regenerated. And Jesus glorified and men regenerated are more nearly related than Jesus unglorified and man unregenerated. But there is a profounder truth in the Lord's language than this. It is when the Lord is glorified in us that we become truly those whom he acknowledges as his brethren. This our Lord taught when be said, "My brethren are they who hear the word of God and do it." But the brethren recognized in this judgment are all poor and needy. These objects of charity are such as are in the good which makes them brethren, but whose good labours under those privations and sufferings which goodness itself in the person of the Lord endured. It is in returning this good given by the Lord to man, and restoring it to strength and freedom, that the work of real charity consists. The Lord, therefore, speaks not only of his brethren, but of the least of his brethren; for those who possess the least of real goodness have in them a ground of regeneration - a capacity for goodness and for being saved. And what an extended field for the exercise of love and charity does this open to us, - a field, we are happy to say, that Christian philanthropy, acting under a new spiritual influence, is now industriously cultivating. And what dignity does the Lord stamp upon the lowliest offices and acts of Christian charity, by declaring that he himself is the object of every one of them. "Inasmuch as Ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Is any object too mean for our charity whom the King of kings condescends to call his brother? There is not one who sincerely calls himself by the name of Christ, but who believes that if Jesus walked our streets he would think it an honour, and feel it a blessing to minister to the wants of the man of sorrows who had not where to lay his head. Let us behold him in sorrowing and suffering humanity - in every virtuous sufferer; and on his own divine assurance let us know that if we withhold a real good while we can bestow it on one of the least of these, the Divine Man still walks in the midst of us unacknowledged and unaided. Let good be our object, as it was our Lord's when on earth, and let us imitate him by spiritually is well as naturally feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, instructing the ignorant, visiting the sick and the prisoner, and we shall receive the joyful salutation: Come, Ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

41. See Chapter III., 10. A. 1861.
See Chapter III., 10. H. 570.
They who think nothing concerning the evils in themselves, that is, do not examine themselves and afterwards desist from them, cannot but be ignorant what evil is, and they then love it from an enjoyment in it. P. 101. In these passages by fire is signified all cupidity originating in the love of evil, and its punishment, which is torment. E. 504.
The reason why it is here said the devil is, because the words are spoken concerning those who did not perform good works, and therefore performed evil works, for they who do not the one, must do the other. The works which they did not do are enumerated in the preceding verses. E. 740.
41, 42. The Lord does not say of the goats that they had done evils, but that they had not done goods. The reason that they did not do goods is because they say in themselves "I cannot do good of myself, the law does not condemn me, the blood of Christ cleanses me and liberates me, the passion of the cross has taken away the guilt of sin, the merit of Christ is imputed to me by faith, I am reconciled to the Father." R. 838.
41-43. By the sheep at the right hand are signified they who are in charity; by the goats they who are in faith and not in charity. E. 212.
41-46. All those who congregated themselves together under heaven, and in various places formed for themselves as it were heavens, which they also called heavens, were conjoined with the angels of the lowest heaven, but only as to externals, not as to internals. Most of them were goats and of their kin, as described in Matthew, who indeed in the world had not done evils, for they had lived morally well, but had nor done goods from the origin of good, for they separated faith from charity, and hence did not look upon evils as sins. C. J. 10.
By goats are understood those which at the present time are justified by faith. B. 84.
41 et seq. Such is the lot of those who do not perform works of charity from religion, owing to the belief, that no one can do good from himself, except what is meritorious. Consequently they omit these works, and associate themselves with the goats, who are the damned, and are cast into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, because they have not done what was done "by the sheep. T. 536.
41-43, 45. Hence it is manifest how they are against the Lord who are against the good of charity, also that everyone is judged according to the good of charity, not according to the truth of faith, when this is separated from good. A. 2349.



41-45. How terrible the contrast to this is the Lord's address to those on his left hand! Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and Ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and Ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and Ye took me not in: naked, and Ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and Ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as Ye did it not to one of the least of these, Ye did it not to me. It is not necessary to enter into the particulars of the charge brought against them. It is simply the reverse of the commendation bestowed on the righteous. This only may be remarked, that the goats are not accused of having done evil, but of not having done good. For these form the class who have led a moral life, but not a spiritual life, and morality without spirituality is not heavenly. This want of spirituality and reference to the Lord is indicated by the mode of address. "I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat." They may have ministered to men, but they have not ministered to the Lord in men.

The manner of our Lord's address to these may seem severe. We are to remember that the Divine judgments are simply the revelations of men's states, and of their consequences. The curse which the Lord pronounces upon the unregenerate is not an anathema proceeding from him, but a blight arising out of their own corruptions. His Word, which is his divine truth, lays open that which had been concealed, and makes all things manifest. And so with the sentence, "Depart from me," which is the announcement of a result, the cause of which is in the wicked themselves. For the state of the soul is that which causes nearness and distance from the centre of life, and according to their state the righteous come to the Lord and the unrighteous depart from him. And when they depart into everlasting fire, they only become immersed in their own burning loves, or rather lusts, of hatred, revenge, and all uncleanness. The fire into which they go is said to have been prepared for the devil and his angels. The devil is another name for those who have confirmed themselves in evil, and his angels are those who are in the principles proceeding from them. The devil is hell personified, as the fire - the everlasting burnings - in which he dwells is a figure for the evil love which is at once the element and the torment of depraved human souls.

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

43. Since the Lord leads out of prison, or liberates from infestation those who have been in good as to life, although in falsities as to doctrine, He says, Fear nothing of the things thou art about to suffer, also, Be thou faithful and I will give thee a crown of life. R. 99..
Both the love of self and of the world infest those-who are in the spiritual affection of truth, and are what is understood by the devil who casts into prison those who are of the church of the Lord, for from such all falses from the spiritual world flow into those who desire truths, and hold them as if they were bound in prison. The same are also understood by those concerning whom the Lord says in Matthew. E. 122.
To cover with a garment and to clothe signify to instruct in truths. E. 240.

Captivity in the Word means spiritual captivity, which is seclusion from Divine truths, namely from the understanding of them in the Word, also destruction by falses of evil and evils of the false. E. 811.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

46. See Chapter XVIII., 8, 9. P. 324.
See Chapter XIX., 16, 29. E. 186.



46. The opposite results of righteousness and unrighteousness - of spirituality and carnality - are set before us as a conclusion. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Punishment and its endless duration are here placed in opposition to life eternal. Both are undoubtedly the doctrine of the Scriptures, and both are the result of a law which is unchangeable that states that have been confirmed in this life remain unchanged for ever. It is not, therefore, because God will not have mercy that the evil are punished, but because his mercy cannot save them from a punishment which is inseparable from themselves as evil beings. Torment can no more be separated in the other world from evil than pain can in this be separated from burning. They are as inseparable as cause and effect. So, on the other hand, holiness and happiness are united. The one word, "life," is most expressive of all that is desirable. Life in its original state must have been a sense of pure enjoyment, arising from the healthy condition of all the powers of mind and body; and eternal life is this sense in man when living in the spiritual world. This is heaven, the opposite of which is hell. Let us choose between them while the choice is in our power. Happy are they who have done the work of true charity in this world, where men must sow in righteousness if they would reap in joy. The Lord grant that we may stand at last on his right hand, and hear the joyful salutation, "Come, Ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."



PICTURES: JAMES TISSOT Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

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