Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
And thou shalt go in, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt. That this signifies communication with those who are in falsities and who have infested, is evident from the signification of "going in," as being communication, for "to go in," in the spiritual sense, is to communicate to another one's thought; from the representation of Moses, as being the law from the Divine (see n. 6827); from the signification of "elders," as being the intelligent (n. 6523, 6525, 6890); and from the representation of Pharaoh, or the king of Egypt, as being falsity infesting the truths of the church (n. 6651, 6679, 6683). From all this it is evident that by "go in, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt" is signified the communication of such things as are of the law from the Divine, and of the intelligence thence derived, to those who are in falsities and who infested.6902.
And ye shall say unto him. That this signifies influx, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being influx (see n. 5743, 6152, 6291). That "to say" here denotes influx, is because the communication of such things as are of the law from the Divine, and of the intelligence thence derived (n. 6901), is effected by influx.6903.
Jehovah God of the Hebrews hath met with us. That this signifies the Divine of the Lord in the church, and His command, is evident from the signification of "the Hebrews," as being the church (see n. 5136, 6675, 6684); that "Jehovah God" denotes the Divine of the Lord, is because by "Jehovah" no other is meant in the Word than the Lord (n. 1736, 2921; 3023, 3035, 5041, 5663, 6303); and from the signification of "meeting," as here being a command; for by "meeting" is here meant that He spoke with them, and gave orders. That this is involved in "meeting," is evident from the fact that it is not further said what He spoke, but His command immediately follows.6904.
And now let us go we pray a way of three days into the wilderness. That this signifies the life of truth in a state altogether removed from falsities, although in obscurity, is evident from the signification of "going," as being life (see n. 3335, 4882, 5493, 5605); from the signification of "a way," as being truth (n. 627, 2333); from the signification of "three days," as being a full state (n. 2788, 4495), thus when removal from falsities is treated of, it denotes a state altogether removed from them (that "to put a way of three days" denotes to completely separate, see n. 4010); and from the signification of a "wilderness," as being what is uninhabited and uncultivated (n. 2708, 3900), which in the spiritual sense denotes obscurity of faith. For the subject here treated of is the setting up of a spiritual church, signified by the "sons of Israel;" and they who are of that church are relatively in obscurity in respect to the good and truth of faith (n. 2708, 2715, 2716, 2718, 2831, 2849, 2935, 2937, 3241, 3246, 3833, 4402, 6289, 6500, 6865). The life of truth is the life which they live who are of the spiritual church; for the truth which they know from the Word, or from the doctrine of their church, when it is made of the life, is called good, but it is truth in act.6905.
That we may sacrifice to Jehovah our God. That this signifies thus the worship of the Lord, is evident from the signification of "sacrificing," as being worship in general (see n. 923); for in the Hebrew church, and afterward with the posterity of Jacob, all worship had reference to sacrifices, as can be seen from the fact that they were offered daily, and many at every festival; also at inaugurations, at purifications, for sins, for guilt, besides in consequence of vows, and of free-will. Hence it is that by "sacrifices" is signified worship in general. That it is the worship of the Lord which is signified by "sacrificing to Jehovah God," is very evident from the fact that sacrifices represented none other than the Lord, and the Divine celestial and spiritual things which are from Him (see n. 1823, 2180, 2805, 2807, 2830, 3519); and also from the fact that by "Jehovah God" in the Word none other than the Lord is meant (see n. 6903); by "Jehovah" His Divine Being, and by "God" the Divine Coming-forth thence derived; thus by "Jehovah" the Divine good of His Divine love, and by "God" the Divine truth proceeding from His Divine good.6906.
And I know. That this signifies foresight, is evident from the signification of "knowing," when predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, as being foresight (see above, n. 6853).6907.
