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

Arcana Coelestia


The other arcanum is that had they been instructed in the mysteries of faith they would have perished eternally, which is signified by the words, "now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of lives, and eat, and live to eternity." The case is this: When men have become inverted orders of life, and are unwilling to live, or to become wise, except from themselves and from their Own, they reason about everything they hear respecting faith, as to whether it is so, or not; and as they do this from themselves and from their own things of sense and of memory-knowledge, it must needs lead to denial, and consequently to blasphemy and profanation, so that at length they do not scruple to mix up profane things with holy. When a man becomes like this, he is so condemned in the other life that there remains for him no hope of salvation. For things mixed up by profanation remain so mixed up, so that whenever any idea of something holy presents itself, an idea of something profane that is conjoined with it is also there, the consequence of which is that the person cannot be in any society except one of the damned. Whatever is present in any idea of thought in consequence of being conjoined with it, is most exquisitely perceived in the other life, even by spirits in the world of spirits, and much more so by angelic spirits, so exquisitely indeed that from a single idea they know a person's character. The separation of profane and holy ideas when thus conjoined cannot be effected except by means of such infernal torment that if a man were aware of it he would as carefully avoid profanation as he would avoid hell itself.


This is the reason why the mysteries of faith were never revealed to the Jews. They were not even plainly told that they were to live after death, nor that the Lord would come into the world to save them. So great were the ignorance and stupidity in which they were kept, and still are kept, that they did not and do not know of the existence of the internal man, or of anything internal, for if they had known of it, or if they now knew of it, so as to acknowledge it, such is their character that they would profane it, and there would be no hope of any salvation for them in the other life. This is what is meant by the Lord in John: He hath blinded their eyes, and stopped up their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and convert themselves, and I should heal them (John 12:40). And by the Lord speaking to them in parables without explaining to them their meaning, lest (as He Himself says), Seeing they should see, and hearing they should hear, and should understand (Matt. 13:13).For the same reason all the mysteries of faith were hidden from them, and were concealed under the representatives of their church, and for the same reason the prophetic style is of the same character. It is however one thing to know, and another to acknowledge. He who knows and does not acknowledge, is as if he knew not; but it is he who acknowledges and afterwards blasphemes and profanes, that is meant by these words of the Lord.


A man acquires a life by all the things he is persuaded of, that is, which he acknowledges and believes. That of which he is not persuaded, or does not acknowledge and believe, does not affect his mind. And therefore no one can profane holy things unless he has been so persuaded of them that he acknowledges them, and yet denies them. Those who do not acknowledge may know, but are as if they did not know, and are like those who know things that have no existence. Such were the Jews about the time of the Lord's advent, and therefore they are said in the Word to be "vastated" or "laid waste" that is, to have no longer any faith. Under these circumstances it does men no injury to have the interior contents of the Word opened to them, for they are as persons seeing, and yet not seeing; hearing, and yet not hearing; whose hearts are stopped up; of whom the Lord says in Isaiah: Go and tell this people, Hearing hear ye, but understand not, and seeing see ye, but know not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and smear their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, so that they be healed (Isa. 6:9-10). That the mysteries of faith are not revealed until men are in such a state, that is, are so vastated that they no longer believe (in order, as before said, that they may not be able to profane them), the Lord also plainly declares in the subsequent verses of the same Prophet: Then said I, Lord, how long? And He said, Even until the cities are desolated, so that there be no inhabitant; and the houses, so that there be no man, and the ground be utterly desolated, and Jehovah have removed man (Isa. 6:12). He is called a "man" who is wise, or who acknowledges and believes. The Jews were thus vastated, as already said, at the time of the Lord's advent; and for the same reason they are still kept in such vastation by their cupidities, and especially by their avarice, that although they hear of the Lord a thousand times, and that the representatives of their church are significative of Him in every particular, yet they acknowledge and believe nothing. This then was the reason why the antediluvians were cast out of the garden of Eden, and vastated even until they were no longer capable of acknowledging any truth.


