Sacred Texts  Swedenborg  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at

Arcana Coelestia


Verse 22. And the rib which Jehovah God had taken from the man He built into a woman, and brought her to the man. By to "build" is signified to raise up what has fallen; by the "rib" man's Own not vivified; by a "woman" man's own vivified by the Lord; by "He brought her to the man" that what is his own was granted him. The posterity of this church did not wish, like their parents, to be a celestial man, but to be under their own self-guidance; and, thus inclining to their Own, it was granted to them, but still an Own vivified by the Lord, and therefore called a "woman" and afterwards a "wife."


It requires but little attention in anyone to discern that woman was not formed out of the rib of a man, and that deeper arcana are here implied than any person has heretofore been aware of. And that by the "woman" is signified man's Own, may be known from the fact that it was the woman who was deceived; for nothing ever deceives man but his Own, or what is the same, the love of self and of the world.


The rib is said to be "built into a woman" but it is not said that the woman was "created" or "formed" or "made" as before when treating of regeneration. The reason of this is that to "build" is to raise up that which has fallen; and in this sense it is used in the Word, where to "build" is predicated of evils; to "raise up" of falsities; and to "renew" of both; as in Isaiah: They shall build the wastes of eternity, they shall set up again the ancient desolations, and they shall renew the cities of the waste, the desolations of generation and generation (Isa. 61:4). "Wastes" in this and other passages signify evils; "desolations" falsities; to "build" is applied to the former, to "set up again" to the latter, and this distinction is carefully observed in other places by the prophets, as where it is said in Jeremiah: Yet still will I build thee, and thou shall be built, O virgin of Israel (Jer. 31:4).


Nothing evil and false is ever possible which is not man's Own, and from man's Own, for the Own of man is evil itself, and consequently man is nothing but evil and falsity. This has been evident to me from the fact that when the things of man's Own are presented to view in the world of spirits, they appear so deformed that it is impossible to depict anything more ugly, yet with a difference according to the nature of the Own, so that he to whom the things of the Own are visibly exhibited is struck with horror, and desires to flee from himself as from a devil. But truly the things of man's Own that have been vivified by the Lord appear beautiful and lovely, with variety according to the life to which the celestial of the Lord can be applied; and indeed those who have been endowed with charity, or vivified by it, appear like boys and girls with most beautiful countenances; and those who are in innocence, like naked infants, variously adorned with garlands of flowers encircling their bosoms, and diadems upon their heads, living and sporting in a diamond-like aura, and having a perception of happiness from the very inmost.


The words "a rib was built into a woman" have more things inmostly concealed in them than it is possible for anyone ever to discover from the letter; for the Word of the Lord is such that its inmost contents regard the Lord Himself and His kingdom, and from this comes all the life of the Word. And so in the passage before us, it is the heavenly marriage that is regarded in its inmost contents. The heavenly marriage is of such a nature that it exists in the Own, which, when vivified by the Lord, is called the "bride and wife" of the Lord. Man's Own thus vivified has a perception of all the good of love and truth of faith, and consequently possesses all wisdom and intelligence conjoined with inexpressible happiness. But the nature of this vivified Own, which is called the "bride and wife" of the Lord, cannot be concisely explained. Suffice it therefore to observe that the angels perceive that they live from the Lord, although when not reflecting on the subject they know no other than that they live from themselves; but there is a general affection of such a nature that at the least departure from the good of love and truth of faith they perceive a change, and consequently they are in the enjoyment of their peace and happiness, which is inexpressible, while they are in their general perception that they live from the Lord. It is this Own also that is meant in Jeremiah, where it is said: Jehovah hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man (Jer. 31:22) It is the heavenly marriage that is signified in this passage also, where by a "woman" is meant the Own vivified by the Lord, of which woman the expression "to compass" is predicated, because this Own is such that it encompasses, as a rib made flesh encompasses the heart.


