9828. 'And a belt' means a common bond to ensure that everything has the same end in view. This is clear from the meaning of 'a belt' or girdle as a common bond; for it gathers together, encloses, holds in connection within itself, and strengthens everything within, which without it would fall apart and drift away. The reason why it is a common bond whose purpose is to ensure that everything has the same end in view is that in the spiritual world the end in view holds sway, so much so that everything there should be called an end. For the Lord's kingdom, which is a spiritual world, is a kingdom of useful services, and such services there are ends in view, so that it is a kingdom of ends. But the ends there follow one another in various order, and they also stand in association with one another. The ends which follow one another are called middle ends, but those which stand in association with one another are called associate ends. All these ends have been so linked together and made subordinate to one another that without exception they have one end in view. This end is the Lord; and in heaven, among those who accept it, it is a love of and faith in Him. Love there is the end in view of all the powers of the will there, and faith is the end in view of all the powers of thought, which are those of the understanding.
 When every single thing has the same end in view all things are then held in uninterrupted connection and make one; for everything is then under the eye, government, and providence of the One who, acting in accord with the laws of subordination and association, turns everyone towards Himself, and thereby joins them to Himself. At the same time He turns all to face their companions, and thereby joins them to one another. This explains why the faces of all who are in heaven are kept turned towards the Lord, who is the Sun there, and so is the centre point in front of everyone's eyes; and the marvel is that He is there in whatever direction angels turn round to face, 3638. And since the Lord is present within the good of mutual love and within the good of charity towards the neighbour - for all are loved by Him, and are joined to one another by Him through love - their regard for their companions, which that love gives them, also serves to turn them towards the Lord.
 Those things therefore on last and lowest levels, gathering others together and enclosing them so they may be held, every single one, in such connection, were represented by belts or girdles, which in the spiritual world are nothing other than the forms of good and the truths present on lowest or outermost levels which enclose more internal ones. Celestial forms of good on lowest or outermost levels were represented by girdles that went around the loins, and spiritual forms of good and truths on those levels by girdles that went around the thighs and also around the breast.
 Such things are meant by 'girdles around the loins' in the following places: In Jeremiah,
Jehovah said to the prophet, Buy yourself a linen girdle, and place it over your loins; but you are not to pass it through water. I therefore bought a girdle, and placed it over my loins. Then the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Take the girdle, and go away to the Euphrates, and hide it in the cleft of a rock. At the end of many days I went away to the Euphrates, and took the girdle, and behold, it was ruined; it was profitable for nothing. Then Jehovah said, This people is evil, refusing to hear My words; and they have gone after other gods. Therefore they will be just like this girdle that is profitable for nothing. Jeremiah 13:1-12.
'A linen girdle' here is used to mean in the spiritual sense the Church's good, which encloses the truths there and holds them in connection within itself. The non-existence of the Church's good at that time, and the consequent dispersal of its truths, are the reason for its being said that the girdle was not to be passed through water; for 'water' means truth that purifies and thereby restores. 'The cleft of a rock' in which it was hidden is falsified truth; 'the Euphrates' is the full extent and boundary of the celestial realities that belong to good on its lowest level. Anyone unacquainted with the essential nature of the Word may think that the passage is no more than a comparison of the people and their ruination with a girdle and its ruination. But in the Word all comparisons and metaphorical ways of speaking are real correspondences, 3579, 8989. Unless each detail in this description were of a correspondential nature the prophet would never have been told not to pass the girdle through water, or to place it over his loins, or to go to the Euphrates and hide it there in the cleft of a rock. The reason why it says that the girdle should be placed over his loins is that by 'the loins', because of their correspondence, is meant the good of celestial love, 3021, 4280, 5050-5062. A girdle placed over the loins accordingly means being joined to the Lord through the good of love, the Word serving as the intermediary.
Arcana Coelestia 8959; Jeremiah 13:1-10)
 The meaning of 'a girdle' as good that acts as a boundary and holds things together is also evident in Isaiah,
There will come forth a shoot from the trunk of Jesse. Righteousness will be the girdle of His loins, and truth the girdle of His thighs. Isaiah 11:1, 5.
This refers to the Lord. 'Righteousness' that will be 'the girdle of His loins' is the good of His love, which protects heaven and the Church. The requirement stated in Exodus 12:11 that when the children of Israel ate the Passover their loins were to be girded means that all things should be present in their proper order, made ready to receive good from the Lord and to take action, 7863. This explains why those who have been made ready are said to be 'girded', as is also said of the seven angels in the Book of Revelation,
Out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in linen, white and splendid, and girded around their breasts with golden girdles. Revelation 15:6.
 It is said of Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8 that he was a hairy man and wore a girdle of skin around his loins. Much the same is said of John,
John had a garment of camel hair and a skin girdle around his waist. Matthew 3:4.
The reason why Elijah and John were clothed and girded in this way was that both men represented the Word, and therefore their clothes mean the Word in its external sense, which is the natural sense. For 'hair' means the natural, 3301, 5247, 5569-5573, and 'camels' general facts within the natural, 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145. And 'skin' means the external, 3540, so that 'a girdle of skin' means that which collects together, encloses, and holds in connection the things within itself. For the representation of Elijah as the Word, see Preface to Genesis 18, and 2762, 5247 (end), and John the Baptist similarly, 9372.
Arcana Coelestia 2135)
 Since truths and forms of good are dissolved and dispersed by wicked deeds it says of Joab that after he had tricked and killed Abner he put the blood of war on his girdle that was on his loins, 1 Kings 2:5. This means that he dispersed and destroyed such truths and forms of good. This accounts for its being said, when truths have been dispersed and destroyed, that instead of a girdle there will be a falling apart, and instead of well-set hair, baldness, Isaiah 3:24. This refers to the daughters of Zion, by whom forms of good belonging to the celestial Church are meant. 'Instead of a girdle, a falling apart' stands for the dispersal of celestial good.
 It is also said in Ezekiel of Oholibah, who is Jerusalem, that when she looked at men portrayed on the wall, images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, girded with girdles on their loins, she fell in love with them, Ezekiel 23:14-16. Here truths which have been rendered profane are meant, for 'the Chaldeans' are those who outwardly claim to believe in truths but inwardly repudiate them, and in so doing render them profane. 'Men portrayed on the wall' are the appearances of truth in outward things, as in like manner are 'images portrayed in vermilion'. 'Girdles' with which their loins were girded are the forms of good which they fake to induce belief in their truths.
 From all this it may now be clear what it was that girdles gathering garments into one served to mean in the representative Church. Yet the natural man can scarcely be brought to believe that such things were meant, because he finds it difficult to put aside the natural idea of a girdle, and in general of garments, and instead adopt a spiritual idea, which is that of good holding truths in connection within itself. For the natural level on which a person sees things holds the mind down on that level, and it is not removed from there unless the sight of the understanding is able to be raised right up into the light of heaven and the person is for this reason able to think on a level virtually divorced from natural things. When this happens to a person spiritual ideas of the truth of faith and of the good of love, which the merely natural man cannot understand, enter in.