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

Arcana Coelestia


That "Abel" signifies charity has been shown before. By charity is meant love toward the neighbor, and mercy; for he who loves his neighbor as himself is also compassionate toward him in his sufferings, as toward himself.


That the "firstlings of the flock" signify that which is of the Lord alone, is evident from the firstlings or firstborn in the representative church, which were all holy, because they had relation to the Lord, who alone is the "firstborn." Love and the faith thence derived are the "firstborn." All love is of the Lord, and not one whit of it is of man, therefore the Lord alone is the "firstborn." This was represented in the ancient churches by the firstborn of man and of beast being sacred to Jehovah (Exod. 13:2, 12, 15); and by the tribe of Levi, which in the internal sense signifies love-though Levi was born after Reuben and Simeon who in the internal sense signify faith-being accepted instead of all the firstborn, and constituting the priesthood (Num. 3:40-45; 8:14-20). Of the Lord as the firstborn of all, with respect to His human essence, it is thus written in David: He shall call Me, My Father, My God, and the rock of My salvation. I will also make Him My firstborn, high above the kings of the earth (Ps. 89:26-27).And in John: Jesus Christ the firstborn of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5). Observe that the firstborn of worship signify the Lord, and the firstborn of the church, faith.


By "fat" is signified the celestial itself, which is also of the Lord. The celestial is all that which is of love. Faith also is celestial when it is from love. Charity is the celestial. All the good of charity is the celestial. All these were represented by the various kinds of fat in the sacrifices, and distinctively by that which covered the liver, or the caul; by the fat upon the kidneys; by the fat covering the intestines, and upon the intestines; which were holy, and were offered up as burnt-offerings upon the altar (Exod. 29:13, 22; Lev. 3:3, 4, 14; 4:8-9, 19, 26, 31, 35; 8:16, 25). They were therefore called the "bread of the offering by fire for a rest unto Jehovah" (Lev. 3:14, 16). For the same reason the Jewish people were forbidden to eat any of the fat of the beasts by what is called "a perpetual statute throughout your generations" (Lev. 3:17; 7:23, 25). This was because that church was such that it did not even acknowledge internal, much less celestial things. [2] That "fat" signifies celestial things, and the goods of charity, is evident in the Prophets; as in Isaiah: in Isaiah: Wherefore do ye weigh silver for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Attend ye diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness (Isa. 55:2). And in Jeremiah: I will fill the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be satiated with My good (Jer. 31:14), where it is very evident that fatness is not meant, but celestial spiritual good. So in David: They are filled with the fatness of Thy house, and Thou makest them drink of the river of Thy deliciousnesses. For with Thee is the fountain of lives; in Thy light we see light (Ps. 36:8-9).Here "fatness" and the "fountain of lives" signify the celestial, which is of love; and the "river of deliciousnesses" and "light" the spiritual, which is of faith from love. Again in David: My soul shall be satiated with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise Thee with lips of songs (Ps. 63:5), where in like manner "fat" denotes the celestial, and "lips of songs" the spiritual. That it is what is celestial is very evident, because it will satiate the soul. For the same reason the first fruits, which were the firstborn of the earth, are called "fat" (Num. 18:12). [3] As celestial things are of innumerable genera, and still more innumerable species, they are described in general in the song which Moses recited before the people: Butter of kine, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs and of rams, the sons of Bashan, and of goats, with the fat of the kidneys of wheat; and thou shalt drink the blood of the grape, unmixed (Deut. 32:14). It is impossible for anyone to know the signification of these expressions except from the internal sense. Without the internal sense, such expressions as the "butter of kine" the "milk of sheep" the "fat of lambs" the "fat of rams and goats" the "sons of Bashan" the "fat of the kidneys of wheat" and the "blood of the grape" would be words and nothing more, and yet they all and each signify genera and species of celestial things.


That "Jehovah looked to Abel, and to his offering" signifies that the things of charity, and all worship grounded therein, are pleasing to the Lord, has been explained before, as regards both "Abel" and his "offering."


Verse 5. But to Cain and his offering He looked not; and Cain's anger was kindled exceedingly, and his faces fell. By "Cain" as has been stated, is signified faith separated from love, or such a doctrine as admits of the possibility of this separation; by his "offering not being looked to" is signified as before that his worship was unacceptable. By "Cain's anger being kindled exceedingly, and his faces falling" is signified that the interiors were changed. By "anger" is denoted that charity had departed; and by the "faces" the interiors, which are said to "fall" when they are changed.


