Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
And said, Up, get you out of this place. That this signifies that they should not remain in a state of evil, is evident from the signification of "rising up," and of "getting out," and also of the "place." To "rise up" often occurs in the Word, but excites little thought as to what it further signifies, because it is a familiar expression. But in the internal sense this expression involves elevation, as here, from evil to good; for the mind is elevated when it recedes from evil (n. 2388). To "get out" is to recede, or not to remain. And the "place" is a state of evil (n. 2393). Thus the signification is evident.  The quality of those who are in the knowledges of truth, but at the same time in a life of evil, has been repeatedly stated before, namely, that so long as they are in a life of evil they believe nothing; for to will evil and from will to do evil, and at the same time to acknowledge truth in faith, is not possible. This shows also that a man cannot be saved by thinking and speaking what is true, nor even what is good, while he wills nothing else, and from this his will does nothing else, than evil. It is the very will of man that lives after death; not so his thought, except that which flows from his will.  As therefore a man is such as his will is, it is evident what must be his opinion of the truths of faith he has learned, and even taught, seeing that they condemn him. So far is he then from making them the basis of his thoughts, that he feels a positive aversion for them; nay, insofar as he is permitted to do so, he, like the devil's crew, blasphemes them. They who have not been instructed concerning the life after death may suppose that it will be easy for them to receive faith when they see that the Lord governs the universe, and when they hear that heaven consists in loving the Lord and the neighbor; whereas the truth is that the evil are as far from being able to receive faith, that is, to believe from the will, as hell is from heaven, for they are wholly in evil, and in the falsity thence derived. That such persons are against the Lord and against the neighbor, and therefore against good, and consequently against truth, is known and perceived from their mere approach, or presence. There is a horrible sphere that exhales from the life of their will and of their derivative thought (n. 1048, 1053, 1316, 1504).  If by mere instruction in the other life it were possible that men could be brought to believe and to become good, there would not be a single person in hell; for the Lord desires to raise all without exception to Himself into heaven. For His mercy is infinite, because it is the Divine mercy itself, that is extended toward the whole human race, and therefore toward the evil as well as toward the good.2402.
For Jehovah will destroy the city. That this signifies that they must needs perish, is evident from the explication of nearly the same words above (n. 2395, 2397).2403.
And he was in the eyes of his sons-in-law as one that jested. That this signifies derision, is evident from the signification of "jesting," as being to utter as it were a joke, a fable, or trifles, thus such things as they would laugh at. "In their eyes," signifies that which was before their rational, as is evident from the signification of the "eyes" (n. 212). This shows what is the character of those who are in the truth of faith and not at the same time in the good of life.2404.
Verse 15. And when the dawn arose the angels pressed Lot to hasten, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters that are found, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. "When the dawn arose," signifies when the Lord's kingdom is approaching; "the angels pressed Lot to hasten," signifies that the Lord withheld them from evil and kept them in good; "saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters that are found," signifies the truth of faith and the affections of truth and of good; "found," denotes that they are separated from evil; "lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city," signifies lest they should perish by the evils of falsity.2405.
When the dawn arose. That this signifies when the Lord's kingdom is approaching, is evident from the signification in the Word of the "dawn" or "morning." As in this chapter the subject treated of is the successive states of the church, that which is done in the evening is first treated of, next that which is done in the night, and there now follows that which is done in the morning twilight, and presently that which is done after the sun is gone forth. The twilight is here expressed by "when the dawn arose," and it denotes the time when the upright are being separated from the evil; which separation is treated of in this verse, and as far as verse 22, by Lot together with his wife and daughters being led out and saved. That separation precedes Judgment is evident from the Lord's words in Matthew: Before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32).  This time or state is called in the Word the "dawn," because the Lord then comes; or what is the same, His kingdom then approaches. The case is similar with the good, for at such a time there shines out with them a semblance of the morning twilight or dawn; and therefore in the Word the advent of the Lord is compared to the "morning," and is also called the "morning." As in Hosea: After two days Jehovah will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live before Him; and we shall know, and we shall follow on to know Jehovah; His going forth is as the dawn (Hos. 6:2-3). "Two days" denotes the time and state which precedes; the "third day" denotes the Judgment, or the advent of the Lord, and therefore the approach of His kingdom (n. 720, 901), which advent or approach is compared to the "dawn."  In Samuel: The God of Israel is as the light of the morning, the sun riseth, a morning without clouds; from the brightness, from the rain, there is a growth from the earth (2 Sam. 23:4). The "God of Israel" denotes the Lord; for no other God of Israel was meant in that church, and He was represented in each and all things of it. In Joel: The day of Jehovah cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of thick darkness, a day of cloud and obscurity; as the dawn spread upon the mountains (Joel 2:1-2). Here also the Lord's advent and His kingdom are treated of; it is said a "day of darkness and of thick darkness," because the good are then being separated from the evil, as here Lot from the men of Sodom; and after the good have been separated, the evil perish.  That the Lord's advent or the approach of His kingdom, is not merely compared to the "morning," but is actually called the "morning," may be seen in Daniel: A holy one said, How long shall be the vision, the continual sacrifice, and the transgression that maketh waste? He said unto me, Until evening and morning, two thousand three hundred, then shall the holy one be justified. The vision of the evening and the morning which hath been told is truth (Dan. 8:13-14, 26). "Morning" here manifestly denotes the Lord's advent. In David: Thy people are willing offerings in the day of thy strength, in honors of holiness, from the womb of the dawn thou hast the dew of thy youth 2405-1 (Ps. 110:3). In this whole Psalm the subject treated of is the Lord, and His victories in temptations, which are the "day of His strength," and the "honors of His holiness;" "from the womb of the dawn," denotes Himself, thus the Divine love from which He fought.  In Zephaniah: Jehovah in the midst of her is righteous, He will not do perversity; in the morning, in the morning will He give judgment for light (Zeph. 3:65). The "morning" denotes the time and state of Judgment, which is the same as that of the Lord's advent; and this is the same as the approach of His kingdom.  Because the "morning" signified these things, in order that the same might be represented, it was commanded that: Aaron and his sons should light up the lamp, and should order it from evening until morning before Jehovah (Exod. 27:21). The "evening" here denotes the twilight before the morning (n. 2323). In like manner it was commanded that the fire upon the altar should be kindled every morning (Lev. 6:5); also that nothing of the paschal lamb and of the sanctified things of the sacrifices should be left till the morning (Exod. 12:10; 23:18; 34:25; Lev. 22:29-30; Num. 9:12); by which was signified that when the Lord came, sacrifices should cease.  In a general sense it is called "Morning" both when the dawn appears, and when the sun rises; and in this latter case "morning" denotes the Judgment as it concerns both the good and the evil, as in this chapter: The sun was gone forth upon the earth, and Lot came unto Zoar; and Jehovah caused it to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire (Gen. 19:23-24). In like manner insofar as regards the Judgment upon the evil; in David: In the mornings will I destroy all the wicked of the land, to cut off from the city of Jehovah all the workers of iniquity (Ps. 101:8). And in Jeremiah: Let that man be as the cities which Jehovah overthrew, and He repenteth not; and let him hear a cry in the morning (Jer. 20:16). As in the proper sense the "morning" signifies the Lord, His advent, and thus the approach of His kingdom, it is evident what it signifies besides, namely, the rise of a new church (for this is the Lord's kingdom on earth), and this both in general and in particular, and even in the least particular; in general, when any church on the globe is being raised up anew; in particular, when a man is being regenerated, and being made new (for then the Lord's kingdom is arising in him, and he is becoming a church); and in the least particular, whenever the good of love and faith is working in him; for in this consists the advent of the Lord. Hence the Lord's resurrection on the third day in the morning (Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1) involves all these things (even in the particular and the least particular) in regard to His rising again in the minds of the regenerate every day, and even every moment.2406.
