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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1

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 John the Baptist
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Arcana Coelestia #3048

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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3048. The servant took ten camels, of the camels of his lord, and departed. That this signifies general memory-knowledges in the natural man, is evident from the signification here of “servant,” as being the natural man (see above, n. 3019, 3020) and from the signification of “ten,” as being remains (that these are goods and truths with man stored up by the Lord, may be seen above, n. 468, 530, 560, 561, 660, 661, 1050, 1906, 2284; and that “ten,” or remains, when predicated of the Lord, are the Divine things which the Lord acquired for Himself, n. 1738, 1906); and also from the signification of “camels,” as being general memory-knowledges; and because these were Divine, or acquired by the Lord, it is said that they were “ten,” and then it is said that they were “camels, of the camels of his lord.” That he “departed,” signifies the initiation thereby which is treated of in this chapter.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 560-561, 660-661, Arcana Coelestia 3019-3020)


[2] The subject here is the process of the conjunction of truth with good in the Lord’s Divine rational; first, the process of initiation (n. 3012-3013), the nature of which is described in a series; here, that the Lord separated in the natural man the things which were from Himself, that is, which were Divine, from those which were of the maternal. The things which were from Himself, or which were Divine, are the things by which the initiation was effected; and they are here the “ten camels, of the camels of his lord.” And hence it is that in the following verses much mention is made of “camels” as that he made the camels fall on their knees without the city (verse 11); that Rebekah also gave drink to the camels (verses 14, 19-20); that they were brought into the house, and that straw and provender were given them (verses 31-32); and further, that Rebekah and her girls rode upon the camels (verse 61); and that Isaac saw the camels coming; and when Rebekah saw Isaac, that she alighted off her camel (verses 63-64). Camels are mentioned so often because of the internal sense, in which they signify the general memory-knowledges in the natural man, from which comes the affection of truth which is to be initiated into the affection of good in the rational, and this in the usual way, as shown above; for the rational as to truth cannot possibly be born and perfected without memory-knowledges and knowledges.

[3] That “camels” signify general memory-knowledges is evident from other passages in the Word where they are mentioned, as in Isaiah:

The prophecy of the beasts of the south: In the land of straitness and distress; from whence come the young lion and the old lion, the viper and the flying fire serpent; they carry their riches upon the shoulder of young asses, and their treasures upon the hump of camels, to a people that shall not profit; for Egypt shall help in vain and to no purpose (Isaiah 30:6-7).

The “beasts of the south” denote those who are in the light of knowledges, or in knowledges, but in a life of evil; “carrying their riches upon the shoulder of young asses” denotes the knowledges pertaining to their rational (that a “young ass” is rational truth may be seen above, n. 2781); “their treasures upon the hump of camels,” denotes the knowledges pertaining to their natural; the camels’ “hump” is what is natural; the “camels” themselves signify the general memory-knowledges which are there; the “treasures” are the knowledges which they hold as precious; that “Egypt shall help in vain and to no purpose” denotes that memory-knowledges are of no use to them; that “Egypt” is memory-knowledge may be seen above (n. 1164-1165, 1186, 1462, 2588 the end). That “camels” here are not camels is plain; for it is said “the young lion and the old lion carry their treasures upon the hump of camels”; and anyone can see that some arcanum of the church is hereby signified.

(References: Isaiah 21:6-9)


[4] Again:

The prophecy of the wilderness of the sea: Thus hath the Lord said, Go, set a watchman; let him declare what he seeth: and he saw a chariot, a pair of horsemen, a chariot of an ass, a chariot of a camel, and he hearkened diligently. And he answered and said, Babel is fallen, is fallen (Isaiah 21:1, 6-7, 9).

The “wilderness of the sea” here denotes the emptiness of memory-knowledges that are not for use; a “chariot of an ass,” a collection of particular memory-knowledges; a “chariot of a camel,” a collection of general memory-knowledges in the natural man. It is the empty reasonings with those signified by “Babel” which are thus described.