Verse 23. And the man said, This now is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; therefore she shall be called wife, because she was taken out of man [vir]. "Bone of bones and flesh of flesh" signify the Own of the external man; "bone" this Own not so much vivified, and "flesh" the Own that is vivified. Man [vir], moreover, signifies the internal man, and from his being so coupled with the external man as is stated in the subsequent verse, the Own which was before called "woman" is here denominated "wife." "Now" signifies that it was thus effected at this time because the state was changed.


Inasmuch as "bone of bones and flesh of flesh" signified the Own of the external man in which was the internal, therefore in ancient times all those were called "bone of bones and flesh of flesh" who could be called their own [proprii], and were of one house, or of one family, or in any degree of relationship. Thus Laban said of Jacob, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh (Gen. 29:14). And Abimelech said of his mother's brethren, and of the family of the house of his mother's father, Remember that I am your bone and your flesh (Judges 9:2). The tribes of Israel also said of themselves to David, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh (2 Sam. 5:1).


That man [vir] signifies the internal man, or what is the same, one who is intelligent and wise, is plain from Isaiah: I behold, and there is no man [vir], even among them, and there is no counselor (Isa. 41:28), meaning none wise and intelligent. Also in Jeremiah: Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see if ye can find a man, if there be any executing judgment, seeking the truth (Jer. 5:1) "One who executes judgment" means a wise person; and "one who seeks the truth" an intelligent one.


But it is not easy to perceive how the case is with these things unless the state of the celestial man is understood. In the celestial man the internal man is distinct from the external, indeed so distinct that the celestial man perceives what belongs to the internal man, and what to the external, and how the external man is governed through the internal by the Lord. But the state of the posterity of this celestial man, in consequence of desiring their Own, which belongs to the external man, was so changed that they no longer perceived the internal man to be distinct from the external, but imagined the internal to be one with the external, for such a perception takes place when man inclines to his Own.


Verse 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. To "leave father and mother" is to recede from the internal man, for it is the internal which conceives and brings forth the external; to "cleave unto his wife" is that the internal may be in the external; to "be one flesh" that they are there together; and because before, the internal man, and the external from the internal were spirit, but now they have become flesh. Thus was celestial and spiritual life adjoined to the Own, that they might be as one.


This posterity of the Most Ancient Church was not evil, but was still good; and because they desired to live in the external man, or in their Own, this was permitted them by the Lord, what is spiritual celestial, however, being mercifully insinuated therein. How the internal and external act as a one, or how they appear as a one, cannot be known unless the influx of the one into the other is known. In order to conceive some idea of it, take for example an action. Unless in an action there is charity, that is, love and faith, and in these the Lord, that action cannot be called a work of charity, or the fruit of faith.


All the laws of truth and right flow from celestial beginnings, or from the order of life of the celestial man. For the whole heaven is a celestial man because the Lord alone is a celestial man, and as He is the all in all of heaven and the celestial man, they are thence called celestial. As every law of truth and right descends from celestial beginnings, or from the order of life of the celestial man, so in an especial manner does the law of marriages. It is the celestial (or heavenly) marriage from and according to which all marriages on earth must be derived; and this marriage is such that there is one Lord and one heaven, or one church whose head is the Lord. The law of marriages thence derived is that there shall be one husband and one wife, and when this is the case they represent the celestial marriage, and are an exemplar of the celestial man. This law was not only revealed to the men of the Most Ancient Church, but was also inscribed on their internal man, wherefore at that time a man had but one wife, and they constituted one house. But when their posterity ceased to be internal men, and became external, they married a plurality of wives. Because the men of the Most Ancient Church in their marriages represented the celestial marriage, conjugial love was to them a kind of heaven and heavenly happiness, but when the Church declined they had no longer any perception of happiness in conjugial love, but in pleasure from a number, which is a delight of the external man. This is called by the Lord "hardness of heart" on account of which they were permitted by Moses to marry a plurality of wives, as the Lord Himself teaches: For the hardness of your heart Moses wrote you this precept, but from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh; wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder (Mark 10:5-9).


Verse 25. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Their being "naked, and not ashamed" signifies that they were innocent, for the Lord had insinuated innocence into their Own, to prevent its being unacceptable.