The angels pressed Lot to hasten. That this signifies that the Lord withheld them from evil and kept them in good is evident from the signification of "pressing" and "hastening," as being to urge; and that by these words is signified to be withheld from evil, is evident both from the internal sense of these words and from what follows. The internal sense is that when the church begins to fall away from the good of charity, its people are at that time withheld from evil by the Lord more strongly than when it is in the good of charity. The same is evident from what follows, namely, that although the angels pressed Lot to go out of the city, he still lingered; and that they then laid hold of the hands of himself, his wife, and his daughters, and led them forth, and set them without the city; by which is signified and described the character of man in that state; for it is the second state of this church that is here treated of. The first state is described in the first three verses of this chapter; which state is such that they are in the good of charity and acknowledge the Lord, and are confirmed in good by Him. The second state is described here, which is such that with the men of the church themselves evils begin to act against goods, and that they are then powerfully withheld from evils and kept in goods by the Lord; which state is treated of in this verse, and in the 15th, 16th, and 17th, that follow.  As regards this matter, few, if any, know that all men without exception are withheld from evils by the Lord, and this by a mightier force than man can ever believe. For the endeavor of every man is continually toward evil, and this both from what is hereditary, into which he is born, and from what is actual, which he has procured for himself; and this to such a degree that if he were not withheld by the Lord, he would rush headlong every moment toward the lowest hell. But the mercy of the Lord is so great that at every moment, even the least, the man is uplifted and held back, to prevent him from rushing thither. This is the case with the good also, but with a difference according to their life of charity and faith. Thus the Lord combats continually with man, and for man with hell, although it does not so appear to the man. That it is really so has been given me to know by much experience, which of the Lord's Divine mercy will be related elsewhere. (See also n. 929, 1581.)2407.
Saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters that are found. That this signifies the truth of faith and the affections of truth and of good, and that "found" means separated [from evil] is evident from the signification of "arising," as being to be elevated from evil (n. 2401); also from the signification in this place of "wife," as being the truth of faith (respecting which see under verse 26, where it is said of Lot's wife that she was turned into a statue of salt) and also from the signification of the "two daughters," as being the affections of truth and of good (see n. 2362). That "found" denotes separated from evil, is also evident, because they were set free. By these few words is this second state of the church here described, namely, that they do not from good suffer themselves to be led to truth, as before, but through truth to good; and yet they are in an obscure affection of good; for in the proportion that truth is made the leader, good is obscure; whereas in the proportion that good is made the leader, truth is plain and evident in its own light.2408.
Lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. That this signifies lest they should perish in the evils of falsity, is evident from the signification of "iniquity," as being evil; and from the signification of "city," as being what is doctrinal, even if it is false (see n. 402). What the evil of falsity is may be seen from what was said in volume 1 (n. 1212, 1679).2409.
Verse 16. And he lingered; and the men laid hold of his hand, and of the hand of his wife, and of the hand of his two daughters; in the clemency of Jehovah upon him, and they led him forth, and set him without the city. "And he lingered," signifies opposition arising from the nature of evil; "and the men laid hold of his hand, and of the hand of his wife, and of the hand of his two daughters," signifies that the Lord powerfully withheld them from evils, and thereby strengthened the goods and truths signified by "Lot," his "wife," and his "daughters;" "in the clemency of Jehovah upon him," signifies from grace and mercy; "and they led him forth and set him without the city," signifies his state then.2410.
And he lingered. That this signifies opposition arising from the nature of evil, is evident from what was said above (n. 2406); for the evil which is in man continually reacts against the good which is from the Lord. Evil from what is hereditary and from what is actual adheres to man in each of His thoughts, nay, in the least things of his thoughts. This drags him downward (but the Lord, by means of the good which he instills, withholds him, and uplifts Him, so that the man is held suspended between evil and good), and the consequence of this downward tendency is that if even for the least moment the man were not withheld from evils, he would of himself rush downward; and this he would do more in the state in which is the man of the church now represented by Lot than in the former state. This state is that he is beginning to think and to act not so much from good as from truth; thus at some distance from good.2411.
And the men laid hold of his hand, and of the hand of his wife, and of the hand of his two daughters. That this signifies that the Lord powerfully withheld from evils, and thus strengthened the goods and truths signified by "Lot, his wife, and his daughters," is evident from the signification of the "men," as being the Lord (concerning which above); from the signification of the "hand," as being power (see n. 878); also from the signification of "Lot," as being the good of charity (see n. 2324, 2351, 2371, 2399); from the signification of "wife," as being the truth of faith (treated of in the 26th verse); from the signification of "daughters," as being the affections of good and of truth (see n. 489-491, 2362); and finally from what was said above (n. 2388), namely, that good and truth flow in from the Lord in the proportion that man is withheld from evil; consequently, that the goods and truths signified by "Lot, his wife, and His two daughters," are in the same proportion strengthened.  On reflection every man may know this from his own experience; for in proportion as he is removed from corporeal and worldly things, in the same proportion he is in a spiritual idea, that is, is uplifted toward heaven; as is the case when he is in any holy worship, when in any temptation, also when in misfortune or sickness. It is well known that corporeal and worldly things, that is, the loves of them, are then removed, the reason being as stated, namely, that what is heavenly and spiritual from the Lord continually flows in; but evil and its derivative falsity, and falsity and its derivative evil, which flow in from corporeal and worldly things, are what hinder its being received.2412.
In the clemency of Jehovah unto him. That this signifies from grace and mercy, is evident from the signification of the "clemency of Jehovah," which can be nothing else than grace and mercy. That man's being withheld from evil and kept in good by the Lord is of His pure mercy, may be seen above (n. 1049). The reason both grace and mercy are mentioned, is (as before explained, n. 598, 981) that they who are in truth and from truth in good implore the Lord's grace only, whereas they who are in good and from good in truth implore His mercy; and this difference results from the difference that exists in their respective states of humiliation and consequent adoration.2413.