[5] Again:

Thy heart shall be enlarged because the multitude of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee. The abundance of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim the praises of Jehovah (Isaiah 60:5-6).

This is concerning the Lord, and concerning the Divine celestial and spiritual things in His natural: the “multitude of the sea” denotes the immense supply of natural truth; the “wealth of the nations,” the immense supply of natural good; the “abundance of camels,” the abundant supply of general memory-knowledges; “gold and frankincense,” goods and truths, which are the “praises of Jehovah;” “from Sheba” is from the celestial things of love and faith (see n. 113, 117, 1171). That:

The queen of Sheba came to Solomon to Jerusalem with exceeding great riches, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones (1 Kings 10:1-2)

represented the wisdom and intelligence which came to the Lord, who in the internal sense here is “Solomon.” The “camels bearing spices, gold, and precious stones” are the things of wisdom and intelligence in the natural man.

[6] In Jeremiah:

To Arabia, and to the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel smote: Arise ye, go up to Arabia, and lay waste the sons of the East. Their tents shall they take, and they shall carry away for themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels. And their camels shall be a booty, and I will scatter them to every wind (Jeremiah 49:28-29, 32).

Here “Arabia and the kingdoms of Hazor,” in the opposite sense, denote those who are in knowledges of celestial and spiritual things, but for the end of no other use than that they may be esteemed wise and intelligent by themselves and the world; the “camels which should be taken away from them, and should be for a booty, and should be scattered to every wind,” are in general the memory-knowledges and the knowledges of good and truth which are also taken away from them in the life of the body by their believing contrary things, and in the other life wholly.

[7] In Zechariah:

And this shall be the plague wherewith Jehovah will smite all the peoples that shall fight against Jerusalem; thus shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of every beast (Zech. 14:12, 15).

Here the “plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass,” denotes the privation of intellectual things, which thus succeed in order from rational things to natural things (what is meant by the “horse,” may be seen above, n. 2761, 2762; what by the “mule” n. 2781; and what by the “ass,” n. 2781); “camels” denote the general memory-knowledges in the natural man. The like was signified by the murrain in Egypt, which was “Upon the cattle in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels,cupon herd and upon flock” (Exodus 9:2-3).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2761-2762)


[8] From these passages it is evident that by “camels” in the internal sense of the Word are signified the general memory-knowledges of the natural man. General memory-knowledges are those which include in themselves many particulars, and these singulars; and they form in general the natural man as to the intellectual part of it.

(References: Genesis 24:10; Isaiah 21:6-9)

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Arcana Coelestia 3054, 3071, 3094, 3097, 3102, 3136, 3143, 3190, 3199, 3203, 3301, 3762, 4038, 4104, 4156, 4250, 4264, 4748, 7503, 9372, 9595, 9828, 10227


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 242

Other New Christian Commentary

Ten 1

Arabia and the kingdoms of Hazor 1

Camel 1

Queen of Sheba 1

Treasures on the back of camels 1


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Arcana Coelestia #4622

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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4622. CONTINUATION CONCERNING CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE GRAND MAN, HERE CONCERNING THE CORRESPONDENCE OF ODOR AND OF THE NOSTRILS THEREWITH.

The dwellings of the blessed in the other life are of many kinds, and are constructed with such art as to be as it were embodiments of the very art of architecture, or to come straight from the art itself. (On this subject see what has already been related from experience, n. 1116, 1626-1630.) These dwellings appear not only to the sight, but also to the touch, for all things there are adapted to the sensations of spirits and angels, and hence are such as do not come to bodily sense like that of man, but to that possessed by those who are there. I know that this is incredible to many, but this is because nothing is believed which cannot be seen by the bodily eyes and felt with the hands of flesh. For this reason the man of this day, whose interiors are closed, knows nothing of the things which exist in the spiritual world or in heaven. He does indeed say from the Word and from doctrine that there is a heaven, and that the angels who are there are in joy and in glory, but he knows no more about the matter. How the case is there he would indeed like to know, but when told he still believes nothing, because at heart he denies the existence of such things, and his desire to know about them is prompted solely by his curiosity from doctrine, and not by any delight grounded in faith. They who are not in faith also deny at heart; but they who believe get ideas from various sources about heaven and its joy and glory, each person from such things as are of his own knowledge and intelligence, and the simple from the things of bodily sensation.

