Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
Verse 12. And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am grown old, shall I have pleasure? and my lord old? "Sarah laughed within herself," signifies the affection of that rational truth in regard to its being so done; "saying, After I am grown old, shall I have pleasure?" signifies that it was not of the affection of that truth that it should change its state; "and my lord old," signifies that the affection of truth wondered that the rational good to which truth was adjoined should also put off the human.2202.
Sarah laughed within herself. That this signifies the affection of that rational truth in regard to its being so done, is evident from the signification of "laughing" or of "laughter," as being the affection of truth (spoken of before, n. 2072). What these things involve now follows.2203.
Saying, After I am grown old, shall I have pleasure? That this signifies that it was not of the affection of that truth that it should change its state, is evident from the signification of "growing old," as being to put off the human, and thus to change the state (as explained above, n. 2198); and from the signification of "shall I have pleasure?" as being not to desire; thus that this was not its affection. How the case is with these things is evident from what was said of Sarah above (n. 2196), that she stood at the door of the tent, and it was behind him; that is, that the human rational as to truth is of such a nature that it cannot understand what the Divine is, for the reason that that truth is in appearances; and therefore that which it cannot understand, it does not believe; and by that which it does not believe it is not affected. The appearances in which the rational is, are such as to affect it, for there is delight in the appearances themselves; and therefore if it is deprived of appearances, it supposes that there is nothing of delight left; whereas heavenly affection is not in appearances, but in good and truth itself. As rational truth is of this nature, this is pardoned, and it is permitted to be in appearances, and to have delight in them. Such truth as was in appearances is represented by Sarah, when the Lord had conjoined Himself with the Divine, and therefore it is said that she "stood at the door," and that she "laughed and said, After I am grown old, shall I have pleasure?" By this is signified that it was not of its affection that it should change its state.2204.
And my lord old? That this signifies that the affection of truth wondered that the rational good to which truth was adjoined should also put off the human, is evident from the representation of Abraham, who is here "my lord," as here denoting rational good (spoken of above, n. 2198, and elsewhere); also from the signification of "growing old," as being to put off the human (also spoken of n. 2198). Human rational good is such as to have in itself much from worldly delights, for it is formed not only from truths, but also from the delights of sensuous things, and from many of the delights that are in the world. Into these delights (when the man is being reformed and regenerated) spiritual good is insinuated by the Lord; and thereby what is worldly is then tempered, and thus afterwards has its happiness therein. But the Lord utterly expelled from the rational all that was worldly, and so made it Divine; which is what the rational truth meant by "Sarah" wondered at.2205.
Verse 13. And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I indeed truly bear, and I am become old? "Jehovah said unto Abraham," signifies the Lord's perception from the Divine; "Wherefore did Sarah laugh?" signifies the thought of rational truth from the affection of it; "saying, Shall I indeed truly bear?" signifies that it wondered that the rational should become Divine; "and I am become old," signifies after it should be no longer of such a nature.2206.
Jehovah said unto Abraham. That this signifies the Lord's perception from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "saying" as being to perceive (explained before, n. 1898, 1919, 2080); and from the words "Jehovah said," as being to perceive from the Divine, for as already often shown, the Lord's internal itself was Jehovah.2207.
Wherefore did Sarah laugh? That this signifies the thought of rational truth from its affection, is evident from the signification of "laughing," or of "laughter," as being the affection which is of truth (spoken of above, n. 2072); and from the representation of Sarah as being rational truth (concerning which several times before in this chapter). This interrogation involves that the Lord perceived that in His rational there was still what was human.2208.
Shall I indeed truly bear? That this signifies that it wondered that the rational was to become Divine, is evident from the signification here in the internal sense of "bearing," to wit, that as the Lord's Divine rational is represented by Isaac (as before said, and as will be evident from what follows), so to "bear" here signifies Isaac, that is, the rational in that it should be made Divine; which the rational truth represented by Sarah could not comprehend.2209.
And I am become old. That this signifies after it should no longer be of such a nature, namely, not Divine but human, and that this latter should be put off, is evident from the signification of "becoming old," as being to put off the human (spoken of above, n. 2198, 2203). As regards the rational in general, when it thinks about Divine things, especially from its own truth, it cannot possibly believe that there are such things; both because it does not apprehend them, and because there adhere to it the appearances born from the fallacies of the senses by which and from which it thinks; as is evident from the examples adduced above (n. 2196); to which the following may be added for the sake of illustration.  If the rational be consulted, can it believe that the Word has an internal sense, and this so remote from the literal sense as has been shown? And thus that the Word is that which conjoins heaven with earth, that is, the Lord's kingdom in the heavens with the Lord's kingdom on earth? Can the rational believe that souls after death speak with each other most distinctly, without the speech of words, and yet so fully as to express more in a minute than a man does by his speech in an hour? And that the angels do the same, but in a speech still more perfect, and one that is not perceivable by spirits? Also, that on coming into the other life all souls know how to speak in this way, although they receive no instruction in so speaking? Can the rational believe that in one affection of man, nay, in one sigh, there are such numberless things as can never be described, and yet are perceived by angels? And that every affection of man, nay, every idea of his thought, is an image of him, being such as to contain within it in a wonderful manner all the things of his life? Not to mention thousands upon thousands of such things.  The rational, which is wise from sensuous things, and is imbued with their fallacies, when thinking of such things, does not believe that they can be so, because it is unable to form to itself any idea except from such things as it perceives by some sense either external or internal; and what then must be the case when it thinks about Divine celestial and spiritual things, which are still higher? For there must always be some appearances from sensuous things, upon which the thought must lean, and when these appearances are withdrawn, the idea perishes, as has also been evident to me from novitiate spirits, who take the greatest delight in the appearances which they have brought with them from the world, saying that if these should be taken away from them, they did not know whether they could think. Such is the rational as regarded in itself.2210.
Verse 14. Shall anything be wonderful for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, about this time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. "Shall anything be wonderful for Jehovah?" signifies that everything is possible for Jehovah; "at the set time I will return unto thee," signifies a state that was to come; "about this time of life, and Sarah shall have a son," signifies that the Lord would then put off the human rational, and put on the Divine rational.2211.
Shall anything be wonderful for Jehovah? That this signifies that everything is possible to Jehovah, is evident without explication.2212.
