Two Kinds of Disobedience


A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Toronto, January 23, 2011

And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were opened. (1SA14:24,27)

Today we are going to consider the story of two men. Father and son, one is a King and the other a Prince. Historically, each is a brave and capable fighter, and each delighted in serving the Lord by fighting and killing the enemies of the children of Israel. Each of them disobeys a command and does what is evil, but one of them is forgiven, the other is not. Our challenge for today is to study the story of these two men so that we can see the difference in their behaviour and then apply these principles to our own relationship with the Lord to make ourselves deserving of forgiveness. We can also apply these truths to our relationships with others and learn when to forgive them as well.

Saul became the king of Israel when the people rejected the Lord’s leadership and demanded a king so that they could be like all the other nations. The Lord accepted their rejection of Him, and gave them the king they wanted. The people were delighted with Saul. He was tall, good looking, a great warrior—everything they wanted in a king. He ruled them well for many years and fought many great battles against the Philistines. When his son Jonathan was old enough he joined the army and soon became something of a hero himself. The scriptures record how he, accompanied only by his armour bearer, attacked a Philistine garrison of 20 men and killed them all; a feat he was able to accomplish because he had received a sign that the Lord was with him. This little victory struck terror in the hearts of the Philistines, which, we are told, was then amplified by an earthquake sent by the Lord.

Saul, seeing that the Philistines were in confusion and fear, attacked. Filled with the desire to totally destroy his enemy, Saul commanded that no one would be permitted to rest from the killing for any reason, even to eat bread. He says “bread” but by it means all food of any kind (See HD 218, AC 2165). He wanted complete and utter vengeance upon his enemies.

During the course of the day’s battle, Jonathan and his men found themselves in an area where there were many honeycombs and being quite hungry Jonathan ate some not knowing of his father’s order. The men with him had heard it, though, and they did not eat. It was then that they told him about the order. But Jonathan already knew something was wrong, for we are told by the internal sense of the words “his eyes were opened” which mean that he had an inner sense that what he had just done was evil, “he saw what he knew not” (AC212). “Jonathan’s eyes were opened by tasting the honey” because “honey” corresponds to natural good and its delight, and this good gives life experience, a kind of enlightenment or “sixth sense” from which Jonathan knew that he had done evil.… (AE 619:8) However, in spite of the fact that he suddenly knew that he had done something wrong, he still criticized the order to the other men, saying that the soldiers would have been able to do a much better job fighting if they had taken a little time to refresh themselves.

The battle ends as night falls, and Saul, flushed with his day’s victory, seeks counsel from the Lord about how to proceed the next day. But because the Lord does not answer, Saul immediately knows that something is wrong, that someone has committed some evil that has closed off communication with Jehovah. Saul is both enraged and afraid, for he knows that his success in war has been due to the Lord’s constant presence with the army. He knows that he must find and punish the evil-doer or the Philistines will return and destroy them. In order to find the guilty one, Saul draws lots. He puts the whole of the army on one side, and Jonathan and himself on the other. The lot shows that the guilty party is either Jonathan or Saul. He then draws lots with his son, and discovers that Jonathan is the one who must be put to death because he has broken the king’s law.

Something very unusual happens next: the army and people intercede on Jonathan’s behalf. They believe that since it is obvious that the Lord is with Jonathan, as shown by what he did to the Philistine garrison, that it would be wrong for him to be put to death, and the implication is that if Saul were to follow through on his threat, the people would cease following him, and perhaps even overthrow him as king. The scripture does not give the details, but it is clear that Jonathan was pardoned by Saul under intense pressure from the elders of the people and the army.

It is important to note that no one questioned the fact that Jonathan had committed a crime. He had broken the king’s law and deserved to be punished. What the people introduced was an element of mercy based on their judgement of Jonathan’s intent, and so properly demanded that the punishment be moderated to fit the intent. Our sympathies properly lie with Jonathan, and we are satisfied that justice has been done when he escapes the death penalty even though he is guilty.

