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Arcana Coelestia #8910

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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8910. 'You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his male slave nor his female slave, nor his ox nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbour's' means that one must be on one's guard against self-love and love of the world, and so one must take care to prevent the evils contained in the preceding commandments from becoming present in the will and consequently going out of it. This is clear from the meaning of 'coveting' as a wanting that springs from an evil love. The reason why 'coveting' has this meaning is that all covetousness or craving exists as the result of some kind of love. For nothing is coveted unless there is a love of it, and therefore covetousness extends as a continuation from some kind of love, in this instance from self-love and love of the world. It is so to speak the life of what those loves breathe, for what an evil kind of love breathes is called covetousness or craving, whereas what a good kind breathes is called desire. The love itself belongs to one of two parts of the mind, which is called the will; for what a person loves, that he wills and intends. but covetousness belongs to both parts, to both the will and the understanding, that is, it is an attribute of the will within the understanding, to be precise. All this shows why it is that the words 'you shall not covet the things that are your neighbour's' mean that one must take care to prevent them from becoming present in the will, since what takes possession of the will becomes the person's own; for, to be sure, the will is the real person.

[2] The world believes that thought is the person. But there are two powers that constitute a person's life - understanding and will - and thought belongs to the understanding, the affection inherent in love being what belongs to the will. Thought without the affection inherent in love does not in any way at all constitute a person's life; but thought springing from such affection, that is, the understanding springing from the will, does constitute it. Those two powers are distinct from each other, which is evident to anyone who stops to reflect on the matter from the consideration that with his understanding a person can perceive that that thing is bad which his will desires, and that that thing is good which his will either does or does not desire. From all this it is plain that the will is the real person, not his thought, except so far as anything passes into it from the will. So it is that things which enter a person's thought but do not pass on through it into his will do not render him unclean; only those which pass through thought on into the will do so. The reason why the latter render a person unclean is that he takes them to himself then and makes them his; for the will, as has been stated, is the real person. The things which become part of his will are said to go into his heart and to go out from there, whereas those which are merely part of his thought are said to go into the mouth and to go out by way of the bowels into the sewer, according to the Lord's words in Matthew,

Not what enters the mouth renders a person unclean, but what comes out of the mouth, this renders the person unclean. Everything that goes into the mouth departs into the bowels and is cast out into the sewer. But the things which come out of the mouth come out of the heart, and these render a person unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, ravishments, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. Matthew 15:11, 17-19.

[3] From these words as from all the others the nature of the Lord's manner of speaking becomes clear. That is, its nature was such that internal or spiritual matters were meant, but they were expressed by means of external or natural things and in accordance with correspondences. For the mouth corresponds to thought, and so do all parts of the mouth, such as the lips, tongue, and throat, while the heart corresponds to the affection inherent in love, and so to the will. For the correspondence of the heart to these, see 2930, 3313, 3883-3896, 7542. Consequently 'entering the mouth' is entering thought, and 'going out of the heart' is going out of the will. 'Departing into the bowels and being cast out into the sewer (or latrine)' is going away into hell; for the bowels correspond to the way to hell, while the sewer or latrine corresponds to hell itself. Hell also in the Word is called 'the latrine'. All this shows what is meant by 'everything that goes into the mouth departs into the bowels and is cast out into the sewer', namely that evil and falsity are introduced into a person's thought by hell and are discharged back there again. Such evil and falsity cannot render a person unclean because they are discharged from him. For a person cannot help thinking what is evil, but he can refrain from doing it. As soon however as he receives evil from his thought into his will it does not go out but enters into him; and this is said 'to enter the heart'. The things that go out from here are what render him unclean; for what a person desires in his will goes out into speech and action, so far as external restraints do not inhibit him, those restraints being fear of the law, and fear of the loss of reputation, position, gain, or life. From all this it is now evident that 'you shall not covet' means that one must take care to prevent evils from becoming present in the will and consequently going out of it.

