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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 #2930

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2930. 'If you are willing' means if on account of an affection for truth coming from the heart. This is clear from the meaning of 'soul' in the internal sense. The expression 'with heart and soul' or 'with all the heart and with all the soul' occurs in various places in the Word where with all the will and all the understanding is meant. The fact that man possesses the dual powers of will and understanding, and also that the will is separated from the understanding may be well known to everyone, for we are all able to understand what is good and true but nevertheless will what is evil and false. From the beginning the human being was created in such a way that will and understanding with him were to make one, so that he would not think anything other than what he willed, nor will anything other than what he thought. Such is the state with celestial people and such it was in the celestial Church which was called Man or Adam. But with spiritual people, that is, in the spiritual Church, the first ability is separated from the second, that is to say, that of the understanding is separated from that of the will. A spiritual person is reformed by the Lord as to the former, namely the understanding part of his mind, and then within this there is formed a new will and a new understanding, 863, 875, 895, 897, 927, 928, 1023, 1043, 1044, 2256.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 927-928)


[2] The new will there, which is received from the Lord, is what is called 'the heart', while the new understanding is what is called 'the soul'. And when the expression 'with all the heart and with all the soul' is used, with all the will and with all the understanding is meant. This is what is meant by 'heart and soul' in Moses,

This day Jehovah your God is commanding you to observe these statutes and judgements - that you may keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 26:16.

You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5.

In the same author,

Now Israel, what does Jehovah your God require of you except to fear Jehovah your God, to go in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul? Deuteronomy 10:12; 11:13.

In the same author,

In the Book of Kings,

David said to Solomon, Jehovah will establish His Word which He spoke concerning me, saying, If [your] sons take heed to their way to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there will not fail you a man on the throne of Israel. 1 Kings 2:4.

In Matthew,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29-30.

[3] The same is also said of Jehovah or the Lord because with the member of the Church He is the source of affection for good, which belongs to the will, and of the affection for truth, which belongs to the understanding; as in Samuel,

I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest, [who will do] according to what is in My heart and in My soul. 1 Samuel 2:35.

And in Jeremiah,

I will rejoice over them to do good to them, and I will plant them in this land in truth, with all My heart, and with all My soul. Jeremiah 32:41.

And there are still other places in the Word where 'soul' means the affection for truth, as in Isaiah,

With my soul I desired You in the night; even with my spirit within me I sought You early. For insofar as Your judgements are in the earth the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Isaiah 26:9.

Here 'soul' stands for an affection for truth, 'spirit' for an affection for good. 'Judgements' has reference to truths, and 'righteousness' to good, see 2235.

[4] In the same prophet,

The fool speaks folly, to make empty the hungry soul, and causes the [soul] thirsting for drink to fail. Isaiah 32:6.

'The hungry soul', which 'the fool makes empty', stands for the desire for good, while 'the soul thirsting for drink', which 'the fool causes to fail', stands for the desire for truth. In Jeremiah,

Their soul will become like a watered garden, and I will water the weary soul, and every sorrowful soul I will replenish. Jeremiah 31:12, 25.

'The soul' stands for the affection for truth and good. In the same prophet,

All its people groan as they search for bread. They have given their desirable things for food, to revive the soul. A comforter is far from me, one to revive my soul; my sons have been made desolate. They sought food for themselves to revive their soul. Lamentations 1:11, 16, 19.

'The soul' stands for the life of the affection for good and truth, 'food' stands for wisdom and intelligence.

[5] It has been said that 'the soul' means the affection for truth coming from the heart, because some affections for truth exist which do not come from the heart, such as those which come from self-love, which is the desire to be above others; from love of the world, which is the love of gain; and from love of merit. Affections for truth spring in a similar way from these loves, but they are not genuine affections. They come from the will of the flesh, not from the heart. That which comes from the heart comes from the Lord. Furthermore 'the soul' in the Word means in the universal sense all life, see 1000, 1005, 1040, 1742. Indeed in the universal sense the soul constitutes that from which another thing has its being and life. Thus the soul of the body is its spirit, since it is from this that the body has life. The soul of the spirit however is its still more interior life from which it derives its wisdom and intelligence.

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 3318, 3813, 4112, 6578, 7032, 7542, 8910, 9050, 9398, 9817, 10301, 10336

The White Horse 9


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 70, 109, 167, 696, 745, 750


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