Our attention now turns to Saul, and the quality of his disobedience. Sometime after the incident just mentioned, the prophet Samuel commanded Saul to attack and utterly destroy the Amalekites, specifically ordering him to destroy men, women, children, and animals. In the sense of the letter, this was commanded because the Amalekites had cruelly ambushed the children of Israel when they were first struggling in the desert after leaving Egypt. In the spiritual sense, the Lord commanded the complete and utter destruction of this Canaanite tribe because it represented interior evils of the will.

In the subsequent battle, Saul makes some changes in the orders. He captures Agag, king of the Amalekites, instead of killing him. He slaughters the women and children, but keeps the animals as spoil. And then, when Samuel comes to confront him with his disobedience he repeatedly lies, first telling Samuel that he had obeyed the Lord completely, and then when Samuel called his attention to all the animals in the camp, Saul claimed that the animals had been kept “for sacrifice” to the Lord. Finally Saul tries to blames others for the crime, saying that the people made him do it, but he was never able to see or admit his own guilt.

Samuel responds to Saul with the words that served to condemn not only Saul’s action but the actions of all those who believed that the life of religion consisted in merely following the rituals of the Jewish church and yet harboured all kinds of evil loves in their hearts; Samuel said to Saul, “to obey is better than to sacrifice, to hearken better than the fat of rams” (1SA 15:22), and as Samuel turned to leave, Saul fell on his face on the ground, and grabbed at the hem of his garment, imploring Samuel not to leave him. In so doing he tore the prophet’s garment and was further told that “the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today” (1SA15:28), and it had been given to another who would be more worthy. As a final gesture of displeasure with Saul’s response to the Divine leading, Samuel took a sword and killed Agag, the Amalekite King, himself.

Both Saul and Jonathan disobeyed. Jonathan disobeyed the king, Saul disobeyed the Lord. Jonathan disobeyed through ignorance and without an evil intent, and was forgiven. Saul disobeyed knowingly, deliberately, and then lied to Samuel about it, trying to put the blame on others. He was not forgiven, but instead lost his kingdom for himself and his family forever.

The story of these two men, their evils, and their subsequent forgiveness revolves around the distinction between what is evil, and what is a sin. Jonathan’s experience illustrates what evil is. It is always evil to break a commandment, even if you don’t know about it, or even if you were trying to do something good. If something is forbidden by God, it is evil to do it—but it is not necessarily a sin. An evil act becomes a sin only when the person knows that it is evil, and deliberately goes about it anyhow, planning ways to hide it from others, pretend that it is not an evil at all, or to make it appear that others have done it. This is what Saul did.

A little child may take something that belongs to another. That is wrong, it is an evil. But we all instinctively and immediately recognize that he cannot be blamed for it, because he does not know any better. In other words, the act in and of itself may have been evil, but because the little child could not have intended harm we forgive him, the child is free from sin in the matter.

Sin is a matter of the will, and person cannot be blamed for an evil and until he is of an age where he can and does act solely from his own will. The Heavenly Doctrines tell us that such a state begins “about the twentieth year,” (AC 10225:5) although it is obvious from the context and from common sense that it is the spiritual state of the person, not the number of birthdays, that is the essential here.

The way we distinguish between evils and sins is by judging, as best we can, as to the thought, intent, and will of the person who is in disorder, whether it be another, or ourselves.

Jonathan’s first reaction was to belittle the command, to say it was not really important, but he knew that he had done wrong, and would have to pay for it. Our immediate reaction when we do something wrong is to try to justify it, and that’s normal. It often happens that even as we hear ourselves arguing and protesting about something, we can feel ourselves internally recognizing the truth of the very things we are denying. Even though we are fighting for the right to do something, we have already decided in our hearts that we know that it is wrong, and will not ever do it again. In the eyes of the Lord, what really counts is what happens in the long run. Do we try make our mistakes and our evils appear to be good, or do we honestly admit when we are wrong and try to amend our lives.