From all this it is evident what is meant by the words, "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of lives, and eat, and live to eternity." To "take of the tree of lives and eat" is to know even so as to acknowledge whatever is of love and faith; for "lives" in the plural denote love and faith, and to "eat" signifies here as before, to know. To "live to eternity" is not to live in the body to eternity, but to live after death in eternal damnation. A man who is "dead" is not so called because he is to die after the life of the body, but because he will live a life of death, for "death" is damnation and hell. The expression to "live" is used with a similar signification by Ezekiel: Ye hunt souls for My people, and save souls alive for yourselves, and ye have profaned Me among My people, to slay souls that will not die, and to make souls live that will not live (Ezek. 13:18-19).


Verse 23. Therefore Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. To be "cast out of the garden of Eden" is to be deprived of all intelligence and wisdom; and to "till the ground from which he was taken" is to become corporeal, as he was previous to regeneration. That to be "cast out of the garden of Eden" is to be deprived of all intelligence and wisdom, is evident from the signification of a "garden" and of "Eden" as above; for a "garden" signifies intelligence, or the understanding of truth; and "Eden" being significative of love, signifies wisdom, or the will of good. That to "till the ground from which he was taken" signifies to become corporeal, such as he was before regeneration, has been shown above (verse 19), where similar words occur.


Verse 24. And He cast out the man; and He made to dwell from the east toward the garden of Eden cherubim, and the flame of a sword turning itself to keep the way of the tree of lives. To "cast out the man" is to entirely deprive him of all the will of good and understanding of truth, insomuch that he is separated from them, and is no longer man. To "make cherubim from the east to dwell" is to provide against his entering into any secret thing of faith; for the "east toward the garden of Eden" is the celestial, from which is intelligence; and by "cherubim" is signified the providence of the Lord in preventing such a man from entering into the things of faith. By the "flame of a sword turning itself" is signified self-love [amor proprius] with its insane desires and consequent persuasions, which are such that he indeed wishes to enter, but is carried away to corporeal and earthly things, and this for the purpose of "keeping the way of the tree of lives" that is, of preventing the profanation of holy things.


It here treats of the sixth and seventh posterities, which perished by the flood, and were altogether "cast out of the garden of Eden" that is, from all understanding of truth, and became as it were not men, being left to their insane cupidities and persuasions.


As the signification of the "east" and of the "garden of Eden" were given above, it is needless to dwell longer on them; but that " cherubim" denote the providence of the Lord lest man should insanely enter into the mysteries of faith from his Own, and from what is of the senses and of memory-knowledge [sensuali et scientifico], and should thus profane them, and destroy himself, is evident from all the passages in the Word where mention is made of "cherubim." As the Jews were of such a quality that if they had possessed any clear knowledge concerning the Lord's coming, concerning the representatives or types of the church as being significative of Him, concerning the life after death, concerning the interior man and the internal sense of the Word, they would have profaned it, and would have perished eternally; therefore this was represented by the " cherubim" on the mercy-seat over the ark, upon the curtains of the tabernacle, upon the vail, and also in the temple; and it was signified that the Lord had them in keeping (Exod. 25:18-21; 26:1, 31; 1 Kings 6:23-29, 32). For the ark, in which was the testimony, signified the same as the tree of lives in this passage, namely, the Lord and the celestial things which belong solely to Him. Hence also the Lord is so often called the "God of Israel sitting on the cherubim" and hence He spake with Moses and Aaron "between the cherubim" (Exod. 25:22; Num. 7:89). This is plainly described in Ezekiel, where it is said: The glory of the God of Israel was uplifted from upon the cherub whereon He was, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, and said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men who groan and sigh for all the abominations done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said, Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay to blotting out the old man, and the young man, and the virgin, the infant, and the women; defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain (Ezek. 9:3-7). And again: He said to the man clothed in linen, Go in between the wheel to beneath the cherub, and fill thy palms with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city; the cherub put forth his hand from between the cherubim unto the fire which was between the cherubim, and took thereof, and put it into the palms of him that was clothed in linen, who took it and went out (Ezek. 10:2, 7). From these passages it is evident that the providence of the Lord in preventing men from entering into the mysteries of faith is signified by the "cherubim;" and that therefore they were left to their insane cupidities, here also signified by the "fire that was to be scattered over the city" and that "none should be spared."


