8941. 'You shall not build it with hewn ones' means that it must not be a product of self-intelligence. This is clear from the meaning of 'hewn stones' as the kinds of things which are products of self-intelligence, for 'stones' are truths, 8940, and chiselling or shaping them means producing or fashioning truths, or rather notions made to look like truths, out of the self, that is, out of self-intelligence. For the life in anything produced or fashioned by the self or self-intelligence is derived from the person; and such life is not life at all since the human self or proprium is nothing but evil, 210, 215, 694, 874-876, 987, 1047, 5660, 5786, 8480, whereas what is not derived from the self but from God does have life within it, since God is the source of all life. The subject here is worship of the Lord that springs from truth, for that kind of worship is meant by 'an altar of stones', 8940. .
 Truths that inspire worship of the Lord should be derived from nowhere other than the Word; for in every single part the Word has life from God. When truths are derived from the self they have as their end in view rank and prominence over everyone in the world, and also earthly possessions and wealth above everyone. Consequently they hold within them self-love and love of the world, thus all evils in their entirety, 7488, 8318. But truths derived from the Word have eternal life as their end in view; they hold within them love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour, thus all forms of good in their entirety. When truths are produced out of the self or self-intelligence they are the masters over the truths which come from God; for they employ the latter to add strength to themselves. But it ought to be the other way round, that is to say, the truths from God ought to be the masters, and those that are products of self-intelligence to be the servants. Products of the self or self-intelligence are called truths, but they are not really truths; they look like truths solely to outward appearances. For the literal sense of the Word is employed, and reasonings are brought in, to make them look like truths; but inwardly they are falsities. What these things are exactly, and what they are like, see above in 8932.
 In the world there are two semblances of religion that exist as a result of self-intelligence. One is that in which self-love and love of the world is everything; in the Word this semblance of religion is called Babel. Inwardly it is profane on account of self-love and love of the world, while outwardly it is holy on account of the Word, which people have employed to add strength to their own ideas. The other semblance of religion is that in which the inferior light of the natural order is everything. Those with this kind of religion acknowledge nothing to be true which they do not apprehend. Some belonging to this seeming religion acknowledge the Word, yet they employ it to add strength to their own ideas; thus they treat it as their servant. Others however do not acknowledge the Word; instead they identify the Divine with the natural order. For the light in which they see, being the inferior light of the natural order, shines only within the natural order and cannot be made brighter by the superior light of heaven, because they cast aside the Word, the source of all enlightenment. Those belonging to both the latter and the former semblances of religion are in hell, because they are devoid of heavenly life, which they cannot receive because they have cast the Word aside. And those of them who have employed the Word to add strength to their own ideas have set no value at all on it in their hearts; yet because it has had power and authority among the common people they have used it to serve them in this way, in order that false notions fashioned by their own intelligence might thereby be validated. From all this one may see what is meant in the spiritual sense by the command that no altar of hewn stones was to be built.
 'Hewn stone' means that which is a product of self-intelligence in the following places as well: In Isaiah,
In order that [all] the people may know, Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, on account of pride and arrogance of heart, saying, The bricks have fallen and we will build from hewn stone. Isaiah 9:9-10.
Even if I cry and shout, He has shut out my prayers. He has fenced round my ways with hewn stone, He has overturned my paths. Lamentations 3:8-9.
Because you tread down the crushed, and seize from him the burden of grain, you will build houses of hewn stone, yet you will not dwell in them. Amos 5:11.
'Hewn stone' here stands for the kinds of things that self-intelligence produces in matters of faith.
 Since those things were meant by 'hewn stone', the altar first built in the land of Canaan by the children of Israel after they crossed the Jordan was built of unhewn stones; for crossing over Jordan represented introduction into the Lord's kingdom, which is accomplished by means of the truths of faith. That altar is spoken of as follows in Joshua,
Joshua built an altar to Jehovah God of Israel on Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of Jehovah had commanded the children of Israel, An altar of whole stones over which no one has wielded any iron tool. 1
Joshua 8:30-31; Deuteronomy 27:1-8.
 The temple in Jerusalem likewise was built of whole, not hewn, stones. This is referred to in the first Book of Kings as follows,
As regards the house itself, when it was being built it was built of whole stone, as it had been brought [there]; for not a hammer or axe, [nor] any tool of iron, was heard in the house while it was being built. 1 Kings 6:7.
For by 'the temple of the Lord' was represented the Lord in respect of Divine Truth. The Lord Himself teaches that He was represented by the temple, in John 2:19, 21-22; and the reason why He was represented in respect of Divine Truth was that Divine Truth was taught there. This also was why it was built of stones; for 'stones' meant Divine Truth, 8940. And it also explains why the Lord was called 'the Stone of Israel', 6426.
 From all this one may now see what was meant by the stone of the altar, and also what was meant by the stone of the temple, as well as what was meant by the requirement that they were to be whole stones, and not hewn, namely this: Religion should be composed of truths derived from the Lord, thus from the Word, and not from self-intelligence. Products of self-intelligence are also described in the following way in Isaiah,
The craftsman casts a graven image, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts silver chains for it. He seeks a skilled 2
craftsman to make ready a graven image. Isaiah 40:19-20.
'A graven image' stands for some religious fabrication that is a product of the proprium or self, put forward to be venerated as what is Divine, 8869. 'The craftsman' stands for those who from self produce and fashion things. Their attempt to make these things look like truths is described by '[a goldsmith! overlays it with gold, and casts chains made of silver' and 'he seeks a skilled craftsman'.
 In the same prophet,
Makers of the graven image, all are vanity. All his companions will be ashamed; and the workmen themselves ... He fashions the iron with tongs, and works it with the coals, and forms it with sharp hammers; so he makes it with his strong arm. 3
He fashions pieces of wood, stretches out a cord, and marks it off with a ruler. He makes it into its angles, and marks it out with a ring, so that he may make it in the form of a man (vir), according to the beauty of a human being, to dwell in the house. Isaiah 44:9, 11-13.
This too describes a religious fabrication that is a product of self-intelligence. Something similar occurs in Jeremiah,
The customs 4
of the nations are vanity. Since indeed one cuts out wood from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman using an axe, he decorates it with silver and gold; and they make it firm 5
with pegs and hammers. Jeremiah 10:3-4.
And also in Hosea,
Nonetheless they now sin more and more, and make for themselves a molten image from silver, idols by their own intelligence, completely the work of craftsmen. Hosea 13:2
A religious fabrication, produced out of self-intelligence and not derived from the Word, is meant in the internal sense by 'idols' and 'strange gods', by 'molten images' and 'graven images'. Products of the self are nothing else; for in themselves they are dead, even though venerated as living.
1. literally, upon which he has not moved iron
2. literally, intelligent
3. lit the arm of his strength
4. lit statutes
5. The Latin means he makes firm but the Hebrew means they make firm, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.