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The inner, self-evident meaning of the tenth commandment
97,1. The law therefore reads, as we already know it by heart: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife," or: Thou shalt have no desire for thy neighbor's wife, which is one and the same thing. - Who is "the woman" and who is the "neighbor"?
97,2. The woman is the love of every man, and the neighbor is every man with whom I come into contact wherever, who is possibly in need of my help. If we know that, we basically know everything.
97,3. What does the commandment therefore say? Nothing other than: Every human being should not demand the love of his neighbor for his own good; for self-love is in and of itself nothing else than to attract the love of the other for one's own enjoyment, but not having one spark of love to give back to him.
97,4. This is then the law in its spiritual sense. But one says:
97,5. Here it is evidently reproduced in the sense of the letter, which one might have pronounced in the beginning just as well as now, whereby many aberrations would have been prevented. - But I say: That'scorrect, though. If one splits a tree in the middle, the core also comes out, and one can look at it just as easily as you could the bark before.
97,6. The Lord, however, has diligently veiled the inner sense in an outer, natural picture, so that this sacred, inward, living sense should not be attacked and destroyed by any malevolent man, whereby then all the heavens and worlds could be brought to the greatest harm. For this reason, the Lord also said: "Before the great and mighty wise men of the world, it shall remain hidden, and be revealed only to the small, the weak, and the underaged.
97,7. This principle is already prevalent in the things of nature. Suppose that the Lord created the trees so that their core and their main organs of life would be at the outside of the trunk? Say you yourselves, how many dangers would a tree be exposed to, every second?
97,8. You know, if you deliberately or wantonly pierce a tree's inner core, it's done with the tree. If any evil worm gnaws through the main trunk root, which is in close contact with the core of the tree, the tree dies. Who is not familiar with the malicious so-called "bark beetle"? What does he do to the trees? He gnaws first on the wood and eats here and there into the main organs of the tree and the tree dies. If, in this already well-guarded manner, the tree is still exposed to so many dangers of life, to what extent would he be exposed if his essential life-organs would be at the outside of the trunk?
97,9. See, it is just the same and unspeakably worse with the word of the Lord. If the inner meaning would be exposed at the outset, then there would have been already for a long time no religion among men. They would have gnawed and clawed at this inner, holy meaning of their lives as if on the outer bark of the tree of life. The inner holy city of God would have been a long time ago so thoroughly destroyed that no stone would have remained on the other, as they did with the old Jerusalem, and as they did it with the outer words, which only exist in the literal sense.
97,10. For the word of God in its outward, literal sense as you have it in the Holy Scriptures before you, is so very much different from the original text, as today's most wretched city of Jerusalem is different from the ancient cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem.
97,11. All this displacement and fragmentation, and also abbreviation only in the external sense of the letter, is not detrimental to the inner sense, because the Lord, through His wise providence, has created His order since eternity as such, that one and the same spiritual truth would stay preserved undamaged among a great variety of external images.
97,12. But the case would be quite different if the Lord had at once given the naked inner spiritual truth without a protective outer covering. They would have destroyed this holy, living truth and destroyed it at their discretion, and it would have been done with all life.
97,13. But because the inner sense is so obscured that the world can never possibly find it, life remains secure, even though its outer garment is torn into pieces. And so, of course, the inner sense of the word sounds when it is revealed, as if it were equal to the external sense of the word, and can also be expressed by articulated sounds or words. But that does not confuse the issue in the least. For this reason, the inner, living, spiritual sense nevertheless remains, and is recognizable in that it embraces the whole Divine order, while the picture containing it, expresses only a special relationship which, as we have seen, can never have one general meaning.
97,14. But just as the commandment just described in the picture, is but an external envelope, and how the inner sense now announced to you is a truly inner, spiritual, and living one, I would like to clearly explain to you with a small reflection.
97,15. The outer pictorial commandment is known; inwardly it says: Have no desire for the love of your brother or sister!
97,16. Why is this content and vital commandment here wrapped in the image of the not to be desired woman?
97,17. On this occasion, I only call your attention to a saying of the Lord Himself, in which He expresses Himself about the love of man for a woman, since He speaks: "So a son will leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife".
97,18. What does the Lord mean by this? Nothing else than man's most powerful love in this world is that for his wife. For what does man in his order love more in the world than his dear, good, honest wife? In the woman, therefore, the whole love of the man is contained, just as, conversely, the woman in her order certainly loves nothing more powerfully than the man who corresponds to her heart.
97,19. Thus, in this commandment, under the image of the woman, the whole love of the man or of man is in general set, because the woman is in earnest nothing but an outer, tender covering of the love of the man.
97,20. Who can escape the explanation that under the picture, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife", as much is said as: you shall not demand to your own advantage the love of your neighbor, and all other loves, because the world as wife also includes the whole love of man in itself.
97,21. If you would consider it with more detail, you will even grasp it with your hands, that all the outer, known vagueness of the external pictorial law are nothing but pure inner general determinations. How, we shall soon see.
97,22. See, the "you" is indefinite. Why? Because in the internal sense, "everyone" is understood, regardless of male or female gender. Likewise, the woman is indefinite, for it is not said whether an old or a young, whether one or more, whether a girl or a widow. Why then indefinite? Because the love of man is only one, and is neither an old nor a young woman, nor a widow, nor a single girl, but she, as love, is singular in each man. For this, the neighbor should have no desire, because it is each person's own life. Anyone who has an arrogant, envious, or avaricious desire for this love, is as a murderer of his neighbor, seeking to seize upon his life or love to his advantage. So the neighbor is indefinite too. Why? Because in the spiritual sense, "everyone" is understood, without distinction of gender.
97,23. I think it should be quite clear to you that the inner sense that I have shown you is the only right one, for it encompasses everything.
97,24. There may be some who, boasting from their lunar quarter-light, may object and say, If this is the case, then it is not a sin for anyone to tempt or long after their neighbor's wife or daughter. I say: Oh, my dear friend! With this assumption you have strongly lost your way into the blue. Under the fact that you should not desire the love of your neighbor, and indeed all his love, is not understood among "all that he carries as a life duty" in his heart? Behold, therefore, not only the wife and the daughters of your neighbor in the commandment are deprived of your desire, but everything that is embraced by your brother's love.
97,25. For this reason, the two last commandments were initially given as one commandment. They are only distinguished by the fact that in the ninth commandment, the love of the neighbor is more singularly to be respected, but in the tenth commandment the very same is given in the most inward sense, representing the observation of respect in general terms.
97,26. That therefore also the desire of the wife and the daughters of the neighbor is forbidden, surely every man can reach with his hands. It is the same than if you give someone a whole ox, you also give its extremities - the tail, horns, ears, feet and so on. Or if the Lord would give a world to someone, then he will give him everything that is on the same and not say: Only the inside of the world is yours, but the surface is Mine.
97,27. I think the matter cannot be made more clear to the understanding of man. We have now fully acquainted ourselves with the inner, true meaning of this commandment, as it is eternally valid in all the heavens and conditions the bliss of all angels, and we have met every possible objection. So we're done with that and want to go straight to the eleventh illuminated hall in front of us. There we shall find everything that has been said so far in the clearest light, summarised and confirmed in one point. - So we enter!
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