1. APPENDIX to THE WHITE HORSE 1
Since today it must inevitably appear strange that a horse means the understanding of truth, and in a contrary sense, reasonings coming as it were from the understanding which confirm falsehood, I should like to quote more passages still from the Word where the horse is mentioned. Let these suffice:
Is Thine indignation against the sea, O Jehovah, when Thou dost ride upon Thy horses! Thy chariots are salvation. Thou didst trample the sea with Thy horses, the surging of the waters, Habakkuk 3:8, 15.
The hoofs of Jehovah's horses are reckoned as flint, Isaiah 5:28.
At Thy rebuke both chariot and horse lay stunned, Psalm 76:5-6.
I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will overthrow the chariot and those that ride in it, and the horses and their horsemen shall go down, Haggai 2:22.
I will cut off the horse from Jerusalem: he shall speak peace to the nations, Zechariah 9:10.
In these places the Church's understanding of truth is meant by the horse, and doctrine derived from it by the chariot; and those who are able to understand and learn from the Word are meant by riders and horsemen. The matter is plainer still from these places:
Gather yourselves from all around to My sacrifice; you shall be satisfied at My table with horse and chariot. So I will set My glory among the nations, Ezekiel 39:17, 20-21.
Gather yourselves to the great supper of God, and you shall eat the flesh of horses and of those seated on them, Revelation 19:17-18.
The subject here is the New Church that is to be established by the Lord. At that time the understanding of the Word will be opened and from it men will be taught the doctrine of truth. What else would the statements that they were to be filled at the Lord's table with horse and chariot, and that they were to eat the flesh of horses and of those seated on them, be but utter absurdities! In addition to the examples already brought forward, the meaning of horse and chariot is obvious from these places:
Gird on Thy sword, O Mighty One! Mount, and ride on the Word of truth, Psalm 45:3-4.
Sing, lift up a song to Him Who rides upon the clouds, Psalm 68:4.
Jehovah comes riding upon a cloud, Isaiah 19:1.
Sing to the Lord Who is riding on the highest heaven of old, Psalm 68:33-34.
God rode on a cherub, Psalm 18:10.
Then you shall take delight in Jehovah, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth, Isaiah 58:14; Deuteronomy 32:13.
I will make Ephraim ride, Hosea 10:11.
By riding in these passages is meant teaching and being taught the truths of doctrine, and thus being wise. By the heights of the earth are meant the summits of the Church, and by Ephraim also the understanding of the Word. Like matters are meant by horses and chariots, by the four chariots coming out between the mountains of bronze, and by the four horses harnessed to them, which were red, black, white, and dappled grey, and which are also called spirits and are said to have gone forth from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole earth, Zechariah 6:1-8, 15.
Things of a similar nature are meant by these words as well:
When the Lamb opened the seals of the book horses went out in order, first a white horse, second a red horse, third a black horse, and fourth a pale horse, Revelation 6:1-8.
It is obvious that by the book whose seals the Lamb opened the Word is meant, out of which nothing else could come except the understanding of it. What other meaning could horses coming out of an opened book have!
It is clear that a horse means the understanding of truth and a chariot doctrine from the same words when they are used in a contrary sense. A horse then means the understanding falsifying truths by means of mere reasonings, and a chariot consequent doctrine, that is, heresy, as in the following places:
Woe to those who go down into Egypt for help and rely on horses and do not look to the Holy One of Israel! For Egypt is man and not God, and his horses are flesh and not spirit, Isaiah 31:1, 3.
You shall set over Israel a king whom Jehovah shall choose, only let him not multiply horses for himself nor lead the people back into Egypt to multiply horses, Deuteronomy 17:14-16.
These matters have been stated because by Egypt is meant the natural man, who corrupts the truths of the Word by mere reasonings from the physical senses. What else could the horses of Egypt being flesh and not spirit, and the king not having to multiply horses, that is, falsehoods that have to do with religion, mean?