That by "Cain" is signified faith separated from love, or a doctrine that admits of this separation; and that "to his offering He looked not" signifies that his worship was not acceptable, has been shown before.


That "Cain's anger was kindled" signifies that charity had departed, is evident from what is afterwards related of his killing his brother Abel, by whom is signified charity. Anger is a general affection resulting from whatever is opposed to self-love and its cupidities. This is plainly perceived in the world of evil spirits, for there exists there a general anger against the Lord, in consequence of evil spirits being in no charity, but in hatred, and whatever does not favor self-love [amori proprio] and the love of the world, excites opposition, which is manifested by anger. In the Word, "anger" "wrath" and even "fury" are frequently predicated of Jehovah, but they are of man, and are attributed to Jehovah because it so appears, for a reason mentioned above. Thus it is written in David: He sent against them the anger of His nostril, and wrath, and fury, and trouble, and an immission of evil angels; He hath weighed a path for His anger, He withheld not their soul from death (Ps. 78:49-50). Not that Jehovah ever sends anger upon anyone, but that men bring it upon themselves; nor does He send evil angels among them, but man draws them to himself. And therefore it is added, that He "hath weighed a path for His anger, and withheld not their soul from death;" and therefore it is said in Isaiah, "To Jehovah shall he come, and all that were incensed against Him shall be ashamed" (Isa. 45:24), whence it is evident that "anger" signifies evils, or what is the same, a departure from charity.


That by the "faces falling" is signified that the interiors were changed, is evident from the signification of the "face" and of its "falling." The face, with the ancients, signified internal things, because internal things shine forth through the face; and in the most ancient times men were such that the face was in perfect accord with the internals, so that from a man's face everyone could see of what disposition or mind he was. They considered it a monstrous thing to show one thing by the face and think another. Simulation and deceit were then considered detestable, and therefore the things within were signified by the face. When charity shone forth from the face, the face was said to be "lifted up;" and when the contrary occurred, the face was said to "fall;" wherefore it is also predicated of the Lord that He "lifts up His faces upon man" as in the benediction (Num. 6:26; and in Ps. 4:6), by which is signified that the Lord gives charity to man. What is meant by the "face falling" appears from Jeremiah: I will not make My face to fall toward you, for I am merciful, saith Jehovah (Jer. 3:12). The "face of Jehovah" is mercy, and when He "lifts up His face" upon anyone, it signifies that out of mercy He gives him charity; and the reverse when He "makes the face to fall" that is, when man's face falls.


Verse 6. And Jehovah said unto Cain, Why is thine anger kindled? and why are thy faces fallen? "Jehovah said unto Cain" means that conscience dictated; that his "anger was kindled, and that his countenance fell" signifies as before that charity had departed, and that the interiors were changed.


That "Jehovah said unto Cain" means that conscience dictated, needs no confirmation, as a similar passage was explained above.


Verse 7. If thou doest well, is there not an uplifting? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and to thee is his desire, and thou rulest over him. "If thou doest well, an uplifting" signifies that if thou art well disposed thou hast charity; "if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" signifies that if thou art not well disposed thou hast no charity, but evil. "To thee is his desire, and thou rulest over him" signifies that charity is desirous to be with thee, but cannot because thou desirest to rule over it.


The doctrine of faith called "Cain" is here described, which in consequence of separating faith from love, separated it also from charity, the offspring of love. Wherever there is any church, there arise heresies, because while men are intent on some particular article of faith they make that the main thing; for such is the nature of man's thought that while intent on some one thing he sets it before any other, especially when his imagination claims it as a discovery of his own, and when the love of self and of the world puff him up. Everything then seems to agree with and confirm it, until at last he will swear that it is so, even if it is false. Just in this way those called "Cain" made faith more essential than love, and as they consequently lived without love, both the love of self and the phantasy thence derived conspired to confirm them in it.


The nature of the doctrine of faith that was called "Cain" is seen from the description of it in this verse, from which it appears that charity was capable of being joined to faith, but so that charity and not faith should have the dominion. On this account it is first said, "If thou doest well art thou not uplifted?" signifying, If thou art well disposed, charity may be present; for to "do well" signifies, in the internal sense, to be well disposed, since doing what is good comes from willing what is good. In ancient times action and will made a one; from the action they saw the will, dissimulation being then unknown. That an "uplifting" signifies that charity is present, is evident from what has been already said about the face, that to "lift up the face" is to have charity, and that for the "face to fall" is the contrary.


