תמונות בעמוד

It will be seen on adverting to our last lecture, that light, water, and blood were each given as the correspondent and representative image of truth. Perhaps some, who are unacquainted with this subject of correspondences, may not readily understand, from what was there said concerning it, how this can be. They may not at once perceive how different natural things can correspond to and signify the same spiritual principle, if, as we have said, the principle and the thing have a correspondential relation like that existing between cause and effect. But how this is may be explained in few words.

I presume it will be admitted by all, that nothing was made in vain : but that every object in creation has some spcific use for which it was created. All the things in the natural world therefore, taken together, present us with an endless variety of natural uses. Só there are all orders and degrees of truth in the Divine Humanity, and an infinite variety of spiritual uses which truth has to perform in the spiritual creation, or regeneration of man. The different natural objects therefore, which are each the representative image of truth, and which have each a different use, correspond to and signify the different operations or uses or truth.

Thus light corresponds to and signifies the use of truth in illustrating human minds: water corresponds to truth with respect to its use in cleansing the mind of those evil principles which defile it. And as water has many other uses besides that of cleansing, so there are correspondent spiritual uses which truth has to perform in the mind. But when man not only knows and understands truth, but so regulates his life according to it that it becoines a vital principle of his being, it is then received as it were into the spirit's circulation, and its use therefore is such, that it finds its corresponding natural form and representative image in blood.

Thus it is that all the different representative images of truth, whether in nature or in art, correspond to this divine principle in its various forms, degrees, relations, uses and operations in man.

We now proceed to give some further confirmations of the truth, and illustrations of the use, of the Science of Correspondences. And although this Science is equally applicable to the interpretation of the plainer portions of the Word, yet, with the view of showing its importance more clearly, we shall select for our illustrations such passages as are either unintelligible in their literal sense, or are attended with some other difficulty. We must necessarily be brief in our explanations; and shall therefore aim only to give the reader some general idea of the application of this Science to the interpretation of the Word.

It was shown in a preceding lecture that what is recorded in Genesis (ch. vii.) concerning the flood, cannot be received as true according to the literal sense, because in this sense it teaches what is manifestly contrary to the truths of science. But in its spiritual sense, as unfolded by means of the Science of Correspond: ences, this chapter addresses man's rational faculty, and is seen to be perfectly true and consistent throughout. We will here offer a few hints which may furnish the reader with a clue to the interpretation of the whole chapter by the rule of correspondences.

Water, we have said, is the correspondent of truth. But it is only when water is employed in some of its appropriate uses, that it has this correspondence. If people employ it, as they may, in drowning themselves or others, or in destroying any living thing that is useful upon earth, then they abuse it, or convert it from its appropriate and good use into an evil use. There should therefore be something to which water corresponds when it is thus abused, or turned from a good into an evil use which is opposite. And what else should its correspondence then be, but truth misemployed or used for an evil end? Truth is abused, because turned from its appropriate use, whenever it is employed to favor any evil love; and since genuine truth cannot do this-cannot favor anything that is evil--for only falsehood is in agreement with evil

, therefore the abuse of truth implies its conversion into falsity which is opposite; for to make any truth favor an evil

love, is to make that truth a falsity. Water therefore, when employed for any purpose that is not good, corresponds to truth when used to favor some evil love, thus to falsity, because truth is thereby changed into falsity.

From this opposite correspondence of water, we may learn what is signified by the waters of the flood mentioned in the chapter above referred to. They denote the falses of the Ancient Church, originating in its evil loves, which so overwhelmed the minds of the men of that Church, that the pure and innocent affections of charity, and all the things of heavenly life, perished. And this is what is denoted by that flood's destroying every living creature and substance upon the face of the earth. Earth denotes the Church, as we have before said.

The internal sense of the whole of this chapter may be seen unfolded in the first volume of the Arcana Cælestia by Emanuel Swedenborg. Without entering farther here into the meaning of the particular things there mentioned, we will quote what Swedenborg says concerning the waters of the flood, and give, in his own language, the exposition of verse 19, where it is thus written: " And the waters prevailed exceeding exceedingly upon the earth, and all the high mountains were covered, which were under the heaven.”

