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Arcana Coelestia #2190

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2190. 'And he said, Behold, in the tent' means that it existed within holiness. This is clear from the meaning of 'a tent' as holiness, dealt with in 414, 1102, 1566, 2145. Rational truth is said to have existed within holiness because it existed within good. All good is called holy because it is an attribute of love and charity, which are derived wholly from the Lord. But as are forms of good, so are forms of holiness. Goods are formed, that is, they are born and develop, through the truths of faith. The nature of them therefore depends on the nature and the amount of the truth of faith that has been implanted in charity, as stated immediately above in 2189. From this it becomes clear that forms of good or holiness differ with each individual. Although they seem to be alike in the outward form they take they are not alike in their inward forms. And this applies both to people who are outside the Church and to those inside it. Within the good of charity residing with a person more is present than man can possibly believe. Present within it are all things that constitute his faith, and consequently they are present in the holiness of his worship. The nature of the holiness of his worship is visible to the angels as if seen in broad daylight, even though that person knows nothing further than that some degree of holiness exists with him. Myriads upon myriads of his thoughts concerning the goods and truths of faith and of the affections deriving from these are present within the holiness existing within him. But the general character of the holiness of worship will in the Lord's Divine mercy be spoken of elsewhere.

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #1102

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1102. 'He will dwell in the tents of Shem' means so that the internal features of worship may be present in the external features. This becomes clear from all that has been stated already about Shem, to the effect that 'Shem' is the internal Church or internal worship, and that external worship is something altogether soulless or unclean if it does not have internal worship to give it life and sanctify it. That 'tents' means nothing else than the holiness of love and worship arising out of this becomes clear from the meaning of 'tents' dealt with already in 414. Among the ancients 'wandering about and dwelling in tents' was common expression, and by 'tents' in the internal sense was meant holy worship, for the reason that the most ancient people not only wandered about with tents but also dwelt in tents and used to celebrate holy worship in them. Consequently 'wandering about and dwelling' also meant in the internal sense living.

[2] In addition to the places quoted already in 414, let the following as well serve to confirm that 'tents' means holy worship: In David,

God forsook the dwelling-place at Shiloh, the tent where He dwelt with man. Psalms 78:60.

Here 'tent' has a similar meaning to the Temple, in which God is said 'to dwell' when He is present with someone within love. For this reason the individual in whose life holy worship had a place was called by the ancients 'a tent', and later 'a temple'. In Isaiah,

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out. Isaiah 54:1.

This stands for enlightenment in the things that belong to true worship. In Jeremiah,

The whole land has been laid waste; suddenly My tents have been laid waste, My curtains in a moment. Jeremiah 4:20.

Here it is quite evident that tents are not meant but holy worship. In Zechariah,

Jerusalem will dwell yet again in her own place, in Jerusalem Jehovah will save the tents of Judah. Zechariah 12:6-7.

Here 'the tents of Judah' stands for worship of the Lord arising out of the holiness of love.

[3] From these quotations it now becomes clear what 'dwelling in the tents of Shem' means, namely, so that internal worship may be present in external. But because 'Japheth', the member of the external Church, has little knowledge of what internal things are, a brief description of him will be given. When a person feels or perceives within himself that he has thoughts regarding the Lord which are good and thoughts regarding the neighbor which are good, and he wishes to perform acts of kindness for him, but not for the sake of any gain or for the sake of his own position, and when he feels that he has pity for anyone who suffers misfortune, and more so for him who errs in regard to the doctrine of faith, he may then know that 'he is dwelling in the tents of Shem', that is, that there are with him things of an internal nature by means of which the Lord is working.

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