That the king of Egypt will not allow you to go. That this signifies that falsity will oppose itself, is evident from the signification of "not allowing you to go," as being to oppose itself, for he who does not allow, when it is said that there is a Divine command (n. 6903), and who denies leave to anyone to worship God, sets himself in opposition, as all are wont to do who are in falsity that is confirmed in themselves; from the representation of Pharaoh or the king of Egypt, as being falsity (n. 6651, 6679, 6683); and from the signification of "to go," namely "a way of three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to Jehovah God," as being to live according to truth in a state altogether removed from falsities, and to worship the Lord in this way (n. 6904).  How the case is with those who are in falsity, and who are represented by the king of Egypt, in that they set themselves in opposition to those who are in truths, must be told. In the world they who are in falsity do not openly oppose themselves to those who are in truth, for external bonds restrain them, which are fears lest they should appear to be against the laws of the realm and of the church, so that they could not seem to be good citizens; for in this world everyone wishes to seem just and true in outward form, and the wicked more so than the well-disposed, in order that they may captivate the minds of others, and deceive for the sake of gain and honors. Nevertheless inwardly they set themselves in opposition, for whenever they hear anyone professing the truths of the church, not from his office but from zeal, they ridicule inwardly, and they would openly deride if external bonds did not then restrain them. When such come into the other life, external bonds no longer restrain them, for these are then taken away from them in order that everyone may appear in his true character; and then they openly set themselves in opposition to those who are in truths, and infest them in every possible way. This is then the very delight of their life; and when they are warned not to do such things, because if they do not desist, they will at last be removed altogether and thrust down into hell, still they pay no attention to this, but constantly persist in the infestation as before, so greatly are they in the delight of life from falsity, and this taking such possession of them that they do not admit anything which is of intelligence. These are the things signified by the words "the king of Egypt will not allow you to go," and which are represented by Pharaoh, in that he so often set himself in opposition. The removal of such spirits, and the thrusting of them down into hell, is represented by the destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the sea Suph.  They who are in evil of life, and from this in falsity, are in the light of the world, for this is the light by which intellectual objects are seen; this light, with those who are in falsity from evil, has a ruddy glow, and the more so in proportion as they are more in falsity from evil. The glory of the world, which is from the love of self, kindles this light, and causes its glow; and because this is so, truths appear therein wholly as falsities, and falsities wholly as truths. The reason is that heavenly light cannot flow into a beam of that light, but becomes thick darkness when with it; hence it is that such are in a strong persuasion in favor of falsities against truths; because in that light they see them in this way. But with those who are in truths from good, the light of the world does not glow, but is obscure; while the light of heaven with them is clear and bright, and because this light is so clear, truths appear in it as truths, and falsities as falsities. For when this light falls upon falsities, which in the light of the world separate from the light of heaven appear as truths, it not only obscures but altogether extinguishes them. This light, namely, the light of heaven, becomes successively brighter and brighter with them, and at last so much so that the light of the world cannot be compared to it. From all this appears the reason why they who are in falsities from evil, from so strong a persuasion oppose themselves to those who are in truths, which opposition has been treated of above.6908.
And not by a strong hand. That this signifies that the power of those who are of the spiritual church will not prevail against them, is evident from the signification of "hand," as being power (see n. 878, 3387, 4931-4937); hence "not by a strong hand" denotes power which will not prevail. That the power of those who are of the spiritual church is here meant, is plain from the words which presently follow, "and I will put forth My hand, and smite Egypt with all My wonders," whereby is signified that they would be overcome by power from the Divine, and by the means of this power.6909.
And I will put forth My hand. That this signifies power from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "hand," as being power (see n. 878, 3387, 4931-4937); and as Jehovah or the Lord says this of Himself, it denotes power from the Divine.6910.
And smite Egypt with all My wonders. That this signifies the means of Divine power against falsities, is evident from the signification of "Egypt," as being falsity (of which frequently above); and from the signification of "wonders," as being the means of Divine power, whereby they are subjugated who are in evils and infest. That "wonders" denote the means of Divine power, by which they are subjugated who are in falsities, is evident from the wonders or miracles done in Egypt, whereby the Egyptians were at last driven to send away the sons of Israel; every such wonder or miracle there signifies a means of Divine power.6911.
Which I will do in the midst thereof. That this signifies which shall touch them directly, is evident from the signification of "the midst," as being what is within (see n. 1074, 2940, 2973), thus what directly touches; for that which directly touches anyone is within him; but that which does not touch directly, is also without, for it strikes obliquely, and in part passes by.6912.
And afterward he will send you away. That this signifies the driving away of those who are in falsities, and the liberation of those who are in truths, is evident from the signification of "sending," or "letting go," as here being to be driven away; for they who are in falsities never let go, even though it were to eternity, unless they are driven away; therefore by "sending," in the internal sense, is here signified driving away, and the consequent liberation.6913.
Verses 21, 22. And I will give this people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when ye go, ye shall not go empty; and every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters, and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. "And I will give this people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians," signifies the fear of those who are in falsities before those who are of the spiritual church, by reason of the plagues; "and it shall be that when ye go, ye shall not go empty," signifies life no longer in need in respect to the things of the natural mind; "but every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house," signifies that everyone's good shall be enriched with such things as are helpful; "vessels of silver," signifies memory-knowledges of truth; "and vessels of gold," signifies memory-knowledges of good; "and garments," signifies lower memory-knowledges corresponding thereto; "and ye shall put them upon your sons," signifies applying them to their truths; "and upon your daughters," signifies applying them to goods; "and ye shall spoil the Egyptians," signifies that such things are to be taken away from those who are in falsities and the derivative evils.6914.