At the set time I will return unto thee. That this signifies a state that was to come, is evident from the signification of "time," as being state (see above, n. 2199). It is here said that Jehovah would "return at the set time," and then "at this time of life," or what is the same, at the present time of the following year. Each expression involves something peculiar, to wit, the "set time" involves the general of that state which is signified by "this time of life," and the general is that it was about to come; but how it was to be is signified by "this time of life." It is usual in the Word, especially in the Prophets, to describe states by double expressions seemingly alike; when yet the one involves the general, and the other something determinate in the general.2213.
About this time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. That this signifies that the Lord would then put off the human rational, and put on the Divine rational, is evident from the signification of "returning at this time of life," or at this present time of the following year, as being the conjunction of the Lord's Divine with His Human (spoken of above, n. 2193); and from the signification of Sarah's "son," as being the rational about to be Divine (also spoken of above, n. 2194). This time of life, or the present time of the following year, denotes the time when Abraham should enter upon his hundredth year, by which year is signified the unition of the Lord's Human with His Divine and of His Divine with His Human (as shown above, n. 1988). There then intervened a year, because by a "year" in the Word is not signified a year, but an entire time, and thus a whole period, whether it be of a thousand years, or of a hundred, or of ten, or of hours (as was also shown before, n. 482, 487, 488, 493, 893; and also by a "week," see above, n. 2044).2214.
Verse 15. And Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not, for she was afraid. And He said, Nay, for thou didst laugh. "And Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not, for she was afraid," signifies that human rational truth wished to excuse itself, because it observed that it was not such as it ought to be. "And He said, Nay, for thou didst laugh," signifies that nevertheless it was such.2215.
Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not, for she was afraid. That this signifies that human rational truth wished to excuse itself, because it observed that it was not such as it ought to be, is evident without explication.2216.
He said, Nay, for thou didst laugh. That this signifies that nevertheless it was such, is also evident without explication. How the case is with these things is evident from what is said above (n. 2072) concerning the signification of "laughing," or of "laughter," that it is an affection of the rational, and indeed the affection of truth or of falsity, in the rational, that is the source of all laughter. So long as there is in the rational such an affection as displays itself in laughter, so long there is in it something corporeal or worldly, and thus merely human. Celestial good and spiritual good do not laugh, but express their delight and cheerfulness in the face, the speech, and the gesture, in another way; for there are very many things in laughter, for the most part something of contempt, which, even if it does not appear, nevertheless lies concealed; and laughter is easily distinguished from cheerfulness of the mind, which also produces something similar to it. The state of the human rational with the Lord is described by Sarah's "laughing;" and thereby is signified with what kind of affection the truth of the rational, at that time separated from good, regarded what was said: that it should be put off, and the Divine put on; not that the Lord laughed, but that He perceived from the Divine what the rational still was, and how much of the human there still was in it, and which was to be expelled. In the internal sense this is what is signified by Sarah's "laughing."2217.
Verse 16. And the men rose up thence, and looked toward the faces of Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them away. "The men rose up thence," signifies that that perception came to an end; "and looked toward the faces of Sodom," signifies the state of the human race; "Sodom" is all evil from the love of self; "and Abraham went with them," signifies that the Lord still remained with them in perception, but concerning the human race; "to send them away," signifies that He willed to withdraw from that perception.2218.
The men rose up. That this signifies that that perception came to an end, is evident from the signification of "rising up," as being to go away; and from that of the "men," described above. By the coming of the three men, or of Jehovah, to Abraham, was represented the Lord's Divine perception, as shown above. The Lord's perception from the Divine at that time was first concerning the Divine Trine, which is the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Proceeding. Afterwards it was concerning His Human, that it should put on the Divine. Now follows a perception from the Divine concerning the human race, as regards its quality. These three things are what are treated of in this chapter, and they follow in order, namely, that the Divine assumed the Human, and made this Divine, in order that it might save the human race. Concerning the former two it is said that the perception came to an end, which is meant in the internal sense by the "men rising up;" but the perception concerning the human race, as regards its quality, is signified in the internal sense by their "looking to the faces of Sodom, and by Abraham going with them;" and that the Lord did not will to remain in that perception, is signified by Abraham "going with them to send them away." How the case is with these things can be better seen from the Contents which were premised, as also from the explication of what follows.2219.
They looked toward the faces of Sodom. That this signifies the state of the human race, is evident from the signification of "looking to the faces," here, to the faces of Sodom. By "faces" are signified all man's interiors, both good and evil, for the reason that they shine forth from the face (as shown in volume 1, n. 358). Here therefore "faces," because predicated of Sodom, signify interior evils, which are those of the love of self, and which evils in general are meant by "Sodom," as will be evident from what now follows. That the worst evils of all originate from the love of self, is because the love of self is destructive of human society (as shown above, n. 2045), and of heavenly society (n. 2057); and since the perversity of the human race is thence known, by the "faces of Sodom" is here signified the state of the human race.  Moreover it has been shown in volume 1, in various places, what the nature of the love of self is, namely, that it is diametrically contrary to the order into which man was created. Man is distinguished above beasts by having a rational given him, to the end that everyone may will well and do well to others, as in general so in particular. This is the order into which man has been created; consequently it is love to God and love toward the neighbor that should be man's life, and by which he should be distinguished from brute animals. This is also the order of heaven, in which it was intended man should be while he lives in the world; thus in the Lord's kingdom; and into this kingdom he would pass when he had put off the body that had been of service to him upon the earth, and there he would rise into a state continually advancing in heavenly perfection.  But the love of self is the primary and indeed the only thing that destroys all this; and not so much so the love of the world, for this is indeed opposite to the spiritual things of faith, but the love of self is diametrically opposite to the celestial things of love; for he who loves himself loves no others, but endeavors to destroy all persons whatever that do not pay reverence to him; nor does he will well and do well to anyone, except to him who is a part of himself, or can be captivated so as to be a part of himself, like something inoculated as it were with his cupidities and phantasies. Hence it is evident that from the love of self there gush forth all hatreds, all revenges and cruelties, as also all infamous simulations and deceits, and thus all heinous things against the order of human society and against the order of heavenly society.  Nay, so heinous is the love of self, that when its bonds are relaxed, that is, when opportunity of free range is given it, even with those who are in the lowest condition, it so rushes on, that it not only wills to exercise dominion over neighbors and those near at hand, but also over the universe, and even over the Supreme Divine Itself. Of this the man is indeed ignorant, because he is kept in bonds not well known to him, but insofar as these bonds are slackened (as before said), so far he rushes on; and this it has been given me to know from much experience in the other life. As these things lie hidden in the love of self, they who are in the love of self, and are not endowed with the bonds of conscience, above all others hold the Lord in hatred, consequently all the truths of faith, for these are the very laws of order in the Lord's kingdom, and these they reject so as to abominate them, which also shows itself openly in the other life. This love is also the "serpent's head," which the "Seed of the woman" (that is, the Lord) "treads down" (concerning which see volume 1, n. 257).  But the love of self is not always that which appears in the outward form as pride and haughtiness, for sometimes such persons are able to hold the neighbor in charity, for with some such an external is born, and with some it is contracted in early life, but is afterwards subjugated, the external still remaining. But those are in the love of self who despise others and make them of no account in comparison with themselves, and who care nothing for the common good, unless it is for them, and they themselves, as it were, are it, especially those who hate all by whom they are not favored and served, persecuting them, and so far as they are able depriving them of their possessions, honor, reputation, and even life. Let those who breathe such things in intention know that they are preeminently in the love of self.2220.