[4] The fact that 'covetousness' is a craving or lusting on the part of the will, and so of the heart, is also clear from the Lord's words in Matthew,

You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that if anyone looks at a woman 1 so that he lusts after her he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28.

'Lusting for' is used here to mean desiring in the will, and - but for the fears acting as external restraints - also doing. This is why it says that one who looks at a woman so that he lusts after her has committed adultery with her in his heart.

[5] Lusting after what is evil is also meant by 'the right eye causing one to stumble', and lusting after what is false by 'the right hand causing one to stumble' in the Lord's words, again in Matthew,

If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you; for it will be better for you that one of your members perish, than that your whole body be cast into gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you; for it will be better for you that one of your members perish, than that your whole body be cast into gehenna. Matthew 5:29-30.

From these words the Lord's way of saying things is again clear. That is to say, He was speaking from the Divine, as in every other place in the Word, in such a way that He expressed inward and heavenly matters through outward or natural ones in accordance with correspondences. In this instance He expressed an affection for evil or lusting after it by 'the right eye causing one to stumble', and an affection for falsity or lusting after it by 'the right hand causing one to stumble'. For the eye corresponds to faith, the left eye to the truth of faith, and the right eye to the good of faith, or in the contrary sense to the evil of faith, so that 'the right eye causing one to stumble' corresponds to lusting after what is evil, 4403-4421, 4523-4534. But the hand corresponds to the power that truth possesses, the right hand to the power of truth coming from good, or in the contrary sense the power of falsity coming from evil, so that 'the right hand causing one to stumble' corresponds to a lusting after it, 3091, 4931-4937, 8281. 'Gehenna' is the hell of lusts, cravings, or covetousness. Anyone may see that here 'the right eye' was not used to mean the right eye or that it was to be plucked out; also that 'the right hand' was not used to mean the right hand or that it was to be cut off, but that something other was meant. What this is cannot be known unless one knows what is really meant by 'the eye', in particular by 'the right eye', also what is meant by 'the hand', and in particular by 'the right hand', as well as what 'causing to stumble' really means. Nor can the meaning of these expressions be known except from the internal sense.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3563)


[6] Lusts, cravings, or covetous desires are what spring from an evil will, thus from a heart that is such; and according to the Lord's words in Matthew 15:19, murders, adulteries, ravishments, thefts, false witness, blasphemies come out of the heart or will, that is, the kinds of evils contained in the preceding commandments of the Decalogue. In all this lies the reason for saying that this - 'you must not covet the things which are your neighbour's' - means that one must take care to prevent the evils contained in the ''receding commandments from becoming present in the will and consequently going out of it. The reason why 'you shall not covet the things which are your neighbour's' also means that one must be on one's guard against self-love and love of the world is that all the evils composing covetousness well up from those loves as their source, see 2045, 7178, 7255, 7366 7377, 7488, 8318, 8678.

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Footnotes:

1. Following the version of Sebastian Schmidt Swedenborg adds a word which implies that the woman is another man's wife.

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(References: Arcana Coelestia 7366-7377; Exodus 20:17; Matthew 5:27-30)

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Arcana Coelestia 8925, 9050, 9385, 9398, 9460, 9817, 10301, 10336

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 81


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 109, 167


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Apocalypse Explained #109

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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109. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, signifies that he who receives in the heart shall be filled with the good of love and with heavenly joy therefrom. This is evident from the signification of "overcoming," as being to receive in the heart (of which in what follows); also from the signification of "eating," as being to be appropriated and to be conjoined (see Arcana Coelestia 2187, 2343, 3168, 3813, 5643); and from the signification of "the tree of life," as being the good of love and heavenly joy therefrom (of which also in what follows). "To overcome" is to receive in the heart, because everyone who is to receive spiritual life must fight against evils and falsities which belong to his natural life; and when he overcomes these he receives in the heart the goods and truths which belong to the spiritual life. To receive in the heart is to receive in the will and love, for "heart" in the Word signifies the will and love (see Arcana Coelestia 2930, 3313, 7542, 8910, 9050, 9113, 10336). To receive in the heart, then, is to do these from the will or love; this is what is meant by "overcoming."