And I will give this people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. That this signifies the fear of those who are in falsities before those who are of the spiritual church, by reason of the plagues, is evident from the signification of "giving favor," as being fear by reason of plagues (of which below); from the representation of the sons of Israel, who are here "the people," as being those who are of the spiritual church (see n. 6637); and from the representation of the Egyptians, as being those who are in falsities (of which frequently above). That "to give favor in the eyes of the Egyptians" signifies fear by reason of plagues with those who are in falsities, is evident from the meaning of the things in the internal sense, for those who are in falsities are treated of, who are signified by the "Egyptians," in that truths and goods were to be taken away from them, and to be transferred to those who are of the spiritual church; and as those who are in falsities are treated of, by "favor" is not meant favor, for they who are in falsities and evils never have any favor for anyone; but if they benefit anyone, or do not injure him, it is from fear of plagues; this is the source of their favor, and this is the "favor" which is here meant in the internal sense. The internal sense sets forth things such as they are, not such as they are presented in the letter; and applies each to the subject. That this is so, is plain also from what follows concerning the Egyptians, in that they did not let the sons of Israel go from any favor, but from fear on account of further plagues (Exod. 11:1; 12:33).  As the spoiling of the Egyptians is treated of in these two verses by the women of Israel asking from the Egyptian women silver, gold, and garments, and as it cannot possibly be known how this is, except from revelation about the things that take place in the other life, for the internal sense involves such things as take place among angels and spirits, therefore it shall be told. That before the Lord's coming the lower part of heaven was occupied by evil genii and spirits, and that they were afterward expelled thence and that region given to those of the spiritual church, may be seen above (n. 6858). So long as the evil genii and spirits were there, they were under the continual view of the angels of the higher heaven, and by this they were restrained from doing evils openly. At this day also some who are more deceitful than others, because they deceive by a pretence of innocence and charity, are under the view of the celestials, and so long as this is the case they are withheld from their wicked arts. They are directly above the head, and the celestial angels, under whose view they are, are still higher. From this it has been given me to know what was the state of the evil genii and spirits who before the coming of the Lord occupied the lower region of heaven, namely, that at that time they were withheld by the angels of the higher heaven from doing evils openly.  But in what manner they were withheld from doing evils openly, it has also been given me to know. They were kept in external bonds, namely, in fear of the loss of honor and reputation, and in fear of the deprivation of possessions in that region of heaven, and of being thrust down into hell; and then there were joined to them simple good spirits; as is the case with men in the world, who, though inwardly devils, are nevertheless kept by such external bonds in the pretence of what is honorable and just, and in well-doing; and in order that they may be so kept, there are joined to them spirits who are in simple good. This was the case with the evil who were in the lower region of heaven before the coming of the Lord; and then they also could be driven to speak truth and to do good by means of their own loves; no otherwise than evil priests, even the worst, who are devils inwardly, who can preach the doctrinal things of their own church with such ardor and pretended zeal as to move the hearts of their hearers to piety, and yet at the same time they are in the love of self and of the world. For thought about honor and gain is what universally reigns within them, and from this fire they are stirred up so to preach. It is the evil spirits with whom they are, and who are in similar love, and thence in similar thought, who lead them; and to these are joined simple good spirits. From all this it can be seen what the state of heaven was before the Lord's coming.  But after His coming the states of heaven and of hell were quite changed, for then the evil genii and spirits who occupied the lower region of heaven were cast down, and in their stead they who were of the spiritual church were taken up thither. The evil who were cast down were then deprived of the external bonds which as before said were fears of the loss of honor and reputation, and of the losing of possessions in that region; and in this way they were left to their interiors, which were no other than diabolical and infernal, and so they were consigned to the hells. The taking away of external bonds is effected in the other life by the removal of the good spirits who had been joined to the evil ones. When these are removed, the infernals can no longer be in any pretence of what is good, just, and honorable, but are such as they had been inwardly in the world, that is, such as they had been in thought and will, which they had there concealed from others; and then they desire nothing else than to do evil. These simple good spirits who were taken away from them, were given or joined to those who were of the spiritual church, to whom that region of heaven was given for a possession; and it was from this that these latter were enriched with the truths and goods which were before in the possession of the evil genii and spirits; for enrichment in truths and goods in the other life is effected by the adjoining of spirits who are in truth and good, because through these is effected communication.  This is what is signified by the sons of Israel not going empty from Egypt, and by a woman asking of her neighbor, and of her that sojourned in her house, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and thus spoiling the Egyptians. Everyone can see that unless such things had been represented, the Divine would never have commanded that the sons of Israel should use such guile against the Egyptians; for every such thing is very far from the Divine. But as the Israelitish people was altogether representative, it was permitted them by the Divine to do so, because it was so done with the evil in the other life. Be it known that very many things which were commanded by Jehovah or the Lord, in the internal sense do not signify that they were commanded, but that they were permitted.6915.
And it shall be that when ye go, ye shall not go empty. That this signifies life no longer in need in respect to the things of the natural mind, is evident from the signification of "going," as being life (see n. 3335, 4882, 5493, 5605, 6904); and from the signification of "not going empty," as being life no longer in need. That "emptiness" denotes where there is no truth may be seen above (n. 4744), thus it denotes where there is spiritual need. That it denotes need in respect to the things of the natural mind is plain from what precedes, namely, that they who are of the spiritual church, who are represented by the sons of Israel, were infested by those who were in false memory-knowledges, who are signified by the "Egyptians," consequently as to the things of the natural mind, for the things of this mind are called memory-knowledges. These also especially infest the spiritual, for their thought is within such knowledges, and but little above them (see n. 6865).6916.