And they led him forth and set him without the city. That this signifies his 2413-1 state at the time, is evident from the signification of "leading forth," as being to withhold; and from the signification of "setting without the city," as being away from falsity; so that the state here referred to was that by his being withheld from evils, goods and truths from the Lord were strengthened.2414.
Verse 17. And it came to pass when they were leading them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not back behind thee, and stay not in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. "And it came to pass when they were leading them forth abroad," signifies the state when they were being withheld from falsity and evil; "that he said, Escape for thy life" signifies that he should take thought for his eternal life; "look not back behind thee," signifies that he should not look to doctrinal things; "and stay not in all the plain," signifies that he should not linger in any of these doctrinal matters; "escape to the mountain," signifies to the good of love and of charity; "lest thou be consumed," signifies that if he should do otherwise he would perish.2415.
And it came to pass when they were leading them forth abroad. That this signifies the state when they were being withheld from falsity and evil, is evident from what was said just above (n. 2413; as also n. 2388, 2411).2416.
That he said, Escape for thy life. That this signifies that he should take thought for his eternal life, is evident without explication. But in what way he should take thought for his life, now follows.2417.
Look not back behind thee. That this signifies that he should not look to doctrinal things, is evident from the signification of "looking back behind him," when the city was behind him and the mountain before him. For by "city" is signified what is doctrinal (n. 402, 2268, 2392); and by "mountain," love and charity (n. 795, 1430). That this is the signification will be evident in the explication at verse 26, where it is said that his wife "looked back behind him," and became a pillar of salt. Everyone may know that in this expression, "looking back behind him," there is some Divine arcanum, and that it lies too deep to be seen. For in looking back behind him there appears to be nothing criminal, and yet it is a matter of importance so great that it is said he should escape for his life, that is, should take thought for his eternal life by not looking back behind Him. But what it is to look to doctrinal things will be seen in what follows; in this place we shall merely state what these doctrinal things are.  Doctrine is twofold: that of love and charity, and that of faith. At first, while it is still a little maid and a virgin, every church of the Lord has no other doctrine, and loves no other, than that of charity; for this belongs to life. But successively the church turns itself away from this doctrine, until it begins to hold it cheap, and at length to reject it; and then it acknowledges no other doctrine than that which is called the doctrine of faith; and when it separates faith from charity, this doctrine conspires with a life of evil.  Such was the case with the Primitive Church, or that of the Gentiles, after the Lord's coming. In its beginning it had no other doctrine than that of love and charity, for this the Lord Himself taught (see n. 2371 at the end). But after His time, successively, as love and charity began to grow cold, there arose the doctrine of faith, and with it dissensions and heresies, which increased as men came to lay stress on this doctrine.  The like was the case with the Ancient Church that was after the flood, and was extended through so many kingdoms (n. 2385): this church also in its beginning knew no other doctrine than that of charity, because this looked to and affected the life, and by so doing they had regard for their eternal welfare. And yet after some time the doctrine of faith too began to be cultivated with some, and at length to be separated from charity; but those who did this they called "Ham," because they were in a life of evil (see n. 1062, 1063, 1076).  The Most Ancient Church which was before the flood and which in preeminence to all others was called "Man," was in the very perception of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor; thus it had the doctrine of love and charity inscribed on itself. But even then there were those who cultivated faith, and when they separated it from charity they were called "Cain;" for by "Cain" is signified such faith, and by "Abel," whom he killed, charity (see the explication of chapter 4).  This shows that there are two doctrines, the one of charity, and the other of faith, although in themselves the two are one; for the doctrine of charity involves all things of faith. But when the doctrine comes to be from those things alone which are of faith, it is then called twofold, because faith is separated from charity. That these doctrines are separated at the present day may be seen from the fact that it is altogether unknown what charity is, and what the neighbor is. They who are solely in the doctrine of faith are not aware that charity toward the neighbor consists in anything beyond giving of their own to others, and in feeling pity for anybody who may seem to need it, because they call everybody the neighbor without distinction; and yet charity is all good whatever there is in a man: in his affection, and in his zeal, and from these in his life; and the neighbor is all the good in others by which one is affected, consequently those who are in good; and this with every possible distinction.  For example: that man is in charity and mercy who exercises justice and judgment by punishing the evil and rewarding the good. There is charity in punishing the evil, for to this are we impelled by our zeal to amend them, and at the same time to protect the good, lest these suffer injury at the hands of the evil. In this way does a man consult the welfare of one who is in evil, or his enemy, and express his good feeling toward him, as well as to others, and to the common weal itself; and this from charity toward the neighbor. The case is the same with all the other goods of life; for the good of life is never possible unless it comes from charity toward the neighbor, because it looks to this, and involves it.  Seeing then that there is obscurity so great as regards the true nature of charity and of the neighbor, it is clear that the doctrine of charity (the doctrine of faith having assumed the first place) is among the things that are lost; when yet it was this alone that was cultivated in the Ancient Church; and that to such a degree that they reduced into classes all the goods that belonged to charity toward the neighbor, that is, all those who were in good; and this with many distinctions, to which they also gave names, calling them the poor, the miserable, the oppressed, the sick, the naked, the hungry, the thirsty, captives or those in prison, strangers, orphans, and widows; some also they called the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the maimed; besides many other names. In the Word of the Old Testament the Lord has spoken in accordance with this doctrine, on which account such terms so often occur there; and He himself again spoke in accordance with the same doctrine, as in Matt. 25:35-36, 38-39, 40, 42-45; Luke 14:13, 21; and in many other places. Hence it is that in the internal sense these names have quite a different signification. In order therefore that the doctrine of charity may be restored, it will of the Lord's Divine mercy be stated in the following pages who those denoted by these names are, and what charity is, and what the neighbor is, both generally and specifically.2418.
Stay not in all the plain. That this signifies that he should not linger in any of these doctrinal matters, is evident from the signification of a "plain," as being everything of a doctrinal nature, concerning which presently. How the case stands with his not lingering in any of these doctrinal matters shall be stated at verse 26, where Lot's wife is treated of in that she looked back behind him. That in the Word a "plain" signifies all things of a doctrinal nature, is evident in Jeremiah: He that layeth waste shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape, and the valley shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed (Jer. 48:8); where "city" denotes false doctrine; and the "plain" all things that belong to that doctrine. In John: When the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go forth to seduce the nations, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to war, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea; and they went up upon all the plain of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and fire came down from God out of heaven, and consumed them (Rev. 20:7-9); where "Gog and Magog" denote those who are in external worship without internal, thus worship become idolatrous (n. 1151); the "plain of the earth," the doctrinal things of the church, which they lay waste; the "camp of the saints," the goods of love and of charity; their being "consumed by fire from God out of heaven" means the same as when this is said of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, in verse 24. Again: the doctrinal things of charity are called the "cities of the mountain," and the doctrinal things of faith the "cities of the plain," in Jeremiah 33:13.2419.