When people die and enter the world of spirits, they soon find that the spiritual world is so much like the natural world that they forget that they are spirits, and soon slip back into the old, familiar ways of life. In other words, while they are in the state of their exterior life, they return to the same mistakes and habits they were subject to while in the world. The big difference is that the angels who are in charge of keeping order in the world of spirits are unlike judges in the natural world, for the spirits can see into the interiors of the mind, and so immediately know what the intention behind the act is. When spirits commit evils in the world of spirits from ignorance, from thoughtlessness, or in the course of trying to do something nice, they are excused and forgiven. It is the intention behind the act that counts.

Saul’s evil, on the other hand, was evil of the will, evil deliberately and consciously done in the full knowledge that it is evil. This is sin, pure and simple, and as it contaminates the will itself, it destroys spiritual life and cannot be removed except with great difficulty through the most grievous of temptations. The reason it is so difficult to remove is because by its very nature it is difficult to discover because it hides itself in falsity, in self-justification, in lies. It makes every attempt to appear as good—the mass-murderer who believes that he is doing the world a service by removing certain people from it; the adulterer who believes he is doing his wife and marriage a favour by taking his perversions elsewhere; the thief who believes that he can put the money to better use than its proper owner—but when such things are seen in the light of truth, we see how insane sin really is.

We all commit evils all the time—knowingly and not—but they are not sins, and we are not responsible for them unless we knew they were evil at the time, and consciously choose to do them from will. This is the Lord’s mercy towards us. He judges according to the heart, not according to the act, for who of us could stand against the judgement of Divine Truth alone untempered by the mercy of the Divine Love?

But there is something that we must do to earn this mercy. We must first be in charity, we must treat others as we wish to be treated, that is, if we wish others to assume our good intentions, we must also assume their good intentions towards us. After all, which one of us actually plans to say or do something unkind to another? But how often do we assume that something said to us was intended to be unkind? We must recognize that most things that offend and annoy were not intended that way at all, but were thoughtless or accidental.

If we wish the Lord to forgive and excuse us for our thoughtlessness and accidental evils, then we must also forgive others who offend us, for the Lord said, If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (MAT6:14-15).

But if we wish the Lord to forgive us for our sins, we must also search our hearts in the light of His Divine truth, discover the sin that is there, and flee from it as if from hell itself. Amen.

1st Lesson: 1SA 14:24-30, 15:13-19

(1 Sam 14:24-30) And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. {25} Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was honey on the ground. {26} And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. {27} But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened. {28} Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’ ” And the people were faint. {29} But Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. {30} “How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now would there not have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?”

(1 Sam 15:13-19) Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.” {14} But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” {15} And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” {16} Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the LORD said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak on.” {17} So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? {18} “Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ {19} “Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?” Amen.

2nd Lesson: AC 6559.

How the case is with returning evil, or with penalties, in the spiritual world, must be told, because from this the internal sense of these words is plain. If evil spirits do any evil in the world of spirits beyond what they have imbued themselves with by their life in the world, punishers are instantly at hand and chastise them in exact accordance with the degree in which they pass these limits; for it is a law in the other life that no one must become worse than he had been in this world.

They who are being punished cannot tell how these chastisers know that the evil is beyond what they had imbued themselves with; but they are informed that there is such an order in the other life that the very evil is attended with its penalty, so that the evil of the deed is wholly conjoined with the evil of the penalty, that is to say, its penalty is in the evil itself; and therefore that it is according to order for the avengers to be instantly at hand.

[2] This is what happens when evil spirits do evil in the world of spirits; but in their own hell they chastise one another according to the evil which they had by act imbued themselves with in this world; for this evil they bring with them into the other life.