But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house. That this signifies that the good of everyone will be enriched with such things as are helpful, is evident from the signification of "woman," as being the affection of the good of charity (see n. 6014); from the signification of "her neighbor," as being the affection of truth with those who are in memory-knowledges; and from the signification of "her that sojourneth in her house," as being the affection of good, which is also with them. As she was to ask of her neighbor and of her that sojourned in the house, there are signified the truths and goods which are nearest, thus which are helpful. How the case herein is, is plain from what was adduced just above (n. 6914); a "woman" was to ask because by "woman" is signified the good of charity, and this must be what is to be enriched; for in order that good may become good, there must be truths to qualify it. The reason is that when anyone lives according to truths, the truths themselves then become goods; and therefore such as is the quality of the truth, such becomes the good. This good afterward associates and adjoins to itself no other truths than such as are in accord with its own quality, consequently no other than such as are helpful, thus which are in the neighborhood and in the house.6917.
Vessels of silver, and vessels of gold. That "vessels of silver" signify the memory-knowledges of truth, and "vessels of gold" the memory-knowledges of good, is evident from the signification of "vessels," as being memory-knowledges (see n. 3068, 3079); memory-knowledges are called "vessels" because they are generals, and can contain within them innumerable truths and manifold goods; from the signification of "silver" as being truth, and of "gold" as being good (n. 1551, 1552, 2954, 5658). (That the "silver" of Egypt denotes true and suitable memory-knowledge may be seen above, n. 6112.) As to the "vessels of silver and gold" with the Egyptians being the memory-knowledges of truth and the memory-knowledges of good, when yet by the "Egyptians" both here and in what precedes, and also in what follows, are signified false memory-knowledges, be it known that in themselves these knowledges are not truths, neither are they falsities, but that they become truths with those who are in truths, and falsities with those who are in falsities, this being the effect of their application and use. It is with man's memory-knowledges as with his riches and wealth. Riches and wealth are hurtful to those who are in evil, because they apply them to evil uses; but they are useful to those who are in good, because they apply them to good uses. If therefore the riches and wealth which pertain to the evil are transferred to the good, they become good.  The same is true of memory-knowledges. For example: with the Egyptians there remained many things from the representatives of the Ancient Church, as is manifest from their hieroglyphics, but as they applied those things to magic, and hence made an evil use of them, therefore to them they were not true memory-knowledges, but false memory-knowledges; yet the same in the Ancient Church were true memory-knowledges, because they applied them rightly to Divine worship. To take also as an example, altars and sacrifices; these with the Hebrew nation, and afterward with the Jewish and Israelitish nation, were true rituals, because they applied them to the worship of Jehovah; but with the nations in the land of Canaan they were false rituals, because they applied them to the worship of their idols, and therefore also it was commanded that the altars of these nations should everywhere be destroyed. It is the same with numberless other things. Therefore by those who are in evils and falsities many memory-knowledges can be acquired which are capable of being applied to good uses, and thus of becoming good.  Such are also signified by the spoiling of the nations in the land of Canaan and by the wealth, the herds, the cattle, the houses, the vineyards, which the sons of Israel there took for spoil. This is still plainer from the gold and silver taken from the nations for spoil being also applied to a holy use, as is evident from these passages: There were in his hand vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass: these also did King David sanctify unto Jehovah, with the silver and gold which he had sanctified of all the nations which he subdued; of the Syrians, of Moab, and of the sons of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah (2 Sam. 8:10-12). And the merchandise of Tyre and her harlot hire shall be holiness to Jehovah; it shall not be stored up, nor kept back; but her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before Jehovah, to eat till they are sated, and for the ancient to cover himself (Isa. 23:18). These things also which the women of the sons of Israel borrowed from the Egyptians, and thus took for spoil, were afterward applied to the use of constructing the ark and many other of the holy things of their worship.6918.
And garments. That this signifies lower memory-knowledges corresponding thereto, is evident from the signification of "garments," as being lower memory-knowledges (see n. 2576, 5248). "Garments" have this signification because they clothe interior things.6919.
And ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters. That this signifies application to their truths and to their goods, is evident from the signification of "sons," as being truths (see n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 3373); from the signification of "daughters," as being goods (n. 489-491, 2362, 2363); and from the signification of "to put upon them," as being to apply, for that which is put upon anyone is applied.6920.
And ye shall spoil the Egyptians. That this signifies that such things were to be taken from those who were in falsities and the derivative evils, is evident from the signification of "spoiling" as being to take away; and from the signification of "the Egyptians," as being those who are in falsities (of which frequently above). How the case herein is, is evident from what has been adduced above (n. 6914, 6917).6921.
CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE SPIRITS OF THE PLANET MERCURY. At the end of the preceding chapter it was shown that the spirits of the planet Mercury constitute in the Grand Man the memory of things not material; and as they therefore love to know things abstracted from what is material, they are more prompt and quick than other spirits in discerning, thinking, and speaking; for material things are like weights which induce slowness and retard, because they bear the mind downward and immerse it in earthly things, and thus remove it from the spiritual world, whence all clear discernment comes. How prompt these spirits are, can be seen from what follows.6922.
There appeared a white flame of some brightness burning briskly, and this for some time. This flame signified the approach of spirits of Mercury more prompt than the rest. When they came, they instantly ran through the contents of my memory. (This all spirits are able to do, and being with a man they are in possession of all things of his memory, see n. 5853, 5857, 5859, 5860.) But on account of their quickness I could not perceive what these spirits observed. From time to time I heard them saying, "That's so-and-so." As regards what I have seen in the heavens and in the world of spirits, they said that they knew it before. I perceived that a multitude of spirits in association with them was at the back, a little to the left, in the plane of the back of the head.6923.
