Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
They cried unto Lot and said unto him. That this signifies falsity from evil becoming angry against good, can be seen from the signification of "crying," and also of "Lot," and thereby from the feeling that is expressed. That the term "crying" is predicated of falsity, was shown above (n. 2240); and that "Lot" represents the men of the church who are in good, thus good itself (n. 2324). From this and from the feeling of anger expressed in these words, it is evident that they signify falsity from evil becoming angry against good. That there are many kinds of falsity, but in general two, namely, the falsity which is produced from evil, and that which produces evil, may be seen above (n. 1188, 1212, 1295, 1679, 2243).  The falsity from evil, within the church, is especially that falsity which favors evils of life-such as that good, that is, charity, does not make a man of the church, but truth, that is, faith; and that a man is saved howsoever he may have lived in evils during the whole course of his life, provided that when corporeal things are lulled to sleep, as is usual a short time before death, he utters something of faith with apparent affection. This is the falsity which is especially angry against good, and is signified by their "crying to Lot." The cause of anger is all that which endeavors to destroy the delight of any love. It is called "anger" when evil attacks good, but "zeal" when good reproves evil.2352.
Where are the men that came unto thee? That this signifies a denial of the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from the signification of the "two men" (explained above, n. 2320); also from the feeling latent in the words expressive of this anger; and likewise from what immediately follows, where it is said, "Bring them out unto us, that we may know them;" all of which show that denial is involved. (That they who are against the good of charity are against the Lord and deny Him in heart, although they profess Him with the mouth for the sake of the love of self and of the world, may be seen above, n. 2343, 2349.)2353.
This night. That this signifies the last time, when these are no longer acknowledged, is evident from the signification of "night," as being a time of darkness, when the things of light are no longer seen. The angels did not come in the night, but in the evening; but as it is the men of Sodom who spoke and cried out, that is, those who are in falsity and evil, it is not said in the "evening," but in the "night." For in the Word "night" signifies the time and state when there is no longer any light of truth, but merely falsity and evil.  Thus the last time when comes the Judgment; with which signification it is often found, as in Micah: Against the prophets that lead the people astray: It shall be night unto you that ye have no vision; and it shall be darkness to you, that ye shall not divine, and the sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them (Micah 3:5-6). "Prophets" here denote those who teach falsities; "night," "darkness," the "going down of the sun," and the "blackening day," denote falsities and evils.  In John: If anyone walk in the day, he stumbleth not; but if anyone walk in the night he stumbleth, because the light is not in him (John 11:9-10); where "night" denotes falsity from evil; "light," truth from good; for as all the light of truth is from good, so all the night of falsity is from evil.  Again: I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day; the night cometh when no one can work (John 9:4); "day" denotes the time and state when there is what is good and true; but "night" when there is what is evil and false.  In Luke: I say unto you, in that night there shall be two upon one bed, the one shall be accepted, the other abandoned (Luke 17:34); here "night" denotes the last time, when there is no longer any truth of faith.  Inasmuch as when the sons of Israel went out from Egypt there was represented in that country the vastation of good and truth within the church, and that there then reigned therein nothing but what was evil and false, it was commanded that they should go out at midnight (Exod. 11:4); and it also came to pass that at midnight all the firstborn of Egypt were slain (Exod. 12:12, 29, 30). And inasmuch as they who are in what is good and true, who were represented by the sons of Israel, are guarded when among falsities and evils (as was Lot in Sodom), that night, in respect to them, is called "a night of the guardings of Jehovah" (verse 42).2354.
Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. That this signifies that they desired to show that it is false to acknowledge that these exist (namely, the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding), is evident from the signification of the "two angels" (see n. 2320); as also from the angry feeling with which these things were said, and in which there is what is expressive of denial.  There is here described the first state of a vastated church; that is, the state when there begins to be no faith because there is no charity; which state as before said is that because they are against the good of charity they are also in no faith, and especially in no acknowledgment of the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding. These are at heart denied by all who are in a life of evil, that is, by all who despise others in comparison with themselves, who hate those who do not pay them respect, who feel a delight in being revenged on them, who even feel delight in cruelty, and who regard adulteries as matters of no moment. The Pharisees of old, who openly denied the Lord's Divinity, did better than is the case with such men at the present day, who for the sake of their own exaltation and sordid enrichment outwardly worship Him in a holy manner, but inwardly cherish that profane state. The successive development and doom of such as these is described in what follows by the men of Sodom, and finally by the overthrow of that city (verses 24-25).  The case with man (as before stated several times) is that there are with him evil spirits, and at the same time angels. Through the evil spirits he communicates with hell, and through the angels with heaven (n. 687, 697). Insofar therefore as his life approximates to what is evil, so far hell flows in; but insofar as his life approximates to what is good, so far heaven flows in, and therefore the Lord. From this it is evident that they who are in a life of evil cannot acknowledge the Lord, but frame for themselves innumerable things against Him; because the phantasies of hell flow in and are received by them. But they who are in a life of good acknowledge the Lord, because heaven flows in, in which love and charity are the main thing; because heaven is the Lord's, from whom come all things of love and charity (see n. 537, 540, 547, 548, 551, 553, 685, 2130).2355.
Verses 6, 7. And Lot went out unto them to the door [janua], and shut the door [ostium] behind him. And he said, I pray you my brethren do not wickedly. "Lot went out unto them to the door," signifies that he applied himself prudently; "and shut the door behind him," signifies lest they should do violence to the good of charity, and also deny the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding; "and he said," signifies exhortation; "I pray you my brethren do not wickedly," signifies that they should not do violence to them. He calls them "brethren," because it is from good that he exhorts them.2356.
And Lot went out unto them to the door. That this signifies that he applied himself prudently, is evident from the interior sense of the expression "door," and of "going out to the door." In the Word a "door" signifies that which introduces or gives admission either to truth, to good, or to the Lord. Hence it is that a "door" signifies truth itself, good itself, and also the Lord Himself; for truth leads to good, and good to the Lord. Such things were represented by the door and veils of the Tent, and also of the Temple (see n. 2145, 2152, 2576).  That this is the signification of a "door," is evident from the Lord's words in John: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber; but he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep; to him the porter openeth. I am the door of the sheep; by Me if anyone enter in, he shall be saved (John 10:1-3, 7, 9). Here the "door" denotes truth and good, and therefore the Lord, who is truth itself and good itself. From this it is evident what is signified by being admitted into heaven through the door, and consequently what is signified by the keys with which the door is opened.  But in the present case by the "door" is signified some good adapted to the character of those who beset the house; for the "door" [janua] is here distinguished from the "door" [ostium], and was at the front of the house (as is evident from the fact that Lot went out and closed the door behind him) and from what immediately follows it is evident that the good in question was a blessedness of life by which he would persuade those who were in falsity and evil; for such do not suffer themselves to be persuaded by the veriest good itself, but reject it. From all which it is evident that by "going out to the door" is here signified that he applied himself prudently.2357.