That "Sodom" is all evil from the love of self, is evident from the signification of "Sodom" in the Word. Although in the following chapter it appears as if the evil of the worst adultery was signified by "Sodom," nevertheless in the internal sense nothing else than evil from the love of self is signified by it. In the Word also the abominations that well forth from the love of self are represented by adulteries of various kinds. That "Sodom" signifies in general all evil from the love of self, and "Gomorrah" all falsity therefrom, has been shown in volume 1 (n. 1212, 1663, 1682, 1689), and is further evident from the following passages in the Word. In Jeremiah: A sword upon the Chaldeans, and upon the inhabitants of Babel, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighbor cities thereof, saith Jehovah, there shall not a man dwell there, and there shall not a son of man sojourn therein (Jer. 50:35, 40). This passage treats of those signified by the Chaldeans, who are such as have profane falsity in their worship (see n. 1368); and of those signified by Babel, who are such as have profane evil in their worship (see n. 1182, 1326). Their condemnation is described by the "overthrow of Sodom," that is, of evil in general, and by the "overthrow of Gomorrah," that is, of falsity in general; because they also have in their worship the evil of the love of self, and the derivative falsity.  In Amos: I have overthrown you as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah; and ye became as a brand plucked out of the burning (Amos 4:11), where Samaria is treated of, by which is signified the perverted spiritual church, and which in respect to evils in general contrary to the goods of charity is called "Sodom," and in respect to falsities in general contrary to the truths of faith is called "Gomorrah;" and in respect to both (here as previously) is called the "overthrowing of God." In Zephaniah: Moab shall be as Sodom, and the sons of Ammon as Gomorrah, a forsaken place of the nettle, and a pit of salt, and a desolation even to eternity; this shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and have enlarged upon the people of Jehovah Zebaoth (Zeph. 2:9-10), where "Sodom" denotes evil from the love of self, and "Gomorrah" the derivative falsity, of both of which "desolation" is here predicated, as previously was "overthrow." "Pride" is the love of self; to "reproach the people of Jehovah Zebaoth," is to bring evil upon truths; and to "enlarge upon the people," is to bring falsity upon them.  In Ezekiel: Thine elder sister is Samaria, that dwelleth at thy left hand, she and her daughters; and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Thy sister Sodom hath not done, she and her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, satiety of bread, and security of ease, were in her and her daughters, and she did not strengthen the hand of the wretched and needy; and they became haughty, and committed abomination before Me (Ezek. 16:46-50), where the abominations of Jerusalem are treated of, and are described by "Samaria" and "Sodom"; by "Samaria," instead of Gomorrah, as to falsities, and by "Sodom" as to evils; and it is stated what is specifically signified by "Sodom," for it is said, "this was the iniquity of Sodom," to wit that it was the love of self, which is there signified by "pride." That they turned away from the goods of charity, is signified by the "satiety of bread;" that they had acquiesced in these things, is signified by the "security of ease;" that they had no mercy, is described by their "not having strengthened the hand of the poor and needy;" and that all the cupidities thence derived are imbued with the love of self, is signified by their "daughters having become haughty;" the "daughters" are cupidities.  Hence it is manifestly evident what "Sodom" is, thus that it is not according to the historic sense in the following chapter, but that such things are there signified in the internal sense as are described here by the prophet, namely, those which are of the love of self. But Sodom is here described more mildly because the abominations of Jerusalem are treated of as having been greater than those of Sodom, as is also evident from the Lord's words in Matthew: Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city (Matt. 10:15; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12). In John: Their bodies shall lie upon the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt (Rev. 11:8), where it is evident that by "Sodom" is not meant Sodom, nor Egypt by "Egypt," for it is said that it is "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt;" "Sodom" denotes all evil from the love of self, and "Egypt" (instead of Gomorrah) all derivative falsity.2221.
Abraham went with them. That this signifies that the Lord still remained with them in perception, but concerning the human race, is evident from the series of things in the internal sense; for to "go with the three men" (that is, with Jehovah) is to be still in perception.2222.
To send them away. That this signifies that He willed to withdraw from that perception, is evident without explication. The reason is also manifest, namely, that the perception from the Divine, and the thought therefrom concerning the human race that such was their quality, struck Him with horror, for the Lord's love toward the human race was so great that He willed to save all to eternity by the unition of His Human Essence with the Divine, and of the Divine with the Human, on which account, when He perceived that they were such, He willed to withdraw from the perception and derivative thought, which is signified by Abraham desiring to "send the men away."2223.
Verse 17. And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do? "And Jehovah said," signifies perception; "Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?" signifies that nothing ought to be hidden before the Lord.2224.
Jehovah said. That this signifies perception, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive (see n. 1898, 1919, 2080). Here, as it is Jehovah who "said," the meaning is that the Lord perceived from the Divine.2225.
Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do? That this signifies that nothing ought to be hidden before the Lord, is evident from the representation of Abraham, as being the Lord in that state (as already explained several times in this chapter). That the rest of the words signify that nothing ought to be hidden, is evident. In this case the sense of the letter is similar to the internal sense, as occasionally elsewhere, especially where the essentials of faith are treated of, which, being necessary to salvation, are stated in the letter such as they are in the internal sense; as for example in Moses: 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 strengths; and these words shall be upon thy heart (Deut. 6:4-6); with other similar passages.2226.
Verse 18. And Abraham shall surely be for a nation great and numerous; and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. "Abraham shall surely be for a nation great and numerous," signifies that from the Lord will be all good and all the derivative truth; "and in him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," signifies that all who are in charity will be saved by Him.2227.
Abraham shall surely be for a nation great and numerous. That this signifies that all good and all the derivative truth will be from the Lord, is evident from the representation of Abraham, as being the Lord (often shown above), and also from the signification of a "nation," as being good (explained n. 1159, 1258-1260, 1416, 1849); here a "nation great and numerous," by which is signified good and the derivative truth. That "great" is predicated of good, and "numerous" of truth, appears from other places in the Word, but I must refrain from citing them here. The derivative truth, that is, truth from good, in the genuine sense is spiritual good. There are two kinds of good that are distinct from each other, namely, celestial good and spiritual good. Celestial good is that of love to the Lord, spiritual good is that of love toward the neighbor. From the former, or celestial good, comes the latter, or spiritual good; for no one can love the Lord unless he also loves his neighbor. In love to the Lord is love toward the neighbor; for love to the Lord is from the Lord, and thus is from love itself toward the universal human race. To be in love to the Lord is the same as to be in the Lord; and he who is in the Lord cannot be otherwise than in His love; which is toward the human race and thus toward the neighbor; thus is he in both kinds of good, celestial and spiritual. The former is the veriest good itself; but the latter is its truth, or the truth therefrom; which truth is spiritual good, as said. The former is what is signified by "great," but the latter by "numerous."2228.
All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. That this signifies that all who are in charity will be saved by Him, is evident from the signification of being "blessed," as being to be endowed with all goods which are from a heavenly origin (as explained n. 981, 1096, 1420, 1422). They who are endowed with goods from a heavenly origin, that is, with both celestial and spiritual goods (concerning which just above, n. 2177), are also endowed with eternal salvation, that is, are saved. By "all the nations of the earth" are meant in the internal sense those who are in the good of love and of charity, as is evident from the signification of a "nation," as being good (n. 1159, 1258-1260, 1416, 1849). That all men in the whole globe are not meant by "all the nations of the earth," is evident to everyone, because there are very many among them who are not saved, but only those who are in charity, that is, who have attained the life of charity.  That none may be unaware how the case is with the salvation of men after their decease, it shall be briefly stated. There are many who say that man is saved by faith, or, in their words, if he only has faith; but for the most part they are those who do not know what faith is. Some suppose that it is mere thought; some that it is an acknowledgment of something to be believed; some that it is the whole doctrine of faith, which is to be believed; and others otherwise. Thus in the bare knowledge of what faith is they wander in error; consequently in the knowledge of what that is by which man is saved. Faith, however, is not mere thought, nor is it an acknowledgment of something to be believed, nor a knowledge of all things which belong to the doctrine of faith. By these no one can be saved; for they can take root no deeper than in the thought, and thought saves no one, but the life which the man has procured for himself in the world by means of the knowledges of faith. This life remains; whereas all thought which does not accord with the life perishes, even so as to become none at all. The heavenly consociations are according to lives, and by no means according to thoughts which are not of the life. Thoughts which are not of the life are counterfeit, and such are altogether rejected.  In general, life is twofold, being on the one hand infernal, on the other heavenly. Infernal life is acquired from all those ends, thoughts, and works which flow from the love of self, consequently from hatred against the neighbor; heavenly life, from all those ends, thoughts, and works which are of love toward the neighbor. The latter is the life to which all things that are called faith have regard, and which is procured by all things of faith. All this shows what faith is, namely, that it is charity, for to charity all things lead which are said to be of the doctrine of faith; in it they are all contained, and from it they are all derived. The soul, after the life of the body, is such as its love is.2229.
Verse 19. For I know him, because he will command his sons, and his house after him, and they will keep the way of Jehovah to do righteousness and judgment; that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken concerning him. "For I know him," signifies that it is true; "because he will command his sons, and his house after him, and they will keep the way of Jehovah to do righteousness and judgment," signifies that all the doctrine of charity and faith is from Him; "sons" are they who are in truths, "house," they who are in goods, "way" is doctrine, "righteousness" has regard to good, "judgment" to truth; "that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken concerning him," signifies that the Human Essence will for this reason be adjoined to the Divine Essence.2230.
For I know him. That this signifies that it is true, is evident from the signification of "knowing." Properly speaking, to "know" [cognoscere] anyone is to know [scire] that he is of such and such a quality; and it is the same when the term is applied to anything, or to anything else: to "know" it means to know that such is its quality; and therefore to "know" [nosse] has reference to that which is predicated, and it signifies that that which is meant in accordance with the series of things is so, or is true.2231.
