True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 305

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Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long and you may prosper upon earth.

This commandment is found in Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16. Honouring your father and mother means in the natural or literal sense honouring one's parents, obeying them, being attached to them, and showing gratitude for the kindnesses they do. These include feeding and clothing their children, and bringing them into the world, so that there they may live civilised and respectable lives; also bringing them into heaven by teaching them the rules of religion. In this way they provide for their temporal prosperity as well as their eternal happiness. They do all this because of the love they have from the Lord, in whose place they act. It also means, in appropriate cases, the honouring of guardians by their wards, if the parents are dead.

In a wider sense this commandment means that one should honour one's king and magistrates, since these provide all with the necessities of life in general, just as parents do in particular cases. In the widest sense the commandment means that one should love one's country, since it feeds and protects one; hence it is called one's fatherland. Honour should be shown by parents to both one's country and its rulers, and they should implant this idea in their children.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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