(References: Revelation 2:7)


[2] "The tree of life" signifies the good of love and heavenly joy therefrom, because "trees" signify such things as are with man in his interiors, which are of his mind [mens] or disposition [animus]; "boughs" and "leaves" signifying those things that are of the knowledges of truth and good, and "fruits" the goods of life themselves. This signification of trees draws its origin from the spiritual world; for in that world trees of every kind are seen, and the trees that are seen correspond to the interiors of the angels and spirits which are of their mind; the most beautiful and fruitful trees to the interiors of those who are in the good of love and thence in wisdom; trees less beautiful and fruitful to those who are in the good of faith; but trees bearing leaves only, and without fruits, to those who are only in the knowledges of truth; and horrible trees, with noxious fruits, to those who are in knowledges and in evil of life. To those, however, who are not in knowledges, and who are in evil of life, no trees appear, but stones and sands instead. These appearances in the spiritual world really flow from correspondence, for the interiors of the minds of those there are by such effigies presented actually before their eyes. (These things may be better seen from two chapters in the work on Heaven and Hell; first, where the Correspondence of Heaven with all things of Earth is treated of, n. 103-115; and the other, where Representatives and Appearances in Heaven are treated of, n. 170-176, and in what follows there, n 177-190.)

[3] It is from this that "trees" are so often mentioned in the Word, and by them are signified the things with men that belong to their minds; and from this it is also that in the first chapters of Genesis: two trees are said to have been placed in the garden of Eden, one called "the tree of life," and the other "the tree of knowledge." "The tree of life" there signifies the good of love to the Lord, and heavenly joy therefrom, which were with those who were then of the church, and who are meant by the "man" and his "wife;" and by "the tree of knowledge" is signified the delight of knowledges apart from any other use than to be accounted learned and to acquire repute for erudition solely for the sake of honor or gain. "The tree of life" also signifies heavenly joy, because the good of love to the Lord, which is specifically signified by that tree, has heavenly joy in it (see in the work on Heaven and Hell 395-414, and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 230-239).

[4] That "trees," which are so often mentioned in the Word, signify the interiors of man which belong to his mind and disposition, and the things that are on trees, as leaves and fruit, signify such things as are from these interiors, can be seen from the following passages:

I will give in the desert the cedar, the shittah tree, 1 and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the wilderness the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree (Isaiah 41:19).

The establishment of the church is there treated of:

The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together, to deck the place of My sanctuary (Isaiah 60:13).

All the trees of the field shall know that I, Jehovah, humble the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree to bud (Ezekiel 17:24).

Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour the green tree in thee, and every dry tree (Ezekiel 20:47).

The vine is withered, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, all the trees of the field are withered: joy is withered away from the sons of men (Joel 1:12).

When the angel sounded, there followed hail and fire, which fell upon the earth; and the third part of the trees was burnt up (Revelation 8:7).

Beltshasar 2 saw in a dream a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The leaves thereof were fair, and the flowers many, and in it was food for all (Daniel 4:10-12).

(Because "trees" in general signify such things as are with man and constitute the interiors of his mind, and so also the spiritual things that are of the church; and because both are of various kinds, therefore there are so many kinds of trees mentioned, each signifying something different. What the various kinds signify is shown in the Arcana Coelestia, as what is signified by the "oil tree," n. Arcana Coelestia 9277, 10261; what by the "cedar," n. 9472, 9486, 9528, 9715, 10178; what by the "vine," n. 1069, 5113, 6375, 6378, 9277; what by the "fig," n. 217, 4231, 5113, etc.)

[5] Moreover, the things that are on trees, as leaves and fruit, signify such things as are with man; "leaves," the truths with him, and "fruits," the goods, as in the following passages:

He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and shall spread out his roots by the river; his leaf shall be green; neither shall he cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:8).