At another time I saw a multitude of such spirits, but at some distance from me, in front, a little to the right, and they talked with me from there, but through intermediate spirits; for their speech is as quick as thought, which can fall into human speech only through intermediate spirits. And what surprised me, they spoke all together, and yet just as promptly and quickly. Their speech was perceived as an undulation, because it was of many together; and what is remarkable, it fell toward my left eye, though they were to the right. The reason was that the left eye corresponds to knowledges of things abstracted from things material, thus to such as are of intelligence; but the right eye corresponds to those which are of wisdom. They likewise perceived and judged what was heard with the same promptness as that with which they spoke, saying that this was so, and this not so. Their judgment was as it were instantaneous.6924.
There was a spirit from another earth who, being a prompt and ready speaker, could speak with them skillfully. They judged in a moment of what he spoke, saying that this was too elegantly expressed, and that too artfully, so that they merely attended to whether they heard anything from him which was unknown to them before, thus rejecting such things as obscure the discourse, which are chiefly all affectations of elegance and erudition; for these hide the real things, and present instead thereof words, which are their material forms.6925.
The spirits of the earth Mercury do not stay in one place, or within the sphere of the spirits of one world, but wander through the universe. The reason of this is that they relate in the Grand Man to the memory of real things, which memory must be continually enriched. Hence it is given them to wander about, and everywhere to acquire for themselves knowledges. If while thus journeying they meet with spirits who love material, that is, bodily and earthly things, they shun them, and betake themselves where they do not hear such things. From this it can be seen that their mind is uplifted above sensuous things, and thus that they are in interior light. This it was also given actually to perceive when they were near me, and were speaking with me. I then observed that I was withdrawn from sensuous things, insomuch that the light of my eyes began to grow dull and obscure.6926.
The spirits of that earth go in companies and bands, and when assembled together, form as it were a globe; they are joined together by the Lord in this way in order that they may act as a one, and that the knowledges of each may be communicated to all, and the knowledges of all to each. That these spirits wander through the universe to acquire knowledges of things was made evident to me also from the fact that once, when they appeared very remote from me, they spoke with me from thence, and said that now they were gathered together, and that now they were going outside the sphere of this solar world into the starry heaven, where they know that there are such as do not care for earthly and bodily things; but for things abstracted therefrom, with whom they desire to be. It was said that they themselves do not know whither they are going; but that they are carried by the Divine guidance where they can be instructed about such things as they do not yet know, and which agree with the knowledges they already have. It was said further that they do not know how they meet the companions with whom they are conjoined, and that this also is done under the Divine guidance.6927.
Because of their thus journeying through the universe, and so being able to know more than others about the worlds and earths outside the sphere of our solar system, I have also talked with them on this subject. They said that in the universe there are very many earths inhabited by men, and they wondered that it should be supposed by any, whom they called men of little judgment, that the heaven of the omnipotent God consists only of the spirits and angels who come from one earth, when yet these are so few that relatively to the omnipotence of God they are scarcely anything, even if there be myriads of worlds and myriads of earths. They said further that they know of there being earths in the universe numbering more than hundreds of thousands; and yet what is this to the Divine, which is infinite?6928.
The spirits of the earth Mercury are quite different from those of our earth, for the spirits of our earth, especially when newly in the other life, love bodily and earthly, that is, material things, and desire to know such things in the other life. In order therefore that they may be able to be with good spirits who do not care for such things, they are kept in places which are beneath the soles of the feet, and are called in the Word the "lower earth,"' and this even till they are averse to bodily and earthly things, and so put them off. When this is effected, they are taken up into heaven, initiated into things interior, and become angels.6929.
When spirits of Mercury were with me while I was writing and unfolding the Word as to the internal sense, and perceived what I was writing, they said that the things I was writing were very gross, and that almost all the expressions appeared as it were material; but it was given to answer that to the men of our earth the things that have been written seem subtle and elevated, and many of them incomprehensible. I added that very many on this earth do not know that it is the internal man which acts upon the external, and causes this to live; and that they persuade themselves from fallacies of the senses that the body lives of itself, consequently that the whole man is to die when he dies as to the body, and in this way they cherish inward doubts as to the life after death; also that that part of man which is to live after the death of the body, they do not call the spirit, but the soul; and they dispute what the soul is, and where is its seat, and believe that it must be joined again to the material body, in order that the man may live, besides many like things. When the spirits of Mercury heard this, they asked whether such can become angels? to which it was given me to reply that those become angels who have lived in the good of faith, and in charity; and that then they are no longer in external and material things, but in internal and spiritual things, and that when they come to this state, they are in a light above that in which the spirits from Mercury are. To convince them that it is so, an angel was allowed to converse with them who was in heaven from our earth, and who had been such when he lived in the world, of which in what follows.6930.