The Own of man, as before stated, is mere evil, and when exhibited to view is most deformed, but when charity and innocence from the Lord are insinuated into the Own, it then appears good and beautiful (as before observed, n. 154). Charity and innocence not only excuse the Own (that is, what is evil and false in man), but as it were abolish it, as may be observed in little children, in whom what is evil and false is not merely concealed, but is even pleasing, so long as they love their parents and one another, and their infantile innocence shows itself. Hence it may be known why no one can be admitted into heaven unless he possesses some degree of innocence; as the Lord has said: Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:14-16).


That the "nakedness of which they were not ashamed" signifies innocence, is proved by what follows, for when integrity and innocence departed they were ashamed of their nakedness, and it appeared to them disgraceful, and they therefore hid themselves. The same is evident also from the representations in the world of spirits, for when spirits wish to exculpate themselves and prove their guiltlessness, they present themselves naked in order to testify their innocence. Especially is it evident from the innocent in heaven, who appear as naked infants decorated with garlands according to the nature of their innocence; while those who have not so much innocence are clad in becoming and shining garments (of diamond silk as you might say), as the angels were occasionally seen by the prophets.


Such are some of the things contained in this chapter of the Word, but those here set forth are but few. And as the celestial man is treated of, who at the present day is known to scarcely anyone, even these few things cannot but appear obscure to some.


If anyone could know how many arcana each particular verse contains, he would be amazed, for the number of arcana contained is past telling, and this is very little shown in the letter. To state the matter shortly: the words of the letter, exactly as they are, are vividly represented in the world of spirits, in a beautiful order. For the world of spirits is a world of representatives, and whatever is vividly represented there is perceived, in respect to the minute things contained in the representatives, by the angelic spirits who are in the second heaven; and the things thus perceived by the angelic spirits are perceived abundantly and fully in inexpressible angelic ideas by the angels who are in the third heaven, and this in boundless variety in accordance with the Lord's good pleasure. Such is the Word of the Lord.


CONCERNING THE RESUSCITATION OF MAN FROM THE DEAD, AND HIS ENTRANCE INTO ETERNAL LIFE Being permitted to describe in connected order how man passes from the life of the body into the life of eternity, in order that the way in which he is resuscitated might be known, this has been shown me, not by hearing, but by actual experience.


I was reduced into a state of insensibility as to the bodily senses, thus almost into the state of dying persons, retaining however my interior life unimpaired, attended with the power of thinking, and with sufficient breathing for life, and finally with a tacit breathing, that I might perceive and remember what happens to those who have died and are being resuscitated.


Celestial angels were present who occupied the region of the heart, so that as to the heart I seemed united with them, and so that at length scarcely anything was left to me except thought, and the consequent perception, and this for some hours.


I was thus removed from communication with spirits in the world of spirits, who supposed that I had departed from the life of the body.


Besides the celestial angels, who occupied the region of the heart, there were also two angels sitting at my head, and it was given me to perceive that it is so with everyone.


The angels who sat at my head were perfectly silent, merely communicating their thoughts by the face, so that I could perceive that another face was as it were induced upon me; indeed two, because there were two angels. When the angels perceive that their faces are received, they know that the man is dead.


After recognizing their faces, they induced certain changes about the region of the mouth, and thus communicated their thoughts, for it is customary with the celestial angels to speak by the province of the mouth, and it was permitted me to perceive their cogitative speech.


An aromatic odor was perceived, like that of an embalmed corpse, for when the celestial angels are present, the cadaverous odor is perceived as if it were aromatic, which when perceived by evil spirits prevents their approach.


Meanwhile I perceived that the region of the heart was kept very closely united with the celestial angels, as was also evident from the pulsation.


It was insinuated to me that man is kept engaged by the angels in the pious and holy thoughts which he entertained at the point of death; and it was also insinuated that those who are dying usually think about eternal life, and seldom of salvation and happiness, and therefore the angels keep them in the thought of eternal life.


In this thought they are kept for a considerable time by the celestial angels before these angels depart, and those who are being resuscitated are then left to the spiritual angels, with whom they are next associated. Meanwhile they have a dim idea that they are living in the body.


