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Arcana Coelestia # 2383

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2383. That 'they struck with blindness' means that they were filled with falsities is clear from the meaning of 'blindness'. In the Word blindness is used in reference to people who are immersed in falsity, and also to people who have no knowledge of the truth. Both kinds of people are called blind, though who are meant in any one place becomes clear from the train of thought, especially that in the internal sense. That those immersed in falsity are called 'blind' is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,

His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark. Isaiah 56:10.

'Blind watchmen' stands for those who, because of reasoning, are immersed in falsity. In the same prophet,

We look for light, and, behold, darkness; for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind. Isaiah 59:9-10,

In Jeremiah,

They went astray blind in the streets; they defiled themselves with blood. Things which have no power they touch with their garments. Lamentations 4:14.

This stands for the fact that all truths have been defiled, 'streets' standing for truths in which they have gone astray, 2336.

[2] In Zechariah,

On that day I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. Every horse of the peoples I will strike with blindness. Zechariah 12:4.

Here and elsewhere in the Word 'a horse' stands for what has to do with the understanding. This is why it is said that the horse would be struck with panic, and [every] horse of the peoples with blindness, that is, it would be filled with falsities.

[3] In John,

For judgement I came into the world, that those who do not see may see, but that those who see may become blind. Some of the Pharisees heard these words and said, Are we also blind? Jesus said to them, If you were blind you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see', therefore your sin remains. John 9:39-41.

Here the blind in both senses are referred to, that is to say, those who are immersed in falsity and those who have no knowledge of truth. With those inside the Church who know what the truth is, 'blindness' is falsity; but with those who do not know what the truth is, as with those outside the Church, 'blindness' is having no knowledge of the truth. The latter are blameless.

[4] In the same gospel,

He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes and understand with their heart and I heal them. John 12:40; Isaiah 6:9-11.

The meaning here is that it would be better for falsities to exist with them than truths, for they lead a life of evil and if they received instruction in truths they would not only continue to falsify them but would also pollute them with evils. They would do so for the same reason that the men of Sodom were struck with blindness, that is, matters of doctrine were filled with falsities. Why this is done has been shown in 301-303, 593, 1008, 1010, 1059, 1327, 1328, 2426.

(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 1327-1328)

[5] Because 'blind' meant that which was false, therefore people were not allowed in the Jewish representative Church to sacrifice anything blind, Leviticus 22:22; Deuteronomy 15:21; Malachi 1:8. Also any priest who was blind was forbidden to approach and offer on the altar, Leviticus 21:18, 21.

[6] That 'blindness' is used in reference to those, like gentiles, who have no knowledge of the truth, is clear in Isaiah,

On that day the deaf will hear the words of the Book, and out of thick darkness and out of darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Isaiah 29:18.

'The blind' stands for people who have no knowledge of the truth, chiefly those who are outside the Church. In the same prophet,

Bring forth the blind people and they will have eyes; and the deaf, and they will have ears. Isaiah 43:8.

This refers to the Church of the gentiles. In the same prophet,

I will lead the blind in a way they do not know; I will turn the darkness before them into light. Isaiah 42:16.

[7] In the same prophet,

I will give You to be a light of the people, to open the blind eyes, to bring the bound out of the dungeon, from the prison-house those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7.

This refers to the Lord's Coming and the fact that at that time people who had no knowledge of truth were to receive instruction. For those immersed in falsity do not allow themselves to receive such instruction, for they know the truth but have set themselves against it and have turned the light of truth into darkness which is not dispelled. In Luke,

The householder said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor, and the maimed, and the lame, and the blind. Luke 14:21.

This refers to the Lord's kingdom. Not those who are literally poor, maimed, lame, and blind are meant but those who are so in the spiritual sense.

[8] In the same gospel,

Jesus said that they were to report to John: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. Luke 7:22.

According to the sense of the letter nobody else is meant by the blind, the lame, lepers, the deaf, the dead, and the poor than those who were so physically, for such cures did take place, that is to say, the blind received sight, the deaf hearing, lepers were restored to health, and the dead to life.

[9] But in the internal sense the same people are meant as are referred to in


Then will be opened the eyes of the blind, and the ears of the deaf will be opened; then will the lame man leap like a hart, and the dumb man sing with his tongue. Isaiah 35:5-6.

This refers to the Lord's Coming and a new Church at that time called the Church of the gentiles who are described as being blind, deaf, lame, and dumb; they were so called as regards their doctrine and life. For it should be recognized that all the miracles which the Lord performed always embodied such matters and therefore meant the things which the blind, the lame, lepers, the deaf, the dead, and the poor are used to mean in the internal sense. Consequently the Lord's miracles were Divine, as also those performed in Egypt, in the wilderness, and all the rest described in the Word, had been. This is an arcanum.