But as regards good spirits, if perchance they speak or do evil, they are not punished, but pardoned, and also excused; for their end is not to speak or do evil, and they know that such things are excited in them by hell, so that they have not come to pass by their fault; and the same is also observed from their resistance, and afterward from their grief. Amen.

Spiritual Cleanliness


A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Washington – Jan. 7, ’01

Wash me … from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:2,7).

Baptism and the Holy supper are called the two “universal gates” of the New Church. We read in the True Christian Religion 721, “The two sacraments, baptism and the Holy Supper, are as it were two gates leading to everlasting life. Every Christian is by baptism, the first gate, admitted and introduced to the church’s teachings drawn from the Word about the other life. All of these are the means by which a person is prepared and can be guided to heaven. The second gate is the Holy Supper. By it everyone, who has allowed himself to be prepared and guided by the Lord, is admitted and introduced into heaven. There are no other universal gates.”

In the New Church, unlike other churches, Baptism and the Holy Supper are the only sacraments because they are the only rituals that are specifically described and commanded by the Lord Himself. The rites of the church, marriages, memorial services, dedications of homes, schools, or churches, confirmations, and ordinations are indirectly referred to, but not described. The church is free to develop, change, and add rituals according to changing needs and according to our developing understanding of doctrine. For example, the 1995 Liturgy is the first to contain a recommended order of service for home dedications.

The other thing that sets the two sacraments apart from the rites of the church is the fact that they both incorporate a physical representative of spiritual things. In the Holy Supper, it is the bread and the wine. In Baptism, both for adults and infants, natural, physical water is used in such a way that there is, to some degree, a natural, physical washing.

That physical washing is important to the effectiveness of the sacrament because is does not just represent, but actually corresponds to spiritual cleanliness. There are many passages in the Old and New Testaments that can be used to develop the doctrine of cleanliness, and they are consistent in the message that they carry in the internal sense. We can say that, in general, wherever washing is referred to in the letter of the Word, the subject of the internal sense is the purification from evils and falsities. By extension we can see that places and people that are unclean represent various evils and falsities from hell.

The Lord gave many laws regarding washing to the children of Israel through Moses. Those people were specifically commanded to wash themselves and their clothes several times each year in preparation for important feasts. That probably seems unimportant from our point of view, but we need to remember that these were semi-nomadic, desert people, and water was extremely rare and valuable to them for life itself. No other people living in similar circumstances in those days used so much water for washing. It must have been very important for the Lord to command them to be so extravagant with it. But statutes were given through Moses which required the children of Israel to wash regularly and thoroughly, and such things were commanded by the Lord because of what they represented.

The five books of Moses are filled with such representative commands. There can be no other reason for all of those laws to be included in the Word of God unless they do somehow tell us about spiritual things. The Word is particularly rich in representatives from the Most Ancient, Ancient, and Jewish churches because they were all “representative” churches.

A “representative” church is different from a “true” church in how the Lord appeared to them. During the Most Ancient Church, the Ancient Church, and the Jewish Church, when the Lord wished to make an appearance to anyone on earth, He had to do so through the form of an angel, because He did not yet have His own human form. An angel of the highest heaven would allow his conscious life to be put to sleep while the Lord flowed into his spiritual body. At the same time, the natural degree of the mind of the man or prophet in the world would also be put to sleep, and his spiritual eyes opened. Then, man and God could meet in the spiritual world and speak face to face. However, since the Lord had to use the body of an angel to present Himself to the man, all the churches before His advent are known as “representative” churches.

However, the Jewish Church is also known as a “representative of a church” because it was so external, because the people of that church were so closed to spiritual things, that it wasn’t even really a church because there was nothing internal or spiritual in its worship. We might ask how it could have been the Lord’s church on earth, how it could have served as the foundation of heaven if it contained nothing of internal, spiritual truth.