That by the "flame of a sword turning itself" is signified self-love [amor proprius] with its insane cupidities and persuasions, which are such that they desire to enter [into the mysteries of faith], but are carried away to corporeal and earthly things, might be confirmed by so many passages from the Word as would fill pages; but we will cite only these from Ezekiel: Prophesy and say, Thus saith Jehovah, Say a sword, a sword, it is sharpened, and also burnished to make a sore slaughter; it is sharpened that it may be as lightning. Let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of his slain; the sword of a great slaughter, which entereth into their bed-chambers, that their heart may melt, and their offenses be multiplied, I have set the terror of the sword in all their gates. Alas! it is made as lightning (Ezek. 21:9, 10, 14, 15). A "sword" here signifies the desolation of man such that he sees nothing that is good and true, but mere falsities and things contrary, denoted by "multiplying offenses." It is also said in Nahum, of those who desire to enter into the mysteries of faith, "The horseman mounting, and the flame of the sword, and the flash of the spear, and a multitude of the slain" (Nah. 3:3).


Each particular expression in this verse involves so many arcana of deepest import (applicable to the genius of this people who perished by the flood, a genius totally different from that of those who lived subsequent to the flood), that it is impossible to set them forth. We will briefly observe that their first parents, who constituted the Most Ancient Church, were celestial men, and consequently had celestial seeds implanted in them; whence their descendants had seed in them from a celestial origin. Seed from a celestial origin is such that love rules the whole mind and makes it a one. For the human mind consists of two parts, the will and the understanding. Love or good belongs to the will, faith or truth to the understanding; and from love or good those most ancient people perceived what belongs to faith or truth, so that their mind was a one. With the posterity of such a race, seed of the same celestial origin necessarily remains, so that any falling away from truth and good on their part is most perilous, since their whole mind becomes so perverted as to render a restoration in the other life scarcely possible. It is otherwise with those who do not possess celestial but only spiritual seed, as did the people after the flood, and as also do the people of the present day. There is no love in these, consequently no will of good, but still there is a capability of faith, or understanding of truth, by means of which they can be brought to some degree of charity, although by a different way, namely, by the insinuation of conscience from the Lord grounded in the knowledges of truth and the derivative good. Their state is therefore quite different from that of the antediluvians, concerning which state, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. These are arcana with which the present generation are utterly unacquainted, for at the present day none know what the celestial man is nor even what the spiritual man is, and still less what is the quality of the human mind and life thence resulting, and the consequent state after death.


In the other life, the state of those who perished by the flood is such that they cannot be in the world of spirits, or with other spirits, but are in a hell separated from the hells of others, and as it were under a certain mountain. This appears as an intervening mountain in consequence of their direful phantasies and persuasions. Their phantasies and persuasions are such as to produce so profound a stupor in other spirits that they do not know whether they are alive or dead, for they deprive them of all understanding of truth, so that they perceive nothing. Such also was their persuasive power during their abode in the world; and because it was foreseen that in the other life they would be incapable of associating with other spirits without inducing on them a kind of death, they all became extinct, and the Lord of His Divine mercy induced other states on those who lived after the flood.


In this verse, the state of these antediluvians is fully described, in that they were "cast out" or separated from celestial good, and in that "cherubim were placed from the east toward the garden of Eden." This expression, "from the east toward the garden of Eden" is applicable only to them, and could not be used in relation to those who lived afterwards, of whom it would have been said, "from the garden of Eden toward the east." In like manner, had the words "the flame of a sword turning itself" been applied to the people of the present day, they would have been "the sword of a flame turning itself." Nor would it have been said the "tree of lives" but the "tree of life;" not to mention other things in the series that cannot possibly be explained, being understood only by the angels, to whom the Lord reveals them; for every state contains infinite arcana, not even one of which is known to men.


