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Arcana Coelestia #8858

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8858. A person's whole character is determined by the nature of whatever dominates his life; this is what marks him off from others. His heaven is formed in accordance with it if he is good, or his hell if he is bad. For it constitutes his true will and so the true being of his life, which is unchangeable after death. From all this one may see what the life is like in a person who has been regenerated, and what it is like in one who has not been regenerated.

  
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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 8865, 8886, 9286, 9394, 9410, 9832


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Arcana Coelestia #9394

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9394. 'And put it in bowls' means present with a person, in the things forming his memory. This is clear from the meaning of 'bowls' as the things which form the memory. The reason why 'bowls' are things forming the memory is that vessels in general mean known facts, 1469, 1496, 3068, 3079, and known facts are nothing other than things forming the memory. Consequently 'bowls' here are the kinds of things forming the memory which hold within themselves God's truths, meant in general by 'blood'. What known facts are in relation to the truths and forms of the good of life with a person must be stated briefly. All the things which are learned and stored in the memory, from where they can be called forth before the sight of the understanding, are called known facts. In themselves they are things which constitute the understanding part of the natural or external man. Since known facts include items of knowledge concerning inner realities, or cognitions, they serve the sight of the internal or rational man as a sort of mirror. For they then become things that can be seen by the internal man, just as fields full of plants, flowers, and various kinds of crops and trees, or as gardens adorned with various things growing there for use and to delight the senses, are accustomed to be seen in the material world by the external man. But internal sight, which is the understanding, sees in the fields or gardens of things forming the memory only those which are in keeping with the loves that govern a person, and which are also in agreement with the chief ideas he loves.

[2] Those therefore who are governed by self-love and love of the world see only such things as agree with those loves. They call them truths and also by means of illusions and appearances make them like truths. And they go on to see such things as accord with the chief ideas they have adopted and love because they themselves are the author of them. From this it is evident that known facts and cognitions, which are the things forming the memory, serve people governed by those two loves as the means to lend support to falsities against truths and evils against forms of good, and so as the means to destroy the Church's truths and forms of good. So it is that the learned who are like this are less sane than simple people; privately they reject the existence of God, providence, heaven, hell, life after death, and the truths of faith. This is transparently evident from the learned of the present-day European world who are in the next life, where a huge number of them are atheists at heart. For in the next life people's hearts speak and not their lips. From all this it is now clear what use it is to which cognitions and known facts are put by those whose thoughts are ruled by delights belonging to self-love and love of the world.

[3] But it is altogether different with those who are governed by delights belonging to heavenly loves, which are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour. Because they are guided in their thinking by the Lord through heaven, they see and select in the fields and gardens of the things forming their memory only those which are in agreement with the delights belonging to those loves and which are in agreement with their Church's teachings that they love. For these people the things that form the memory are like the paradise gardens of heaven; they are also represented and in the Word are meant by paradise gardens, see 3220.

[4] Furthermore it should be recognized that when known facts or things in the memory become part of a person's life they fade from his exterior memory, in the same way as other things normally do when continual practice or habit makes them spontaneous and instinctive so to speak - the way he carries himself and acts, the things he speaks, contemplates, and intends, and in general all his thoughts and affections. But no other facts become part of the person's life except those which enter into and give form to the delights that belong to his loves, thus those which enter his will. On these matters see what has been stated and shown in 8853-8858; and regarding the exterior memory, which belongs to the body, and the interior memory, which belongs to its spirit, 2469-2494.

[5] The reason why known facts are vessels, and in the Word are meant by every type of vessel, such as bowls, cups, waterpots, and the like, is that each known fact is a kind of general container holding particular and specific truths that accord with their general container. Such general containers in the Word have been arranged into series and so to speak into bundles; and these bundles and series have in turn been so set in order that they resemble the form that heaven takes, thus are set in order from most specific truths to most general ones. An idea of such series can be gained from the series and bundles of muscular tissue in the human body. Each bundle there consists of a number of motor fibres, and each motor fibre consists of blood vessels and nerve fibres. Each bundle of muscular tissue too, which taken as a whole is called a muscle, is enveloped in its own outer covering which sets it apart from others; and the same is so for the smaller bundles within, called motor fibres. Yet all the muscles and motor fibres within them, which are present in the whole body, have been so set in order that they may co-ordinate with one another to act in whatever way the will pleases; and they do so in a manner that surpasses all understanding. The situation is similar with known facts in the memory. These in a similar way are aroused and made to act by that which is the delight of a person's love, that is, of his will, but through the instrumentality of the understanding part. What has become part of a person's life, that is, what has become part of his will or love, is that which arouses them. For the inner man always has these things in his field of vision and takes delight in them to the extent that they are in agreement with his loves. And whatever enters fully into those loves, becoming spontaneous and so to speak instinctive, fades from the external memory but remains ingrained in the internal memory from which it can never be blotted out. This is how known facts become part of life.

[6] From all this it is also evident that known facts are as it were the vessels that belong to the interior man's life, and that this is why known facts are meant by various types of vessels, and in the present instance by 'bowls'. The same is meant by 'vessels' and 'bowls' in Isaiah,

I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, so that he may be a throne of glory to his father's house; and on him they may hang all the glory of the house of his father, sons, and grandsons, every small vessel - from the vessels of bowls even to all the vessels of stringed instruments. Isaiah 22:23-24.

This refers in the internal and representative sense to the Lord's Divine Human, declaring that all truths and forms of good from first to last come through Him and from Him. Factual knowledge of truth of a celestial type is meant by 'the vessels of bowls', and factual knowledge of truth of a spiritual type by 'the vessels of stringed instruments'. And in Zechariah,

On that day there will be on the horses' bells, Holiness to Jehovah. And the pots in the house of Jehovah will be as the bowls before the altar. Zechariah 14:20.

'The horses' bells' stands for factual knowledge of truth which comes from an enlightened understanding, 2761, 2762, 5321; and 'the bowls before the altar' stands for factual knowledge of good. Similar knowledge is meant by 'the bowls of the altar' at Exodus 27:3; 38:3.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2761-2762; Exodus 24:6)

  
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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9574, 9776, 9922, 10235, 10274

Heaven and Hell 356

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 51, 52


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 701


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Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

The Purpose of Sabbath


Word or Phrase Explanations:

Goblets


Vineyard Collection Concept Articles:

Keeping the Sabbath


Word or Phrase Explanations:

Pot


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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


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