As soon as the internal parts of the body grow cold, the vital substances are separated from the man, wherever they may be, even if inclosed in a thousand labyrinthine interlacings, for such is the efficacy of the Lord's mercy (which I had previously perceived as a living and mighty attraction), that nothing vital can remain behind.


The celestial angels who sat at the head remained with me for some time after I was as it were resuscitated, but they conversed only tacitly. It was perceived from their cogitative speech that they made light of all fallacies and falsities, smiling at them not indeed as matters for derision, but as if they cared nothing about them. Their speech is cogitative, devoid of sound, and in this kind of language they begin to speak with the souls with whom they are at first present.


As yet the man, thus resuscitated by the celestial angels, possesses only an obscure life; but when the time comes for him to be delivered to the spiritual angels, then after a little delay, when the spiritual angels have approached, the celestial depart; and it has been shown me how the spiritual angels operate in order that the man may receive the benefit of light, as described in the continuation of this subject prefixed to the following chapter.


CHAPTER 3 CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE ENTRANCE INTO ETERNAL LIFE OF THOSE WHO ARE RAISED FROM THE DEAD. When the celestial angels are with a resuscitated person, they do not leave him, for they love everyone; but when the soul is of such a character that he can no longer be in the company of the celestial angels, he is eager to depart from them; and when this takes place the spiritual angels arrive, and give him the use of light, for previously he had seen nothing, but had only thought.


I was shown how these angels work. They seemed to as it were roll off the coat of the left eye toward the septum of the nose, in order that the eye might be opened and the use of light be granted. To the man it appears as if this were really done, but it is only an appearance.


After this little membrane has been thus in appearance rolled off, some light is visible, but dim, such as a man sees through his eyelids when he first awakes out of sleep; and he who is being resuscitated is in a tranquil state, being still guarded by the celestial angels. There then appears a kind of shadow of an azure color, with a little star, but I perceived that this takes place with variety.


Afterwards there seems to be something gently unrolled from the face, and perception is communicated to him, the angels being especially cautious to prevent any idea coming from him but such as is of a soft and tender nature, as of love; and it is now given him to know that he is a spirit.


He then commences his life. This at first is happy and glad, for he seems to himself to have come into eternal life, which is represented by a bright white light that becomes of a beautiful golden tinge, by which is signified his first life, to wit, that it is celestial as well as spiritual.


His being next taken into the society of good spirits is represented by a young man sitting on a horse and directing it toward hell, but the horse cannot move a step. He is represented as a youth because when he first enters upon eternal life he is among angels, and therefore appears to himself to be in the flower of youth.


His subsequent life is represented by his dismounting from the horse and walking on foot, because he cannot make the horse move from the place; and it is insinuated to him that he must be instructed in the knowledges of what is true and good.


Afterwards pathways were seen sloping gently upward, which signify that by the knowledges of what is true and good, and by self-acknowledgment, he should be led by degrees toward heaven; for no one can be conducted thither without such self-acknowledgment, and the knowledges of what is true and good. A continuation of this subject may be seen at the end of this chapter. GENESIS 3 1. And the serpent was more subtle than any wild animal of the field which Jehovah God had made; and he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the tree of the garden; 3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. 5. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. 6. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to give intelligence, and she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and she gave also to her man [vir] with her, and he did eat. 7. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves girdles. 8. And they heard the voice of Jehovah God going to itself in the garden in the air of the day; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the face of Jehovah God in the midst of the tree of the garden. 9. And Jehovah God cried unto the man [homo], and said unto him, Where art thou? 10. And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12. And the man [homo] said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13. And Jehovah God said unto the woman, Why hast thou done this? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.


THE CONTENTS. The third state of the Most Ancient Church is treated of, which so desired its Own as to love it.


Because from the love of self, that is, their own love, they began to believe nothing that they did not apprehend by the senses, the sensuous part is represented by the "serpent;" the love of self, or their own love, by the "woman;" and the rational by the "man."