Secondly, it is said, "If thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" which signifies, If thou art not well disposed, there is no charity present, but evil. Everybody can see that "sin lying at the door" is evil ready and desirous to enter; for when there is no charity there are unmercifulness and hatred, consequently all evil. Sin in general is called the "devil" who, that is, his crew of infernals, is ever at hand when man is destitute of charity; and the only means of driving away the devil and his crew from the door of the mind, is love to the Lord and toward the neighbor.


In the third place it is said, "Unto thee is his desire, and thou rulest over him" by which is signified that charity is desirous to abide with faith, but cannot do so because faith wishes to rule over it, which is contrary to order. So long as faith seeks to have the dominion, it is not faith, and only becomes faith when charity rules; for charity is the principal of faith, as was shown above. Charity maybe compared to flame, which is the essential of heat and light, for heat and light are from it; and faith in a state of separation may be compared to light that is without the heat of flame, when indeed there is light, but it is the light of winter in which everything becomes torpid and dies.


Verse 8. And Cain spake 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. "Cain spake to Abel" signifies an interval of time. "Cain" as before stated, signifies faith separated from love; and "Abel" charity, the brother of faith, on which account he is here twice called his "brother." A "field" signifies whatever is of doctrine. "Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him" signifies that separated faith extinguished charity.


It is unnecessary to confirm these things by similar passages from the Word, except so far as to prove that charity is the "brother" of faith, and that a "field" signifies whatever is of doctrine. That charity is the "brother" of faith is evident to everyone from the nature or essence of faith. This brotherhood was represented by Esau and Jacob, and was the ground of their dispute about the birthright and the consequent dominion. It was also represented by Pharez and Zarah, the sons of Tamar by Judah (Gen. 38:28, 29, 30); and by Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 48:13, 14); and in both of these, as well as in other similar cases, there is a dispute about the primogeniture and the consequent dominion. For both faith and charity are the offspring of the church. Faith is called a "man" as was Cain, in verse 1 of this chapter, and charity is called a "brother" as in Isa. 19:2; Jer. 13:14; and other places. The union of faith and charity is called "the covenant of brethren" (Amos 1:9). Similar to the signification of Cain and Abel, was that of Jacob and Esau, as just said; in that Jacob also was desirous of supplanting his brother Esau, as is evident also in Hosea: To visit upon Jacob his ways, according to his doings will He recompense him; he supplanted his brother in the womb (Hos. 12:2-3). But that Esau, or the charity represented by Esau, should nevertheless at length have the dominion, appears from the prophetic prediction of their father Isaac: By thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass, when thou hast the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck (Gen. 27:40).Or what is the same, the Church of the Gentiles, or new church, is represented by Esau, and the Jewish Church is represented by Jacob; and this is the reason for its being so often said that the Jews should acknowledge the Gentiles as brethren; and in the Church of the Gentiles, or primitive church, all were called brethren, from charity. Such as hear the Word and do it are likewise called brethren by the Lord (Luke 8:21); those who hear are such as have faith; those who do are such as have charity; but those who hear, or say that they have faith, and do not, or have not charity, are not brethren, for the Lord likens them unto fools (Matt. 7:24, 26).


That a "field" signifies doctrine, and consequently whatever belongs to the doctrine of faith and charity, is evident from the Word, as in Jeremiah: O My mountain in the field, I will give thy possessions [facultates] and all thy treasures for a spoil (Jer. 17:3). In this passage "field" signifies doctrine; "possessions" and "treasures" denote the spiritual riches of faith, or the things that belong to the doctrine of faith. In the same: Shall the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of My field? (Jer. 18:14). It is declared concerning Zion, when destitute of the doctrine of faith, that she shall be "plowed like a field" (Jer. :26:18, Micah 3:12). In Ezekiel: He took of the seed of the land, and set it in a field of sowing (Ezek. 17:5), treating of the church and of its faith; for doctrine is called a "field" from the seed in it. In the same: And let all the trees of the field know that I Jehovah bring down the high tree (Ezek. 17:24). In Joel: The field is laid waste, the ground mourneth, for the corn is wasted, the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth, the husbandmen are ashamed, the harvest of the field is perished, all the trees of the field are withered (Joel 1:10-12), where the "field" signifies doctrine, "trees" knowledges, and "husbandmen" worshipers. In David: The field shall exult and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the forest sing (Ps. 96:12),where it is perfectly evident that the field cannot exult, nor the trees of the forest sing; but things that are in man, which are the knowledges of faith. In Jeremiah: How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither? (Jer. 12:4), where it is also evident that neither the land nor the herbs of the field can mourn; but that the expressions relate to something in man while in a state of vastation. A similar passage occurs in Isaiah: The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isa. 55:12). The Lord also in His prediction concerning the consummation of the age calls the doctrine of faith a "field:" Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left (Matt. 24:40; Luke 17:36), where by a "field" is meant the doctrine of faith, both true and false. As a "field" signifies doctrine, whoever receives a seed of faith, whether a man, the church, or the world, is also called a "field."