From what is here said of the first man, it is evident that all the hereditary evil existing at the present day did not come from him, as is falsely supposed. For it is the Most Ancient Church that is here treated of under the name of "man;" and when it is called "Adam" it signifies that man was from the ground, or that from being non-man he became man by regeneration from the Lord. This is the origin and signification of the name. But as to hereditary evil, the case is this. Everyone who commits actual sin thereby induces on himself a nature, and the evil from it is implanted in his children, and becomes hereditary. It thus descends from every parent, from the father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and their ancestors in succession, and is thus multiplied and augmented in each descending posterity, remaining with each person, and being increased in each by his actual sins, and never being dissipated so as to become harmless except in those who are being regenerated by the Lord. Every attentive observer may see evidence of this truth in the fact that the evil inclinations of parents remain visibly in their children, so that one family, and even an entire race, may be thereby distinguished from every other.


CONTINUATION CONCERNING MAN'S ENTRANCE INTO ETERNAL LIFE. After the use of light has been given to the resuscitated person, or soul, so that he can look about him, the spiritual angels previously spoken of render him all the kindly services he can in that state desire, and give him information about the things of the other life, but only so far as he is able to receive it. If he has been in faith, and desires it, they show him the wonderful and magnificent things of heaven.


But if the resuscitated person or soul is not of such a character as to be willing to be instructed, he then desires to be rid of the company of the angels, which they exquisitely perceive, for in the other life there is a communication of all the ideas of thought. Still, they do not leave him even then, but he dissociates himself from them. The angels love everyone, and desire nothing more than to render him kindly services, to instruct him, and to convey him to heaven. In this consists their highest delight.


When the soul thus dissociates himself, he is received by good spirits, who likewise render him all kind offices while he is in their company. If however his life in the world has been such that he cannot remain in the company of the good, he desires to be rid of these also, and this process is repeated again and again, until he associates himself with those who are in full agreement with his former life in the world, among whom he finds as it were his own life. And then, wonderful to say, he leads with them a life like that which he had lived when in the body. But after sinking back into such a life, he makes a new beginning of life; and some after a longer time, some after a shorter, are from this borne on toward hell; but such as have been in faith toward the Lord, are from that new beginning of life led step by step toward heaven.


Some however advance more slowly toward heaven, and others more quickly. I have seen some who were elevated to heaven immediately after death, of which I am permitted to mention only two instances.


A certain spirit came and discoursed with me, who, as was evident from certain signs, had only lately died. At first he knew not where he was, supposing himself still to be in the world; but when he became conscious that he was in the other life, and that he no longer possessed anything, such as house, wealth, and the like, being in another kingdom, where he was deprived of all he had possessed in the world, he was seized with anxiety, and knew not where to betake himself, or whither to go for a place of abode. He was then informed that the Lord alone provides for him and for all; and was left to himself, that his thoughts might take their wonted direction, as in the world. He now considered (for in the other life the thoughts of all may be plainly perceived) what he must do, being deprived of all means of subsistence; and while in this state of anxiety he was brought into association with some celestial spirits who belonged to the province of the heart, and who showed him every attention that he could desire. This being done, he was again left to himself, and began to think, from charity, how he might repay kindness so great, from which it was evident that while he had lived in the body he had been in the charity of faith, and he was therefore at once taken up into heaven.


I saw another also who was immediately translated into heaven by the angels, and was accepted by the Lord and shown the glory of heaven; not to mention much other experience respecting others who were conveyed to heaven after some lapse of time.


CHAPTER 4 ON THE NATURE OF THE LIFE OF THE SOUL OR SPIRIT. With regard to the general subject of the life of souls, that is, of novitiate spirits, after death, I may state that much experience has shown that when a man comes into the other life he is not aware that he is in that life, but supposes that he is still in this world, and even that he is still in the body. So much is this the case that when told he is a spirit, wonder and amazement possess him, both because he finds himself exactly like a man, in his senses, desires, and thoughts, and because during his life in this world he had not believed in the existence of the spirit, or, as is the case with some, that the spirit could be what he now finds it to be.


A second general fact is that a spirit enjoys much more excellent sensitive faculties, and far superior powers of thinking and speaking, than when living in the body, so that the two states scarcely admit of comparison, although spirits are not aware of this until gifted with reflection by the Lord.