There was afterward sent to me from the spirits of Mercury a long irregular paper consisting of a number of papers stuck together, which appeared as if printed with type such as there is on this earth. I asked whether they have such things among them? but they said that they have not; but that they know there are such papers on our earth. They were unwilling to say more, but it was given to perceive that they were thinking that in this earth the knowledges of things are of this nature, thus separate from the man himself, except when the man keeps his eye and thus his mind on such papers. In this way they were ridiculing among themselves the men of this earth, as if they knew nothing except from papers; but they were instructed how the case herein is. After some time they returned, and sent to me another paper, also as it were printed like the former, yet not so stuck together and rude, but becoming and neat. They said that they had been further informed that on our earth there are such papers, and books made of them.6931.
From what has thus far been said about the spirits of the earth Mercury, it is very manifest that spirits retain what they see and hear in the other life, and can be instructed equally as when they were men, thus in the things that belong to faith, and in this way can be perfected. The purer spirits and angels are, the more readily and fully do they take in, and the more perfectly retain in the memory, what they hear. And as this goes on to eternity, it is evident that they are continually increasing in wisdom. But the spirits of Mercury are continually increasing in the memory-knowledge of things, yet not in wisdom from it, because they love knowledges, which are means, but not uses which are ends, as was related of them above (n. 6814, 6815).6932.
The subject of the spirits of the earth Mercury will be continued at the end of the following chapter.6933.
Exodus 4 THE DOCTRINE OF CHARITY It is a common saying that everyone is neighbor to himself, that is, that one should take care of himself first of all. The doctrine of charity teaches how the case herein is. Everyone is neighbor to himself, not in the first, but in the last place. In a prior place are others who are in good; in a still prior place is a society of many; in a place still prior is our country; in a place still prior is the church; in a place still prior is the Lord's kingdom; and above all men and all things is the Lord.6934.
The saying that everyone is neighbor to himself, and that he must take care of himself first of all, is to be understood in this way. Everyone must make provision for himself so as to have the necessities of life, as food, clothing, a place to dwell in, and other things which are necessarily required in the civil life where he is; and this not only for himself, but also for his family; and not only for the present time, but also for the future. Unless each person procures for himself the necessities of life, he cannot be in a state to exercise charity toward the neighbor, for he is in need of all things.6935.
The end in view declares in what way each person must be neighbor to himself, and must first of all take care of himself. If the end is that he may become richer than others merely for the sake of riches, pleasure, eminence, and the like, the end is evil; and therefore he who from such an end believes he is neighbor to himself, injures himself to eternity. But if the end is that he may acquire wealth for the sake of the necessities of life, for himself and for his family, so as to be in a state to do what is good according to the commandments of the doctrine of charity, he takes care of himself for eternity. The end itself makes the man, for the end is his love, because everyone has as the end that which he loves.6936.
How the case herein is can be further seen from this similar example. Everyone ought to take care of his body in respect to its food and clothing. This must come first, but to the end that there may be a sound mind in a sound body. And everyone ought to take care of his mind in respect to its food, namely, in respect to such things as belong to intelligence and wisdom, to the end that his mind may thus be in a state to serve the Lord; he who does this, takes good care of himself for eternity. But he who takes care of his body merely for the sake of the body, and does not think of soundness of mind, and who does not take care of his mind in respect to such things as are of intelligence and wisdom, but in respect to such things as are contrary thereto, takes bad care of himself for eternity. From all this it is evident in what way everyone ought to be neighbor to himself, namely, not in the first place but in the last; for the end must not be for himself, but for others; and where the end is, there is the first.6937.
Moreover, the case herein is like that of a man who is building a house. He must first lay the foundation; but the foundation must be for the house, and the house for a place to dwell in. And so everyone must first take care of himself, yet not for himself, but in order that he may be in a state to be of service to the neighbor, thus to his country, to the church, and above all to the Lord. He who believes that he is neighbor to himself in the first place, is like one who regards the foundation as the end, and not the house and dwelling in it; when yet the dwelling is the very first and last end, and the house together with its foundation is only a means to the end.6938.