From this then it follows that the words "Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and slew him, when they were in the field together" denote that while both faith and charity were from the doctrine of faith, yet faith separate from love could not but disregard and thereby extinguish charity; as is the case at the present day with those who maintain that faith alone saves, without a work of charity, for in this very supposition they extinguish charity, although they know and confess with their lips that faith is not saving unless there is love.


Verse 9. And Jehovah said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not, am I my brother's keeper? "Jehovah said unto Cain" signifies a certain perceptivity from within that gave them a dictate concerning charity or the "brother Abel." Cain's reply, "I know not, am I my brother's keeper?" signifies that faith considered charity as nothing, and was unwilling to be subservient to it, consequently that faith altogether rejected everything of charity. Such did their doctrine become.


By the "speaking of Jehovah" the most ancient people signified perception, for they knew that the Lord gave them the faculty to perceive. This perception could continue no longer than while love was the principal. When love to the Lord ceased, and consequently love toward the neighbor, perception perished; but insofar as love remained, perception remained. This perceptive faculty was proper to the Most Ancient Church, but when faith became separated from love, as in the people after the flood, and charity was given through faith, then conscience succeeded, which also gives a dictate, but in a different way, of which, by the Lord's Divine mercy, hereafter. When conscience dictates, it is in like manner said in the Word that "Jehovah speaks;" because conscience is formed from things revealed, and from knowledges, and from the Word; and when the Word speaks, or dictates, it is the Lord who speaks; hence nothing is more common, even at the present day, when referring to a matter of conscience, or of faith, than to say, "the Lord says."


To be a "keeper" signifies to serve, like the "door-keepers" and "porters" (that is, the keepers of the threshold), in the Jewish Church. Faith is called the "keeper" of charity, from the fact that it ought to serve it, but it was according to the principles of the doctrine called "Cain" that faith should rule, as was said in verse 7.


Verse 10. And He said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's bloods crieth to Me from the ground. The "voice of thy brother's bloods" signifies that violence had been done to charity; the "crying of bloods" is the accusation of guilt, and "ground" signifies a schism, or heresy.


That the "voice of bloods" signifies that violence had been done to charity, is evident from many passages in the Word, in which "voice" denotes anything that accuses, and "blood" any kind of sin, and especially hatred; for whosoever bears hatred toward his brother, kills him in his heart; as the Lord teaches: Ye have heard that it was said to them of old, Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother rashly shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire (Matt. 5:21, 22), by which words are meant the degrees of hatred. Hatred is contrary to charity, and kills in whatever way it can, if not with the hand, yet in spirit, and is withheld only by external restraints from the deed of the hand. Therefore all hatred is "blood" as in Jeremiah: Why makest thou thy way good to seek love? Even in thy skirts are found the bloods of the souls of the needy innocent ones (Jer. 2:33-34). [2] And as hatred is denoted by "blood" so likewise is every kind of iniquity, for hatred is the fountain of all iniquities. As in Hosea: Swearing falsely, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they rob, and bloods, in bloods have they touched; therefore shall the land mourn, and everyone that dwelleth therein shall languish (Hos. 4:2-3). And in Ezekiel, speaking of unmercifulness: Wilt thou judge the city of bloods, and make known to her all her abominations? a city that sheddeth bloods in the midst of it. Thou art become guilty through thy blood that thou hast shed (Ezek. 22:2-4, 6, 9). In the same: The land is full of the judgment of bloods, and the city is full of violence (Ezek. 7:23). And in Jeremiah: For the sins of the prophets of Jerusalem, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the righteous in the midst of her, they wander blind in the streets, they have been polluted with blood (Lam. 4:13-14). 13, 14). In Isaiah: When the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the bloods of Jerusalem from the midst, with the spirit of judgment, and with the spirit of burning (Isa. 4:4). And again: Your palms are defiled in blood, and your fingers in iniquity (Isa. 59:3). In Ezekiel, speaking of the abominations of Jerusalem, which are called "bloods:" I passed by thee, and saw thee trampled in thine own bloods, and I said unto thee, Live in thy bloods, yea, I said unto thee, Live in thy bloods (Ezek. 16:6, 22). [3] The unmercifulness and hatred of the last times are also described by "blood" in the Revelation (16:3, 4). "Bloods" are mentioned in the plural, because all unjust and abominable things gush forth from hatred, as all good and holy ones do from love. Therefore he who feels hatred toward his neighbor would murder him if he could, and indeed does murder him in any way he can; and this is to do violence to him, which is here properly signified by the "voice of bloods."