Beware of the false notion that spirits do not possess far more exquisite sensations than during the life of the body. I know the contrary by experience repeated thousands of times. Should any be unwilling to believe this, in consequence of their preconceived ideas concerning the nature of spirit, let them learn it by their own experience when they come into the other life, where it will compel them to believe. In the first place spirits have sight, for they live in the light, and good spirits, angelic spirits, and angels, in a light so great that the noonday light of this world can hardly be compared to it. The light in which they dwell, and by which they see, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be described hereafter. Spirits also have hearing, hearing so exquisite that the hearing of the body cannot be compared to it. For years they have spoken to me almost continually, but their speech also will of the Lord's Divine mercy be described hereafter. They have also the sense of smell, which also will of the Lord's Divine mercy be treated of hereafter. They have a most exquisite sense of touch, whence come the pains and torments endured in hell; for all sensations have relation to the touch, of which they are merely diversities and varieties. They have desires and affections to which those they had in the body cannot be compared, concerning which of the Lord's Divine mercy more will be said hereafter. Spirits think with much more clearness and distinctness than they had thought during their life in the body. There are more things contained within a single idea of their thought than in a thousand of the ideas they had possessed in this world. They speak together with so much acuteness, subtlety, sagacity, and distinctness, that if a man could perceive anything of it, it would excite his astonishment. In short, they possess everything that men possess, but in a more perfect manner, except the flesh and bones and the attendant imperfections. They acknowledge and perceive that even while they lived in the body it was the spirit that sensated, and that although the faculty of sensation manifested itself in the body, still it was not of the body; and therefore that when the body is cast aside, the sensations are far more exquisite and perfect. Life consists in the exercise of sensation, for without it there is no life, and such as is the faculty of sensation, such is the life, a fact that anyone may observe.


At the end of the chapter, several examples will be given of those who during their abode in this world had thought otherwise. CHAPTER 4 1. And the man knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man [vir], Jehovah. 2. And she added to bear his brother Abel; and Abel was a shepherd of the flock, and Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3. And at the end of days it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to Jehovah. 4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah looked to Abel, and to his offering: 5. And unto Cain and unto his offering He looked not, and Cain's anger was kindled exceedingly, and his faces fell. 6. And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why are thy faces fallen? 7. If thou doest well, art thou not exalted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and to thee is his desire, and thou rulest over him. 8. And Cain talked to Abel his brother; and it came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9. And Jehovah said to Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not, am I my brother's keeper? 10. And He said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's bloods crieth to Me from the ground. 11. And now art thou cursed from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother's bloods from thy hand. 12. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength; a fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth. 13. And Cain said unto Jehovah, Mine iniquity is greater than can be taken away. 14. Behold, Thou hast cast me out this day from the faces of the ground; and from Thy faces shall I be hid, and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it shall come to pass that everyone that findeth me shall slay me. 15. And Jehovah said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And Jehovah set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should smite him. 16. And Cain went out from the faces of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, toward the east of Eden. 17. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bare Enoch; and he was building a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18. And unto Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begat Mehujael; and Mehujael begat Methusael; and Methusael begat Lamech. 19. And Lamech took unto him two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20. And Adah bare Jabal; he was the father of the dweller in tents, and of cattle. 21. And his brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of everyone that playeth upon the harp and organ. 22. And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron; and the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah. 23. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, and with your ears perceive my speech, for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a little one to my hurt. 24. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. 25. And the man knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and called his name Seth; for God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel; for Cain slew him. 26. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enosh: then began they to call upon the name of Jehovah.


THE CONTENTS Doctrines separated from the church, or heresies, are here treated of; and a new church that was afterwards raised up, called "Enosh."


The most Ancient Church had faith in the Lord through love; but there arose some who separated faith from love. The doctrine of faith separated from love was called "Cain;" and charity, which is love toward the neighbor, was called "Abel" (verses 1, 2).


The worship of each is described, that of faith separated from love, by the "offering of Cain;" and that of charity, by the "offering of Abel" (verses 3, 4). That worship from charity was acceptable, but not worship from separated faith (verses 4, 5).


That the state of those who were of separated faith became evil, is described by Cain's "anger being kindled, and his countenance falling" (verses 5, 6).