Escape to the mountain. That this signifies to the good of love and of charity, is evident from the signification of a "mountain," as being love and charity (see n. 795, 1430).2420.
Lest thou be consumed. That this signifies that if he should do otherwise he would perish, is evident without explication.2421.
Verses 18, 19. And Lot said unto them, Nay I pray my lords. Behold I pray thy servant hath found grace in thine eyes, and thou hast made thy mercy great which thou hast done with me to make alive my soul; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest peradventure evil cleave to me, and I die. "Lot said unto them, Nay I pray my lords," signifies weakness, so that he could not; "Behold I pray thy servant hath found grace in thine eyes," signifies humiliation from the affection of truth; "thou hast made thy mercy great," signifies a semblance of humiliation from the affection of good; "which thou hast done with me to make alive my soul," signifies on account of His desiring to save him; "and I cannot escape to the mountain," signifies doubt as to his being able to have the good of charity; "lest peradventure evil cleave to me, and I die," signifies that then it could not but come to pass that he would be at the same time in evil, and thereby would be condemned.2422.
Lot said unto them, Nay I pray my lords. That this signifies weakness, so that he could not, is evident from the affection in the very words, as also from what follows. There is here treated of the third state of the church represented in this chapter by Lot, which is that they no longer think and act from the affection of good, but from the affection of truth; which state succeeds, when the affection of good begins to be diminished, and as it were to recede. Good is indeed present, but has withdrawn itself more toward the interiors, and therefore is in obscurity; and yet it manifests itself in a certain affection, which is called the affection of truth. (What the affection of good is, and what the affection of truth, may be seen above, n. 1997, and in what presently follows, n. 2425.) That there are these states is not apparent to man, still less what is the nature of them; but they are apparent to the angels as in clear light, for the angels are in every good affection of man; and they are apparent also to man himself when he comes into the other life. It is in accordance with these affections, and the quality of them, that the good are distinguished into societies (n. 685).2423.
That Behold I pray thy servant hath found grace in thine eyes, signifies humiliation from the affection of truth; and that "thou hast made thy mercy great" signifies a semblance of humiliation from the affection of good, is evident from what has been said before concerning "grace" and "mercy" (n. 598, 981). For they who are in the affection of truth cannot humble themselves so far as to acknowledge from the heart that all things are of mercy; and therefore, instead of "mercy" they say "grace;" nay, the less of the affection of truth there is in them, the less of humiliation there is in their mention of grace; whereas on the other hand, the more of the affection of good there is in anyone, the more of humiliation there is in his mention of mercy. This shows how much the adoration, and consequently the worship, that exists with those who are in the affection of truth differs from that which exists with those who are in the affection of good. For in order that there may be worship, there must be adoration; and in order that there may be adoration, there must be humiliation; and this in all things of the worship both in general and particular. What has been said will serve to show why both "grace" and "mercy" are here mentioned.2424.
Which thou hast done with me to make alive my soul. That this signifies on account of His desiring to save him, is evident without explication.2425.
And I cannot escape to the mountain. That this signifies doubt as to his being able to have the good of charity, that is, to think and act from that good, is evident from the signification of a "mountain," as being love and charity (see n. 795, 1430).  As regards this doubt, the case is this. Within the affection of truth of those who are in this affection there is the affection of good, but so obscurely that they do not perceive, thus do not know, what the affection of good is, and what genuine charity is. They do suppose that they know, but it is from truth, thus from memory-knowledge, and not from good itself. Nevertheless they do the goods of charity, not in order to merit anything thereby, but from obedience; and this insofar as they apprehend that it is the truth. For they suffer themselves to be led by the Lord out of their obscurity of good by means of the truth which appears to them to be truth. For example: being ignorant what the neighbor is, they do good to everyone whom they suppose to be the neighbor; especially to the poor, because these call themselves poor on account of being destitute of worldly wealth; to orphans and widows, because they are so termed; to strangers, because they are such; and so on with all the rest and this they do so long as they are ignorant what is signified by the poor, by orphans, widows, strangers, and others. Nevertheless seeing that in their affection of apparent truth there lies in obscurity the affection of good, by which the Lord leads them to such action, they are at the same time in good as to their interiors, and in this good the angels are present with them, and are delighted there with their appearances of truth by which such persons are affected.  But they who are in the good of charity, and from this in the affection of truth, do all things with discrimination, for they are in light; since the light of truth is from no other source than good, because the Lord flows in by means of good. These persons do not do good to the poor, to orphans, to widows, and to strangers, for the mere reason that they are so termed; for they know that those who are good, whether poor or rich, are neighbors more than all others; since by the good, good is done to others; and therefore insofar as these persons do good to the good, they do it to others through them. They also know how to make distinctions among goods, and so among good men. They call the general good itself their neighbor in a greater degree, for in this there is regarded the good of still greater numbers. As still more their neighbor to whom charity is to be done they acknowledge the Lord's kingdom on earth, which is the church; and the Lord's kingdom itself in the heavens even still more. But they who set the Lord before all these-who adore Him alone and love Him above all things-derive the neighbor in all these degrees from Him; for the Lord alone is the neighbor in the highest sense, thus all good is the neighbor insofar as it is from Him.  But they who are in the opposite derive the degrees of the neighbor from themselves, and acknowledge only those as neighbor who favor and serve them-calling no others brethren and friends-and this with a distinction, accordingly as they make one with them. All this shows what the neighbor is, namely, that a man is our neighbor according to the love in which he is; and that he is truly the neighbor who is in love to the Lord and in charity toward his neighbor, and this with every possible difference; thus it is the good itself with everyone that determines the point in question.2426.
Lest peradventure the evil cleave to me, and I die. That this signifies that then it could not but come to pass that he would be at the same time in evil, and that thereby he would be condemned, is evident without explication. What these words involve may be known from what has been said and shown before (n. 301-303, 571, 582, 1001, 1327, 1328), namely, that the Lord constantly provides that evil should not be commingled with good; but that insofar as a man is in evil, so far is he removed from good; for it is better for a man to be altogether in evil, than in evil and at the same time in good. For if he is in evil and at the same time in good, he must needs be damned eternally. It is the deceitful and hypocrites within the church who are most in danger of this. Such therefore is the meaning, in the internal sense, of "lest the evil cleave to me, and I die."2427.
