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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


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Apocalypse Explained 109, 167


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Apocalypse Explained #167

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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167. And all [the churches] shall know that I am He that searcheth the reins and hearts signifies the acknowledgment of all who are of the church, that the Lord alone knows and explores the exteriors and interiors, and the things that are of faith and love. This is evident from the signification of "searching," as being, in reference to the Lord, that He alone knows and explores; also from the signification of "reins" as being the truths of faith and their purification from falsities (of which in what follows); also from the signification of "hearts," as being the goods of love. "Heart" signifies the good of love, because there are two things that rule in man, and from these is the whole life of his body, namely the heart and the lungs. And as all things in man's body correspond to the things that are in his mind, there are two things also that rule there, namely the will and the understanding. These two kingdoms of the mind correspond to the two kingdoms of the body, namely the will to the heart and its pulse, and the understanding to the lungs and their respiration. Without this correspondence the body could not live, not even a particle of it. As the heart corresponds to the will, so it corresponds to the good of love; and as the lungs correspond to the understanding, so they also correspond to the truths of faith. It is from this correspondence that "heart" signifies love, and "soul" signifies faith. It is from this that the expression "from the heart and soul" is so often used in the Word, by which is meant from love and faith. (As this correspondence is much treated of in the Arcana Coelestia, these things may be seen more fully explained there, namely, that "heart" in the Word signifies love; and because it signifies love, it also signifies the will, n. 2930, 3313, 7542, 8910, 9050, 9113, 10336. That the heart corresponds to the things that are of love with man, and the lungs to the things that are of faith with him, n. 3883-3896. That in heaven there is a pulse such as that of the heart, and a respiration such as that of the lungs, n. 3884, 3885, 3887. That the pulse of the heart there is in accordance with the state of love, and the respiration of the lungs in accord with the state of faith, n. 3886-3889. That the influx of the heart into the lungs is like the influx of good into truth, and like the influx of the will into the understanding; it is also according to the influx of love into faith, and there are like communications and conjunctions, n. 3884, 3887-3889, 9300, 9495. Of the influx of heaven into the heart and into the lungs, from experience, n. Arcana Coelestia 3884. That from this the correspondence in the Word, "from the heart and soul" signifies from love and faith, n. 2930, 9050. That the conjunction of man's spirit with his body is by means of the respiration of the lungs and the pulse of the heart, and that therefore when these cease man dies as to the body, but lives as to the spirit, see in the work on Heaven and Hell [n. 521]; and that when the pulse of the heart ceases the spirit is separated, because the heart corresponds to love, which is the vital heat, n. 447, in the same work. Many other things respecting this correspondence, see n. 95.) "Reins" signify the truths of faith, and their purification from falsities, because the purification of the blood is performed in the reins and "blood" in the Word signifies truth (as may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 4735 Arcana Coelestia 4735[1-15], 9127). The like is signified by the organ that purifies; and all purification from falsities is effected by truths. From this it is clear what is signified in the Word by the expression, that Jehovah, or the Lord, "searcheth the hearts and reins," namely, that He explores the truths of faith and the goods of love, and separates them from evils and falsities.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3884-3885; Revelation 2:23)


[2] This is signified by "reins" in the following places. In Jeremiah:

Jehovah Zebaoth, Judge of righteousness, trying the reins and the heart (Jeremiah 11:20).

In the same:

Thou hast proved 1 them, yea, they have taken root; they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins. But thou, O Jehovah, Thou shalt see me, and shalt prove my heart (Jeremiah 12:2, 3).

"Near in the mouth and far from the reins" is truth in the memory only, and in some thought therefrom when man speaks, but not in the will and from that in act. Truth in the will and from that in the act is what separates and dissipates falsities. Truth in the will and from that in the act is willing and doing what a man knows and thinks to be true; such truth is what is especially meant by "reins."

(References: Jeremiah 12:2-3)


[3] In the same:

I, Jehovah, search the heart, I prove the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruits of his works (Jeremiah 17:10).