And that the quality of the faith is known from the charity; and that charity wishes to be with faith, if faith is not made the principal, and is not exalted above charity (verse 7).


That charity was extinguished in those who separated faith, and set it before charity, is described by "Cain slaying his brother Abel" (verses 8, 9).


Charity extinguished is called the "voice of bloods" (verse 10); perverted doctrine, the "curse from the ground" (verse 11); the falsity and evil originating thence, the "fugitive and wanderer in the earth" (verse 12). And as they had averted themselves from the Lord, they were in danger of eternal death (verses 13, 14). But as it was through faith that charity would afterwards be implanted, faith was made inviolable, and this is signified by the "mark set upon Cain" (verse 15). And its removal from its former position is denoted by "Cain dwelling toward the east of Eden" (verse 16).


The amplification of this heresy is called "Enoch" (verse 17).


The heresies that sprang from this one are also called by their names, in the last of which, called Lamech, there was nothing of faith remaining (verse 18).


A new church then arose, which is meant by "Adah and Zillah" and is described by their sons "Jabal" Jubal" and "Tubal-Cain;" the celestial things of the church by "Jabal" the spiritual by "Jubal" and the natural by "Tubal-Cain" (verses 19-22).


That this church arose when everything of faith and charity was extinguished, and had violence done to it, which was in the highest degree sacrilegious, is described (verses 23, 24).


A summary of the subject is given: that after faith, signified by "Cain" had extinguished charity, a new faith was given by the Lord, whereby charity was implanted. This faith is called "Seth" (verse 25).


The charity implanted by faith is called "Enosh" or another "man" [homo], which is the name of that church (verse 26).


THE INTERNAL SENSE As this chapter treats of the degeneration of the Most Ancient Church, or the falsification of its doctrine, and consequently of its heresies and sects, under the names of Cain and his descendants, it is to be observed that there is no possibility of understanding how doctrine was falsified, or what was the nature of the heresies and sects of that church, unless the nature of the true church be rightly understood. Enough has been said above concerning the Most Ancient Church, showing that it was a celestial man, and that it acknowledged no other faith than that which was of love to the Lord and toward the neighbor. Through this love they had faith from the Lord, or a perception of all the things that belonged to faith, and for this reason they were unwilling to mention faith, lest it should be separated from love, as was shown above (n. 200, 203). [2] Such is the celestial man, and such he is described by representatives in David, where the Lord is spoken of as the king, and the celestial man as the king's son: Give the king Thy judgments, and Thy righteousness to the king's son. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the hills in righteousness. They shall fear Thee with the sun, and toward the faces of the moon, generation of generations. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace, until there be no moon (Ps. 72:1, 3, 5, 7). By the "sun" is signified love; by the "moon" faith; by "mountains" and "hills" the Most Ancient Church; by "generation of generations" the churches after the flood; "until there be no moon" is said because faith shall be love. (See also what is said in Isaiah 30:26.) [3] Such was the Most Ancient Church, and such was its doctrine. But the case is far different at this day, for now faith takes precedence over charity, but still through faith charity is given by the Lord, and then charity becomes the principal. It follows from this that in the most ancient time doctrine was falsified when they made confession of faith, and thus separated it from love. Those who falsified doctrine in this way, or separated faith from love, or made confession of faith alone, were then called "Cain;" and such a thing was then regarded as an enormity.


Verse l. And the man knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man [vir], Jehovah. By the "man and Eve his wife" is signified the Most Ancient Church, as has been made known; its first offspring, or firstborn, is faith, which is here called "Cain;" her saying "I have gotten a man, Jehovah" signifies that with those called "Cain" faith was recognized and acknowledged as a thing by itself.


In the three foregoing chapters it has been sufficiently shown that by the "man and his wife" is signified the Most Ancient Church, so that it cannot be doubted, and this being admitted, it is evident that the conception and the birth effected by that church were of the nature we have indicated. It was customary with the most ancient people to give names, and by names to signify things, and thus frame a genealogy. For the things of the church are related to each other in this way, one being conceived and born of another, as in generation. Hence it is common in the Word to call things of the church "conceptions" "births" "offspring" "infants" "little ones" "sons" "daughters" "young men" and so on. The prophetical parts of the Word abound in such expressions.