Verse 20. Behold I pray this city is near to flee thither, and it is a little one; let me I pray escape thither-is it not a little one? And my soul shall live. "Behold I pray this city is near to flee thither," signifies that he might be permitted [to think and act] from the truth of faith; "and it is a little one," signifies from the little truth that he had; "let me I pray escape thither," signifies that from this small amount of truth it might be permissible to have regard to good; "is it not a little one?" signifies might he not have some little truth; "and my soul may live," signifies that so perchance he might be saved.2428.
Behold I pray this city is near to flee thither. That this signifies that he might be permitted [to think and act] from the truth of faith, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being what is of doctrine, thus the truth of faith (see n. 402, 2268). It is said to be "near," because truth is nearly related to good; on which account to "flee thither" signifies that he might be permitted [to think and act] from truth, seeing that he could not do so from good (n. 2422).2429.
It is a little one. That this signifies from the little truth that he had, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being truth, concerning which just above. Its being "little" signifies that there was little of truth; here, from the little that he had, as is evident from what precedes and what follows.  As regards the thing itself, namely, that they who are in the affection of truth have little truth in comparison with those who are in the affection of good, this is evident from the fact that it is from the meager and obscure good appertaining to them that they regard truth. The truth in a man is exactly according to the good that is in him. Where there is little good, there is little truth. They are in a like ratio and in a like degree, or, as we say, they march with even step. This indeed may seem a paradox, but still the case is so. Good is the very essence of truth, and truth without its essence is not truth, although it appears as if it were; it is merely a sounding brass, and is like an empty vessel.  In order that anyone may have truth in himself, he must not only know it, but also acknowledge it, and have faith in it; he then for the first time has truth, because it then affects him, and remains. It is otherwise when he only knows truth, and does not acknowledge it, and have faith in it; for in this case he has not the truth in himself. This is the case with many who are in evil: they are able to know truths, sometimes more than other men; but still they have not the truth; nay, they have it so much the less, because at heart they deny it.  It is provided by the Lord that no one should have (that is, acknowledge and believe) more truth than he receives of good. Hence it is here said of the city, by which truth is signified, that it is a "little one," and again in this verse, "Is it not a little one?" also in verse 22, that he called the name of the city "Zoar," which in the original language means "little;" for the reason that those are here treated of who are in the affection of truth, and not so much in the affection of good.2430.
Let me I pray escape thither. That this signifies that from this small amount of truth it might be permissible to have regard to good, is evident from what precedes and what follows. It was said that he should "escape to the mountain," by which is signified the good of love and of charity (n. 2419); but it was answered that he could not do this, but could escape to the city, by which is signified the truth of faith (n. 2428); thus that he could regard good from truth, or what is the same, charity from faith. Moreover, that city was situated at the foot of the mountain; and from it he afterwards went up and dwelt on the mountain, but in a cave (verse 30).2431.
Is it not a little one? That this signifies might he not have some little truth, is evident from what was said above (n. 2429), thus without further explication. This question is asked for the reason that the Lord alone knows how much good there is in the truth, and thus how much truth there is in a man.2432.
And my soul shall live. That this signifies that so perchance he might be saved, is likewise evident without explication. That he also was saved, because there was good in his truth, is evident from what follows, namely, from the answer, "Behold, I have accepted thy face as to this word also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken" (verse 21); and afterwards, "The sun was gone forth upon the earth, and Lot came unto Zoar" (verse 23); by which is meant that they who are in the affection of truth, that is, who are in faith, are saved, provided it is the faith of good.2433.
Verse 21. And He said unto him, Behold, I have accepted thy face as to this word also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken. "He said unto him, Behold, I have accepted thy face as to this word also," signifies assent, provided that the interiors in the truth derive anything from good; "that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken," signifies that thus he would not perish.2434.
He said unto him, Behold, I have accepted thy face as to this word also. That this signifies assent, provided that the interiors in the truth derive anything from good, is evident from the signification of "face." The term "face" is of frequent occurrence in the Word, and there signifies the interiors, as before shown (n. 358, 1999); and also that when the face is attributed to Jehovah or the Lord, it signifies Mercy, Peace, Good (n. 222, 223); so that here it signifies the good which is interiorly in truth; and therefore to "accept the face" denotes to assent, provided that the interiors in the truth derive anything from good. "As to this word," denotes as to this matter. That there is no truth unless there is good within it, may be seen above (n. 1496, 1832, 1900, 1904, 1928, 2063, 2173, 2269, 2401, 2403, 2429); and that the blessedness and happiness which a man has after death is not from truth, but from the good that is in the truth (n. 2261); and hence the more good there is in his truth, the more blessed and happy he is. That good is within truth, and causes it to be truth, is evident also from the goods and truths that exist even in worldly things. When a man learns and acknowledges that anything in these is good, then whatever favors this good he calls truth; but whatever does not favor it, he rejects and calls falsity. He may indeed say that that is true 2434-1 which does not favor the good in question; but he is then making a pretense, while thinking differently. And the case is the same in spiritual things.2435.
That I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken. That this signifies that so he would not perish, namely, the man with whom there is truth within which there is good, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being truth (see n. 402, 2268, 2428). It has been disputed from the most ancient times which is the firstborn of the church, charity or faith; for the reason that man is regenerated and becomes a church by means of the truths of faith. But they who have set faith foremost and made it the firstborn, have all fallen into heresies and falsities, and at length have extinguished charity altogether; as we read of Cain, by whom such faith is signified, that at length he killed his brother Abel, by whom is signified charity; and afterwards of Reuben, the firstborn son of Jacob, by whom likewise faith is signified, that he polluted his father's couch (Gen. 35:22; 49:4), and therefore was held unworthy, and the primogeniture was given to Joseph (Gen. 48:5; 1 Chron. 5:1).  This was the source of all the contentions, and also all the laws, respecting primogeniture that are mentioned in the Word. The cause of there being such a controversy was that it was not known, as even at this day it is not known, that a man has only so much of faith as he has of charity; and that when a man is being regenerated, charity presents itself to faith, or what is the same, good presents itself to truth, and insinuates itself into it and adapts itself to it in every particular, causing faith to be faith; and thus that charity is the very firstborn of the church, although to man it appears otherwise (see also n. 352, 367). But as these things will frequently be treated of hereafter, of the Lord's Divine mercy we shall say more on the subject as the occasion arises.2436.
Verse 22. Haste thee, escape thither, for I cannot do anything until thou be come thither. Therefore he called the name of the city Zoar. "Haste thee, escape thither," signifies that he should remain in it, because he cannot go further; "for I cannot do anything until thou be come thither," signifies that before the Judgment upon the evil, they are to be saved who are in the affection of truth; "Therefore he called the name of the city Zoar," signifies the affection of truth.2437.
Haste thee, escape thither. That this signifies that he should remain in it, because he could not go further (that is to say, in the truth of faith and the affection of it, because he could not be in the very good of charity and the affection of it), is evident from what precedes.2438.