Assyria will not save us, we will not ride upon a horse, Hosea 14:3.
Some boast of the chariot and others of horses but we will boast of the name of our God, Psalm 20:7-8.
A horse is a vain thing for safety, Psalm 33:17.
The Holy One of Israel said, In trust shall be your strength. But you said, No. We will flee on a horse, we will ride on a swift one, Isaiah 30:15-16.
Jehovah will set Judah like a glorious horse; they shall put to shame those riding on horses, Zechariah 10:3-5.
I will bring against Tyre the king of Babylon, with horse and with chariot, and with horsemen. Their horses shall be so many that their dust will cover you, and the noise of horse and chariot so much that your walls will be shaken. With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets, Ezekiel 26:7-11.
By Tyre in the Word is meant the Church as regards its cognitions of good and truth, and by the king of Babylon the falsification and profanation of them. Hence it says here that he will come with horse and chariot and horsemen, and that the horses will be so many that their dust will cover him. Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies, with whinnying horse and bounding chariot, Nahum 3:1-4.
By the bloody city is meant doctrine derived from truths of the Word that have been falsified. And in other places as well, such as Isaiah 5:26, 28; Jeremiah 6:23, 8:16, 46:4, 9, 50:37-38, 42; Ezekiel 17:15, 23:6, 20; Habakkuk 1:6, 8-10; Psalms 66:11-12, 147:10. A falsified and ruined understanding of truth that is in the Word is also meant by the red, black, and pale horses of Revelation 6:4-5, 8. Since therefore a horse means an understanding of truth, and in a contrary sense, an understanding of falsehood, it is clear what the Word is like in its spiritual sense.
It is well known that hieroglyphics existed in Egypt and that these were inscribed on columns and temple walls, etc., and that nobody knows nowadays what they meant. They were nothing else but correspondences of natural and spiritual things, to which the Egyptians applied themselves more than any other peoples of their own times in Asia, and it was according to these correspondences that the ancient Greeks composed their fables. The most ancient style was nothing else but this. To all these matters let me add one that is new: All things that manifest themselves in the spiritual world to angels and spirits are without exception correspondences, and for that very reason the whole of the Sacred Scripture has been written by means of correspondences [in the margin: in order that by means of it, as this is the nature of it, men of the Church would be conjoined with angels of heaven]. But because the Egyptians, and others with them in the kingdoms of Asia, began to turn those correspondences into forms of idolatry which the children of Israel tended to favour, the latter were forbidden to call them back into any use at all, as is quite plain from the first of the Ten Commandments where these words appear:
You shall not make for yourself any carved image which is in the heavens above or which is on the earth beneath or which is in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them nor serve them, for I am Jehovah your God, Deuteronomy 5:8-9.
And there are many more examples elsewhere. From that time on the knowledge of correspondences was blotted out. This happened by stages, in so much that nowadays its existence in the past is almost unknown, or that there is such a thing. Now however because a New Church is to be established by the Lord, one that is to be based on the Word, and which is understood by the New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation, the Lord has been pleased to reveal that knowledge, and so to open up the Word to show what it is like inside in its inmost parts, that is, to show what it is in the spiritual sense. This has been done by means of myself in ARCANA COELESTIA, published in London, and afterwards in APOCALYPSE REVEALED, published in Amsterdam. Since for men of early times that knowledge was the greatest knowledge of all, and from it came their wisdom, it is important that some member of your academy should devote his labours to that knowledge, which can be done chiefly from the correspondences disclosed in APOCALYPSE REVEALED and proved from the Word. If there is a demand for it I am willing to unravel the Egyptian hieroglyphics, which are nothing else but correspondences, and have the matter published. Nobody else can do it.
1. [NCBSP Editor's note: This very brief work of Swedenborg's, which may have been a draft of a letter, was not published by him. It is an appendix to "The White Horse", which Swedenborg had published in 1758. Here's a link to that work: The White Horse 1.