That the words "I have gotten a man, Jehovah" signify that with such as are called "Cain" faith is recognized and acknowledged as a thing by itself, is evident from what was said at the beginning of this chapter. Previously, they had been as it were ignorant of what faith is, because they had a perception of all the things of faith. But when they began to make a distinct doctrine of faith, they took the things they had a perception of and reduced them into doctrine, calling it "I have gotten a man, Jehovah" as if they had found out something new; and thus what was before inscribed on the heart became a mere matter of knowing. In ancient times they gave every new thing a name, and in this way set forth the things involved in the names. Thus the signification of the name Ishmael is explained by the saying, "Jehovah hath heard her affliction" (Gen. 16:11); that of Reuben, by the expression, "Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction" (Gen. 29:32); the name Simeon, by the saying, "Jehovah hath heard that I was less dear" (Gen. 29:33); and that of Judah by, "This time will I praise Jehovah" (Gen. 29:35); and an altar built by Moses was called, "Jehovah my banner" (Exod. 17:15). In like manner the doctrine of faith is here denominated "I have gotten a man, Jehovah" or "Cain."


Verse 2. And she added to bear his brother Abel; and Abel was a shepherd of the flock, and Cain was a tiller of the ground. The second offspring of the church is charity, signified by "Abel" and "brother;" a "shepherd of the flock" denotes one who exercises the good of charity; and a "tiller of the ground" is one who is devoid of charity, however much he may be in faith separated from love, which is no faith.


That the second offspring of the church is charity, is evident from the fact that the church conceives and brings forth nothing else than faith and charity. The same is signified by the first children of Leah from Jacob; "Reuben" denoting faith; "Simeon" faith in act; and "Levi" charity (Gen. 29:32, 33, 34), wherefore also the tribe of Levi received the priesthood, and represented the "shepherd of the flock." As charity is the second offspring of the church, it is called "brother" and is named "Abel."


That a "shepherd of the flock" is one who exercises the good of charity, must be obvious to everyone, for this is a familiar figure in the Word of both Old and New Testaments. He who leads and teaches is called a "shepherd" and those who are led and taught are called the "flock." He who does not lead to the good of charity and teach it, is not a true shepherd; and he who is not led to good, and does not learn what is good, is not of the flock. It is scarcely necessary to confirm this signification of "shepherd" and "flock" by quotations from the Word; but the following passages may be cited. In Isaiah: The Lord shall give the rain of thy seed, wherewith thou sowest the ground, and bread of the increase of the ground; in that day shall He feed thy cattle in a broad meadow (Isa. 30:23), where "bread of the increase of the ground" denotes charity. Again: The Lord Jehovih shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs into His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young (Isa. 40:11). In David: Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that sittest on the cherubim, shine forth (Ps. 80:1). In Jeremiah: I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman; the shepherds and their flocks shall come unto her, they shall pitch tents near her round about, they shall feed everyone his own space (Jer. 6:2, 3). In Ezekiel: Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, I will multiply them as a flock of man, as a hallowed flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed times; so shall the waste cities be filled with the flock of man (Ezek. 36:37-38). In Isaiah: All the flocks of Arabia shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee (Isa. 60:7). They who lead the flock to the good of charity are they who "gather the flock;" but they who do not lead them to the good of charity "scatter the flock;" for all gathering together and union are of charity, and all dispersion and disunion are from want of charity.


What avails faith, that is, the memory-knowledge [scientia], the knowledge [cognitio], and the doctrine of faith, but that the man may become such as faith teaches? And the primary thing that it teaches is charity (Mark 12:28-35; Matt. 22:34-39). This is the end of all it has in view, and if this be not attained, what is all knowledge or doctrine but a mere empty nothing?


That a "tiller of the ground" is one who is devoid of charity, however much he may be in faith separated from love, which is no faith, is evident from what follows: that Jehovah had no respect to his offering, and that he slew his brother, that is, destroyed charity, signified by "Abel." Those were said to "till the ground" who look to bodily and earthly things, as is evident from what is said in Gen. 3:19, 23, where we read that the man was "cast out of the garden of Eden to till the ground."