A "voice crying" and the "voice of a cry" are common forms of expression in the Word, and are applied to every case where there is any noise, tumult, or disturbance, and also on the occasion of any happy event (as in Exod. 32:17-18; Zeph. 1:9-10; Isa. 65:19; Jer. 48:3). In the present passage it denotes accusation.


From this it follows that the "crying of bloods" signifies the accusation of guilt; for those who use violence are held guilty. As in David: Evil shall slay the wicked, and they that hate the righteous shall be guilty (Ps. 34:21). In Ezekiel: Thou city art become guilty by the blood which thou hast shed (Ezek. 22:4).


That the "ground" here signifies a schism or heresy, is evident from the fact that a "field" signifies doctrine, and therefore the "ground" having the field in it, is a schism. Man himself is the "ground" and also the "field" because these things are inseminated in him, for man is man from what is inseminated in him, a good and true man from goods and truths, an evil and false man from evils and falsities. He who is in any particular doctrine or heresy is named from it, and so in the passage before us the term "ground" is used to denote a schism or heresy in man.


Verse 11. And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother's bloods from thy hand. "Cursed art thou from the ground" signifies that through the schism he had become averted; "which hath opened its mouth" signifies that the heresy taught them; to "receive thy brother's bloods from thy hand" signifies that it did violence to charity, and extinguished it.


That these things are signified, is evident from what has gone before; and that to be "cursed" is to be averse to good, has been already shown (n. 245). For iniquities and abominations, or hatreds, are what avert man, so that he looks downward only, that is, to bodily and earthly things, thus to those which are of hell. This takes place when charity is banished and extinguished, for then the bond which connects the Lord with man is severed, since only charity, or love and mercy, are what conjoin us with Him, and never faith without charity, for this is no faith, being mere knowledge, such as the infernal crew themselves may possess, and by which they can craftily deceive the good, and feign themselves angels of light; and as the most wicked preachers are sometimes wont to do, with a zeal like that of piety, although nothing is further from their hearts than that which proceeds from their lips. Can anyone be of judgment so weak as to believe that faith alone in the memory, or the thought thence derived, can be of any avail, when everybody knows from his own experience that no one esteems the words or assenting of another, no matter of what nature, when they do not come from the will or intention? It is this that makes them pleasing, and that conjoins one man with another. The will is the real man, and not the thought or speech which he does not will. A man acquires his nature and disposition from the will, because this affects him. But if anyone thinks what is good, the essence of faith, which is charity, is in the thought, because the will to do what is good is in it. But if he says that he thinks what is good, and yet lives wickedly, he cannot possibly will anything but what is evil, and there is therefore no faith.


Verse 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. To "till the ground" signifies to cultivate this schism or heresy; "it shall not yield unto thee its strength" signifies that it is barren. To be a "fugitive and a wanderer in the earth" is not to know what is good and true.


That to "till the ground" means to cultivate this schism or heresy, appears from the signification of "ground" of which we have just now spoken; and that its "not yielding its strength" denotes its barrenness, is evident both from what was said concerning ground, and from the words themselves, as well as from this consideration, that those who profess faith without charity, profess no faith, as was said above.