Because he will command his sons, and his house after him, and they will keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and judgment. That this signifies that all the doctrine of charity and faith is from Him, is evident from the signification of a "son," of a "house," of a "way," of righteousness," and of "judgment;" which when summed up, or gathered into one sense, signify all the doctrine of charity and faith. For by "sons" are signified all who are in truths, by "house" all who are in goods, by a "way" the doctrine by which they are instructed, which doctrine in regard to good is signified by "righteousness," and in regard to truth by "judgment." Doctrine concerning good is the doctrine of charity, and doctrine concerning truth is the doctrine of faith.  In general, there is only one doctrine, namely, the doctrine of charity, for (as before said, n. 2228) all things of faith look to charity. Between charity and faith there is no other difference than that between willing what is good and thinking what is good (for he who wills what is good also thinks what is good), thus than that between the will and the understanding. They who reflect, know that the will is one thing and the understanding another. This is also known in the learned world, and it plainly appears with those who will evil and yet from thought speak well; from all which it is evident to everyone that the will is one thing, and the understanding another; and thus that the human mind is distinguished into two parts, which do not make a one. Yet man was so created that these two parts should constitute one mind; nor should there be any other distinction (to speak by comparison) than such as there is between a flame and the light from it (love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor being like the flame, and all perception and thought being like the light from it); thus love and charity should be the all of the perception and thought, that is should be in each and all things of them. Perception or thought concerning the quality of love and charity is that which is called faith.  But as the human race began to will what is evil, to hate the neighbor, and to exercise revenges and cruelties, insomuch that that part of the mind which is called the will was altogether destroyed, men began to make a distinction between charity and faith, and to refer to faith all the doctrinal matters that were of their religion, and call them by the single term faith; and at length they went so far as to say that they could be saved by faith alone-by which they meant their doctrinal things-provided they merely believed these, no matter how they might live. Thus was charity separated from faith, which is then nothing else whatever (to speak by comparison) than a kind of light without flame, such as is wont to be the light of the sun in time of winter, which is cold and icy, insomuch that the vegetation of the earth grows torpid and dies; whereas faith from charity is like the light in the time of spring and summer, by which all things germinate and bloom.  This may also be known from the fact that love and charity are celestial flame, and that faith is the spiritual light therefrom. In this manner also do they present themselves to perception and sight in the other life; for there the Lord's celestial manifests itself before the angels by a flaming radiance like that of the sun, and the Lord's spiritual by the light from this radiance, by which also angels and spirits are affected as to their interiors, in accordance with the life of love and charity that appertains to them. This is the source in the other life of joys and happinesses with all their varieties. And all this shows how the case is with the statement that faith alone saves.2232.
That "sons" are those who are in truths, is evident from the signification of a "son" in the Word as being truth (see n. 489, 491, 533, 1147). By "sons" in the abstract sense are signified truths; but as applied to man, "sons" denote all those who are in truths.2233.
That a "house" denotes those who are in goods, is evident from the signification of a "house," as being good (see n. 710, 1708, 2048). By a "house," or those born in the house, in the abstract sense goods are in like manner signified, but as applied to man they denote all who are in good.2234.
That a "way" denotes doctrine, is evident from the signification of a "way." A "way" in the Word is predicated of truths, because truths lead to good and proceed from good (as is evident from the passages adduced in volume 1, n. 627); and as a "way" is predicated of truths, it denotes doctrine, because doctrine comprises in one complex all the things which lead to good, that is, to charity.2235.
That "righteousness" has regard to good, and "judgment" to truth, is evident from the signification of "righteousness," and from the signification of "judgment." In the Word, "righteousness and judgment" are many times named together, but what they signify in the internal sense has not yet been known. In the proximate sense "righteousness" is predicated of what is righteous or just [justus], and "judgment" of what is right [rectus]. There is what is righteous when anything is judged from good, and this according to conscience; but what is right when anything is judged from the law, and thus from the righteousness of the law, thus also according to conscience, because it has the law for its rule. But in the internal sense "righteousness" denotes that which is from good, and "judgment" that which is from truth. Good is all that which belongs to love and charity; truth is all that which belongs to the derivative faith. Truth derives its essence from good, and is called truth from good, just as faith derives its essence from love, and in the same way judgment from righteousness.  That such is the signification of "righteousness and judgment" is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Jeremiah: Thus saith Jehovah, Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and rescue the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor. Woe to him that buildeth his house in that which is not righteousness and his chambers in that which is not judgment. Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and righteousness? Then he had that which is good (Jer. 22:3, 13, 15), where "judgment" denotes the things that are of truth, and "righteousness" the things that are of good. In Ezekiel: If the wicked shall return from his sin, and do judgment and righteousness, all his sins that he hath sinned shall not be mentioned unto him; he hath done judgment and righteousness: he shall surely live. When the wicked turns himself from his wickedness, and does judgment and righteousness, for these he shall live (Ezek. 33:14, 16, 19), where in like manner "judgment" denotes truth, which is of faith; and "righteousness" good, which is of charity.  So in Amos: Let judgment flow like waters, and righteousness like a mighty river (Amos 5:24). In Isaiah: Thus saith Jehovah, Keep ye judgment, and do righteousness, for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to reveal itself (Isa. 56:1). In the same: To peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it, with judgment and with righteousness, from henceforth and even to eternity (Isa. 9:7), denoting that they are in the truths of faith and in the goods of charity. In the same: Jehovah is exalted, for He dwelleth on high; He hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness (Isa. 33:5), where "judgment" denotes faith, "righteousness" love, and "Zion" the church. "Judgment" stands first because love comes through faith; but when "righteousness" stands first, it is because the faith is from love, as in Hosea: I will betroth thee unto Me to eternity, and I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness and judgment, and in mercy and in compassions; and I will betroth thee unto Me in faith, and thou shalt know Jehovah (Hos. 2:19-20), where "righteousness" stands first, as also "mercy," which are of love; and "judgment" follows, as also "compassions," which are of faith from love; both are called "faith" or "faithfulness."  In David: Thy mercy, O Jehovah, is in the heavens, thy truth reacheth unto the skies [aetheres]; Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God, Thy judgments are a great deep (Ps. 36:5-6), where both "mercy" and "righteousness" are in like manner of love, and "truth" and "judgments" are of faith. In the same: Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look forth from heaven. Yea, Jehovah shall give good, and our land shall yield its increase (Ps. 85:11-12), where "truth," which is of faith, denotes "judgment," and "righteousness" love or mercy. In Zechariah: I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and in righteousness (Zech. 8:8), from which also it is evident that "judgment" denotes truth, and "righteousness" good; because "truth" is here used in place of "judgment." In like manner in David: He that walketh perfect, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth (Ps. 15:2).  As faith is of charity, or as truth is of good, the truths of good are occasionally called the "judgments of righteousness;" and thus "judgments" signify almost the same as "precepts;" as in Isaiah: They will seek Me day by day, and desire to know My ways, as a nation that doeth righteousness and forsaketh not the judgment of their God; they will ask of Me judgments of righteousness, they will desire to draw near to God (Isa. 58:2). That "precepts" signify the same may be seen in David: Seven times a day have I praised Thee because of the judgments of Thy righteousness; all Thy precepts are righteousness (Ps. 119:164, 172). It is especially said of the Lord that He "does judgment and righteousness," when He creates man anew as in Jeremiah: Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am Jehovah that doeth mercy, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I am well pleased (Jer. 9:24), where mercy, which is of love, is described by "judgment and righteousness." In the same: I will raise up unto David a righteous offshoot, and He shall reign as King, and shall act intelligently, and shall do judgement and righteousness in the earth (Jer. 23:5; 33:15).  Hence it is said in John: If I go away, I will send the Comforter unto you; and when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go unto My Father, and ye shall see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged (John 16:7-11). "Sin" here denotes all unfaithfulness. His "reproving in regard to righteousness" means in regard to all that is against good, when yet the Lord united the Human to the Divine to save the world-which is the meaning of "I go unto My Father and ye shall see Me no more." His "reproving in regard to judgment" means in regard to all that is against truth, when yet evils were cast down into their hells so as no longer to be able to inflict injury-which is meant by the prince of the world being judged. In general, His "reproving in regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment," means that it was in regard to all unfaithfulness against good and truth; and thus that there was no charity and faith; for in ancient times by righteousness and judgment were understood, as regards the Lord, all mercy and grace; and as regards man, all charity and faith.2236.
That Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken concerning him. That this signifies that on this account the Human Essence will be adjoined to the Divine Essence, is not so evident from the signification of the words as from the fact that all things said in the Word involve the Lord's coming to unite the Human Essence to the Divine Essence, by which unition He should save the human race. These are the things signified in the internal sense by His "bringing upon Abraham that which He hath spoken concerning him."2237.
Verse 20. And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has become very grievous. "Jehovah said," signifies perception; "because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has become very grievous," signifies that the falsity and evil of the love of self have grown even to consummation. "Cry" is falsity, and "sin" is evil.2238.
Jehovah said. That this signifies perception, is evident from the signification, in the historical sense, of "saying," as being to perceive, as shown several times before. When the expression "Jehovah said" occurs in the historicals of the Word, it signifies a perception which is not altogether continuous with the previous one, but is a sequent one, and sometimes a new one (see also n. 2061).2239.
Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has become very grievous. That this signifies that the falsity and evil of the love of self have increased even to consummation, is evident from the signification of "Sodom," as being evil from the love of self; and of "Gomorrah," as being the derivative falsity (shown above, n. 2220); also from the signification of a "cry," as being falsity; and of "sin," as being evil (to be explained presently); from all which it is evident that the "cry having become great, and the sin having become very grievous," signifies that the falsity and evil had come to their height, or to consummation. This is better seen from what follows, where it is said that if ten were found there the city should be spared (verse 32); by which is signified, if there were still any remains, that is, anything of good and truth; for when there is no longer anything of good and truth within man, there is then wasteness and desolation, consequently consummation (concerning which in the following verse).2240.
That a "cry" denotes falsity, and "sin" evil, is evident from the signification in the Word of a "cry." That a "cry" signifies falsity, can be evident to no one unless he knows the internal sense of the Word. The word sometimes occurs in the Prophets, and when vastation and desolation are there treated of, it is said that men "howl and cry," by which is signified that goods and truths have been vastated; and a term is there made use of by which in the internal sense falsity is described; as in Jeremiah: A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and the howling of the powerful ones of the flock because Jehovah layeth waste their pasture (Jer. 25:36), where the "cry of the shepherds" denotes that they are in falsity, from which there comes vastation.  In the same: Behold, waters rise up from the north, and shall become an overflowing stream, and shall overflow the land and the fullness thereof, the city and them that dwell therein and the men shall cry, and every inhabitant of the land shall howl, because of the day that cometh to lay waste (Jer. 47:2, 4), where the desolation of faith is treated of, which is brought about by falsities; the "overflowing stream" is falsity (as shown in Part First, n. 705, 790).  In Zephaniah: The voice of a cry from the fish gate, and a howling from the second, and a great shattering from the hills, and their wealth shall become a spoil, and their houses a desolation (Zeph. 1:10, 13), where also a "cry" is predicated of the falsities which lay waste.  In Isaiah: In the way of Horonaim they shall rouse up a cry of shattering, for the waters of Nimrim shall be desolations, for the grass has dried up, the herb is consumed, there is no green thing (Isa. 15:5, 6; Jer. 48:3), where the desolation of faith and its consummation is described by a "cry."  In Jeremiah: Judah hath mourned, and her gates languish, they have been blackened upon the earth, and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up and their illustrious ones have sent their younger ones to the waters they came to the pits, they found no waters, they returned with their vessels empty (Jer. 14:2, 3), where the "cry of Jerusalem" denotes falsities for by their "finding no waters" is signified that there were no knowledges of truth, which are " waters" (as shown in Part First, n. 28, 680, 739).  In Isaiah: I will exult in Jerusalem and be glad in My people, and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying (Isa. 65:19), where there "not being heard the voice of weeping" `denotes that there shall not be evil; "nor the voice of crying" denotes that there shall not be falsity. Very many of these things cannot be understood from the sense of the letter, but only from the internal sense, and this is the case with a "cry."  In the same: Jehovah looked for judgment, but behold a scab; for righteousness, but behold a cry (Jer. 5:7), where also the vastation of good and truth is treated of. There is in this passage a kind of reciprocation, such as is occasionally found in the Prophets, and which is of such a nature that in the place of truth there is found evil, which is meant by there being "a scab instead of judgment;" and falsity in place of good, which is meant by there being "a cry instead of righteousness" (for that "judgment" is truth, and "righteousness" good, was shown above, n. 2235).  There is a like reciprocation in Moses, where Sodom and Gomorrah are treated of: Of the vine of Sodom is their vine, and of the fields of Gomorrah are their grapes; they have grapes of gall, clusters of bitternesses. (Deut. 32:32), where there is a similar mode of speaking; for the "vine" is predicated of truths and falsities, and the "fields" and "grapes," of goods and evils; so that "the vine of Sodom" is falsity from evil, and "the fields and grapes of Gomorrah" are evils from falsities; for there are two kinds of falsity (see volume 1, n. 1212); and so also there are two kinds of evil. Both kinds of falsity and evil are signified in this verse by the "cry of Sodom and Gomorrah having become great, and their sin having become exceeding grievous;" as is evident from the fact that "cry" is named in the first place, and "sin" in the second; and yet "Sodom," which is evil from the love of self, is mentioned first; and "Gomorrah," which is the derivative falsity, second.2241.
