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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 #3563

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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3563. 'And said, The voice is Jacob's voice, and the hands Esau's hands' means that the understanding consists in this case of truth existing inwardly, while the will consists in this case of good existing outwardly, so that an inversion of order exists with them. This is clear from the use of 'voice' to refer to truth and of 'hand' to refer to good. For 'voice' is used in reference to truth, as is evident from the places introduced in Volume One, in 219, 220, and from the fact that the actual words used are 'the voice is Jacob's voice', Jacob representing natural truth, as shown in various places above. And the reason why 'hand' is used in reference to good is that 'the hand' means power and ability, 878, 3541, the source of which is nothing other than good. All the power and ability that truth possesses comes from good, even though it seems to come from truth. This likewise is evident from the fact that the actual words used are 'the hands are Esau's hands', Esau representing natural good, as also shown above. The consequent existence of an inversion of order with them is evident from the consideration that proper order requires good, which belongs to the will, to exist inwardly, and truth, which belongs to the understanding, to exist outwardly. But these matters, as stated above, are such as can hardly be explained in any intelligible way because few have any knowledge of such things. For even if a perfectly clear explanation of them were given they would still not be understood if knowledge of them is lacking. Nevertheless the matter must be discussed since it is the subject at this point.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 219-220)


[2] The only source of the good of the natural which manifests itself in a person is interior good, that is, the good of the rational. Natural good can have no other source, though that which flows in from the one determines the nature of the good in the other. And since the good of the natural comes from no other source, neither does the truth of the natural, for where good is, so also is truth. Both must be present if they are to be anything at all. And again, that which flows in determines the nature of the truth there. Influx is such that the good of the rational flows into the natural along two different routes - one a very short and thus direct route into the good itself of the natural, and then on through the good of the natural into the truth there, this good and this truth being represented by Esau and his venison. In addition to this, the good of the rational flows into the natural along a second route which is less short, that is to say, through the truth of the rational, by means of which influx it forms something resembling good, but which in fact is truth.

[3] Everything is thus taking place according to order when the good of the rational flows directly into the good of the natural and at the same time into the truth there, and also indirectly by way of the truth of the rational into the good of the natural, and in a similar way both directly and indirectly into the truth of the natural. When all this is taking place the influx is according to order. Such is the influx with those who have been regenerated. But a different influx exists prior to regeneration, as has been stated above. That is to say, the good of the rational does not flow into the good of the natural directly but indirectly, by way of the truth of the rational, and so manifests something resembling good in the natural, which is not genuine good nor consequently genuine truth. Instead it is something such as does indeed possess good inmostly by virtue of influx through the truth of the rational; but there is nothing more. Therefore good too presents itself there under a different form, that is to say, outwardly as good represented by 'Esau' but inwardly as truth represented by 'Jacob'. And as this is not in accordance with order an inversion of order is said to exist with them. Yet insofar as nobody can be regenerated in any other way it is according to order.

[4] I realize that no matter how clearly these matters are stated and as a consequence are able to be perceived clearly by those who have a knowledge of the existence of such things, they still remain obscure to those who do not know what influx is, more so to those who do not know that the rational is distinct and separate from the natural, and more so still to those who do not have any distinct and clear idea of what good is or of what truth is. But the nature of natural good and of natural truth in the state prior to regeneration is plain to see only from the desires present at that time. When a person desires truth not because he has life in view but some other ends, such as to become learned, and to become this because of some desire to outdo others, which amounts to childish envy, and also because of some desire for glory, the order existing with the good of the natural and the truth of the natural is akin to that represented here by Jacob. As these two exist in relation to each other, there is a reversal of order, that is to say, the will, to which good belongs, exists outwardly, while the understanding, to which truth belongs, exists inwardly.

[5] But in the state following regeneration the situation is different. In this case the person desires truth not only because he has life in view but more still because he desires the good itself which constitutes that life. Previous desires, that is to say, those connected with outdoing, with childish envy, and with glory, now break away, so much so that they seem so to speak to have been dispelled. At this point good which belongs to the will exists inwardly, and truth which belongs to the understanding exists outwardly. The result then is that truth acts as one with good since it stems from good. This order is genuine order. The order existing previously also serves to bring this order about, for the will which at that time occupies an external position allows many things to come in which contribute to regeneration, like a sponge which absorbs water, clear or muddy, so that it absorbs such things as would otherwise be rejected. Indeed these things serve as means and also as ideas that have to be formed concerning genuine goods and truths, besides other uses which they serve.

(References: Genesis 27:22)

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Arcana Coelestia 3564, 3565, 3570, 3582, 3593, 3605, 3669, 3701, 3726, 3863, 3995, 4242, 4256, 4266, 4337, 4542, 4592, 4757, 4876, 4925, 4977, 4978, 5008, 5328, 5354, 5544, 6272, 6342, 6343, 6854, 6971, 8080, 8281, 8599, 8604, 8764, 8782, 8910, ...

Divine Love and Wisdom 377

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 186


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 33, 55, 71, 209, 249, 261, 302, 411, 434


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How To Create Order in Your Spiritual Mind

In this episode, we’re continuing our study of the framework behind near-death experiences by exploring how using truth to outdo others creates disorder in our minds in Secrets of Heaven 3563. We'll delve into a picture of how the spiritual mind is supposed to operate and pick up some tips on how to get there.


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