« AnteriorContinuar »
made, their forms, and their garments, among the ancients, represented the falses of religion, from which their worship was performed; idols of gold signified falses concerning divine things; idols of silver, falses concerning spiritual things ; idols of brass, falses concerning charity ; idols of stone, falses concerning faith ; and idols of wood, falses concerning good works. All these falses exist in those who do not do the work of repentance, that is, shun evils as sins against God. Graven images and molten images, which were idols, have this signification, in the spiritual sense, in the following passages : “Every man is brutish in his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish,” Jerem. x. 14, 15, li. 17, 18. Graven images are the work of the hands of the workman, they speak not, they are altogether brutish and foolish, the wood is a discipline of vanities, the whole a work of cunning men, Jerem. X. 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10. “ What profiteth the graven image, that the maker and a teacher of lies hath graven it, that the maker of his work trusteth therein ; and there is no breath at all in the midst of it,” Habak. ii. 18, 19, 20. “ In that day a man shall cast bis idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats," Isaiah ii. 18, 20. “ And have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, the work of the craftsmen," Hosea xiii. 2. 6. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols,” Ezek. xxxvi. 25. Clean water is truth; idols are the falses of worship. “ Ye shall defile also the covering of your graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold, thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth, thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence,” Isaiah xxx. 22. Nor is any thing else but the falses of religion and thence of worship, signified by the gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, which Belshazzar, king of Babylon, praised (worshiped,) when he drank wine with
his princes, his wives and his concubines, out of the vessels of gold, and of silver, from the temple in Jerusalem, Dan. v. 125, and following verses ; besides many other places; as in Isaiah x. 10, 11, xxi. 9, xxxi. 7, xi. 19, 20, xli. 29, xlii. 17, xlviii. 5, Jerem. viii. 19, 39, Ezek. vi. 4, 5, xiv. 3-6, Micah i. 7, v. 13, Psalm cxv. 4, 5, Psalm cxxxv. 15, 16, Levit. xxvi. 30. By idols the falses of worship from self-derived intelligence are strictly signified ; the manner in which man fashions them, and afterwards accommodates them, so as to appear like truths, is fully described in Isaiah xliv. 9, 10.
Which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk,” signifies, in which there is nothing of spiritual and truly rational life. The reason why this is said, is, because idolaters believe that their idols see and hear, for they make them gods : still this is not the meaning of these words; but, that in the falses of worship there is nothing of spiritual nor truly rational life, for by seeing and hearing, is signified to understand and perceive, n. 7, 25, and by walking, is signified to live, n. 167; therefore by these three things, is signified spiritual and truly rational life: this is signified, because by idols are signified the falses of worship, in which there is nothing of spiritual and rational life. That idols do not see, and hear, and walk, is a thing too obvious to be here mentioned, were there not some inward signification involved within it. like is also said of idols in other parts of the Word, as in these passages: “They have not known nor understood, for he hath shut their eyes—that they cannot see, and their hearts that they cannot understand,” Isaiah xliv. 18, 20. They speak not, neither do they walk, Jerem. x. 3-10. They have mouths, but they speak not, eyes have they, but they see not,”' Psalm cxv.5, Psalm cxxxv. 15, 16; by which like things are signified, because by idols are signified the falses of worship; and in falses of worship there is nothing of life which is really life.
461. “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts," signifies, that the heresy of faith alone induces on their hearts stupidity, tergiversation, and hardness, so that they
do not think any thing of the precepts of the decalogue, nor indeed of any sin, that it ought to be shuoned because it is in favor of the devil and against God. What murders, adulteries, and thefts, signify in every sense, may be seen in The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem from the Precepts of the Decalogue, where it is explained; therefore it is unnecessary to repeat it here; but what is signified by sorceries, shall be explained in the following article. Faith alone induces stupidity, tergiversation, and hardness of heart, in those who are in the reformed church, because the good of life does not constitute religion where faith alone prevails; and if religion does not consist in good of life, then the second table of the decalogue, which is the table of repentance, is like a blank, whereon nothing is written. That the second table of the decalogue is a table of repentance, is evident, because it is not there said that good works are to be done, but that evil works are not to be done, as, Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods; and if these things do not constitute religion, the result is as here stated: “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” That good of life does not constitute religion where faith alone prevails, will be clearly shown in what follows.