And shut the door behind him. That this signifies lest they should do violence to the good of charity and should also deny the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from what has been already said. In the present case to "shut the door" denotes lest they should enter into the good signified by the "house," and therefore to the Lord's Divine and Holy.  These things involve still deeper arcana, into the sense and idea of which the angels come when these words are being read, namely, that they who are in a life of evil are admitted no further than to the knowledge of good and of the Lord, but not into the veriest acknowledgment and faith; for the reason that so long as they are in evil they cannot be at the same time in good. No one can at the same time serve two masters. When a man who once acknowledges and believes returns to a life of evil, he profanes what is good and holy; but he who does not acknowledge and believe, cannot profane. Care is therefore taken by the Lord's Divine Providence lest a man be admitted further into the very acknowledgment and faith of the heart than he can afterwards be kept; and this on account of the punishment of profanation, which is the most grievous in hell.  This is the reason why at the present day it is vouchsafed to so few, to believe from the heart that the good of love and charity are heaven in man, and that all the Divine is in the Lord; for at the present day men are in a life of evil. This then is what is more interiorly signified by Lot's shutting the door behind him; for this door was an inner door, through which there was admission into the house itself where the angels were; that is, into the good in which is the Lord.2358.
And he said. That this signifies exhortation, is evident from what now follows, thus without further explication.2359.
I pray you my brethren do not wickedly. That this signifies that they should not do violence to them, namely, to the good of charity and the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from the signification of "doing wickedly," as being to do violence. From all this it is evident that those are treated of who are within the church, and that it is they who are meant by the "men of Sodom;" for no one can do violence to these holy things except one who is in possession of the Word. That these things are most holy can be seen from the fact that no one can be admitted into the Lord's kingdom (that is, into heaven) unless he is in the good of love and of charity; and no one can be in the good of love and of charity, unless he acknowledges the Lord's Divine and Holy; for this good flows in from Him alone, and indeed into the good itself which is from Him. The Divine cannot flow in except into the Divine, nor be communicated to man except through the Lord's Divine Human and His Holy thence derived. From this we can understand how it is that the Lord is the all in all of His kingdom; and also that nothing of the good that is with man is man's, but is the Lord's.2360.
That Lot calls them "brethren" because it is from good that he exhorts them, is evident from the signification of a "brother." In the Word "brother" signifies the same as "neighbor," for the reason that everyone ought to love his neighbor as himself; thus brethren were so called from love; or what is the same, from good. This manner of naming and addressing the neighbor comes from the fact that in heaven the Lord is the Father of all and loves all as His children; and thus that love is spiritual conjunction. From this the universal heaven resembles as it were one family derived from love and charity (n. 685, 917).  Therefore as all the sons of Israel represented the Lord's heavenly kingdom, that is, the kingdom of love and charity; among each other they were called "brethren," and also "companions;" but the latter, that is, "companions," not from the good of love, but from the truth of faith; as in Isaiah: They help every man his companion, and he saith to his brother, Be of good courage (Isa. 41:6). In Jeremiah: Thus shall ye say every man to his companion, and every man to his brother, What hath Jehovah answered? and what hath Jehovah spoken? (Jer. 23:35). In David: For my brethren and companions' sakes I will say, Peace be within thee (Ps. 122:8). In Moses: He shall not press upon his companion or his brother, because the release of Jehovah hath been proclaimed (Deut. 15:2, 3). In Isaiah: I will confound Egypt with Egypt, and they shall fight every man against his brother, and every man against his companion (Isa. 19:2). In Jeremiah: Beware every man of his companion, and trust ye not in any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every companion will slander (Jer. 9:4).  That all who were of that church were called by the one name "brethren," see in Isaiah: They shall bring all your brethren out of all the nations for an offering unto Jehovah, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to the mountain of My holiness, Jerusalem (Isa. 66:20). They who know nothing beyond the sense of the letter, as was the case with the Jews, believe that no others are signified than the posterity of Jacob; thus that they will be brought back to Jerusalem upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, by those whom they call the Gentiles. But by the "brethren" are meant all who are in good; and by the "horses," " chariots," and "litters," the things which are of truth and good; and by "Jerusalem" the Lord's kingdom.  In Moses: When there shall be among thee a needy one of one of thy brethren, in one of thy gates, thou shalt not harden thy heart, and shalt not shut thy hand from thy needy brother (Deut. 15:7, 11). Again: From among thy brethren thou shalt set a King over thee; thou mayest not put over thee a foreigner, who is not thy brother, and his heart shall not be lifted up above his brethren (Deut. 17:15, 20). Again: A prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee; him shall ye obey (Deut. 18:15, 18).  From all this it is evident that the Jews and Israelites all called one another brethren; but those united by covenant they called companions. Yet as they understood nothing beyond the historical and worldly things of the Word, they believed that they called one another brethren because they were all sons of one father, or of Abraham; yet they were not called "brethren" in the Word from this circumstance, but from the good which they represented. "Abraham" also, in the internal sense, denotes nothing else than love itself, that is, the Lord (n. 1893, 1965, 1989, 2011), whose sons, consequently those who are "brethren," are those who are in good, in fact all those who are called the neighbor; as the Lord teaches in Matthew: One is your Master, Christ; all ye are brethren (Matt. 23:8).  Again: Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment; whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. If thou offer a gift upon the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother (Matt. 5:22-24). Again: Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye? How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye (Matt. 7:2-4)? Again: If thy brother sin against thee, go and show him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother (Matt. 18:15). Again: Peter coming to Him said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? (Matt. 18:21). Again: So also will My heavenly Father do unto you, if ye from the heart forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses (Matt. 18:35).  It is clear from these teachings that all in the universe who are the neighbor are called "brethren," and this because everyone ought to love his neighbor as himself, thus they are so called from love or good. And as the Lord is good itself, and regards all from good, and is Himself the Neighbor in the highest sense, He also calls them "brethren," as in John: Jesus said to Mary, Go to My brethren (John 20:17). And in Matthew: The King answering shall say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matt. 25:40). Thus it is evident that "brother" is a term of love.2361.
