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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 #8281

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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8281. 'Your right hand, O Jehovah, has been made large in strength' means that the Lord's almighty power has been displayed. This is clear from the meaning of 'Jehovah's right hand' as almighty power, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'has been magnified with strength' as has been displayed, for Divine power is displayed by the strength magnifying it. The reason why 'Jehovah's right hand' means almighty power is that in the Word 'hand' means power, and so 'right hand' means exceedingly great power. Therefore when the expressions 'hand' or 'right hand' are used in reference to Jehovah, Divine power or almighty power is meant. For the meaning of the expressions 'hand' and 'right hand' as power, see 878, 4931-4937, 6292, 6947, 7188, 7189, 7518, and as almighty power, when they are used in reference to Jehovah, 3387, 7518, 7673, 8050, 8069, 8153.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7188-7189)


[2] The fact that 'Jehovah's right hand' means Divine power or almighty power is also clear from the following places in the Word: In Matthew,

Jesus said, Hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62.

In Luke,

Hereafter the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God. Luke 22:69.

Also in David,

Jehovah said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies as Your foot-stool. You are a priest for ever after the manner of Melchizedek. The Lord is at Your right hand; He struck kings in the day of [His] anger. Psalms 110:1, 4-5; Matthew 22:43-44.

Anyone who does not know that the expression 'right hand', when used in reference to Jehovah, means almighty power will gather no other idea from these the Lord's words than that the Lord will sit on His Father's right hand and have dominion in the way that one sitting on a king's right hand on earth has. But the internal sense shows what one should understand in those places by 'sitting at the right hand', namely God's almighty power. Hence also the expressions 'sitting at the right hand of power' and 'at the right hand of the power of God'.

(References: Matthew 22:43-45, 22:44)


[3] The Lord is plainly the One who possesses that almighty power, for the words quoted above refer to the Lord, and 'Lord' in David is used to mean the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, as also is 'Son of Man' in the Gospels, since Divine Truth is that which possesses almighty power, received from Divine Good.

Divine Truth possesses almighty power, see 6948, 8200.

In general power belongs to truth derived from good, 3091, 3563, 4931, 6344, 6423.

'Hand' therefore has reference to truth, 3091, 4931.

'The Son of Man' is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, 2159, 2803, 2813, 3704.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4231, 6493)


[4] Divine power or almighty power is meant by 'right hand' in the following places also: In David,

Now I know that Jehovah saves His anointed. Let Him answer 1 Him in heaven through the mighty acts of His saving right hand. 2 Psalms 20:6.

In the same author,

O Jehovah, look from heaven and see, and visit this vine and the twig which Your right hand has planted, upon the son [whom] You have made strong for Yourself. Psalms 80:14-15

In the same author,

You have an arm with power; strong is Your hand, Your right hand will be lifted up. Psalms 89:13.

In the same author,

My strength and song is Jah; He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of Jehovah has done a mighty deed, the right hand of Jehovah has been exalted, the right hand of Jehovah has done a mighty deed. Psalms 118:14-16.

[5] In these places 'the right hand of Jehovah' stands for almighty power, and in the highest sense for the Lord in respect of Divine Truth. This may be seen more plainly elsewhere in David,

Let Your hand, O Jehovah, be for the man of Your right hand, for the son of man [whom] You have made strong for Yourself. Psalms 80:17.

'The man of Jehovah's right hand' and 'the son of man' stand for the Lord in respect of Divine Truth. In the same author,

You drove out the nations with Your hand. They did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, and their arm did not save them, but Your right hand, and Your arm, and the light of Your face. Psalms 44:2-3.

'The light' of Jehovah's face is Divine Truth derived from Divine Good, so too is His 'right hand' and 'arm'. And in Isaiah,

God 3 has sworn by His right hand, and by His mighty arm. 4 Isaiah 62:8.

Here also 'God's right hand' and 'His mighty arm' stand for the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, for Jehovah or the Lord swears by none except Himself, 2842, that is, only by Divine Truth, since He is that Truth because it emanates from Him.

[6] Here is the reason why various places in the Word call the Lord not only 'the right hand of Jehovah' and 'the arm of Jehovah' but also His 'strength' by which He breaks enemies in pieces, and His 'hammer' too, as in Jeremiah 51:19-21, and following verses. The Lord also came into the world, became Divine Truth there, and subsequently became Divine Good from which Divine Truth flowed, in order to shut all falsities and evils up in hell, gather together all forms of good and truths into heaven, and there arrange them into Divine order.

From all this it is now clear that 'the right hand of Jehovah' in the Word means almighty power, which the Divine possesses through Divine Truth. This is where the meaning of 'right hand' as exceedingly great power has its origin; for those in the Grand Man, which is heaven, who correlate with the shoulders, arms, and hands are those who are made powerful by truth springing from good, that is, by faith springing from love, 4931-4937, 7518.

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Footnotes:

1. Reading respondeat (Let Him answer) for respondent (They answer)

2. literally, through the powers of salvation of His right hand

3. Jehovah in the Hebrew

4. literally, the arm of His strength

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(References: Exodus 15:6; Jeremiah 51:20-21)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 8282, 8305, 8330, 8764, 8798, 8910, 9053, 9133, 9249, 9410, 9496, 9555, 9638, 9807, 9809, 9955, 10019, 10061, 10082


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 63, 72, 209, 272


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