As is the case with possessions, so also is it with honors in the world; everyone is at liberty to provide himself with these also, yet not for the sake of himself, but for the sake of the neighbor; he who provides them for the sake of himself, provides ill for himself; but he who provides them for the sake of the neighbor, provides well for himself. For he who turns his ends to himself turns himself toward hell; but he who turns his ends from himself to the neighbor, turns himself toward heaven. EXODUS 4 1. And Moses answered, and said, And behold they will not believe me, and will not hear my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not been seen of thee. 2. And Jehovah said unto him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. 3. And He said, Cast it to the earth. And he cast it to the earth, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and take hold of its tail; and he put forth his hand, and took hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand. 5. In order that they may believe that Jehovah hath been seen of thee, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 6. And Jehovah said further to him, Bring now thy hand into thy bosom. And he brought his hand into his bosom, and brought it out, and behold his hand was leprous as snow. 7. And He said, Bring back thine hand unto thy bosom; and he brought back his hand unto his bosom; and brought it forth out of his bosom, and behold it was turned again as his flesh. 8. And it shall be, if they do not believe thee, and hear the voice of the former sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9. And it shall be, if they do not believe also these two signs, and do not hear thy voice, that thou shalt take of the waters of the river, and pour out on the dry land, and the waters which thou hast taken out of the river, they shall become blood in the dry land. 10. And Moses said unto Jehovah, In me, my Lord, I am not a man of words, even from yesterday, even from the day before yesterday, even from now in Thy speaking unto Thy servant, because heavy of mouth, and heavy of tongue am I. 11. And Jehovah said unto him, Who maketh man's mouth? Or who hath made him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I Jehovah? 12. And now go, and I will be with thy mouth, and I will teach thee what thou shalt speak. 13. And he said, In me, my Lord, send I pray by the hand Thou wilt send. 14. And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses, and He said, Is there not Aaron, thy brother, the Levite? I know that speaking he will speak. And also behold he goeth forth to meet thee; and he will see thee, and he will be glad in his heart. 15. And thou shalt speak unto him, and shalt put the words in his mouth; and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16. And he shall speak for thee unto the people; and it shall be that he shall be to thee for a mouth, and thou shalt be to him for God. 17. And thou shalt take in thy hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs. 18. And Moses went, and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, Let me go, I pray, and return unto my brethren who are in Egypt, and I shall see whether they yet live. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19. And Jehovah said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt; because all the men seeking thy soul are dead. 20. And Moses took his wife and his sons, and made them ride upon the ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt; and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21. And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see all the wonders which I have put in thy hand, and thou shalt do them before Pharaoh; and I will harden his heart, and he will not send away the people. 22. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus said Jehovah, My son, My firstborn, is Israel. 23. And I say unto thee, Send My son away, that he may serve Me; and if thou refuse to send him away, behold I will slay thy son, thy firstborn. 24. And it came to pass in the way, in the inn, that Jehovah met him, and sought to kill him. 25. And Zipporah took a stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and made it touch his feet; and she said, Because a bridegroom of bloods art thou to me. 26. And He ceased from him. Then she said, A bridegroom of bloods as to circumcisions. 27. And Jehovah said unto Aaron, Go to meet Moses, into the wilderness. And he went, and met him in the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28. And Moses told Aaron all the words of Jehovah, wherewith He had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him. 29. And Moses went, and Aaron, and gathered together all the elders of the sons of Israel. 30. And Aaron spoke all the words which Jehovah had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs before the eyes of the people. 31. And the people believed; and they heard that Jehovah had visited the sons of Israel, and that He had seen their affliction, and they bent themselves, and bowed themselves down.6939.
THE CONTENTS. There is a continuation in this chapter in the internal sense with respect to the liberation of those who are of the spiritual church. First, their state is described, namely, that if they had not hope and faith, falsities and evils, and also things profane would drag them down; these are the things signified by the three signs.6940.
Afterward the law Divine is treated of, that truth was adjoined to its good; and that thus good had the power to liberate, and to instill hope and faith. Moses represents the law Divine as to good, and Aaron as to truth.6941.
Lastly that people is treated of, in that they only represented the spiritual church; and not that this church could be instituted among them, because they were in externals without internals. This is signified by Zipporah's circumcision of her son, and by the blood wherewith his feet were stained.6942.
THE INTERNAL SENSE. Verses 1-4. And Moses answered, and said, And behold they will not believe me, and will not hear my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not been seen of thee. And Jehovah said unto him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. And He said, Cast it to the earth. And he cast it to the earth, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and take hold of its tail; and he put forth his hand, and took hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand. "And Moses answered and said," signifies thought from the law Divine; "And behold they will not believe me, and will not hear my voice," signifies that those who are of the spiritual church would not have faith, thus would not receive; "for they will say, Jehovah hath not been seen of thee," signifies the Divine of the Lord in His Human; "and Jehovah said unto him," signifies foresight as to what they would be if they had not faith; "What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod," signifies the power of the Lord's Divine Human; "and He said, Cast it to the earth," signifies the influx of the power of the Lord's Divine natural into the sensuous; "and it became a serpent," signifies the sensuous and corporeal man thereby separated from the internal; "and Moses fled from before it," signifies horror at the sensuous separated; "and Jehovah said unto Moses," signifies providence from the Divine; "Put forth thy hand, and take hold of its tail," signifies the power of uplifting from the ultimate sensuous; "and he put forth his hand, and took hold of it," signifies an uplifting toward the interiors "and it became a rod in his hand," signifies that then power was communicated from the Divine.6943.
And Moses answered and said. That this signifies thought from the law Divine, is evident from the signification of "answering and saying," as being thought. For that which in the historical sense of the letter is expressed by external things, in the internal sense signifies internal things; because in no other way can the spiritual things of heaven be presented to men. For man does not apprehend bare spiritual things, neither can they be expressed in the words of human speech; and therefore spiritual things have been described by corresponding natural things, and in this way have been given to man. Thus the Word is helpful to man in the natural world, and also to man in the spiritual world, and hence there is communication of heaven with man, and communion. And from the representation of Moses, as being the Lord as to the law Divine (see n. 6752). Hence it is evident that by "Moses answered and said" is signified thought from the law Divine. Thought from the law Divine is from truth from the Divine; here that the sons of Israel will not believe unless they see signs and wonders.6944.