Verse 8. Behold I pray I have two daughters who have not known man; let me I pray bring them out unto you, and ye may do unto them as is good in your eyes; only unto these men do not anything; for therefore are they come under the shadow of my roof. "Behold I pray I have two daughters who have not known man," signifies the affections of good and of truth; "let me I pray bring them out unto you," signifies blessedness therefrom; "and ye may do unto them as is good in your eyes," signifies enjoyment insofar as they perceived it to be from good; "only unto these men do not anything;" signifies that they should not do violence to the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding; "for therefore are they come under the shadow of my roof," signifies that they are in the good of charity; the "shadow of the roof," denoting in his obscure general [perception] of it.2362.
Behold I pray I have two daughters who have not known man. That this signifies the affections of good and of truth, is evident from the signification of "daughters," as being affections (see n. 489-491). Their "not having known man" signifies that falsity had not contaminated them; for "man" [vir] signifies rational truth, as also in the opposite sense falsity (n. 265, 749, 1007). There are two affections, namely, of good and of truth (see n. 1997). The former, or the affection of good, constitutes the celestial church, and is called in the Word the "daughter of Zion," and also the "virgin daughter of Zion;" but the latter, or the affection of truth, constitutes the spiritual church, and is called in the Word the "daughter of Jerusalem."  As in Isaiah: The virgin daughter of Zion hath despised thee, hath mocked at thee; after thee hath the daughter of Jerusalem shaken her head (Isa. 37:22; 2 Kings 19:21). In Jeremiah: What shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem; what shall I equal to thee, and comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion (Lam. 2:13). In Micah: Thou, O tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion, even to thee shall it come, and the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem (Micah 4:8). In Zephaniah: Shout, O daughter of Zion; make a loud noise, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem (Zeph. 3:14). In Zechariah: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; make a loud noise, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King shall come unto thee (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5; John 12:15).  That the celestial church, or the Lord's celestial kingdom, is called the "daughter of Zion" from the affection of good, that is, from love to the Lord Himself, may be seen further in Isaiah (10:32; 16:1; 52:2; 62:11; Jer. 4:31; 6:2, 23; Lam. 1:6; 2:1, 4, 8, 10; Micah 4:10, 13; Zech. 2:10; Ps. 9:14). And that the spiritual church, or the Lord's spiritual kingdom, is called the "daughter of Jerusalem" from the affection of truth, and thus from charity toward the neighbor, may be seen in Jeremiah (Lam. 2:15). Both of these churches and their characteristics have been treated of many times in volume 1.  From the fact that the celestial church is from love to the Lord in love toward the neighbor, it is likened especially to an unmarried daughter or virgin, and indeed is also called a "virgin," as in John: These are they who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins; these are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, for they are without spot before the throne of God (Rev. 14:4-5). That this might be represented in the Jewish Church also, it was enjoined upon the priests that they should not take widows, but virgins, for wives (Lev. 21:13-15; Ezek. 44:22).  From the things contained in this verse it can be seen how pure is the Word in the internal sense, although it may not so appear in the letter; for when these words are read: "Behold I pray I have two daughters who have not known man; let me I pray bring them out unto you, and ye may do unto them as is good in your eyes, only unto these men do not anything," nothing but what is impure enters the ideas, especially the ideas of those who are in a life of evil. And yet how chaste these words are in the internal sense, is manifest from the explication, by which it is shown that they signify the affections of good and of truth, and the blessedness which they who do no violence to the Lord's Divine and Holy perceive from the enjoyment of them.2363.
Let me I pray bring them out unto you. That this signifies blessedness therefrom, that is, from the affections of good and of truth, is evident from the sense of these words when they are predicated of the affections which are here meant by the "daughters." As regards the thing itself, namely, that there is blessedness and happiness solely in the affection of good and of truth, it is a matter profoundly unknown to all who are in evil and its delight. To them the blessedness in the affection of good and of truth appears either as something that is nonexistent, or as something that is sad; while to some it appears as what is painful, and even deadly. This is the case with the genii and the spirits of hell, who think and believe that if the delight of the love of self and of the world, consequently of the evils therein originating, were taken away from them, nothing of life could remain to them; and when they are shown that true life with its blessedness and happiness then begins, they feel a kind of sadness from the loss of their own delight; and when they are brought among those who are in such a life, pain and torture seize upon them; and besides this, they then begin to feel in themselves something that is cadaverous and direfully infernal; so that they call heaven (which is the abode of this blessedness and happiness) their hell, and flee away, in order so far as possible to remove and hide themselves from the Lord's face.  That nevertheless all blessedness and happiness consist in the affection of the good which is of love and charity, and also of the truth which is of faith insofar as the latter leads to the former, can be seen from the fact that heaven (that is, angelic life) consists in this blessedness, and that it affects from the inmosts those who receive it, because it flows in through the inmosts from the Lord (see n. 540, 541, 545). Then also do wisdom and intelligence enter into and fill the inmost recesses of the mind, and kindle the good with heavenly flame, and the truth with heavenly light; and this with a perception of blessedness and happiness of which no description can be given except that they are unutterable. They who are in this state perceive how dead, how sad, and how lamentable is the life of those who are in the evils of the love of self and of the world.  In order to obtain a clear idea of the nature of this life of the love of self and of the world (or what is the same, of a life of pride, avarice, envy, hatred, revenge, unmercifulness, adultery), let any person of talent make for himself an impersonation of some one of these evils; or if he can, let him paint it before his eyes in accordance with the ideas he is able to conceive of it from experience, knowledge, and reason; and he will then see, in proportion to the energy of his description or picture, how horrible these evils are, and that they are diabolical forms, in which there is nothing human. Forms such as these do all those become after death who perceive the delight of their life in such evils, and the greater is their delight in them, the more horrible are their own forms.  On the other hand, let the same person delineate for himself an impersonation of love and charity, or let him express it before his eyes under some form; and then in proportion to his power of description or portrayal he will see that the form is angelic, full of bliss and beauty, and pervaded within with what is heavenly and Divine. Can anyone believe that these two forms can abide together? or that the diabolical form can be put off and be transmuted into the form of charity? and this by a faith to which the life is contrary? For after death everyone's life remains; or what is the same, his affection; and in accordance with this is then all his thought, and consequently his faith, which thus manifests itself as it had been at heart.2364.
