De Verbo #1

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A Representation of the Literal Meaning of the Word, which has a Spiritual Meaning within

I was given to see large purses, looking like sacks, which had stored away in them a great deal of silver. Since they were open, it seemed as if anyone might help himself to the silver deposited in them, even to make off with it, but next to them two angels were sitting as guards. The place where the sacks rested looked like a manger in a stable. In the next room I saw modest maidens, together with a chaste wife. Near that room were two little children, and I heard it said they were not to be played with in a childish way, but wisely. Afterward a harlot appeared, then a horse lying dead.

I then perceived that this was a way of representing the literal meaning of the Word, which has a spiritual meaning within. The large purses full of silver symbolized concepts of truth there in great abundance. The sacks' being open and yet guarded by angels symbolized that anyone might acquire concepts of truth there, but that people should take care not to falsify the inner meaning, which contains only truths. The manger in the stable where the purses were sitting symbolized spiritual instruction for the intellect. (A manger has this symbolism, like the one where the newborn Lord lay, because a horse symbolizes the intellect, consequently a manger its nourishment.) The modest maidens I saw in the next room symbolized truths of the church, and the chaste wife the conjunction of truth and good that exists throughout the Word. The little children symbolized the innocence of the wisdom in it (they were angels from the third heaven, all of whom appear like little children). The harlot together with the dead horse symbolized the falsification of the Word by so many people today, by which all understanding of the truth has been lost. (A harlot symbolizes falsification, and a dead horse no understanding of truth.)

[Marginal Note]

what the foundation of the wall of Jerusalem is, and the twelve precious stones there, that they are the urim and thummim upon the ephod of Aaron

(References: Luke 2:7, 2:12)

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Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.