(Odkazy: Genesis 19:11)

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Ze Swedenborgových prací

Odkazy z vydaných prací:

Arcana Coelestia 3324, 3863, 4302, 4720, 4728, 6990, 8093, 9042

The White Horse 8

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 107

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The White Horse # 8

White Horse (Ryder translation)      

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8. The Word is not understood except through doctrine from the Word.

The doctrine of the Church must be from the Word: 3464, 5402, 5432, 10763, 10764. Doctrine without the Word is not understood: 9025, 9409, 9424, 9430, 10324, 10431, 10584. True doctrine is a lantern to those who read the Word: 10400. True doctrine must be derived from those 1 who have received enlightenment from the Lord: 2510, 2516, 2519, 9424, 10105. The Word is understood through doctrine formed by one who is enlightened: 10324. Those who have received enlightenment form doctrine for themselves from the Word: 9382, 10659. There is a difference between those who teach and learn from the doctrine of the Church, and those who do this from the literal sense of the Word alone; and what that difference is: 9025. Those who rely on the literal sense of the Word and are without doctrine reach no understanding about divine truths: 9409-9410, 10582. They fall into many errors: 10431. When those who have affection for the truth because it is the truth become adult and can see with their own understanding, they do not simply remain in the doctrinal ideas of their own Church but find out for themselves from the Word whether they are true: 5402, 5432, 6047. Otherwise anyone's idea of the truth would be derived from someone else and from the land of their birth, whether Jew or Greek: 6047. Still, things that have become items of faith from the literal sense of the Word must not be extinguished except after full examination: 9039.

The true doctrine of the Church is the doctrine of love, in the sense of affectionate regard for your fellow man, 2 and faith: 2417, 4766, 10763-10764. The doctrine of faith does not make the Church, but a life of faith does, which is love: 809, 1798-1799, 1834, 4468, 4672, 4766, 5826, 6637. Doctrinal ideas are nothing unless life is lived according to them; and everyone can see that they exist for the sake of life, and not for the sake of memory, and then for a degree of thought: 1515, 2049, 2116. In the various national churches today there is a doctrine of faith and not of love, and the doctrine of love has been driven backwards into a branch of learning, called Moral Theology: 2417. The Church would be a united whole if people were recognized as being people of the Church by the life they lead and the love they show: 1285, 1316, 2982, 3267, 3445, 3451-3452. How much a doctrine of love is worth compared with a doctrine of faith divorced from love: 4844. Those who know nothing of love are in ignorance of heavenly things: 2435. Those who have only a doctrine of faith and not of love slide into lost ways, on which subject see 2383, 2417, 3146, 3325, 3412-3413, 3416, 3773, 4672, 4730, 4783, 4925, 5351, 7623-7627, 7752-7762, 7790, 8094, 8313, 8530, 8765, 9186, 9224, 10555. Those who exist only in the doctrine of faith, and not in the life of faith, which is love, were in other times called the Uncircumcised, or Philistines: 3412-3413, 3463, 8093, 8313, 9340. Among the ancients there was a doctrine of love towards the Lord, and love in the sense of affectionate regard towards your neighbour, and the doctrine of faith was subordinate to this: 2417, 3419, 4844, 4955.

Doctrine formed by one who is enlightened can later be substantiated by rational proofs and proofs founded on sound knowledge, and in this way it can be more fully understood, and corroborated: 2553, 2719, 2720, 3052, 3310, 6047. More on this topic may be seen in The New Jerusalem and Its [Heavenly] Doctrine 51. Those who live in faith divorced from love would wish the doctrinal ideas of the Church to be believed simply, without any rational consideration: 3394.

A man who is wise does not just uphold a dogma but sees whether it is true before he upholds it, and this does happen among those who are in a state of enlightenment: 1017, 4741, 7012, 7680, 7950. This enlightenment is natural, not spiritual, and achievable even among the wicked: 8780. Everything, even falsehoods, can be upheld, even to the extent that they appear to be truths: 2482, 2490, 5033, 6865, 8521.


1. At first I translated this as 'True doctrine is for those who ...,' assuming illis to be dative; but the first edition of De Equo Albo has ab illis. Presumably the omission of ab from the 1934 Latin text is a slip on someone's part.
2. Swedenborg's word here is charitas: I have pondered long before deciding on 'love in the sense of affectionate regard,' a shade of meaning borne out by the final sentence of paragraph 2 of this section, I think. For fluency I have usually translated this as simply love." Charity' is a non-starter these days, and dearness' is to me more a synonym for 'expensiveness."


(Odkazy: Arcana Coelestia 2524, 2719-2720, 4677, 6832, 7623-7677, 10401, 10765)

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.