And ye may do unto them as is good in your eyes. That this signifies enjoyment insofar as [they perceived it to be] from good, can be seen even from the sense of the words, as well as from the series, when these words are predicated of the affections signified by the "daughters." That Lot applied himself prudently, is signified by his "going out unto them to the door" (n. 2356). This prudence is evident from the words just quoted, together with what else is contained in this verse, namely, that they should enjoy the blessedness of the affections of good and of truth, insofar as this was from good; which is signified by their "doing unto them as was good in their eyes." To enjoy insofar as this was from good, here means insofar as they knew it to be good, beyond which no one is required to go; for all are bent by the Lord to the good of life through the good of their faith, thus Gentiles otherwise than Christians, the simple otherwise than the learned, little children otherwise than adults. They who have imbued their life with evil are bent by abstaining from evil and intending good, and by doing this according to their apprehension. It is their intention or end that is regarded; and although their acts may not be good in themselves, they nevertheless derive from the end something of good, and of the derivative life, which makes their blessedness.2365.
Only unto these men do not anything. That this signifies that they should not do violence to the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from the signification of the "men" and the "angels," as above.2366.
For therefore are they come under the shadow of my roof. That this signifies that they are in the good of charity, is evident from the signification of a "house," as being good (n. 710, 2233-2234), which is here called the "shadow of the roof" for a reason to be presently explained.2367.
As to the "shadow of the roof" denoting in an obscure general [perception], the case is this: with man, even when regenerate, the perception of good and truth is very obscure, and this is still more the case with a man who is in external worship, such as is here represented by "Lot." While a man is in corporeal things (that is, while he is living in the body), the affections, like the perceptions, are of a very general nature, and consequently are very obscure, no matter how much the man may suppose that such is not the case. There are myriads of myriads of particulars in every little affection, and even in every idea of his perception, that appear to him as all one, as of the Lord's Divine mercy will be shown hereafter, when affections and ideas are treated of. Sometimes it is possible for a man by reflection to explore and describe a few of the things that are in him, but there lie hidden innumerable other things, things without limit or measure, that never come to his knowledge, nor can come so long as he is living in the body, but which become manifest after corporeal and worldly things have been abolished-as may be sufficiently evident from the fact that when a man who has been in the good of love and of charity passes into the other life, he passes from an obscure life into a clearer one, as from a kind of night into day; and in proportion as he passes into the Lord's heaven, in the same proportion does he pass into a light that is more and more clear, until he arrives at the light in which are the angels, a light of intelligence and wisdom that is unutterable. In comparison with this the light in which is man, is darkness. Hence it is here said that they "came under the shadow of his roof;" by which is signified that those signified by "Lot" are in their obscure general [perception]; that is, that they know but little concerning the Lord's Divine and Holy; but that nevertheless they acknowledge and have faith in the existence of these, and that these are in the good of charity, that is, present with those who are in this good.2368.
Verse 9. And they said, Come on. And they said is one come to sojourn, and shall he judge indeed? Now will we do worse to thee than to them. And they pressed upon the man, upon Lot, exceedingly; and drew near to break open the door. "And they said," signifies a reply from anger; "Come on," signifies the threats of their anger. And they said, "Is one come to sojourn," signifies those who are of another doctrine and another life; "and shall he judge indeed?" signifies shall they teach us? "Now will we do worse to thee than to them," signifies that they would reject the good of charity more than the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding; "and they pressed upon the man," signifies that they desired to offer violence to truth; "upon Lot exceedingly," signifies most especially to the good of charity; "and drew near to break open the door," signifies that they came even to the endeavor to destroy both.2369.
And they said. That this signifies a reply from anger, is evident from what precedes and what follows, and thus without explication.2370.
Come on. That this signifies threats of anger, namely, against the good of charity, is evident from the signification of "Lot," as being the good of charity, to which and concerning which these things are said; and that these are threats of anger, is evident from the words themselves, and also from what follows, as involving that they would altogether reject it if he should say anything more about it, and should persuade; which is meant by "Come on."2371.
And they said, Is one come to sojourn, and shall he judge indeed? That this signifies those who are in another doctrine and another life, is evident from the signification of "sojourning," which is to be instructed and to live, thus doctrine and life (see n. 1463, 2025). The state of the church is here described such as it is near the last times, when there is no longer any faith, because there is no charity, namely, that the good of charity, because it has altogether receded from the life, is also rejected from the doctrine.  The subject here treated of is not those who falsify the good of charity by explaining all things in their own favor, both for their own sake, that they may be the greatest, and for the sake of the good things of this world, that they may possess them all; and who arrogate to themselves the dispensation of rewards, and thereby defile the good of charity by various arts and delusive means; but the subject treated of is those who desire to hear nothing of the goods of charity, or of good works, but only of faith separate from them; and this from reasoning that there is nothing but evil in man, and that the good which is from him is also in itself evil, in which therefore there is thus nothing of salvation; and that no one can merit heaven by any good, nor be saved by it, but only by the faith with which they acknowledge the Lord's merit. This is the doctrine that flourishes in the last times, when the church is beginning to expire, and it is ardently taught and favorably received.  But it is false to infer from these considerations that a man can have an evil life and a good faith; or that because there is nothing but evil in man, he cannot receive good from the Lord that has heaven in it because it has Him in it, and that having heaven in it has also bliss and happiness in it. And it is certainly very false to infer that because no one can merit heaven by any good, therefore it is impossible to receive from the Lord heavenly good in which self-merit is regarded as monstrous wickedness. In such good are all the angels, in such are all the regenerate, and in such are they who perceive delight, and even bliss, in good itself, that is, in the affection of it. Concerning this good, that is, concerning this charity, the Lord speaks thus in Matthew: Ye have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that injure you and persecute you, that ye may be sons of your Father who is in the heavens; for if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? (Matt. 5:43-48). In like manner in Luke, with this addition: Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; then shall your reward be great, and ye shall be sons of the Highest (Luke 6:27-36).  Here the good which is from the Lord is described, and that it is free from all purpose of receiving recompense; on which account they who are in it are called "sons of the Father who is in the heavens," and "sons of the Highest;" and because the Lord is in it, there is also a reward, as we read in Luke: When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest haply they call thee in turn, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, [the lame,] and the blind; then shalt thou be blessed, for they have not wherewith to recompense thee; but thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just 2371-1 (Luke 14:12-14). A "dinner," "supper," or "feast," denotes the good of charity, in which there is the Lord's dwelling-place with man (n. 2341) so that it is here described, and made clearly manifest, that the recompense is in the good itself, because in this is the Lord; for it is said, "thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just."  Those who strive to do good of themselves, because the Lord has so commanded, are they who at length receive this good; and who, being afterwards instructed, acknowledge with faith that all good is from the Lord (n. 1712, 1937, 1947); and they are then so averse to self-merit that when they merely think of it they grow sad, and perceive their blessedness and happiness to be proportionately diminished.  Quite different is it with those who do not do this, but lead a life of evil, teaching and professing that in faith alone there is salvation. People of this character are not aware that such a good is possible; and wonderful to say (as has been given me to know from much experience) in the other life these same people desire to merit heaven on account of whatever good deeds they recollect; because then for the first time are they aware that in faith separated from charity there is no salvation. These are the people of whom the Lord says in Matthew: They will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty works? But then will I confess unto them, I know you not; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:22-23). In the case of these same people it also becomes apparent that they have paid no attention whatever to the things which the Lord Himself so often taught concerning the good of love and of charity; but that these things have been to them like passing clouds, or like things seen in the night: for example such things as are found in Matthew 3:8-9; 5:7-48; 6:1-20; 7:16-20, 24-27; 9:13; 12:33; 13:8, 23; 18:21-23 and to the end; 19:19; 22:34-39; 24:12-13; 25:34 to the end; Mark 4:18-20; 11:13-14, 20; 12:28-35; Luke 3:8-9; 6:27-39, 43 to the end; 7:47; 8:8, 14-15; 10:25-28; 12:58-59; 13:6-10; John 3:19, 21; 5:42; 13:34-35; 14:14-15, 20-21, 23; 15:1-8, 9-19; 21:15-17. Such, then, and other such things as these, are what are signified by the men of Sodom (that is, those who are in evil, n. 2220, 2246, 2322) saying to Lot, "Is one come to sojourn, and shall he judge indeed?" that is, Shall they who are in another doctrine and another life teach us?2372.
