De obras de Swedenborg

 

Arcana Coelestia #10050

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10050. 'And its legs' means purification of the more external things belonging to the natural man. This is clear from the meaning of 'washing the legs' as purification of the natural man (for the meaning of 'washing' as purifying, see immediately above in 10049); and from the meaning of 'the legs' as the more external things belonging to the natural man. The reason why these things are meant by 'the legs' is that one must at the same time understand the feet, since an animal's four legs are closely connected to its feet, and 'the feet' by virtue of their correspondence mean the natural or external level in a person, see 2162, 3147, 3761, 4938-4952.

[2] Much the same is meant by 'the legs' in Amos,

As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs or a piece of an ear, so will the children of Israel dwelling in Samaria be rescued, on the corner of a bed and on the end of a couch. Amos 3:12.

'The lion' here means those who lay the Church waste, 'legs' the external part of it, which is also the external part of the natural man, 'a piece of an ear' its discernment, and those 'dwelling in Samaria' those whose worship is external. 'The corner of a bed and the end of a couch' is the lowest part of the natural, which is external sensory awareness and its truth and good.

[3] In Daniel's description of Nebuchadnezzar's statue - its head made of pure gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and side of bronze, legs of iron, and feet partly of iron and partly of clay, Daniel 2:32-33 - what is meant by 'the legs' is the truth of faith in the external or natural man; and the same thing is also meant by 'iron', see 10030. The reason why the legs in the description are distinguished from the feet is that human legs are by nature different from animal legs.

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

De obras de Swedenborg

 

Arcana Coelestia #10030

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10030. 'Covering the intestines' means which exists on last or lowest levels. This is clear from the meaning of 'the intestines' as last or lowest things. The reason why the intestines have this meaning is that they are the last and lowest of a person's internal organs, not only as regards their location but also as regards their function. As regards their location, they are below the stomach, to which they are attached; and as regards their function, they are the last organs to receive the things undergoing digestion in a person. Above them, as is well known, come the stomach, liver, pancreas, and spleen; higher still, the heart and lungs; and still higher, the head. It is also well known that these higher parts of the body discharge their filth and waste products into the intestines and banish them through these, partly by way of the stomach, partly by way of the ducts from the liver - called the hepatic ducts, and also the cystic or biliary ducts - and partly by way of the ducts from the pancreas, which like all the other ducts have their outlet into the duodenum. From all this it is now evident why last or lowest things are meant by 'the intestines'. The fact that the internal organs in the human body mean such things as belong to the spiritual world becomes clear from what has been abundantly shown at the ends of a large number of chapters where the correspondence of the Grand Man, which is heaven, with everything present in the human being has been the subject. For what specifically corresponds to the intestines, see 5392. The hells correspond to the impurities and excrement cast out from them, 5393-5396.

[2] Since several organs of the body are mentioned in what immediately follows, such as the lesser omentum, liver, kidneys, legs, breast, flank, and head, and the arrangement of them in sacrifices is dealt with, it must first be shown here that by parts of the human body in general the kinds of things that exist in the Grand Man, that is, in heaven, are meant. Here let the meaning of just those parts of the body which are used in Daniel to describe Nebuchadnezzar's statue be indicated. There, in Chapter 2:32-33, it says that its head was pure gold, breast and arms were silver, belly and side bronze, legs iron, and feet partly iron and partly clay. Anyone who does not know that the Lord's Word is spiritual supposes that these things were said in reference to earthly kingdoms. But the Word is not dealing with earthly kingdoms, only with God's kingdom, thus with heaven and the Church. The reason why these are described by means of the kinds of things that exist in earthly lands and their kingdoms is that worldly and earthly things correspond to the kinds of things that exist in heaven. For the whole natural order and the whole universe is a theatre representative of the Lord's kingdom, see the places referred to in 9280, and earthly and worldly things are what a person comes to know of first.