Hence the "serpent" or sensuous part, persuaded the woman to inquire into matters pertaining to faith in the Lord in order to see whether they are really so, which is signified by "eating of the tree of knowledge;" and that the rational of man consented, is signified by "the man that he did eat" (verses 1-6).


But they perceived that they were in evil; from which remnant of perception, signified by their "eyes being opened" and by their "hearing the voice of Jehovah" (verses 7, 8), and from the fig-leaves of which they made themselves girdles (verse 7), and from their shame or hiding in the midst of the tree of the garden (verses 8, 9), as well as from their acknowledgment and confession (verses 10-13), it is evident that natural goodness still remained in them.


THE INTERNAL SENSE. Verse 1. And the serpent was more subtle than any wild animal of the field which Jehovah God had made; and he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? By the "serpent" is here meant the sensuous part of man in which he trusts; by the "wild animal of the field" here, as before, every affection of the external man; by the "woman" man's Own; by the serpent's saying, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree?" that they began to doubt. The subject here treated of is the third posterity of the Most Ancient Church, which began not to believe in things revealed unless they saw and felt that they were so. Their first state, that it was one of doubt, is described in this and in the next following verse.


The most ancient people did not compare all things in man to beasts and birds, but so denominated them; and this their customary manner of speaking remained even in the Ancient Church after the flood, and was preserved among the prophets. The sensuous things in man they called "serpents" because as serpents live close to the earth, so sensuous things are those next the body. Hence also reasonings concerning the mysteries of faith, founded on the evidence of the senses, were called by them the "poison of a serpent" and the reasoners themselves "serpents;" and because such persons reason much from sensuous, that is, from visible things (such as are things terrestrial, corporeal, mundane, and natural), it is said that "the serpent was more subtle than any wild animal of the field." [2] And so in David, speaking of those who seduce man by reasonings: They sharpen their tongue like a serpent; the poison of the asp is under their lips (Ps. 140:3). And again: They go astray from the womb, speaking a lie. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent, like the deaf poisonous asp that stoppeth her ear, that she may not hear the voice of the mutterers, of a wise one that charmeth charms [sociantis sodalitia] 195-1 (Ps. 58:3-6). Reasonings that are of such a character that the men will not even hear what a wise one says, or the voice of the wise, are here called the "poison of a serpent." Hence it became a proverb among the ancients, that "The serpent stoppeth the ear." In Amos: As if a man came into a house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness and not light? even thick darkness, and no brightness in it? (Amos 5:19-20). The "hand on the wall" means self-derived power, and trust in sensuous things, whence comes the blindness which is here described. [3] In Jeremiah: The voice of Egypt shall go like a serpent, for they shall go in strength, and shall come to her with axes as hewers of wood. They shall cut down her forest, saith Jehovah, because it will not be searched; for they are multiplied more than the locust, and are innumerable. The daughter of Egypt is put to shame; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north (Jer. 46:22-24). "Egypt" denotes reasoning about Divine things from sensuous things and memory-knowledges [scientifica]. Such reasonings are called the "voice of a serpent;" and the blindness thereby occasioned, the "people of the north." In Job: He shall suck the poison of asps; the viper's tongue shall slay him. He shall not see the brooks, the flowing rivers of honey and butter (Job 20:16-17). "Rivers of honey and butter" are things spiritual and celestial, which cannot be seen by mere reasoners; reasonings are called the "poison of the asp" and the "viper's tongue." See more respecting the serpent below, at verses 14 and 15.