The Lord knew that He was going to have to come to earth as soon as the men of the Most Ancient church fell, represented by Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit in the garden. He also knew that He had to come at the right time, when the evil that had been set loose in the world had reached its peak. If He came too early then some of the evils would have not been fully developed and revealed, and so would not have been put into order by His judgment. Therefore He had to provide that there be some church on earth while He was waiting for the right time in the spiritual history of the world to make His coming.

In order to provide a proper basis for the worship of the heavens, the Lord provided that simple, good spirits in the world of spirits were associated with the Jewish Church. These spirits were on their way to becoming angels, but were not very far along in the procedure yet, so they were unable to perceive the true spiritual states of the Jews. When they sensed the Jews going through their elaborate rituals, they believed that anyone who could follow such difficult rules so carefully must love the Lord very much, and the simple spirits were moved to genuine worship. Because they were good spirits, their genuine worship, even though inspired by a misunderstanding, could serve as a basis for the worship of the whole of heaven. Because the Jewish Church was not really a true church, but only served to represent one to the simple spirits, it is called in the doctrines of the New Church, a “representative of a church.”

Throughout the Old Testament, the ritual washings that were performed at various times and places all represented the purification from evils and falsities. There are other kinds of cleansings spoken of throughout scripture, and they too represent the importance of natural and spiritual cleanliness, and the different ways of removing the various kinds of spiritual dirt.

There were lepers, those who suffered from the terrible, wasting skin disease and who were condemned to go through the rest of their life warning others that they were “unclean.” Leprosy represents profanation, the state where someone who has once loved and lived by the truth turns his back on it and returns to a former state of evil. The filthiness that is thus introduced into his spiritual mind and body is represented by the horrible mutilation of the natural body caused by the disease of leprosy.

Another frequent illustration of the importance of spiritual cleanliness is that of someone who is possessed by an unclean spirit. The heavenly doctrines tell us that an unclean spirit represents the uncleanness of life with a person, and also the unclean spirits who are with him; for unclean spirits live in the filthiness of man’s life and thoughts (see AC 4744:2). We are also told that when we are being tempted, the unclean spirits from hell are near by. They are drawn to our evil states, and they then flow in and excite the affections for evil and the falsities that support them in our minds (see AC 5246:2).

We are often tempted during the course of a normal day, but this does not mean that we are necessarily under constant attack. Many evil thoughts are inspired by the hells, but things that merely flow through our thoughts and are then dissipated are not appropriated to us, they do not render us unclean. The ones that we have to worry about are those which are received with affection and delight when they enter our mind, and come forth into action, for then they are appropriated and do make us unclean (see AC 8910:2).

A final example of the relationship between natural and spiritual cleanliness is that of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. This incident took place during the same evening that the Lord instituted the Last Supper. He took a towel and a basin of water and began to wash the disciple’s feet – to their great embarrassment. But, like everything else He did while in the world, He did it to teach them spiritual principles. The Lord was again teaching about how we are to purify ourselves by removing evils and falsities, for, as said above, washing stands for purification from evils and falsities. The water in the basin represents truth of faith in the natural degree of the mind. The feet represent the natural degree of the mind itself. Therefore, when all these elements are taken together, we can see that washing the feet represents to purify the natural degree of the mind by removing what is evil and false, or dirty. The Lord did this to the disciples before His crucifixion and resurrection in order to signify that unless the natural degree is purified and cleansed while man lives in the world, unless we examine ourselves, repent, and reform our lives, the natural degree can never be purified later in the spiritual world, and so the evils will remain. (See AC 10243:2 Cf. AC 7601:6, DP 151:2, AE 951:3)

A second and equally important lesson is illustrated by this story, and that has to do with the part that we play in our own regeneration as-if-from-ourselves. Throughout the Old Testament, and much of the New, the Lord has commanded that we wash ourselves, make ourselves clean, and we duly make that effort as we go through life looking out for our evils and shunning them as best we can. But from time to time we must be reminded that although we have to make the choice, and we have to make the effort to remove evils from ourselves, we do not have the power to do it ourselves. Although we are to make every effort to wash ourselves, the truth of the matter is that He alone does the spiritual washing, He alone is capable of removing the evils in our will and replacing them with good.

