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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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Arcana Coelestia #10336

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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10336. 'And I have put wisdom in the heart of everyone wise in heart' means all those who will and do what is good and true for goodness and truth's sake. This is clear from the meaning of 'heart' as the inmost part of a person, which is called his will, and since that which composes a person's love constitutes his will, 'heart' also means love (for the meaning of 'heart' as love, see 3635, 3883-3896, 9050, and for the meaning of it as the will, 2930, 3888, 7542, 8910, 9113, 9300, 9495); from the meaning of 'the wise in heart' as one who wills and loves what is good and true for goodness and truth's sake, for it is the mark of someone 'wise', and it is wisdom, to be moved by love to put truths into practice, 10331, and the mark of someone 'wise in heart' and wisdom of heart to be moved by love to put good into practice; and from the meaning of 'putting wisdom in the heart' as being moved by the Lord, and so by the good of love, to do those things, for the good of love originates in the Lord. All such people will and do what is good and true for goodness and truth's sake, because good and the truth that goes with good are the Lord as He exists with them; for those things which originate in Him, and so which are His, are also He Himself.

[2] This is the reason for saying that the Lord is Goodness itself and Truth itself. It is clear from the Lord's own words that He is Goodness itself,

Why do you call Me Good? Nobody is Good except the one God. Matthew 19:16-17; Luke 18:18-19.

And where the good deeds of love and charity are listed,

Insofar as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers you did it to Me. Matthew 25:40.

The word 'brothers' describes those who are governed by good, and so describes varieties of good, see 2360, 3803, 3815, 4121, 5409; thus 'the Lord's brothers' are those who are governed by good that originates in Him, 4191, 5686, 5692, 6756. It is likewise clear from the Lord's words that He is Truth itself,

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6.

And elsewhere,

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; He will not speak from Himself. He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-15.

From all this it is evident what 'putting wisdom in the heart' means.

[3] 'Writing the law on the heart' in Jeremiah is also used to mean much the same thing,

I will put My law in the midst of them, and will write it on their heart. No more will every man teach his companion, or every man his brother 1 , saying, Know Jehovah. For they all will know Me. Jeremiah 31:33-34.

'Writing the law on the heart' means entering Divine Truth into the will, thus in a person's love. When this is done the person no longer has to draw Divine Truth out of store in his memory; instead the good itself belonging to love causes him to perceive intuitively. This is why it says, 'No more will every man teach his companion, or every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah. For they all will know Me'. This is what celestial angels inhabiting the inmost heaven are like, see in the places referred to in 9277.

[4] What it is to will and do what is good and true for goodness and truth's sake, meant here by 'putting wisdom in the heart of everyone wise in heart', must be stated briefly. All who love the Lord above all things and their neighbour as themselves do what is good and true for goodness and truth's sake. For as has been stated above, goodness and truth are the Lord Himself; therefore since they love what is good and true, that is, since they are moved by love to will and do it, they love the Lord. Those too who love their neighbour as themselves will and love what is good and true for goodness and truth's sake, for in the universal sense that which is good and true constitutes the neighbour. The neighbour is one's fellow citizen, the [local] community, one's country, the Church, and the Lord's kingdom; and loving the neighbour consists in goodwill towards these, that is, in desiring their good, and therefore their good is what must be loved. And when this is loved the Lord is loved, since He is the source of this good.

[5] From all this it is evident that love towards the neighbour, which is called charity, holds love to the Lord within itself. If this love is not held within it, fellow citizens, community, country, Church, and the Lord's kingdom are loved for selfish reasons, and so not from a desire that is good but from one that is bad; for whatever a person does for the sake of self as the end in view springs from a desire that is bad. Loving the neighbour for the sake of self consists in loving him for the sake of gain and important positions as the ends in view. The end in view is what determines whether something springs from a desire that is good or one that is bad. The end in view is identical with the love; for what the person loves, that he has as his end. The end in view is also identical with the will; for what a person wills, that he loves. Consequently the end for the sake of which someone acts, or his intentions, constitutes the real person; for a person's character is determined by the character of his will and of his love.

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Footnotes:

1. literally, Nor will they teach any longer a man (vir) his companion, or a man (vir) his brother

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(References: Exodus 31:6)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10683

The Last Judgement 39

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 25, 106, 279, 308


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 15, 109, 167, 222


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


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