For I cannot do anything until thou be come thither. That this signifies that before the Judgment upon the evil they are to be saved who are in the affection of truth, is evident from the fact that the words "I cannot do anything," refer to the Judgment upon the evil, which is presently described by the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; and that the words "until thou be come thither," signify that they are first to be saved who are in the affection of truth, and who are here represented by Lot; which also is what is meant by Lot's coming to Zoar (verse 23).  That the good and the just are saved before the evil and the unjust perish, is evident also elsewhere in the Word, as where the Last Judgment is treated of in Matthew, and it is said that the sheep were separated from the goats, and the sheep were told to enter into the Lord's kingdom before the goats were told to depart into eternal fire (25:32, 34, 41). The like was also represented in the exodus of the sons of Israel from Egypt-that they were saved before the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea.  The same is also signified by the declarations of the Prophets, that after the faithful had been brought back from captivity, their enemies should then undergo their punishments and perish. This is continually taking place in the other life, that is, the faithful are first saved, and then the unfaithful are punished; or what is the same, the faithful are elevated into heaven by the Lord, and the unfaithful then cast themselves down into hell. The reason why these two things do not take place at the same time is that unless the good were carefully withdrawn from the wicked, they would easily perish by the cupidities of evil and the persuasions of falsity, which the wicked continually scatter around like poisons. But in general, before this comes to pass, it is provided that evils should be separated from the good, and that goods should be separated from the evil, so that the former may by means of their goods be uplifted by the Lord into heaven, and the latter by means of their evils may cast themselves down into hell; concerning which subject of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter, at n. 2449, 2451.2439.
Therefore he called the name of the city Zoar. That this signifies the affection of truth, is evident from the signification of Zoar," as being the affection of good, namely, of the good of knowledge, that is, the affection of truth (see n. 1589); and from the signification of "calling a name," as being to know the quality (see n. 144, 145, 1754, 2009); here that there was a little truth, for in the original language "Zoar" means "little," or "small." In comparison with those who are in the affection of good, they who are in the affection of truth have little truth because they have little good (see above, n. 2429).  Moreover that truths which are in themselves truths are with one person more true, with another less true, and with some not true at all, and even false, is evident from almost all things which in themselves are true; for they are varied in the man with whom they are, in accordance with his affections. For example, the doing of a good work or a good of charity: in itself it is a truth that this is to be done; and with one person it is a good of charity, because it proceeds from charity; with another it is a work of obedience, because it proceeds from obedience; with some it is work of self-merit, because by it they desire to merit and to obtain salvation; but with others it is hypocritical, being done in order that they may seem charitable; and so on. It is the same with all other things that are called truths of faith. And this shows that there is much truth with those who are in the affection of good, and less truth with those who are in the affection of truth; for the latter regard good as being more remote from themselves, whereas the former regard good as being present in themselves.2440.
Verse 23. The sun was gone forth upon the earth, and Lot came to Zoar. "The sun was gone forth upon the earth," signifies the last period, which is called the Last Judgment; "and Lot came to Zoar," signifies that those are saved who are in the affection of truth.2441.
The sun was gone forth upon the earth. That this signifies the last period, which is called the Last Judgment, is evident from the signification of the "rising of the sun," when the subject treated of is the times and states of the church. That in the internal sense the times of the day, and also the times of the year, signify the successive states of the church, has been shown before (n. 2323); and that the dawn or morning signifies the Lord's advent, that is, the approach of His Kingdom (n. 2405) so that in the passage before us the rising of the sun, that is, his "going forth upon the earth," signifies the Lord's presence itself; and this for the reason that both the "sun" and the "east" signify the Lord. (As to the "sun," seen. 31, 32, 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 2120; as to the "east," n. 101.)  The reason why the Lord's presence is the same as the last period, which is called the Judgment, is that His presence separates the good from the evil, and results in the good being elevated into heaven, and the evil casting themselves down into hell; for in the other life the Lord is the Sun to the universal heaven (see n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1531), for it is the Divine Celestial of His love that so appears before their eyes and actually makes the very light of heaven. In so far therefore as the inhabitants of the spiritual world are in celestial love, so far are they elevated into that celestial light which is from the Lord; but in so far as they are remote from celestial love, so far do they cast themselves away from this tight into infernal darkness.  This therefore is the reason why the "rising of the sun," by which is signified the presence of the Lord, involves both the salvation of the good and the damnation of the evil; and this is why it is now said for the first time that "Lot came to Zoar," that is, that they who are here represented by Lot were saved; and presently that "Jehovah caused it to rain upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire," that is, that the evil were damned.  To those who are in the evils of the love of self and of the world, that is, to those who are in hatreds against all things of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, the light of heaven actually appears as thick darkness; on which account it is said in the Word that to such the "sun was blackened;" by which is signified that they rejected everything of love and charity, and received everything that is contrary thereto. As in Ezekiel: When I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens, and make the stars thereof black I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine all the luminaries of light in the heavens will I make black over thee, and will set darkness upon thy land (Ezek. 31:7, 8). Every one can see that by "covering the heavens," "blackening the stars," "covering the sun," and "blackening the luminaries of heaven," other things than these are signified.  In like manner in Isaiah: The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (Isa. 13:10). And in Joel: The sun and the moon are blackened, and the stars withdraw their shining (Joel 2:2, 10). It is therefore evident what is signified by the Lord's words in Matthew, where He is speaking of the last period of the church, which is called the Judgment: Immediately after the affliction of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven (Matt. 24:29) where by the "sun" is not meant the sun; nor by the "moon," the moon; nor by the "stars," the stars; but by the "sun" are signified love and charity; by the "moon," the faith thence derived; and by the "stars," the knowledges of good and truth; which are said to be "obscured," to "lose their light," and to "fall from heaven," when there is no longer any acknowledgment of the Lord, nor any love to Him, nor any charity toward the neighbor; and when these have become nought, the love of self with its falsities takes possession of the man; for the one thing is a consequence of the other.  Hence we read also in John: The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and it was given unto him to scorch men with fire, and men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God (Rev. 16:8, 9) where also the last times of the church are treated of, when all love and charity are being extinguished; or, speaking according to the common mode, when there is no longer any faith. The extinction of love and charity is meant by the "pouring out of the vial upon the sun;" so that it was the love of self and its cupidities by which men were then "scorched with fire," and "scorched with great heat;" and from which came the "blaspheming of the name of God."  By the "sun" the Ancient Church understood nothing else than the Lord and the Divine Celestial of His love; and therefore they were accustomed to pray toward the sun rising, while not thinking at all about the sun. But after their posterity had lost this also, together with the rest of their representatives and significatives, they began to worship the sun itself and also the moon; which worship spread to many nations, so much so that they dedicated temples to them, and set up pillars; and because the sun and the moon then took on an opposite signification, they came to signify the love of self and of the world, which are diametrically contrary to heavenly and spiritual love. Hence in the Word by the "worship of the sun and the moon" is meant the worship of self and of the world.  As in Moses: Lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the army of the heavens, and thou be driven to bow down unto them, and serve them (Deut. 4:19). And again: If he have gone and served other gods, and the sun and the moon, or any of the army of the heavens, which I have not commanded, then thou shalt stone them with stones, and they shall die (Deut. 17:3, 5). Into such idolatry was the ancient worship turned when they no longer believed that anything internal was signified by the rites of the church, but only what was external.  In like manner in Jeremiah: At that time shall they spread out the bones of the kings of Judah, of the princes, of the priests, of the prophets, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, before the sun and the moon, and all the army of the heavens, which they have loved, and which they have served (Jer. 8:1-2). The "sun" here denotes the love of self and its cupidities; their "spreading out the bones" signifies the infernal things that belong to such worshipers. Again: He shall break the pillars of the house of the sun, which are in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of Egypt shall he burn with fire (Jer. 43:13). The "pillars of the house" denote the worship of self.2442.
