905. 21:16 The city is laid out as a square. This symbolizes justice in the New Church.
The city was seen as square because a square or quadrilateral form symbolizes justice, inasmuch as a triangle symbolizes rectitude, all of these being symbols on the lowest level, which is the natural one.
A square or quadrilateral layout symbolizes justice because it has four sides, and the four sides face the four cardinal points of the compass; and to face the four cardinal points equally is to regard everything equitably. That is why there were three gates on each side giving entrance into the city, and why it is said in Isaiah,
Open the gates, that a righteous nation which keeps its fealties may enter in. (Isaiah 26:2)
The city was laid out as a square in order that its length and breadth might be equal, the length symbolizing the goodness of the New Church, and the breadth its truth, and when goodness and truth are in balance, then there is justice.
It is because a square has this symbolic meaning that we say in everyday speech that this or that man deals squarely, meaning a man who does not incline unjustly to either one party or the other.
Because a square symbolizes justice, therefore the altar of burnt offering was square (Exodus 27:1), which symbolized a worship springing from a celestial goodness and consequent truth. The altar of incense, too, was square as well (Exodus 30:1-2). And other objects also were square.