[2] Nevertheless most people do not apprehend that spirits and angels enjoy sensations much more exquisite than those of men in this world, namely, sight, hearing, smell, something analogous to taste, and touch; and especially the delights of the affections. If men would only believe that their interior essence is the spirit, and that the body and its sensations and members are adapted to uses in this world merely, and that the spirit and its sensations and organs are adapted to uses in the other life, then from themselves and almost of their own accord they would come into ideas about the state of their spirit after death; for they would reflect that the spirit must be the man himself who thinks, and who desires, longs for things, and is affected with them; and further that all the power of sensation which appears in the body belongs properly to the spirit, and to the body merely by influx; and they would afterwards confirm themselves in this idea by many considerations, and in this way would at last take more delight in the things of their spirit than in those of their body.

[3] It is also a real fact that it is not man’s body which sees, hears, smells, and feels, but his spirit; and therefore when the spirit is divested of the body, it is in its own sensations, the same as when it was in the body, only now far more exquisite; for the things of the body, being comparatively gross, had rendered the sensations obtuse, and this the more because the man had immersed them in earthly and worldly things. This I can aver-that a spirit has much more exquisite sight than a man in the body, and also much more exquisite hearing, and, astonishing to say, the sense of smell, and especially the sense of touch; for spirits see one another, hear one another, and touch one another. Moreover, anyone who believes in the life after death might infer that this is the case from the fact that no life is possible without sensation, and that the quality of the life is according to the quality of the sensation, nay, that the intellectual faculty is nothing but an exquisite sense of interior things, and the higher intellectual of spiritual things; and it is from this that the things of the intellectual and its perceptions are called internal senses.

[4] As regards man’s power of sensation immediately after death the case is this: As soon as a man dies and all things of his body grow cold, he is raised up into life, and at the same time into a state of all sensations; insomuch that at first he scarcely knows but that he is still in the body, for the sensations he then enjoys lead him so to believe. But when he observes that he has more exquisite sensations, and especially when he begins to speak with other spirits, it dawns upon him that he is in the other life, and that the death of his body has been the continuation of the life of his spirit. I have spoken with two of my acquaintances on the day of their burial, and with one who through my eyes saw his coffin and his bier; and as this man enjoyed all the sensation he had in this world, he spoke to me about the burial rites while I was following in his funeral procession, and also about his body, saying that they should throw that away because he himself was alive.

[5] Be it known, however, that they who are in the other life can see nothing whatever in this world through the eyes of any man; but that their being able to do so through mine was because I am in the spirit with them and at the same time in the body with those who are in the world (see also n. 1880). And be it further known that I did not see with my bodily eyes those with whom I have spoken in the other life, but with the eyes of my spirit; and yet I saw them as clearly, and sometimes more clearly, than with the eyes of the body; for of the Lord’s Divine mercy the senses of my spirit have been opened.

[6] But I am aware that what I have so far said will not be believed by those who are immersed in bodily, earthly, and worldly things (that is, by those of them who have such things as their end), for such people apprehend no other things than those which are dissipated by death. I am also well aware that those will not believe who have thought much and investigated much about the soul, and who have not at the same time comprehended that the soul of man is his spirit, and that his spirit is the man himself who is living in the body; for such persons could have no other notion about the soul than as of a thinking principle, whether of flame or of ether, that acts solely into the organic forms of the body, and not into those purer forms which are of the spirit in the body; thus that the soul is such a thing as must be dissipated together with the body. And this is especially the case with those who have confirmed themselves in such things by views that are inflated with a persuasion of their own preeminent wisdom.

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Arcana Coelestia 5078, 8989, 9280, 9372, 9818, 10030

Apocalypse Revealed 424

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 50, 121, 279


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 543


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