[3] From this it may be recognized that Nebuchadnezzar's statue seen in a dream does not mean worldly but heavenly things. But what specifically is meant by the head, the breast, the belly and side, the legs, and the feet may be known from their correspondence, thus from the internal sense of the Word. From correspondence one can know that the head means the first state of the Church, the breast and arms the second, the belly and side the third, the legs the fourth, and the feet the last. Since the first state of the Church was a state of the good of love to the Lord it says that the head was of pure gold; since the second state was a state of truth springing from that good it says that the breast and arms were of silver; since the third state was the good of love and its truth in the external or natural man it says that the belly and side were of bronze; since the fourth state was the truth of faith it says that the legs were of iron; and since the last state was truth which, though called the truth of faith, is devoid of good it says the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay. And such being the last state of the Church verses 34, 35 say that out of the rock a stone was cut, which smashed them all to pieces and scattered them, so that the wind carried them away, and no place was found for them, meaning that the good of love to the Lord, the good of charity towards the neighbour, and the good of faith were completely dispersed, so completely that there was no knowledge of what they were. No more than some knowledge of the truths of faith existed, without any knowledge of good; or if any knowledge of good existed it was not real good, thus was not the good that coheres with the truths of faith.

[4] This good is external good without internal, which is what the good of merit is, and what good pursued for selfish and worldly reasons is, thus good pursued for the sake of gain, position, and reputation, for the sake of friendship cultivated because of these things, or for the sake of currying favour. Or else it is pursued solely on account of fear of the law. It is not pursued on account of the good of charity, which is the good of one's fellow citizen, the good of human society, the good of one's country, or the good of the Church.

[5] The types of good mentioned above are meant by 'the clay' or 'the mire', the truth with which that good does not cohere being 'the iron'. Therefore verse 43 says, [Just as] the iron which you saw was mixed with the miry clay, they will mingle through the seed of man (homo) 1 , but they will not cohere with one another, just as iron is not mingled with clay. 'The seed of man' is the truth of faith when it originates in the self, which is truth falsified and adulterated through application to evils that exist as the result of a regard for self and the world. From all this it is evident that the parts of a person's body from his head to the soles of his feet mean such things as belong to the Church.

[6] In general 'the head' means celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, 'the breast' spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbour, and 'the feet' natural good, which is the good and truth of faith, see 9913, 9914; and the same kinds of good are meant by 'gold', 'silver', 'bronze', and 'iron', 5658. But for what is meant specifically by 'the head', see 4938, 4939, 5328, 9913, 9914, by 'gold', 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 9510, 9881, by 'the breast', 4938, 4939, 5328, 6436, 9913, 9914, and by 'silver', 1551, 5658, 6914, 6917. From this it is evident what is meant by 'the belly' and 'the side', which are the parts below the breast. But for what 'bronze' means, [see] 425, 1551, 'the feet', 2162, 3147, 3761, 4938-4952, 'iron', 425, 426, and 'clay' or 'mire', 1300, 6669.

[7] From all this it may now be recognized that the members or organs of the human body mean such things as correspond to them in the Grand Man, which is heaven. They all have connection with the good of love and the truth of faith; and because they correspond to these they also correspond to the same realities in the Church, because the Lord's heaven on earth is the Church.

There is a correspondence of the human being and all parts of the human being with the Grand Man, which is heaven; see what has been shown from actual experience at the ends of a number of chapters, in the following places, 3624-3649, 3741-3751, 3883-3896, 4039-4051, 4218-4228, 4318-4331, 4403-4421, 4527-4533, 4622-4633, 4652-4660, 4791-4805, 4931-4953, 5050-5061, 5171-5189, 5377-5396, 5552-5573, 5711-5727, 5846-5866, 5976-5993, 6053-6058, 6189-6215, 6307-6326, 6466-6495.

What correspondence is, 2987-3003, 3213-3227, 3337-3352, 3472-3485.

Footnotes:

1. i.e. they will become mixed together through intermarriages

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