Cleanliness is important in our natural environment as well as in our spiritual environment. There is not justification in the doctrines to state that there is a direct and absolute link between evils of life and dirt in the home, but there are some very strong relationships that can be noted.

Our rational mind tells us that a person who is wearing old, worn-out, dirty clothes might be a criminal, but he also might just as well be a very nice, educated person who has suffered terrible tragedies in his life. On the other hand, our rationality also tells us that just because a person is dressed in new, well-cut, fashionable clothes that he is necessarily honest and God-fearing. Yet in practice, that is how we act. Our natural sense tells us that people who take care of their appearance are probably more trustworthy than people who do not. Yet some very cruel people wear nice clothes, and some very nice people have no money and no job. Obviously, our natural appearance has a powerful effect on how we effect others, and the course of our own lives.

We can think rationally and say that the real essence of worship is to approach the Lord in humility, but if something is broken or dirty in the church, or if the minister is wearing old, worn-out shoes, the mind is distracted from the spiritual things by the disorders in the natural, and, although such little, natural things should not matter, they do. Therefore, while admitting that it does not guarantee anything about the quality of worship, we should do everything we can to create an environment for church that is clean and in good repair in every detail so that it does not distract from the spiritual content of the service.

This principle applies in all aspects of life: a neat, orderly spiritual mind does not necessarily express itself in a neat and tidy home or office, nor does a neat environment necessarily cause its residents to have a spiritual outlook – natural things are never the causes of spiritual things. This is why the Lord was so critical of the scribes and the Pharisees: they lived a life that was externally clean, in strict obedience to the Mosaic law, and on account of that they were very proud of themselves and were convinced that they were better than others. But the Lord compared this kind of life with washing only the visible part of dishes and cups, while leaving the insides dirty, or like tombs that are beautiful and whitewashed on the outside, but inside are filled with nothing but rotting bones.

The Lord asks us to wash ourselves. An infant baptism, as we witnessed at the beginning of the service, is a sign that the parents promise to provide a spiritually clean environment for the child until such time as they are ready to take the job upon themselves. The washing of baptism is a powerful symbol of the work that the Lord has asked us to do during our life in the world: to seek out the things in and around our lives that are not in the order of heaven, and then, in a systematic and thorough way, work on removing them. And finally, let us acknowledge that although we must initiate the process, that we must discover evils within ourselves and choose to remove them, it is the Lord alone who washes us from our sins and brings us into spiritual order. As the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah, Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. … Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow … For the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 1:16, 18, 20). AMEN.

1st Lesson: Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. {4} Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight; That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. {5} Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. {6} Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. {7} Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. {8} Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. {9} Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. {10} Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. {13} Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. {14} Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. {15} O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. {16} For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise. {18} Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. {19} Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar. Amen.

2nd Lesson: TCR 672-673 (port.)

672. What man of sound reason cannot see that the washing of the face, hands, and feet, or of all the limbs, and even the whole body in a bath, does nothing more than wash away the dirt, that men may appear clean in the human form before men? And who cannot understand that no washing enters into man’s spirit and renders that equally clean? For any thief, plunderer or robber may wash himself until he shines; but is the disposition to steal, plunder, and rob thereby washed away? Does not the internal flow into the external and work out the effects of its will and understanding, but not the external into the internal? For this latter is contrary to nature, because it is contrary to order; but the former is according to nature, because it is according to order.

673. From all this it follows that neither washings nor baptisms, unless man’s internal is purified from evils and falsities, has any more efficacy than the washing of cups and platters by the Jews, or (as follows in that same passage) than the whitening of sepulchres, which appear beautiful without, but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (Matt. 23:25-28); and this is further evident from the fact that the hells are full of satans who were once men, baptized as well as unbaptized. Amen.