And shall he judge indeed? That this signifies, Shall they teach us? is evident from the signification of "judging," as being to teach. That "righteousness" is predicated of the practice of good, but "judgment" of the instruction of truth, was shown above (n. 2235); hence in the internal sense to "judge" is to instruct or teach. To teach truth is the same as to teach what is good, because all truth looks to good.2373.
Now will we do worse to thee than to them. That this signifies that they would reject the good of charity more than the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from the signification of "Lot," as being the good of charity; for Lot represents those who are in the good of charity (n. 2324, 2351, 2371); and from the signification of the "men," or "angels," as being the Lord as to the Divine Human and Holy proceeding (see above). Hence it is evident that to "do worse to thee than to them" has this meaning. The reason why they who are in evil within the church reject charity more than they deny the Lord, is that in this way they can favor their concupiscences by a kind of religion, and have external worship with no internal (that is, worship of the lips and not of the heart), and the more they make this worship to be Divine and holy, so much the greater are their dignities and wealth, besides many other causes that are hidden and yet are manifest. Nevertheless the truth really is that he who rejects the one (that is, does so in doctrine and at the same time in life) rejects also the other (for even if he dare not do this openly he does it in his heart); and this is here expressed in the sense of the letter by its being said that the men of Sodom drew near to break open the door, by which is signified that they came even to the endeavor to destroy both. But that which prevents this endeavor from bursting forth into act is by no means hidden.2374.
They pressed upon the man. That this signifies that they desired to offer violence to truth, is evident from the signification of a man [vir], as being the intellectual and rational in man, and consequently truth (see n. 158, 1007). To offer violence to truth is to pervert the things of faith; and these are perverted when they are separated from charity, and when it is denied that they lead to the good of life.2375.
Upon Lot exceedingly. That this signifies that they desired to offer violence especially to the good of charity, is evident from the signification of "Lot," as being the good of charity (see above, n. 2324, 2351, 2371, 2373). From the very words-that they "pressed upon the man, upon Lot exceedingly"-it is evident that one thing is signified by the "man," and another by "Lot exceedingly;" otherwise one expression would have sufficed.2376.
And drew near to break open the door. That this signifies that they came even to the endeavor to destroy both, is evident from the signification of "drawing near," as being to endeavor, and from the signification of a "door," as being that which introduces to good and to the Lord, and also as being good itself and the Lord Himself (n. 2356, 2357). (How this is may be seen above, n. 2373.)2377.
Verse 10. And the men put forth their hand, and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. "The men put forth their hand," signifies the Lord's powerful aid; "and brought Lot into the house to them," signifies that the Lord protects those who are in the good of charity; "and shut the door," signifies that He also closes all access to them.2378.
The men put forth their hand. That this signifies the Lord's powerful aid, is evident from the signification of the "men," as being the Lord (as shown above), and from the signification of the "hand," as being power (see n. 878).2379.
And brought Lot into the house to them. That this signifies that the Lord protects those who are in the good of charity, is evident from the representation of Lot as being those who are in the good of charity (spoken of above); and from the signification of "bringing into the house to them," as being to protect. To be "brought into the house" denotes to be brought into good; and they who are brought into good are brought into heaven; and they who are brought into heaven are brought to the Lord; hence they are protected from all infestation as to their souls. That the man who is in good is as to his soul in society with angels, and while living in the body is nevertheless in heaven (although at the time he is not aware of this, and is not able to perceive angelic joy in consequence of being in corporeal things and in a state of preparation), may be seen above (n. 1277).2380.
And shut the door. That this signifies that He also closes all access to them, is evident from the signification of a "door," as being that which introduces (n. 2356, 2357, 2376), thus access. Hence it is that to "shut the door" denotes to preclude access. In the other life access is precluded by the good being separated from the evil, so that they cannot be infested by the spheres of the persuasions of falsity and of the cupidities of evil; for the exhalation from hell cannot penetrate to heaven. In the life of the body access is precluded by the principles and persuasions of falsity being rendered powerless against those who are in good; for whenever any falsity of evil or evil of falsity is infused into them, whether in speech by an evil man, or in thought by an evil spirit or devil, the angels who are with them at once turn it aside, and bend it to something true and good in which the persons in question have been confirmed; and this however severely they may be suffering bodily trouble, for the angels esteem the body as nothing in comparison with the soul.  While a man remains in corporeal things, he is in such a general and obscure idea and perception (see n. 2367) that he scarcely knows whether he is in the good of charity or not; and this for the additional reason that he does not know what charity is, and what the neighbor is. But be it known who the persons in question are. All those are in the good of charity who have conscience (that is, who are unwilling to depart in any degree from what is just and fair, and good and true, and this for the very sake of what is just and fair, and good and true, for this principle is from conscience), and who from having conscience think well of the neighbor and desire his welfare, even should he be an enemy; and this without any recompense. These are they who are in the good of charity, whether they be without the church or within the church. If within the church, they adore the Lord, and willingly hear and do the things that He has taught.  On the other hand, they who are in evil have no conscience; for that which is just and fair they care not, except insofar as thereby they can gain the reputation of seeming to care for it. What the good and truth are that affect the spiritual life they know not, and even reject this as being no life at all. Further than this: they think evilly about the neighbor and desire his injury, and also inflict injury upon him if he does not favor them, even if a friend; and in doing this they feel delight. Should they do anything good, it is with a view to recompense. Such within the church deny the Lord in secret; and insofar as honor, gain, reputation, or life are not endangered they do so openly.  Be it known however that some persons think they are not in good when they are, and some that they are in good when they are not. The reason why some think they are not in good when they are, is that when they reflect upon the good in themselves, it is at once insinuated by the angels in whose society they are, that they are not in good, lest they should attribute the good to themselves, and lest their thought should be turned to their own merit, and thereby to the setting up of themselves above others. Without this guardianship they would fall into temptations.  As regards some supposing themselves to be in good when they are not, the cause of this is that when they reflect upon it, it is immediately insinuated by the evil genii and spirits in whose companionship they are, that they are in good (for the evil believe delight to be good), and it is suggested that whatever good they have done to others for the sake of the love of self and of the world is good that is to be recompensed even in the other life; thus that they have merit above others, whom they despise in comparison with themselves, and indeed esteem them as of no account. And, wonderful to say, if they were to think differently they would fall into temptations, in which they would yield.2381.