“That waters, in this and in the following verses, signify falses, may appear from those passages of the Word, which were quoted in the introduction to this chapter, and also in the explication of verse 6, where mention is made of a flood, or inundation of waters. It was there shown that inundations of waters signify desolations and temptations, which imply the same thing as falses, for desolations and temptations are nothing else but inundations of falses excited by evil spirits. That such waters signify falses is hence, because in general waters in the Word signify what is spiritual, that is, what is intellectual, rational, and scientific: and because these, they signify also contrary things : for every false is a kind of scientific, and appears as somewhat rational and intellectual, because it is of thought,

That waters signify things spiritual, appears from very many passages in the Word; but that they signify also falses, the following passages may serve as proof, besides what were before adduced : “ This people hath refused the waters of Shiloah that go softly; therefore behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks,” Isaiah viii. 6,7; where waters going softly signify things spiritual ; waters strong and many, signify falses. In the same prophet: “Wo to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia [Cush], that sendeth ambassadors to the sea, and in vessels of bulrushes upon the faces of the waters : go ye swift ambassadors to a nation outspread and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled,” xviii. 1, 2; denoting falses, which are of the land shadowing with wings. Again, in the same prophet: “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee,” xliii. 2; where waters and rivers signify difficulties, and also falses. In Jeremiah : 6 What hast thou to do with the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do with the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river ?" ii. 18; where waters signify falses originating in reasonings. Again, in the same prophet: “Who is this that cometh up as a stream, whose waters are moved as streams ? Égypt riseth up like a stream, and waters are moved as streams; and he saith, I will go up, I will cover the earth, I will destroy the city and them that dwell therein,” xlvi. 7, 8; where waters in like manner signify falses originating in reasonings. In Ezekiel : “Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, When I shall make thee a vastated city, as the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the abyss upon thee, and many waters shall cover thee; when I shall bring thee down with them that go down into the pit, xxvi. 19, 20; where waters signify evils and the falses thence. In Habakkuk : "Thou hast trampled on the sea with thine horses, the mud of many waters,'iii. 15; where waters signify falses. In John, The dragon cast

out of his mouth water as a river, that he might cause her to be swallowed up by the stream,' Rev. xii. 15, 16; where waters signify falses and lies. In David : Send thine hands from above, rid me, and deliver me out of many waters, from the hand of the sons of the stranger, whose mouth speaketh a lie, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood,' Psalm, cxliv. 7,8; where many waters evidently signify falses; the sons of the stranger also signify falses.

“ That by the waters prevailing exceeding exceedingly upon the earth, are signified the persuasions of the false, that they so increased, appears from what was said and shown above concerning waters, viz. that the waters of a flood, or of an inundation, signify falses : whereas in the present passage are signified falses increased, or the persuasions of what is false, therefore it is said that the waters prevailed exceeding exceedingly, which is the superlative of the original tongue. Falses are the principles of the false, and the persuasions of the false ; and that these increased immensely amongst the antediluvians, appears from what has been said above concerning them: persuasions increase immensely, when men immerse truths in their lusts, or cause them to favor self-love and the love of the world, for in such case they pervert truths, and by a thousand methods force them to agreement with their lusts; for how common is it, when a person imbibes, or frames to himself, a principle of the false, to confirm it by abundance of scientifical knowledge which he is in possession of, nay, even from the Word! Is there a single heresy but what seizes thus upon confirming things, and the things which do not consent, it even forces, and variously explains and distorts, that they may not dissent. As he who assumes the principle that faith alone saves without the goods of charity, can he not weave an entire system of doctrine from the Word without ever regarding, or even attending to, or so much as seeing, what the Lord has said, that the tree is known by its fruit, and whatsoever tree doth not bring forth good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire ? Matt. vii. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, xii. 33. What is more pleasing than

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