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mates of man's life, as above, n. 424; the reason is, because all animals signify the affections of man, wherefore also the affections of angels and spirits, in the spiritual world, appear at a distance as animals, and affections, merely sensual, as serpents; and this because serpents creep on the ground and lick the dust, and sensual things are the lowest of the understanding and will, being in close contact with the world, and nourished by its objects and delights, which only affect the material senses of the body. Noxious serpents, which are of many kinds, signify the sensual things that are dependent on the evil affections which constitute the interiors of the mind with those who are insane through the falses of evil; and harmless serpents signify the sensual things that are dependent on the good affections which constitute the interiors of the mind with those who are wise by virtue of the truths of good. Sensual
Sensual things dependent on evil affections, are signified by serpents in these places: “They shall lick the dust like a serpent," Micah vii. 17. dust shall be the serpent's meat,” Isaiah lxv. 25. Unto the serpent it was said, “Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life,” Gen. iii. 14. The sensual principle is so described, because, communicating as it does with hell, where all are sensual, it, in things spiritual, changes celestial wisdom into infernal
“Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina,—for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery Aying serpent,” Isaiah xiv. 29.
They hatch cockatrice eggs,-he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper," Isaiah lix. 5. Because the sons of Israel desired to return into Egypt, they were bit by serpents, Numb. xxi. 1–10. To return into Egypt signifies from spiritual to become sensual; therefore it is said, The hirelings of Egypt turned themselves away, “the voice thereof shall go like the voice of a serpent,” Jerem. xlvi. 22. Because Dan was the last of the tribes, and thence signified the ultimate of the church, which is the sensual principle subject to the interiors, therefore it is said of him, “Dan shall be a serpent by the way that biteth the horses' heels,
so that his rider shall fall backward," Gen. xlix. 17. By the horses' heels, are signified the ultimates of the understanding, which are sensual; by biting, is signified to adhere to them; by horseman, or rider, is signified defect of knowledge from them whereby truths are perverted, for which reason it is said, His rider shall fall backward. As sensual men are crafty and cunning, like foxes, therefore the Lord says, Be ye wise as serpents, Matt. X. 16; for the sensual man speaks and reasons from appearances and fallacies, and if he has a talent for disputation can ingeniously confirm every falsity, and also the heresy of faith alone; though in discerning truth it is scarcely possible for any one to be so dull and slow of comprehension.
456. " And the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues,” signifies, those in the reformed church who are not so spiritually dead from visionary reasonings, and from self-love, and from the pride of self-derived intelligence, and from the concupiscences thence proceeding, as the former, and yet make faith alone the head of their religion. By the rest of the men, are meant they who are not as the former, but yet make faith alone, the head of their religion ; who were not killed, signifies who are not so spiritually dead; by these plagues, are meant selflove, the pride of self-derived intelligence, and the concupiscences of evil and falsity flowing from them; these three being signified by fire, smoke, and brimstone, concerning which above, n. 432, 453. That such is the signification of plagues, will be seen below. But something must first be said respecting this class of persons, whom also it has been granted me to see and to converse with. • They dwell in the northern quarter towards the
west, where some of them have cottages with roofs, " and some without roofs ; their beds are of bulrushes, “their garments of goat's hair. In the light flowing in “ from heaven their faces appear stupid and also livid. “ The reason is, because they know nothing more about
religion than that there is a God, that there are three
persons, that Christ suffered for them on the cross, and " that it is faith alone by which they are saved; and like“ wise by worship in temples, and by prayers at stated
“times: as to any thing else relating to religion and its “ doctrine, they pay no attention whatever; for the “worldly and corporeal things, with which their minds “ are filled and overcharged, close up their ears against 6 their admission. There are many of the presbyters among " them, whom I asked, "What do you think, when you “ read in the Word of works, of love and charity, of
fruits, of the precepts of life, of repentance, in short, “ of things that are to be done ?' They replied, That “they did indeed read them, and thus saw them; but “ still they did not see them, because they kept their “ minds fixed upon faith alone, and therefore thought " that all these were faith, and did not perceive that they
were effects of faith. That such ignorance and stu
pidity prevails with those who have embraced faith “ alone, and made it the all of their religion, is scarcely
credible; nevertheless it has been permitted me to have “ abundant experience of the fact.” That by plagues are meant spiritual plagues, by means of which man dies as to his spirit or soul, is evident from these passages : “Thy bruise is desperate, thy plague is grievous, for I will restore health unto thee, I will heal thee of thy plagues,” Jerem. Xxx. 12, 14, 17. “Every one that goeth by Babylon, shall hiss at all her plagues,” Jerem. 1. 13. In one day shall plagues come upon Babylon, death and mourning, Apoc. xviii. 8. " I saw seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them is filled up the wrath of God,” Apoc. xv. 1.