Verse 11. And the men who were at the door of the house they smote with blindness, from small even to great; and they labored to find the door. "The men who were at the door of the house," signifies things rational and the derivative doctrinals, by which violence is offered to the good of charity; "they smote with blindness," signifies that they were filled with falsities; "from small even to great," signifies in particular and in general; "and they labored to find the door," signifies so that they could not see any truth that would lead to good.2382.
And the men who were at the door of the house. That this signifies things rational and the derivative doctrinals, by which violence is offered to the good of charity, is evident from the signification of "men," as being things rational (see n. 158, 1007); from the signification of a "door," as being introduction or access, leading either to truth or to good, and thus what is doctrinal (see above, n. 2356); and from the signification of a "house," as being the good of charity (see above in various places). Here, because those are treated of who drew near to break open the door (that is, who attempted to destroy both the good of charity and the Divine and the Holy of the Lord, n. 2376), evil rational things are meant, and the derivative false doctrinals by which violence is inflicted on the good of charity.2383.
They smote with blindness. That this signifies that they were filled with falsities, is evident from the signification of "blindness." In the Word "blindness" is predicated of those who are in falsity, and also of those who are in ignorance of truth. Both are called the "blind;" but which are meant in any special instance can be seen from the series or connection, especially in the internal sense. That they who are in falsity are called the "blind," is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah: His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark (Isa. 56:10). "Blind watchmen," denotes those who from reasoning are in falsity. Again: We look for light, and behold darkness; for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness; we grope for the wall like the blind (Isa. 59:9-10). In Jeremiah: They have wandered as the blind in the streets; they have polluted themselves with blood; what they cannot pollute, they touch with their garments (Lam. 4:14); meaning that all truths have been polluted; the "streets" denoting the truths wherein they have gone astray (n. 2336).  In Zechariah: In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness; every horse of the peoples will I smite with blindness (Zech. 12:4). Here and elsewhere in the Word a "horse" denotes the understanding; hence it is said that the "horse should be smitten with astonishment," and that the "horse of the peoples should be smitten with blindness," that is, should be filled with falsities.  In John: For judgment am I come into the world, that they that see not may see, and that they that see may become blind. They of the Pharisees heard these things, and said, Are we also blind? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye would not have sin; but now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth (John 9:39-41). Here the "blind" in both senses are spoken of, namely, those who are in falsity, and those who are in ignorance of truth. With those who are within the church and know what the truth is, "blindness" is falsity; but with those who do not know what the truth is (as is the case with those who are outside the church), "blindness" is ignorance of the truth, and these are blameless.  Again: He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they may not see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and I should heal them (John 12:40; Isa. 6:9-11); meaning that it would be better for them to be in falsities than to be in truths, because they are in a life of evil, and if they were instructed in truths, they would not only still falsify them, but would also defile them with evils; for the like reason that the men of Sodom were smitten with blindness, that is, the doctrinal things were filled with falsities. (Why this was done was shown above, n. 301-303, 593, 1008, 1010, 1059, 1327, 1328, 2426.)  As what is blind signified what is false, therefore in the representative Jewish Church it was forbidden to sacrifice anything that was blind (Lev. 22:22; Deut. 15:21; Mal. 1:8). It was also forbidden that any one of the priests who was blind should draw near to offer upon the altar (Lev. 21:18, 21).  That "blindness" is predicated of ignorance of truth, such as prevails with the Gentiles, is evident in Isaiah: In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the Book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness and out of darkness (Isa. 29:18). Here the "blind" denotes those who are in ignorance of truth, being chiefly those outside the church. Again: Bring forth the blind people and they shall have eyes; 2383-1 and the deaf and they shall have ears (Isa. 43:8); where the church of the Gentiles is spoken of. Again: I will lead the blind in a way that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them (Isa. 42:16).  And again: I will give Thee for a light of the people, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (Isa. 42:6-7); where the Lord's advent is treated of, in that they who are in ignorance of truth should then be instructed; for those who are in falsity do not suffer themselves to be so instructed, because they are acquainted with the truth and have confirmed themselves against it, and have turned the light into darkness, which cannot be dispelled. In Luke: The master of the house said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the lame, and the blind (Luke 14:21); where the Lord's kingdom is treated of, and it is evident that the poor, maimed, lame, and blind are not meant, but those who are such in the spiritual sense.  Again: Jesus said that they should tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached (Luke 7:22). According to the sense of the letter, by the "blind," the "lame," the "lepers," the "deaf," the "dead," the "poor," only these are meant; because it was actually the case that the blind received sight, the deaf hearing, the lepers health, the dead life.  But yet in the internal sense the same are meant as in Isaiah: Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, and the lame shall leap as the hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing (Isa. 35:5-6); where the Lord's advent is treated of, and the new church at that time, which is called that of the Gentiles; of whom it is declared that they were "blind," "deaf," "lame," and "dumb;" being so called in respect to doctrine and to life. For be it known that all the miracles performed by the Lord always involved, and thence signified, such things as are meant in the internal sense by the healing of the blind, of the lame, of the lepers, the deaf, the dead, and the poor. For this reason the Lord's miracles were Divine, as also were those performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, as well as all the other miracles that are treated of in the Word. This is an arcanum.2384.
From small even to great. That this signifies in particular and in general, is evident from the signification in the internal sense of these words when predicated of rational things and the doctrinal things thence derived, which are signified by the men who were at the door of the house; for particulars and generals are related to each other as are the small and the great, particulars being as small things, and the generals of particulars as great ones. (What particulars are relatively to generals, and how they stand related to each other, may be seen above, n. 920, 1040, 1316.)2385.