That to be a "fugitive and a wanderer in the earth" signifies not to know what is good and true, is evident from the signification of "wandering" and "fleeing away" in the Word. As in Jeremiah: The prophets and priests wander blind in the streets, they have been polluted in blood; the things they cannot do they touch with garments (Lam. 4:13, 14), where "prophets" are those who teach, and "priests" those who live accordingly; to "wander blind in the streets" is not to know what is true and good. [2] In Amos: A part of the field was rained upon, and the part of the field whereupon it rained not withered; so two or three cities shall wander unto one city to drink waters, and shall not be satisfied (Amos 4:7, 8), where by the "part of the field on which it rained" is signified the doctrine of faith from charity; and by the "part" or "piece" "of the field on which it did not rain" the doctrine of faith without charity. To "wander to drink the waters" likewise denotes to seek after truth. [3] In Hosea: Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit; my God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations (Hos. 9:16, 17). "Ephraim" here denotes the understanding of truth, or faith, because he was the firstborn of Joseph; the "root which was dried up" denotes charity that cannot bear fruit; "wanderers among the nations" are those who do not know what is true and good. [4] In Jeremiah: Go ye up against Arabia, and devastate the sons of the east. Flee, wander ye exceedingly; the inhabitants of Hazor have let themselves down into the deep for a habitation (Jer. 49:28, 30). "Arabia" and the "sons of the east" signify the possession of celestial riches, or of the things that are of love, which, when vastated, are said to "flee" and "wander" that is, to be "fugitives and wanderers" when they do nought of what is good. Of the "inhabitants of Hazor" or those who possess spiritual riches, which are those of faith, it is said that they "let themselves down into the deep" that is, they perish. [5] In Isaiah: All thy foremost ones wander together, they are bound before the bow, they have fled from far (Isa. 22:3), speaking of the "valley of vision" or the phantasy that faith is possible without charity. Hence appears the reason why it is said, in a subsequent verse (Isa. 22:14), that he who professes faith that is apart from charity is a "fugitive and a wanderer" that is, knows nothing of good and truth.


Verse 13. And Cain said unto Jehovah, Mine iniquity is greater than can be taken away. "Cain said unto Jehovah" signifies a certain confession that he was in evil, induced by some internal pain; "mine iniquity is greater than can be taken away" signifies despair on that account.


Hence it appears that something of good still remained in Cain; but that all the good of charity afterwards perished is evident from what is said of Lamech (verses 19, 23, 24).


Verse 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. To be "cast out from the faces of the ground" signifies to be separated from all the truth of the church; to be "hid from Thy faces" signifies to be separated from all the good of faith of love; to be a "fugitive and a wanderer in the earth" is not to know what is true and good; "everyone that findeth me shall slay me" signifies that all evil and falsity would destroy him.


That to be "cast out from the faces of the ground" is to be separated from all the truth of the church, is evident from the signification of "ground" which, in the genuine sense, is the church, or the man of the church, and therefore whatever the church professes, as shown above. The meaning of a word necessarily varies with the subject treated of, and therefore even those who wrongly profess faith, that is who profess a schism or heresy, are also called "ground." Here however to be "driven out from the faces of the ground" signifies to be no longer in the truth of the church.


That to be "hid from Thy faces" signifies to be separated from all the good of the faith of love, is evident from the signification of the "faces of Jehovah." The "face of Jehovah" as before said, is mercy, from which proceed all the goods of the faith of love, and therefore the goods of faith are here signified by His "faces."


To be a "fugitive and a wanderer in the earth" means as before not to know what is true and good.


That "everyone finding him would slay him" signifies that every evil and falsity would destroy him, follows from what has been said. For the case is this. When a man deprives himself of charity, he separates himself from the Lord, since it is solely charity, that is, love toward the neighbor, and mercy, that conjoin man with the Lord. Where there is no charity, there is disjunction, and where there is disjunction, man is left to himself or to his Own; and then whatever he thinks is false, and whatever he wills is evil. These are the things that slay man, or cause him to have nothing of life remaining.


Those who are in evil and falsity are in continual dread of being slain, as is thus described in Moses: Your land shall be a desolation, and your cities a waste, and upon them that are left of you I will bring softness into their heart in the land of their enemies, and the sound of a driven leaf shall chase them, and they shall flee as fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when none pursueth, and shall stumble everyone upon his brother, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth (Lev. 26:33, 36-37). In Isaiah: The treacherous deal treacherously, yea, in the treachery of the treacherous they deal treacherously. And it shall come to pass that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit, and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare; the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again (Isa. 24:16-20). In Jeremiah: Behold, I bring a dread upon thee, from all thy circuits shall ye be driven out every man toward his faces, and none shall gather up him that wandereth (Jer. 49:5). In Isaiah: We will flee upon the horse, therefore shall ye flee; and, we will ride upon the swift, therefore shall they that pursue you be rendered swift; one thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one, at the rebuke of five shall ye flee (Isa. 30:16-17). In these and other passages of the Word, those who are in falsity and evil are described as "fleeing" and as in "fear of being slain." They are afraid of everybody, because they have no one to protect them. All who are in evil and falsity hate their neighbor, so that they all desire to kill one another.