Verse 21. I will go down, I pray, and I will see whether they have made a consummation according to the cry thereof which is come unto Me, and if not I will know. "I will go down, I pray, and I will see," signifies visitation; "whether they have made a consummation according to the cry thereof which is come unto Me, and if not I will know," signifies whether the evil has arrived at its height.2242.
I will go down, I pray, and I will see. That this signifies visitation, is evident from the signification of "going down to see," as being Judgment (explained in volume 1, n. 1311), consequently that it is visitation. The last time of the church in general, and that of everyone in particular, is called in the Word "visitation," which precedes Judgment; thus a "visitation" is simply an exploration as to quality, that is, as to the quality of the church in general, or of a man in particular; and this exploration is expressed in the sense of the letter by Jehovah "going down and seeing."  This shows what is the nature of the sense of the letter, for Jehovah does not go down, since going down cannot be predicated of the Lord, because He is always in the highest; nor does Jehovah see whether a thing be so, for seeing whether it be so cannot be predicated of the Lord, because He knows all things from eternity both in general and in particular. Nevertheless it is so expressed because it appears to man as if it were so, for man is in things that are below, and when anything appears there, he does not think or even know how the case is with things that are above, thus neither how they flow in, for his thought goes no further than to what is nearest to him, and hence he cannot perceive otherwise than that there is some such thing as going down and seeing, and this the more because he imagines that no one knows what he is thinking; besides that he has no other idea than that there is a coming down from on high, and, when said of God, from the highest; whereas it is not from the highest, but from the inmost.  This shows what is the nature of the sense of the letter, namely, that it is according to appearances and if it were not according to appearances, no one would understand and acknowledge the Word; thus no one would receive it. But the angels are not in appearances in the way that man is, and therefore while the Word as to the sense of the letter is for man, as to the internal sense it is for the angels, as also for those men to whom of the Lord's Divine mercy it is given, while living in the world, to be like the angels.  "Visitation" is mentioned in various places in the Word, and by it is signified either vastation-whether of the church or of each man-or deliverance, and thus exploration as to quality. It denotes vastation in Isaiah: What will ye do in the day of visitation? it shall come from far. To whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? (Isa. 10:3). And again: The stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof shall not shine with their light, the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine, and I will visit evil upon the world, and upon the wicked their iniquity (Isa. 13:10, 11). That by the stars and constellations which shall not shine, and the sun which shall be darkened, and the moon which shall not make her light to shine, is signified that there will be no love and no charity, may be seen above (n. 2120); and as this is vastation, it is the "day of visitation."  In Jeremiah: They shall fall among them that fall, and in the time of their visitation they shall stumble (Jer. 8:12); meaning the time when they have been vastated, or when there is no charity and faith. In Ezekiel: The visitations of the city have come near, and every man with his instrument of destruction in his hand (Ezek. 9:1). Here also vastation is treated of; hence every man has an instrument of destruction. In Hosea: The days of visitation are come, the days of retribution are come (Hos. 9:7). In Micah: The day of thy watchmen, thy visitation, is come; now shall be their perplexity (Micah 7:4), also denoting vastated charity. In Moses: In the day of My visiting, and I will visit upon them their sin (Exod. 32:34), where the people in the wilderness are treated of, after they had made for themselves the golden calf. That deliverance is signified by "visitation" is plain from many passages (as Exod. 3:16; 4:31; Jer. 27:22; 29:10; Luke 1:68, 78; 19:41-42).2243.
Whether they have made a consummation according to the cry of it which is come unto Me, and if not I will know. That this signifies whether evil has arrived at its height, is evident from the signification of a "cry," as being falsity (explained just above, n. 2240). As there said (near the end) there are two kinds of falsity, namely, the falsity which is from evil, and the falsity which produces evil. The falsity which is from evil is all that which a man thinks when he is in evil, namely, all that favors his evil; as for example, when he is in adultery, that which he then thinks about adultery: that it is allowable, that it is becoming, that it is the delight of life, that the procreation of offspring is thereby promoted, and so on; all these thoughts being falsities from evil.  But the falsity which produces evil takes place when from his religious belief a man conceives some principle, and consequently believes that it is good or holy, when yet in itself it is evil. For example, he who believes from his religion that there is some man who can save, and therefore worships and adores him, does evil from that falsity; and the same is true in regard to any other religious belief which in itself is false. As therefore falsity is from evil, and falsity produces evil, the expression "cry" is here used, signifying, as a kind of general expression, that which it involves, namely, evil; as is also evident from its being said, "whether they have made a consummation according to the cry of it which is come unto Me;" where "its cry" is put in the singular number, and "they have made a consummation," in the plural.  What a "consummation" is, was shown in volume 1 (n. 1857); and what a consummation is further, may be comprehended from the churches. The Most Ancient Church, which was called "Man," was the most celestial of all. This in process of time so far degenerated from the good of love, that at length nothing celestial remained, and then was its consummation, which is described by the state of those just before the flood.  The Ancient Church (which was after the flood and was called "Noah," and was less celestial) also in course of time so departed from the good of charity, that nothing of charity remained, for it was turned partly into magic, partly into idolatry, and partly into a kind of dogmatic system separate from charity; and then was its consummation.  Another church succeeded, called the Hebrew Church, which was still less celestial and spiritual, placing somewhat of holy worship in external rites. This in course of time was distorted in various ways, and that external worship was turned into idolatry; and then was its consummation.  A fourth church was then restored among the posterity of Jacob, which had nothing celestial and spiritual, but only a representative of it; and therefore that church was a church representative of celestial and spiritual things, inasmuch as they did not know what their rites represented and signified; but it was instituted in order that there might still be some connection between man and heaven, such as there is between the representatives of good and truth, and good and truth themselves. This church at length so fell away into falsities and evils that every rite became idolatrous; and then was its consummation. Therefore, after the churches had thus successively declined-when in the last one the connection between the human race and heaven was altogether broken, insomuch that the human race would have perished because there was no church by which there could be a connection and a bond (see n. 468, 637, 931, 2054).  The Lord then came into the world, and by the unition of the Divine Essence with the Human Essence in Himself, conjoined heaven with earth, and at the same time He set up again a new church, called the Christian Church, which at first was in the good of faith, and its members lived in charity with one another as brethren. But in process of time this church has departed in diverse ways, and at the present day has become such that its members do not even know that the fundamental of faith is love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor; and although they say from doctrine that the Lord is the Saviour of the human race, that they are to rise again after death, and that there is a heaven and a hell, yet few believe it. As this church has become such, its consummation is not far off.  All this shows what "consummation" is, namely, that it is when evil has come to its height. The case is similar in particular, that is, with every man; but how the case is with consummation as regards each person in particular, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be told in what follows. Consummation is treated of in the Word in various places, and the state which precedes is described by "vastation" and "desolation," which is followed by "visitation."2244.