In ancient times those were called "serpents" who had more confidence in sensuous things than in revealed ones. But it is still worse at the present day, for now there are persons who not only disbelieve everything they cannot see and feel, but who also confirm themselves in such incredulity by knowledges [scientifica] unknown to the ancients, and thus occasion in themselves a far greater degree of blindness. In order that it may be known how those blind themselves, so as afterwards to see and hear nothing, who form their conclusions concerning heavenly matters from the things of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of philosophy, and who are not only "deaf serpents" but also the "flying serpents" frequently spoken of in the Word, which are much more pernicious, we will take as an example what they believe about the spirit. [2] The sensuous man, or he who only believes on the evidence of his senses, denies the existence of the spirit because he cannot see it, saying, "It is nothing because I do not feel it: that which I see and touch I know exists." The man of memory-knowledge [scientificus], or he who forms his conclusions from memory-knowledges [scientiae], says, What is the spirit, except perhaps vapor or heat, or some other entity of his science, that presently vanishes into thin air? Have not the animals also a body, senses, and something analogous to reason? and yet it is asserted that these will die, while the spirit of man will live. Thus they deny the existence of the spirit. [3] Philosophers also, who would be more acute than the rest of mankind, speak of the spirit in terms which they themselves do not understand, for they dispute about them, contending that not a single expression is applicable to the spirit which derives anything from what is material, organic, or extended; thus they so abstract it from their ideas that it vanishes from them, and becomes nothing. The more sane however assert that the spirit is thought; but in their reasonings about thought, in consequence of separating from it all substantiality, they at last conclude that it must vanish away when the body expires. Thus all who reason from the things of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of philosophy, deny the existence of the spirit, and therefore believe nothing of what is said about the spirit and spiritual things. Not so the simple in heart: if these are questioned about the existence of spirit, they say they know it exists, because the Lord has said that they will live after death; thus instead of extinguishing their rational, they vivify it by the Word of the Lord.


Among the most ancient people, who were celestial men, by the "serpent" was signified circumspection, and also the sensuous part through which they exercised circumspection so as to be secure from injury. This signification of a "serpent" is evident from the Lord's words to His disciples: Behold, I send you forth as sheep into the midst of wolves; be ye therefore prudent as serpents, and simple as doves (Matt. 10:16). And also from the "brazen serpent" that was set up in the wilderness, by which was signified the sensuous part in the Lord, who alone is the celestial man, and alone takes care of and provides for all; wherefore all who looked upon it were preserved.


Verses 2, 3. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the tree of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. The "fruit of the tree of the garden" is the good and truth revealed to them from the Most Ancient Church; the "fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, of which they were not to eat" is the good and truth of faith, which they were not to learn from themselves; "not to touch it" is a prohibition against thinking of the good and truth of faith from themselves, or from what is of sense and "memory-knowledge [sensuali et scientifico]; "lest ye die" is because thus faith, or all wisdom and intelligence, would perish.


That the "fruit of the tree of which they might eat" signifies the good and truth of faith revealed to them from the Most Ancient Church, or the knowledges [cognitiones] of faith, is evident from the fact that it is said to be the "fruit of the tree of the garden of which they might eat" and not the "tree of the garden" as before when treating of the celestial man, or the Most Ancient Church (Gen. 2:16). The "tree of the garden" as it is there called, is the perception of what is good and true; which good and truth, because they are from that source, are here called "fruit" and are also frequently signified by "fruit" in the Word.


The reason why the "tree of knowledge" is here spoken of as being "in the midst of the garden" although previously (Gen. 2:9), the tree of lives was said to be in the midst of the garden, and not the tree of knowledge, is that the "midst" of the garden signifies the inmost; and the inmost of the celestial man, or of the Most Ancient Church, was the "tree of lives" which is love and the faith thence derived; whereas with this man, who may be called a celestial spiritual man, or with this posterity, faith was the "midst" of the garden, or the inmost. It is impossible more fully to describe the quality of the men who lived in that most ancient time, because at the present day it is utterly unknown, their genius being altogether different from what is ever found with anyone now. For the purpose however of conveying some idea of their genius, it may be mentioned that from good they knew truth, or from love they knew what is of faith. But when that generation expired, another succeeded of a totally different genius, for instead of discerning the true from the good, or what is of faith from love, they acquired the knowledge of what is good by means of truth, or what is of love from the knowledges of faith, and with very many among them there was scarcely anything but knowledge [quod scirent]. Such was the change made after the flood to prevent the destruction of the world.


195-1 In the Apocalypse Revealed (n. 462e), instead of sociatis sodalitia, there is incantatoris incantationum. [Reviser.]

Next: 201-250