The state of evil spirits in the other life shows most clearly that those who are in evil and falsity are afraid of everybody. Those who have deprived themselves of all charity wander about, and flee from place to place. Wherever they go, if to any societies, these at once perceive their character by their mere coming, for such is the perception that exists in the other life; and they not only drive them away, but also severely punish them, and with such animosity that they would kill them if they could. Evil spirits take the greatest delight in punishing and tormenting one another; it is their highest gratification. Not until now has it been known that evil and falsity themselves are the cause of this, for whatever anyone desires for another returns upon himself. Falsity has in itself the penalty of falsity, and evil has in itself the penalty of evil, and consequently they have in themselves the fear of these penalties.


Verse 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. By "vengeance being taken sevenfold on anyone who slays Cain" is signified that to do violence to faith even when thus separated would be a sacrilege; "Jehovah set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should smite him" signifies that the Lord distinguished faith in a particular manner, in order that it might be preserved.


Before we proceed to elucidate the internal sense of the words before us, it is necessary to know how the case is with faith. The Most Ancient Church was of such a character as to acknowledge no faith except that which is of love, insomuch that they were unwilling even to mention faith, for through love from the Lord they perceived all things that belong to faith. Such also are the celestial angels of whom we have spoken above. But as it was foreseen that the human race could not be of this character, but would separate faith from love to the Lord, and would make of faith a doctrine by itself, it was provided that they should indeed be separated, but in such a way that through faith, that is, through the knowledges of faith, men might receive from the Lord charity, so that knowledge [cognitio] or hearing should come first, and then through knowledge or hearing, charity, that is, love toward the neighbor, and mercy, might be given by the Lord, which charity should not only be inseparable from faith, but should also constitute the principal of faith. And then instead of the perception they had in the Most Ancient Church, there succeeded conscience, acquired through faith joined to charity, which dictated not what is true, but that it is true, and this because the Lord has so said in the Word. The churches after the flood were for the most part of this character, as also was the primitive or first church after the Lord's advent, and by this the spiritual angels are distinguished from the celestial.


Now as this was foreseen, and was provided, lest the human race should perish in eternal death, it is here declared that none should do violence to Cain, by whom is signified faith separated from charity; and further that a mark was set upon him, which means that the Lord distinguished faith in a particular manner, in order to secure its preservation. These are arcana hitherto undiscovered, and are referred to by the Lord in what He said respecting marriage, and eunuchs, in Matthew: There are eunuchs who were so born from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs of men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God's sake; he that is able to receive it let him receive it (Matt. 19:12). Those in the heavenly marriage are called "eunuchs;" those so "born from the womb" are such as resemble the celestial angels; those "made of men" are such as are like the spiritual angels; and those "made so by themselves" are like angelic spirits, who act not so much from charity as from obedience.


That the words "whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold" signify that to do violence to faith even when thus separated would be sacrilege, is evident from the signification of "Cain" which is faith separated from charity, and from the signification of "seven" which is what is sacred. The number "seven" was esteemed holy, as is well known, by reason of the six days of creation, and of the seventh, which is the celestial man, in whom is peace, rest, and the sabbath. Hence this number occurs so frequently in the rites of the Jewish Church, and is everywhere held sacred, and hence also both greater and less periods of time were distinguished into sevens, and were called "weeks" such as the great intervals of time to the coming of the Messiah (Dan. 9:24-25); and the time of seven years called a "week" by Laban and Jacob (Gen. 29:27-28). For the same reason, wherever it occurs, the number seven is accounted holy or inviolable. Thus we read in David: Seven times a day do I praise Thee (Ps. 119:164). In Isaiah: The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days (Isa. 30:26), where the "sun" denotes love, and the "moon" faith from love, which should be as love. As the periods of man's regeneration are distinguished into six, before the seventh arrives, that is, the celestial man, so also are the periods of his vastation, up to the time when nothing celestial remains. This was represented by the several captivities of the Jews, and by the last or Babylonish captivity, which lasted seven decades, or seventy years. It is also said several times that the earth should rest on its sabbaths. The same is represented by Nebuchadnezzar, in Daniel: His heart shall be changed from man, and a beast's heart shall be given unto him, and seven times shall pass over him (Dan. 4:16, 23, 32). And in John, concerning the vastation of the last times: I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels, having the seven last plagues (Rev. 15:1, 6-8); and that: The Gentiles should tread the holy city under foot forty and two months, or six times seven (Rev. 11:2). And again: I saw a book written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals (Rev. 5:1). For the same reason the severities and augmentations of punishment were expressed by the number seven; as in Moses: If ye will not yet for all this obey Me, then I will chastise you sevenfold for your sins (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28). And in David: Render unto our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom (Ps. 79:12). Now as it was a sacrilege to do violence to faith-since as has been said it was to be of service-it is said that "whosoever should slay Cain, vengeance should be taken on him sevenfold."