And Lot came to Zoar. That this signifies that those who are in the affection of truth are saved, is evident from the signification of "Zoar," as being the affection of truth (see n. 2439). This shows that those also are saved who are in faith, provided there is good in their faith; that is, provided they are affected by the truths of faith for the sake of good, for this is from good: all the life of faith is from no other source. (That charity is the essential of faith, nay, that it is faith itself, because it is the very substance of faith, may be seen above, n. 379, 389, 654, 724, 809, 916, 1162, 1176, 1798, 1799, 1834, 1844, 2049, 2116, 2189, 2190, 2228, 2261, 2343, 2349, 2417).2443.
Verse 24. And Jehovah caused it to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven. "Jehovah caused it to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire," signifies the hell of those who are in the evils of the love of self and the falsities thence derived; "to rain" is to be damned; "brimstone" is the hell of the love of self; "fire" is the hell of the falsities thence derived; "from Jehovah out of heaven," signifies from the laws of order as to truth, because they separate themselves from good.2444.
Jehovah caused it to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire. That this signifies the hell of those who are in the evils of the love of self and the falsities thence derived, is evident from the signification of "raining," as being to be damned; of "brimstone," as being the hell of the evils of the love of self; and of "fire," as being the hell of the falsities thence derived, concerning which presently; also from the signification of "Sodom," as being the evil of the love of self; and of "Gomorrah," as being the falsity thence derived (see n. 2220, 2246, 2322).  Here "Gomorrah" is also mentioned, for the first time in this chapter, for the reason that "Gomorrah" signifies the falsity that comes from the evil of the love of self. For within the church, whose last period or Judgment is here treated of, this evil is that which chiefly acts against good, and its falsity is that which acts against truth; and these two things are so conjoined that he who is in the one is also in the other, and indeed in a like ratio and a like degree. It does indeed appear otherwise, but yet is plainly so in the other life, if not in the world. (As regards the love of self, its nature, the vastness of the evils that come from it, and that it is the source of the hells, see n. 693, 694, 760, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1594, 1691, 2041, 2045, 2051, 2057, 2219).2445.
That to "rain" denotes to be damned, is evident from the signification of "rain." In the Word "rain" in the genuine sense signifies a blessing, and therefore also salvation; but in the opposite sense a curse, and therefore also damnation. That it signifies a blessing and therefore salvation, is evident from many passages; but that in the opposite sense it signifies a curse, and therefore damnation, is manifest from the following. In Isaiah: There shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a refuge and a covert from flood, and from rain (Isa. 4:6). In Ezekiel: Say to them that daub on what is untempered, that it shall fall; there shall be an overflowing rain, and ye hailstones shall fall; an overflowing rain shall there be in Mine anger, and hailstones in wrath unto the consummation (Ezek. 13:11, 13). In David: He made their rains hail, a fire of flames in their land, and He smote their vine and their fig-tree (Ps. 105:32-33); concerning Egypt, of which we read in Moses: Jehovah gave thunders and hail, and fire quivered upon the land; and Jehovah made it rain hail upon the land of Egypt (Exod. 9:23-24).2446.
That "brimstone" denotes the hell of the evils of the love of self, and "fire" the hell of the falsities thence derived, is evident from the signification in the Word of "brimstone" and the "fire" from it, as being the love of self with its cupidities and the derivative falsities, thus as being hell, for hell consists of such things. That "brimstone" and "fire" have this signification is evident in David: Jehovah shall rain upon the wicked snares, fire, and brimstone (Ps. 11:6). That fire and brimstone are not here meant, but something else that is signified by "fire and brimstone," is evident also from its being said that Jehovah "rains snares." In Ezekiel: I will contend against him with pestilence and with blood, and I will make it rain an overflowing rain, and hailstones, fire and brimstone, upon him, and upon his troops, and upon the many peoples that are with him (Ezek. 38:22); where God is treated of, who lays waste the land of Israel, that is, the church. (The signification of "God" may be seen above, n. 1151.) "Fire" denotes falsities, "brimstone" the evils thence, and at the same time the hells of those who lay waste. In John: They who adored the beast were cast into a lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. 19:20); meaning hell. Again: The devil was cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:10); manifestly meaning hell. Again: The abominable, and murderers, and adulterers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8); where also "fire and brimstone" plainly denote hell.  That they denote the evils of the love of self and the falsities thence derived, from which come the hells-in Isaiah: The day of the vengeance of Jehovah, and the year of retribution in the controversy of Zion; and the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch (Isa. 34:8-9); where "burning pitch," here mentioned instead of "fire," denotes dense and direful falsities and " brimstone" the evils from the love of self. Again: The pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of Jehovah is like a stream of brimstone kindling in it (Isa. 30:33); speaking of Topheth; the "stream of kindling brimstone" denoting falsities from the evils of the love of self. In Luke: In the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all; even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed (Luke 17:29-30). That it will not then rain fire and brimstone is obvious; but what is meant is that the falsities and cupidities of the love of self, which are signified by "fire and brimstone," and which make the hells, will then predominate.  That in the Word "fire" signifies cupidities, and at the same time the hells, and that in this case the "smoke" from the fire signifies the falsity thence derived, and which is in those hells, may be seen above (n. 1861); and in John: I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat upon them, having breastplates of fire and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions, and out of their mouth issued fire, smoke, and brimstone: by these three were the third part of men killed, by the fire, and the smoke, and the brimstone (Rev. 9:17-18); "fire, smoke, and brimstone" denote evils and falsities of every kind, of which as before said the hells consist.2447.