“Ah! sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity,—from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and recent plagues : they have not been closed, nor bound up, nor mollified with ointment,” Isaiah i. 4, 6. “In the day that Jehovah bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their plague," Isaiah xxx: 26; besides other places; as in Deut. xxviii. 59, Jerem. xlix. 17, Zech. xiv. 12, 15, Luke vii. 21, Apoc. xi. 6, xvi. 21.
457. “Yet repented not of the works of their hands," signifies, that neither did they shun the things that are proper to themselves, which are evils of every kind, as
sins. By the works of a man's hands are signified the things proper to man, which are evils and consequent falses, because by hands are signified those things, in the aggregate, which proceed from man; for the powers of the mind, and thence of its body, are determined to the hands and there terminate; wherefore by hands, in the Word, is signified power: consequently, by the works of a man's hands, the things proper to him are signified, which are evils and falses of all kinds; the things proper to his will are evils, and the things proper to his understanding are falses flowing from them. It is said of those who are here treated of, that they repented not; the reason is, because they who make faith alone the all of religion, say in themselves, What need is there of repentance, when by faith alone sins are remitted, and we are saved ? Of what avail are our own works in this matter? I know that I was born in sin, and that I am a sinner; if I confess this, and pray that my faults may not be imputed to me, is not the work of repentance then performed, and what need is there for any thing more? Thus he has no thought at all about sins, and comes at length not to know that there is any such thing as sin ; wherefore he is continually borne along within them and into them, by the delight and pleasantness which flow from them, like manner as a ship is carried by a fair wind and tide towards the rocks, whilst the pilot and mariners are asleep. By the works of men's hands, in the Word, in its natural sense, are meant graven images, molten images, and idols; but, in the spiritual sense, they signify evils and falses of every kind, which are the things proper to man; as in these passages: Provoke me not to anger by the works of your hands ; if ye provoke me to anger by the works of your hands, to your own hurt, “I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands," Jerem. xxv. 6, 7, 14. " For the children of Israel have provoked me to anger with the work of their hands,” Jerem. xxxii. 30, xliv. 8. “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, because they have worshiped the works of their own hands, Jerem. i. 16. In that day their eyes
shall look up to the Holy One of Israel, and not to altars —the work of their hands, and which their fingers have made, Isaiah xvii. 7, 8, xxxi. 7, xxxvii. 19, Jerem. x. 9. That the work of men's hands is his selfhood, and thence evil and falsity, may appear manifestly from this consideration, that on this account it was forbidden to build the altar and temple with hewn stones, or to lift up an iron tool upon them, for this would signify the work of men's hands : “ And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone, for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it,” Exod. xx. 25. Joshua built an altar of stones, over which he did vot lift up any iron, Joshua viii. 30, 31. The temple of Jerusalem was built of “stone made ready, so that there was neither hammer nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard, while it was building," 1 Kings vi. 1. All things which are done by the Lord are also called the works of his hands, which are proper to him, and in themselves are goods and truths, as in these passages : The works of Jehovah's hands are truth and judgment, Psalm cxi. 7. “Thy mercy, O Jehovah, endureth for ever, forsake not the works of thine own hands," Psalm cxxxviii
. 8. “Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come, concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me, Isaiah xlv. 11. «Thy people shall be all righteous,the branch of my planting, the work of my hands," Isaiah
“But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand,” Isaiah lxiv. 8.
458. “ That they should not worship demons," signifies, that thus they are in the evils of their concupiscences, and make one with their like in hell. By demons are signified the concupiscences of evil springing from the love of the world ; the reason is, because in hell they are called demons who are in those concupiscences; and men also, who are in the same, become demons after death; there is also a conjunction between them and such men; for every man is conjoined with spirits as to his affections, even to their making a one; from which circumstance it