And they labored to find the door. That this signifies so that they could not see any truth that would lead to good, is evident from the signification of a "door," as being introduction and access, and as being truth itself, because this introduces to good (see above, n. 2356). But here by the "door" are signified the knowledges that introduce to truth; for the "door" (as said above, n. 2356) was at the front of the house, for it is said that Lot "went out to the door, and shut the door behind him" (verse 6): hence to "labor to find the door," denotes not to see any truth that would lead to good.  Such do those become, especially in the last times, who by ratiocination hatch doctrinal things, and believe nothing unless they first apprehend it; for in this case the life of evil continually inflows into their rational, and a kind of fallacious light pours in from the fire of the affections of evil, and causes them to see falsities as truths; as are wont to do those who see phantoms in nocturnal light. These same things are then confirmed in many ways, and become matters of doctrine, such as are the doctrinal tenets of those who say that the life (which is of the affection) is of no efficacy, but only the faith (which is of the thought).  That every principle whatever, even if falsity itself, when once taken up, can be confirmed by innumerable things, and be presented in the outward form as if it were truth itself, may be known to everyone. Hence come heresies; from which, when once confirmed, the man never recedes. Yet from a false principle nothing but falsities can flow; and even if truths are interlarded among them, they became truths falsified when used to confirm a false principle, because they are contaminated by its essence.  Very different is the case when truth itself is received as a principle, and this is confirmed, as for example that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are that on which hangs all the Law, and of which all the Prophets speak, and that they are therefore the essentials of all doctrine and worship; for in this case the mind would be illuminated by innumerable things in the Word, that otherwise lie hidden in the obscurity of a false principle. Nay, in such a case heresies would be dissipated, and one church would arise out of many, no matter how greatly the doctrinal and ritual matters that flowed from or led to it might differ.  Such was the ancient Church, which extended through many kingdoms, namely, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria, Ethiopia, Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Philistia as far as Tyre and Sidon, and through the land of Canaan on both sides the Jordan. Among these the doctrinal and ritual matters differed, but still the church was one, because to them charity was the essential thing. Then was there the Lord's kingdom on earth as in the heavens, for such is heaven (see n. 684, 690). If it were so now, all would be governed by the Lord as one man; for they would be as the members and organs of one body, which, although not of similar form, nor of similar function, yet all have relation to one heart, on which depend all and each in their several forms, that are everywhere varied. Then would each person say, in whatever doctrine and in whatever outward worship he might be, This is my brother, I see that he worships the Lord, and is a good man.2386.
Verse 12. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou yet anyone here? Son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whomsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of the place. "And the men said unto Lot," signifies that the Lord admonishes those who are in the good of charity; "hast thou yet anyone here? Son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whomsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of the place," signifies that all who are in the good of charity, and that all things belonging thereto, would be saved, and also those who are in the truth of faith, provided they would recede from evil; "sons-in-law," are the truths that are associated with the affections of good; here, that were to be associated; "sons," are truths; "daughters," affections of good and of truth; "whomsoever thou hast in the city," denotes whatever derives anything from truth; the "place," is the state of evil.2387.
And the men said unto Lot. That this signifies that the Lord admonishes those who are in the good of charity, is evident from the signification of the "men," as being the Lord (see n. 2378); from the signification of "saying," as being to admonish; and from the representation of Lot, as being those who are in the good of charity (see n. 2324, 2351, 2371). Hence these words, "the men said unto Lot," signifies that the Lord admonishes those who are in the good of charity.2388.
Hast thou yet anyone here? Son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whomsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of the place. That this signifies that all who are in the good of charity, and that all things belonging thereto, would be saved, and also those who are in the truth of faith, provided they would recede from evil, is evident from the signification of "sons-in-law," of "sons," of "daughters," of "city," and of "place," concerning which in what follows.  As regards those being saved who are in the truth of faith, provided they recede from evil, the case is this. The truths of faith are the very receiving vessels of good (n. 1900, 2063, 2261, 2269); and they receive good insofar as the man recedes from evil; for good continually flows in from the Lord, and it is the evil of life that hinders its being received in the truths which are with man in his memory or knowledge. Therefore insofar as a man recedes from evil, so far good enters and applies itself to his truths; and then the truth of faith with him becomes the good of faith. A man may indeed know truth, may also confess it under the incitement of some worldly cause, may even be persuaded that it is true; and yet this truth does not live so long as he is in a life of evil. For such a man is like a tree on which there are leaves, but no fruit; and His truth is like light in which there is no heat, such as there is in the time of winter when nothing grows. But when there is heat in it, the light then becomes such as there is in the time of spring, when all things grow. In the Word truth is compared to light and is called "light," but heat is compared to love, and is also called spiritual heat. In the other life also truth manifests itself by light, and good by heat; but truth without good by cold light, and truth with good by light similar to that of spring. This shows what the truth of faith is without the good of charity. Hence it is that the sons-in-law and the sons, by whom such truths are signified, were not saved; but only Lot with His daughters.  As it is here said that those also who are in the truth of faith are saved, provided they recede from evil, be it known that these are they who profess faith and think nothing about charity for the reason that they have been so instructed, and do not know what charity is (supposing that it consists merely in the giving of our own to others, and in pitying everybody), and who also do not know what the neighbor is toward whom charity is to be exercised (for they suppose that the neighbor is almost everybody, without distinction), and yet who live in the life of charity toward the neighbor, because in the life of good. It does these persons no harm to profess faith along with all the rest, for in their faith there is charity, since this means all the good of life in general and in particular. What therefore charity is, and what the neighbor, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be told in what follows.2389.
That the "sons-in-law" are the truths that are associated with the affections of good and of truth, in this case that were to be associated, is evident from the signification of "sons-in-law." In the Word "a man" signifies truth, and a "wife" good (n. 265, 749, 915, 1007), for the reason that between truth and good there is a likeness of a marriage (n. 1432, 1904, 2173). Hence "sons-in-law" signify the knowledges of truth, with which are associated the affections of good (denoted by the "daughters"), but which here are to be associated, for it is said afterwards, in verse 14, that Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law that were marrying, that is, were about to marry his daughters.2390.
That the "sons" are truths, or what is the same, are they who are in truths, is evident from the signification of "sons," as being truths (see n. 489, 491, 533, 1147).2391.
That the "daughters" are affections of good, and of truth, or what is the same, are those who are in these affections, is evident from the signification of "daughters," as being these affections (see n. 2362).2392.