That "Jehovah set a mark on Cain, lest any should smite him" signifies that the Lord distinguished faith in a particular manner in order that it might be preserved, is evident from the signification of a "mark" and of "setting a mark" on anyone, as being a means of distinction. Thus in Ezekiel: Jehovah said, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark (that is, "mark out") upon the foreheads of the men groaning and sighing for all the abominations (Ezek. 9:4), where by "marking out the foreheads" is not meant a mark or line upon the front part of their heads, but to distinguish them from others. So in John, it is said that The locusts should hurt only those men who had not the mark of God on their foreheads (Rev. 9:4), where also to have the mark means to be distinguished. [2] And in the same book we read of a "mark on the hand and on the forehead" (Rev. 13:16). The same thing was represented in the Jewish Church by binding the first and great commandment on the hand and on the forehead, concerning which we read in Moses: Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah; and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and thou shalt bind these words for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes (Deut. 6:4, 8; 11:13, 18). By this was represented that they should distinguish the commandment respecting love above every other, and hence the signification of "marking the hand and the forehead" becomes manifest. [3] So in Isaiah: I come to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see My glory; and I will set a mark upon them (Isa. 66:18-19). And in David: O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me, give Thy strength unto Thy servant, and save the son of Thy handmaid. Set upon me a mark for good, and they that hate me shall see and be ashamed (Ps. 86:16-17).From these passages the meaning of a mark is now evident. Let no one therefore imagine that any mark was set upon a particular person called Cain, for the internal sense of the Word contains things quite different from those contained in the sense of the letter.


Verse 16. And Cain went out from the faces of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, toward the east of Eden. By the words "Cain went out from the faces of Jehovah" is signified that faith was separated from the good of the faith of love; "he dwelt in the "land of Nod" signifies outside of truth and good; "toward the east of Eden" is near the intellectual mind, where love reigned before.


That to "go out from the faces of Jehovah" signifies to be separated from the good of the faith of love may be seen in the explication of verse 14; that to "dwell in the land of Nod" signifies outside of truth and good, is evident from the signification of the word "Nod" which is to be a wanderer and a fugitive; and that to be "a wanderer and a fugitive" is to be deprived of truth and good, may be seen above. That "toward the east of Eden" signifies near the intellectual mind, where love had previously reigned, and also near the rational mind, where charity had previously reigned, is evident from what has been said of the signification of "the east of Eden" namely, that "the east" is the Lord, and "Eden" love. With the men of the Most Ancient Church, the mind, consisting of the will and the understanding, was one; for the will was the all in all, so that the understanding was of the will. This was because they made no distinction between love, which is of the will, and faith, which is of the understanding, because love was the all in all, and faith was of love. But after faith was separated from love, as was the case with those who were called "Cain" no will reigned any longer, and as in that mind the understanding reigned instead of the will, or faith instead of love, it is said that he "dwelt toward the east of Eden;" for as was just now observed faith was distinguished, or "had a mark set upon it" that it might be preserved for the use of mankind.


Verse 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. The words "Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bare Enoch" signify that this schism or heresy produced another from itself that was called "Enoch." By "the city which he built" is signified all that was doctrinal and heretical therefrom, and because the schism or heresy was called "Enoch" it is said that "the name of the city was called after the name of his son, Enoch."


That "Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and bare Enoch" signifies that this schism or heresy produced another from itself, is evident from what has been previously said, as well as from what is stated in the first verse, that the Man and Eve his wife produced Cain; so that the things which now follow are similar conceptions and births, whether of the church, or of heresies, whereof they formed a genealogy, for these are similarly related to each other. From one heresy that is conceived there are born a host of them.

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