By the river flowing out from the house of God, upon the bank on this side and on that, ascendeth the tree of food, whose leaf falleth not off, nor is its fruit consumed; it is renewed in its months, because its waters issue out of the sanctuary, whence its fruit is for food, and its leaf for medicine (Ezekiel 47:12).

In the midst of the street and of the river (flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb), on this side and on that, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:1, 2).

Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law; he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of waters, that bringeth forth its fruit in its time, whose leaf also doth not wither (Psalms 1:3).

Be not afraid, for the tree shall bear fruit, the fig tree and the vine shall yield their strength (Joel 2:22).

The trees of Jehovah are satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon which He hath planted (Psalms 104:16).

Praise Jehovah, ye fruit trees, and all cedars (Psalms 148:7, 9).

(References: Psalms 1:1-3; Revelation 22:1-2)


[6] Because "fruits" signified the goods of life with man, therefore it was commanded in the Israelitish church, which was a representative church, that the fruits of trees, like men themselves, should be circumcised, concerning which it is thus written:

The fruit of the tree serving for food in the land of Canaan shall be uncircumcised; three years shall they be uncircumcised. But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy, praises to Jehovah. And in the fifth year shall ye eat [of the fruit thereof] (Leviticus 19:23-25).

Because the "fruits of the tree" signified the goods of life, it was also commanded:

That in the feast of tabernacles they should take the fruits of the tree of honor, and the boughs, and be glad before Jehovah, and thus should keep the feast (Leviticus 23:40, 41).

For by "tabernacles" were signified the goods of heavenly love, and holy worship therefrom (see Arcana Coelestia 414, 1102, 2145, 2152, 3312, 4391, 10545); and by the "feast of tabernacles" was signified the implantation of that good or love (n. 9296). Because "fruits" signified the goods of love which are goods of life:

It was amongst the blessings that the tree of the field should give its fruit, and among the curses that it should not bear fruit (Leviticus 26:4, 20).

So also it was a command that when any city was besieged:

They should not lay the axe to any tree of good fruit (Deuteronomy 20:19, 20).

From all this it can be seen that "fruits" signify the goods of love, or what is the same, the goods of life, which are also called "works," as likewise in these passages in the Evangelists:

The axe lieth unto the root of the tree; every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire (Matthew 3:10; 7:16-21).

Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit (Matthew 12:33; Luke 6:43, 44).

Every branch that beareth not fruit shall be taken away; but every branch that beareth fruit shall be pruned, that it may bring forth more fruit (John 15:2-8).

A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, but found none. And he saith unto the vine dresser, Behold, for three years I come seeking fruit from the fig tree, and find none; cut it down; why should it make the ground unfruitful? (Luke 13:6-9).

Jesus saw a fig tree by the way; He came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only; and He said, Nevermore from thee shall there be fruit. And immediately the fig tree withered away (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13, 14, 20).

The "fig tree" signifies the natural man and its interiors, and "fruits" signify his goods (Arcana Coelestia 217, 4231, 5113); but "leaves" signify knowledges (Arcana Coelestia 885). From this it is clear what is signified by the fig tree's withering away because the Lord found on it leaves only and no fruit. All these passages are cited that it may be known what is signified by the "tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God," namely, the good of love proceeding from the Lord, and heavenly joy therefrom.

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Footnotes:

1. This is translated "the cedar of Shittah" in Arcana Coelestia 9472, 9780, and in this work, 294, 375, 730.

2. In the Chaldee this is related of Nebuchadnezzar.

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(References: Deuteronomy 20:19-20; Leviticus 23:40-41, 25:4, 25:20; Luke 6:43-44, 13:6-10; Mark 11:13-14; Matthew 7:16-20; Psalms 1:1-3; Revelation 2:7)

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Apocalypse Explained 94, 110, 151, 167, 277, 420, 506, 545


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