"Searching the heart" is purifying good by separating evil from it; "proving the reins" is purifying truth by separating falsity from it; it is therefore said "to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works;" "ways" are the truths that are of faith, and "the fruit of works" are the goods that are of love. (That "ways" are truths that are of faith, see above, n. 97 [1-2]; and that "the fruit of works" are the goods that are of love, n. 98, 109, 116.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 97, 98, 109, 116)


[4] In the same:

Jehovah Zebaoth, that provest the righteous, that seest the reins, and the heart (Jeremiah 20:12).

And in David:

Establish Thou the righteous; for Thou that provest the hearts and the reins art a righteous God (Psalms 7:9);

"the righteous" are those who love to do what is true and good, their goods and truths are purified by the Lord, which is meant by "seeing" and by "proving the reins and the hearts."

In David:

Prove me, O Jehovah, and try me, explore my reins and my heart (Psalms 26:2).

Because truths are separated from falsities and goods from evils by means of temptations, it is said, "Try me." In the same:

My heart is in a ferment, and I am pricked in my reins, but I am foolish and know not (Psalms 73:21, 22).

The infestation of good by evil and of truth by falsity is described by these words. In the same:

Behold, thou desirest truth in the reins and in the hidden part thou makest wisdom known to me (Psalms 51:6).

Here there is another word in the original for "reins," that includes the separation both of falsities from truths and of evils from goods. This shows that the "reins" signify purification and separation.

(References: Psalms 51:8, 73:21-22)


[5] In the same:

I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel; also my reins chastise me in the night (Psalms 16:7).

"Night" signifies the state of man when falsities rise up; the consequent combat of truths with falsities is signified by "my reins chastise me." In the same:

Even the darkness doth not make darkness before Thee, but the night is lucid as the day; as the darkness so is the light. For thou possessest my reins, my bone was not hidden from Thee when I was made in secret (Psalms 139:12, 13, 15).

"Darkness" means falsities, and "light" truths; to "possess the reins" is to know falsities and truths with man; therefore it is said, "my bone was not hidden from Thee when I was made in secret," which signifies that no falsity that was made was hidden. (That "darkness" means falsity and "light" truth, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 126-140; and that "bone" means truth in the ultimate of order and in the contrary sense, falsity, Arcana Coelestia 3812, 5560, 5565, 6592, 8005.)

(References: Psalms 139:12-13)


[6] As "the reins" signified truths purified from falsities, so:

In the sacrifices, the fats and reins alone were offered up (as may be seen in Exodus 29:13; Leviticus 3:4, 10, 15; 4:9 and elsewhere).

Fats and reins alone were offered upon the altar because "fats" signified the goods of love, and "reins" the truths of faith. (That "fats" or "fatnesses" signify the goods of love, see Arcana Coelestia 353, 5943, 6409, 10033. That the "reins" signify the truths of faith, examining, purifying, and rejecting from themselves falsities, is from correspondence; for each and every thing of the body corresponds, as can be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, where this is shown in its chapter entitled, There is a Correspondence of all things of Heaven with all things of Man, n. 87-102; and on the Reins, n. 96, 97.) Unless it be known that there is such a correspondence, who could ever know why it is so often said of Jehovah or the Lord in the Word, that "He searcheth and proveth the reins and the heart?" (On the correspondence of the reins, of the ureters, and of the bladder, see further in Arcana Coelestia 5380-5386.) To "search the reins and the heart" signifies also to explore the exteriors and the interiors of man, because truth is without and good is within; and spiritual good, which in its essence is truth, and in particular is signified by the "reins," is exterior good; while celestial good which in particular is signified by the "heart," is interior good. (This can be seen more fully from what is shown respecting The Spiritual Kingdom and the Celestial Kingdom, in the work on Heaven and Hell 20-26.)

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Footnotes:

1. The Hebrew instead of "proved" has "planted," as also found in Arcana Coelestia 348, 8918.

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(References: Heaven and Hell 96-97; Psalms 51:8; Revelation 2:23)

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Apocalypse Explained 149, 183, 230, 337, 580, 710, 745


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Apocalypse Explained #167 >> 30:18, 56:13

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