Verse 22. And the men looked forth thence and went toward Sodom; and Abraham as yet he was standing before Jehovah. "The men looked forth thence," signifies the Lord's thought from the Divine; "and went toward Sodom," signifies concerning the human race as being in such great evil; "and Abraham as yet he was standing before Jehovah," signifies the Lord's thought from the Human which was adjoined in the manner stated above.2245.
The men looked forth thence. That this signifies the Lord's thought from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "looking forth," as being to think (for to "see," in the internal sense, as in common discourse, is to understand, since understanding is internal sight, and in the same way to "look forth" is to think, which is of the internal sight, that is, of the understanding); and also from the signification of "the men," as being the Divine. In this chapter throughout mention is sometimes made of "the men," and sometimes of "Jehovah" instead of "the men:" when mention is made of "the men" there is signified a Trine, namely, the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Proceeding. The Lord's thought from this Divine is signified by "the men looked forth thence." The thought was from the Human conjoined with the Divine, which conjunction was treated of at the beginning of this chapter; but the perception from which came the thought was from the Divine, therefore mention is now made in this same verse of "Jehovah"-that "Abraham was standing before Jehovah;" and when the Human was conjoined with the Divine, there was also together with them the Proceeding.2246.
They went toward Sodom. That this signifies thought concerning the human race as being in such great evil, is evident from the signification of "Sodom," as being evil from the love of self (see above, n. 2220); and of "looking forth toward the faces of Sodom," as being toward the state of the human race (n. 2219). That "Sodom" signifies the state of the human race as being in such great evil, is because by "Sodom" is not meant Sodom, but all those in the universal world who are in the love of self; and by the description of Sodom is represented the state of all who are in that evil, as is evident from what follows. That the love of self is the fountain of all evils, thus evil itself, is evident from what was said and shown of it before (n. 2045, 2057, 2219), and therefore it is here said that they were in such great evil.2247.
Abraham as yet he was standing before Jehovah. That this signifies the Lord's thought from the Human which was adjoined in the manner stated above, is evident from the representation of Abraham in this chapter, as being the Lord as to the Human; and from his "standing before Jehovah." Hence it follows without explication, that it was the thought from the Human which was adjoined in the manner stated at the beginning of this chapter, as also above (n. 2245).2248.
Verse 23. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? "Abraham drew near, and said," signifies the Lord's thought from the Human, which thought adjoined itself more closely to the Divine; "wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" signifies the Lord's grief from love toward the human race, and His intercession, urging that possibly there might be what is good joined to them, although they were evil.2249.
And Abraham drew near, and said. That this signifies the Lord's thought from the Human, which thought adjoined itself more closely to the Divine, follows from the things that precede, where the Lord's thought concerning the human race is treated of: thus without explication. That in this chapter in the internal sense the state of the Lord's thought and perception is so fully described, and at the beginning the state of the conjunction of the Lord's Human with His Divine, will possibly appear to man as if it were not of so much importance.  And yet it is of the greatest moment; for before the angels, to whom the internal sense is the Word, these things are presented to the life, together with their representatives, in a most beautiful form; besides numberless things that follow from them and bear their likeness, concerning the Lord's conjunction with heaven, and the reception of His Divine in their human; for the ideas of angels are such that they relish such things above all others, and perceive them as being most pleasant; and they are also enlightened and confirmed by them more and more in regard to the unition of the Lord's Human Essence with His Divine Essence; for the angels have been men, and when men they could not but think of the Lord as a man, and of the Lord as God, as also of the Divine Trinity, and form for themselves various ideas, although at that time they knew not of what quality these ideas were.  For heavenly arcana are of such a nature that although they surpass all apprehension, yet everyone forms for himself some idea of them; for nothing can possibly be retained in the memory, still less enter into anything of thought, except by means of some idea formed in one way or another. And because their ideas could not be formed otherwise than from things in the world, or from things analogous to those in the world; and because fallacies then insinuated themselves from things not understood (which in the other life alienate the ideas of thought-which are then more internal-from the truth and good of faith), in order that such things may be dispersed, so much is said in this chapter, in its internal sense, about the conjunction of the Lord's Human with His divine, and about His perception and thought; and accordingly when the Word is read, these things are so presented to the perception of the angels that their former ideas, formed from other sources and from scruples easily springing therefrom, are gradually dissipated, and new ideas are insinuated that are in conformity with the light of truth in which the angels are. This takes place more with the spiritual angels than with the celestial; for according to the purification of their ideas are they perfected for the reception of celestial things. It is known that heaven is not pure before the Lord; and it is a truth that the angels are continually being perfected.2250.
Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? That this signifies the Lord's grief from love toward the human race, and His intercession urging that possibly there might be what is good adjoined to them although they were evil, is evident from the zeal of love that here shines forth, and still more in verse 25 just below, where it is said, "Be it far from Thee to do according to this thing, to cause the righteous to die with the wicked, that so the righteous be as the wicked; be it far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do judgment?" The same is evident from the signification of "the righteous" as being good (see n. 612, 2235), and from the signification of "the wicked" as being opposite to "the righteous," that is, opposite to good, thus evil. It is likewise evident from these words, as also from the things that follow in this chapter, that there is intercession. The Lord's intercession for the human race existed at the time when He was in the world, and in fact when He was in a state of humiliation, for as before said, He then spoke with Jehovah as with another. But of course in His state of glorification when the Human Essence has become united to the Divine Essence, and is itself also Jehovah, He does not intercede, but has mercy and affords aid from His Divine, and saves. It is Mercy itself which is the intercession, for such is its essence.