From Jehovah out of heaven. That this signifies from the laws of order as to truth, because they separate themselves from good, cannot be seen except from the internal sense, by which there is disclosed how the case stands with punishments and damnations: that they in no wise come from Jehovah, that is, from the Lord, but from the man himself, the evil spirit, and the devil; and this from the laws of order as to truth, because they separate themselves from good.  All order is from Jehovah, that is, from the Lord, and according to this order are all things directed by Him both in general and in particular, but in many different ways, to wit, from Will, from Good-pleasure, from Leave, and from Permission. The things that are from His will and good-pleasure are from the laws of order as to good, and so also are many of those which are from leave, and some of those which are from permission. But when a man separates himself from good he casts himself into the rule of the laws of order that are of truth separated from good, which are such that they condemn; for all truth condemns man and casts him down into hell; whereas the Lord from good, that is, from mercy, saves him, and uplifts him into heaven. From this we see that it is man himself who condemns himself.  The things done from permission are mostly of this nature, as for example, that one devil punishes and torments another; and innumerable other things of this kind. These things are from the laws of order as to truth separated from good; for the devils could not otherwise be held in bonds, and withheld from rushing upon all the well disposed and good, and eternally destroying them. It is the prevention of this which is the good the Lord has in view. The case herein is similar to that which exists on earth, where a mild and clement king, who intends and does nothing but good, must needs suffer his laws to punish the evil and the wicked (although he punishes no one, but rather grieves that they are such that their evils must punish them), for otherwise he would leave his kingdom itself a prey to them; which would be the height of rigor and of unmercifulness.  This shows that Jehovah in no wise caused it to rain brimstone and fire, that is in no wise condemned to hell; but that the men themselves who were in evil and thence in falsity did this, because they had separated themselves from good, and so had cast themselves into the rule of the laws of order that come from truth alone. From all which it follows that this is the internal sense of these words.  That in the Word "evil," "punishing," "cursing," "damnation," and many other such things are attributed to Jehovah or the Lord, as here that He made it "rain brimstone and fire," we read in Ezekiel: I will contend against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him fire and brimstone (Ezek. 38:22). In Isaiah: The breath of Jehovah like a stream of brimstone doth kindle it (Isa. 30:33). In David: Jehovah shall rain upon the wicked snares, fire, and brimstone (Ps. 11:6). Again: There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth, coals did burn from Him (Ps. 18:8). In Jeremiah: Lest My fury go forth like fire, and burn, and there is none to quench it (Jer. 21:12). In Moses: A fire is kindled in Mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell (Deut. 32:22); besides similar things in many other places. The reason why such things are attributed in the Word to Jehovah or the Lord has been explained in volume 1 (n. 223, 245, 589, 592, 696, 735, 1093, 1638, 1683, 1874); for such things are as far from coming from the Lord, as good is far from evil, or as heaven is from hell, or what is Divine from what is diabolical. Evil, hell, and the devil do these things; but by no means the Lord, who is mercy itself and good itself; but because He appears to do them, therefore for the reasons mentioned in the numbers cited, they are attributed to Him.  From its being said in this verse that Jehovah caused it to rain from Jehovah out of heaven, it appears in the sense of the letter as if there were two; one on earth, and one in heaven; but the internal sense teaches how this also is to be understood, namely, that by the Jehovah first named is meant the Lord's Divine Human and Holy proceeding (meant in this chapter by the "two men") and by the Jehovah named in the second place is meant the Divine Itself that is called the "Father" (spoken of in the preceding chapter); and that this Trine is in the Lord, as He himself says in John: He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me (John 14:9-11). And concerning the Holy proceeding, in the same: The Comforter shall not speak from Himself but He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you (John 16:13-15). Thus Jehovah is one, although two are here named; two being named for the reason that all the laws of order are from the Lord's Divine Itself, Divine Human, and Holy proceeding.2448.
Verse 25. And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and the growth of the ground. "He overthrew those cities," signifies that all truths were separated from them, in order that they might have only falsities "and all the plain," signifies all things that pertained to truths; "and all the inhabitants of the cities," signifies that all goods were separated from them, in order that they might have nothing but evils; "and the growth of the ground," signifies all that is of the church.2449.
He overthrew those cities. That this signifies that all truths were separated from them, in order that they might have only falsities, is evident from the signification of "cities," as being doctrinal things, thus truths, since these belong to doctrinal things (see n. 402, 2268, 2428); and which are said to be "overthrown" when there are falsities instead of truths, in the present case when all truths have been separated from them, as well as all goods, which are likewise treated of in this verse because the subject is the last state of those within the church who are in falsities and evils; and this is the state into which they come, concerning the nature of which a few words shall be said.  They who come into the other life are all brought again into a life similar to that which they had in the body; and then with the good evils and falsities are separated, in order that by means of goods and truths they may be elevated by the Lord into heaven; but with the evil, goods and truths are separated in order that by evils and falsities they may be borne into hell (see n. 2119); precisely in accordance with the Lord's words in Matthew: Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, that he may have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath (Matt. 13:12). And elsewhere in the same: Unto him that hath shall be given, that he may have abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath (Matt. 25:29; Luke 8:18; 19:24-26; Mark 4:24-25). The same things are also signified by these words in Matthew: Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn. The harvest is the consummation of the age; as therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the consummation of the age (Matt. 13:30, 39-40). The same are also signified by what is said of the net cast into the sea that gathered fishes of various kinds, the good being collected into vessels and the bad cast away; and of its being so at the consummation of the age (verses 47 to 50). What the "consummation" is, and that it involves like things as these in regard to the church, may be seen above, n 1857, 2243.) The reason why evils and falsities are separated from the good is that they may not hang between evils and goods, but may be elevated by means of goods into heaven; and the reason why goods and truths are separated from the evil is that they may not by means of any goods that pertain to them seduce the upright, and also that by means of their evils they may go away among the evil who are in hell. For such is the communication in the other life, of all ideas of thought, and of all affections, that goods are communicated among the good, and evils among the evil (n. 1388-1390); so that unless the good and the evil were separated, countless mischiefs would result, and moreover all association together would be impossible; when yet all things are most exquisitely consociated, in the heavens according to all the differences of love to the Lord and of mutual love, and of the derivative faith (n. 685, 1394); and in the hells according to all the differences of cupidities and of the derivative phantasies (n. 695, 1322). Be it known however that the separation is not entire removal, for from no one is that which he has had altogether taken away.2450.
And all the plain. That this signifies all things that pertained to those truths, is evident from the signification of a "plain," as being everything of what is doctrinal, thus everything that pertains to truths (see n. 2418).
2405-1 Nativitatis; but juventutis elsewhere, as T.C.R. 764. [Rotch ed.]
2413-1 In this and following numbers we have "he" and "his" in the explication, grammatically referring to Lot, when in fact those are meant who are represented by him as occasionally explained. [Rotch ed.]
2434-1 Verum non sit, apparently by a slip. [Rotch ed.]