That "whomsoever thou hast in the city," denotes whatever derives anything from truth, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being what is doctrinal, thus truth in its complex (see n. 402, 2268).2393.
That the "place" is a state of evil, is evident from the signification of "place," as being state (see above, n. 1273 to 1275, 1377), here a state of evil, because it was Sodom, by which is signified evil in general (n. 2220, 2246, 2322).2394.
Verse 13. For we will destroy this place, because their cry is become great before Jehovah, and Jehovah hath sent us to destroy it. "For we will destroy this place," signifies that the state of evil in which they were would condemn them; "because their cry is become great before Jehovah," signifies because the falsity from evil is so great; "and Jehovah hath sent us to destroy it," signifies that they cannot but perish.2395.
For we will destroy this place. That this signifies that the state of evil in which they were would condemn them, is evident from the meaning of "destroying," when predicated of the Lord, as being in the internal significance to perish by evil, that is, to be condemned; and also from the signification of "this place," as being a state of evil (n. 2393). It is frequently said in the Word that Jehovah "destroys;" but in the internal sense it is meant that man destroys himself; for Jehovah or the Lord destroys no one. But as from the fact of His seeing and regulating all things in both general and particular it appears as if the destruction came from Jehovah or the Lord, it is so expressed in many places in the Word, to the end that men may thereby be kept in a most general idea that all things are under the Lord's eyes, and all things under His auspices; for if at first they are kept in this idea, they can afterwards be easily instructed. For the explications of the Word as to the internal sense are nothing but particulars that elucidate a general idea.  Another reason why it is so expressed is that they who are in no love are kept in fear, and thereby stand in awe of the Lord, and flee to Him for the sake of deliverance. This shows that it does no harm to believe the sense of the letter, even though the internal sense teaches something else, provided that it is done from a simple heart. But these things will be treated of more fully in what follows, at verse 24 (n. 2447), where it is said that Jehovah caused it to rain brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels, being in the internal sense, are so far from thinking that Jehovah destroys anyone that they cannot endure even the idea of such a thing; and therefore when these and other such things are read in the Word by man, the sense of the letter is cast away as it were to the back, and at last passes into this: that evil itself is what destroys man, and that the Lord destroys no one (as may be seen from the example given above in n. 1875).2396.
Because their cry is become great before Jehovah. That this signifies because the falsity from evil is so great, is evident from the signification of a "cry" (n. 2240), as being predicated of falsity; and here of falsity from evil (n. 2351).2397.
And Jehovah hath sent us to destroy it. That this signifies that they cannot but perish, is to be understood in the same way as the signification given just above (n. 2395). That "us" (that is, the "men" or "angels") denotes the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding, has been shown above. Through these were the good saved, and the evil destroyed; and yet the latter by the law that evil itself destroyed them. And because they perished in this way, and this through the Lord's advent into the world, it is said according to the appearance, that they "were sent to destroy them."  It is sometimes said of the Lord in the Word, that He was "sent by the Father," as it is said here, "Jehovah hath sent us;" but in the internal sense by being "sent" is everywhere signified to go forth, as in John: They have received, and have known of a truth that I came forth from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me (John 17:8). So in other places, as in the same: God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him may be saved (John 3:17). Again: He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father who hath sent Him (John 5:23). Besides many other passages (as Matt. 10:40; 15:24; John 3:34; 4:34; 5:30, 36-38; 6:29, 39-40, 44, 57; 7:16, 18, 28-29; 8:16, 18, 29, 42; 9:4; 10:36; 11:41-42; 12:44-45, 49; 13:20; 14:24; 17:18; 20:21; Luke 4:43; 9:48; 10:16; Mark 9:37; Isa. 61:1).  In the same way it is said of the Holy Spirit, that it was "sent," that is, that it goes forth from the Lord's Divine, as in John: Jesus said, When the Comforter shall come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth which goeth forth from the Father, He shall testify of Me (John 15:26). If I go away, I will send the Comforter unto you (John 16:5, 7). Hence the prophets were said to be "sent," because the words which they spoke came forth from the Holy of the Lord's Spirit. And because all Divine Truth comes forth from Divine Good, the expression "to be sent" is properly predicated of Divine Truth. But what "to go forth" means, is also evident, namely, that he who goes forth, or that which goes forth, is of him from whom it goes forth.2398.
Verse 14. And Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, that were to marry his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place, for Jehovah will destroy the city. And he was in the eyes of his sons-in-law as one that jested. "Lot went out," signifies those who are in the good of charity, and also the good itself of charity; "and spoke to his sons-in-law, that were to marry his daughters," signifies with those who were in truths, with which the affections of good could be adjoined; "and said, Up, get you out of this place," signifies that they should not remain in a state of evil; "for Jehovah will destroy the city," signifies that they must needs perish; "and he was in the eyes of his sons-in-law as one that jested," signifies derision.2399.
And Lot went out. That this signifies those who are in the good of charity, and also the good itself of charity, has been repeatedly shown before. He who represents those who are in good, also signifies that good itself in which they are.2400.
And spoke to his sons-in-law, that were to marry his daughters. That this signifies with those who were in truths, with which the affections of good could be conjoined, is evident from the signification of "sons-in-law," as being the knowledges of truth, and consequently truths (concerning which see above, n. 2389); and from the signification of "daughters," as being the affections of good (see also above, n. 2362); and because it is said that he "spoke to his sons-in-law, that were to marry his daughters," it is signified with those who were in truths with which the affections of good could be conjoined. As they could be conjoined, they are called his "sons-in-law;" but as they were not conjoined, it is said "that were to marry his daughters."  The subject here treated of is the third kind of men who are within the church, namely, those who know truths, yet live in evil. For there are three kinds of men within the church: first, those who live in the good of charity; these are represented by "Lot;" second, those who are altogether in falsity and evil, and reject both truth and good; these are they who are represented by the "men of Sodom;" third, those who indeed know truths, but nevertheless are in evil; these are here signified by the "sons-in-law," and are especially those who teach, but the truth which they teach has not sent down its root deeper than is wont to do the knowledge that is solely of the memory, for it is learned and vaunted merely for the sake of honor and gain. And because with such persons the ground in which the truth is sown is the love of self and the love of the world, they have no belief in the truth, except a kind of persuasive one derived from these loves, the quality of which shall of the Lord's Divine mercy be told elsewhere. Such are here described by the sons-in-law, in that they believed nothing concerning the overthrow of Sodom, but laughed at it; and such is the faith of their heart.
2371-1 Mortuorum, but elsewhere justorum, as in n. 6393. [Rotch ed.]
2383-1 Et oculi erunt; but cui oculi sunt in n. 6989. [Rotch ed.]