462. Since at this day it is not known what is meant by sorceries, it shall briefly be explained. Sorceries are mentioned in the above passage, in place of the eighth precept in the decalogue, THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, for the three other evils, which are murders, fornications, and thefts, are there named. To bear false witness, signifies, in the natural sense, to act the part of a false witness, to lie and defame; and, in the spiritual sense, to confirm and persuade that what is false is true, and that what is evil is good; from which it is evident, that by sorcery is signified to persuade to what is false, and thus to destroy truth. Sorceries were in use among the ancients, and were performed in three ways; first, by keeping the hearing and thus the mind of another con
tinually intent upon his words and sayings, without retaining aught from them; and, at the same time, by an aspiration, and inspiration of thought conjoined with affection, by means of the breath, into the sound of the voice, whereby the hearer is incapable of thinking any thing from himself: in this manner did the lovers of falsehood pour in their falses with violence. Secondly, they infused a persuasion, which was done by detaining the mind from every thing of a contrary nature, and directing the attention exclusively to the idea involved in that which was uttered by themselves, hence the spiritual sphere of his mind dispelled the spiritual sphere of the mind of another, and stifled it: this was the kind of spiritual fascination which the magi of old made use of, and which was spoken of as the tying up and binding the understanding. The latter kind of sorcery pertained only to the spirit or thought, but the former to the lips or speech also. Thirdly, the hearer kept his mind so fixed in his own opinion, that he almost shut his ears against hearing any thing from the speaker, which was done by holding the breath, and sometimes by a tacit muttering, and thus by a continual negation of his adversary's sentiment. This kind of sorcery was practised by those who heard others, but the two former by those who spake to others. These three kinds of sorceries prevailed among the ancients, and prevail still among infernal spirits; but with men in the world there remains only the third kind, and this with those, who, from the pride of their own intelligence, have confirmed in themselves the falses of religion, for these, when they hear things contrary, admit them no further into their thought than to mere contact, and then from the interior recess of their mind they emit as it were fire which consumes them, about which the other knows nothing except by conjecture drawn from the countenance and the sound of the voice in the reply, provided the sorcerer does not, by dissimulation, restrain that fire, or what is the same, the anger of his pride. This kind of sorcery operates at the present day, to prevent truths from being accepted, and, with many, to their not being understood. That in ancient times many magical arts prevailed, and among these, sor
ceries, is evident from Moses: “When thou art come into the land, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations, there shall not be found among you one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divinations, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer of incantations, and a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer; for all these things are an abomination unto Jehovah,” Deut. xviii. 9, 10, 11. A persuasion of the false, and consequently the destruction of truth, is signified by sorceries in these passages: “ Thy wisdom and thy knowledge hath perverted thee, therefore shall evil come upon thee, stand now with thine incantations, and with the multitude of thy sorceries,” Isaiah xlvii. 10, 11, 12.
By the sorceries of Babylon all nations were deceived,” Apoc. xviii. 23. “Without are dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers,” Apoc. xxii. 15. Joram said to Jehu, “Is it peace ? and he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel, and ber sorceries are so many ?” 2 Kings ix. 22. By her whoredoms are signified falsifications, n. 134; and, by her incantations and sorceries, destructions of truth by means of false persuasions. On the other hand, incantation signifies the rejection of falsity by truths, which was also effected by tacitly thinking and whispering, from a zeal for truth in opposition to falsehood, as is plain from these passages: Jehovah will take away from Jerusalem the mighty man, the man of war, the counsellor, the cunning artificer, the skilful in incantation, Isaiah iï. 1, 2, 3. “Their poison is like the poison of the deaf adder, she stoppeth her ears that she may not hear the voice of silent murmuring, the charmers of the incantations of the wise,” Psalm lviii. 5, 6. “Behold, I send serpents, cockatrices among you, against which there is no incantation,” Jerem. viii. 17. “In trouble bave they visited thee, they poured out a secret prayer,” Isaiah xxvi. 16.
463. To the above I will add this Memorable Relation. I was once looking towards the sea-coast in the spiritual world, when I observed a grand dock or arsenal