Verse 3. And at the end of days it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to Jehovah. By the "end of days" is meant in process of time; by the "fruit of the ground" the works of faith without charity; and by "an offering to Jehovah" worship thence derived.


That by the "end of days" is signified in process of time, is evident to all. At first, and while there was simplicity in it, the doctrine here called "Cain" does not appear to have been so unacceptable as it became afterwards, as is evident from the fact that they called their offspring a "man Jehovah." Thus at first faith was not so far separated from love as at the "end of days" or in process of time; as is wont to be the case with every doctrine of true faith.


That by the "fruit of the ground" are meant the works of faith without charity, appears also from what follows; for the works of faith devoid of charity are works of no faith, being in themselves dead, for they are solely of the external man. Of such it is written in Jeremiah: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Thou hast planted them, they also have taken root; they have gone on, they also bear fruit; Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins; how long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither? (Jer. 12:1, 2, 4). "Near in the mouth, but far from the reins" denotes those who are of faith separated from charity, concerning whom it is said that "the land mourns." In the same Prophet such works are called the "fruit of works:" The heart is deceitful [supplantativum] above all things, and it is desperate, who can know it? I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works (Jer. 17:9, 10). In Micah: The land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their works (Mic. 7:13). That such "fruit" is no fruit, or that the "work" is dead, and that both fruit and root perish, is thus declared in Amos: I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath (Amos 2:9). And in David: Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from the sons of man (Ps. 21:10). But the works of charity are living, and of them it is declared that they "take root downward, and bear fruit upward;" as in Isaiah: The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward (Isa. 37:31). To "bear fruit upward" is to act from charity. Such fruit is called the "fruit of excellence" in the same Prophet: In that day shall the shoot of Jehovah be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel (Isa. 4:2). It is also the "fruit of salvation" and is so called by the same Prophet: Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let them bring forth the fruit of salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I Jehovah will create it (Isa. 45:8).


That by an "offering" is meant worship, is evident from the representatives of the Jewish Church, in which, sacrifices of every kind, as well as the first fruits of the earth and of all its produce, and the oblation of the firstborn, were called "offerings" in which their worship consisted. And as they all represented heavenly things, and all had reference to the Lord, it must be obvious to everyone that true worship was signified by these offerings. For what is a representative without the thing it represents? or what is an external religion without an internal but a kind of idol and a thing of death? The external has life from things internal, that is, through these from the Lord. From these considerations it is evident that all the offerings of a representative church signify the worship of the Lord; and concerning these of the Lord's Divine mercy we shall treat in particular in the following pages. That by "offerings" in general is meant worship, is evident in the Prophets throughout, as in Malachi: Who shall abide the day of His coming? He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, and they shall offer unto Jehovah an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and of Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah, as in the days of eternity, and as in ancient years (Mal. 3:2-4). An "offering in righteousness" is an internal offering, which the "sons of Levi" that is, holy worshipers, will offer. The "days of eternity" signify the Most Ancient Church, and the "ancient years" the Ancient Church. In Ezekiel: In the mountain of My holiness, in the mountain of the height of Israel, there shall all the house of Israel, all that land, worship Me; there will I accept them, and there will I require your oblations, and the first-fruits of your offerings, in all your sanctifyings (Ezek. 20:40). "Oblations" and the "first fruits of the offerings in the sanctifyings" are likewise works sanctified by charity from the Lord. In Zephaniah: From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My suppliants shall bring Mine offering (Zeph. 3:10). "Ethiopia" denotes those who are in possession of celestial things, which are love, charity, and the works of charity.


Verse 4. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof; and Jehovah looked to Abel, and to his offering. By "Abel" here as before is signified charity; and by the "firstlings of the flock" is signified that which is holy, which is of the Lord alone; by "fat" is signified the celestial itself, which also is of the Lord; and by "Jehovah looking unto Abel, and to his offering" that the things of charity, and all worship grounded in charity, were well-pleasing to the Lord.

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