And behold they will not believe me, and will not hear my voice. That this signifies that those of the spiritual church would not have faith, thus would not receive, is evident from the representation of the sons of Israel, of whom these things are said, as being those who are of the spiritual church (see n. 6426, 6637); from the signification of "not believing," as being not to have faith; and from the signification of "not hearing the voice," as being not to receive (n. 5471, 5475).6945.
For they will say, Jehovah hath not been seen of thee. That this signifies the Divine which is in the Lord's Human, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being perception (of which frequently above), here the perception of those who are of the spiritual church; and from the signification of "Jehovah seen," as being the appearing of the Lord's Divine in His Human. That "to be seen" denotes to appear is evident, and that "Jehovah" is the Lord as to the Divine Itself and as to the Divine Human, may be seen above (n. 1736, 2004, 2005, 2018, 2025, 2156, 2329, 2921, 3023, 3035, 5041, 5663, 6281, 6303, 6905). That "Jehovah seen" denotes the appearing of the Lord's Divine in His Human, is evident also from the fact that His Divine cannot appear to any man, nor even to any angel, except through the Divine Human; nor the Divine Human except through the Divine truth which proceeds from Him. Here in the internal sense the subject treated of is the liberation of those who are of the spiritual church. (That these were liberated by the Lord's coming into the world, see n. 2661, 2716, 3969, 6854, 6914; and that these specifically were saved by means of the Lord's Divine Human, n. 2716, 2833, 2834.)  As regards this statement, that the people of that church would not have faith, and would not receive what the law Divine represented by Moses (that is, what the Word) says, unless they saw signs, the case is this. These people, being of the spiritual church, have no perception of truth from good, as the celestial have, but acknowledge as truth every doctrinal matter of their church which they have confirmed in themselves, and are therefore relatively in obscurity (n. 2718, 2831, 2849, 2935, 2937, 3833, 6427, 6500, 6865), as can also be seen from the fact that they do not at all comprehend how the Lord's Human can be Divine; nor that the Divine love in the Human can effect this; for they keep their thought in a human such as exists with man, and they do not recede from this thought when they think of the Lord, in such an entanglement are they. The same can also be seen from the fact that neither do they comprehend how man can live after death, and at the same time have senses, such as sight, hearing, touch, and smell, and be in a human form there. That such is man when he has cast away his body and its senses and members, appears to them foreign to the truth, so enwrapped are they in things of sense, and in the memory-knowledges and fallacies thence derived; and therefore unless they believed that the body will again be conjoined with the soul, they would have no belief whatever in any resurrection.  From all this it is sufficiently evident in how much obscurity they are as regards the things of heaven; and hence it is that no faith can ever be implanted in them unless they are withheld by the Lord from falsities by a mighty force. And as there was no such force before the Lord's coming, but only after His coming, when He had made the Human in Himself Divine, therefore they could not be taken out of the lower earth, where they were being infested by falsities, and be taken up into heaven, until after the Lord's resurrection (n. 6914). From this then it is that it is said that they would not believe, thus neither would receive what the law Divine, that is, the truth Divine says, unless they saw that it is so, thus unless they saw signs (of which below).6946.
And Jehovah said unto him. That this signifies foresight as to what they would be if they had not faith, is evident from the signification of "saying," when predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, as being foresight (see n. 5361). That it denotes foresight as to what they would be if they had not faith, is plain from the three signs treated of below; for in the internal sense these signs represent their state if they did not believe.6947.
What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. That this signifies the power of the Lord's Divine Human, is evident from the signification of "hand," as being power (see n. 878, 3387, 4931-4937, 5327, 5328, 5544); and from the signification of a "rod," as also being power (n. 4013, 4876, 4936). That it is the power of the Lord's Divine Human, is because by Moses is represented the Lord as to the law Divine, or the Word, which is the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human (n. 6752). The power which is signified by "hand" is the power proceeding from the Lord's Divine rational; but the power which is signified by "rod" is the power proceeding from the Lord's Divine natural. That the "rod" denotes the power proceeding from the Lord's Divine natural, is because a rod supports the body, like a foot, and by a "foot" is signified the natural (n. 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952). That "to lift up the hand" denotes power in the spiritual, and "to lift up the foot" denotes power in the natural, may be seen above (n. 5327, 5328); and for this reason, in accordance with the kind of elevation treated of in the internal sense, it was sometimes said to Moses when he was to do miracles, that he should "lift up the hand," sometimes that he should "lift up the rod."6948.
And He said, Cast it to the earth. That this signifies the influx of the power of the Lord's Divine natural into the sensuous, is evident from the signification of a "rod," as being power in the natural, and when it is said of the Lord, as being the power proceeding from his Divine natural (of which just above, n. 6947) from the signification of "casting," or "sending forth," as being proceeding, thus influx; and from the signification of "the earth" as being man's external (n. 82, 913, 1411, 1733), here his sensuous and corporeal, which are the outermosts, because the rod became a serpent, and by a "serpent" is signified the sensuous and corporeal man.  By the Divine power of the Lord is here meant the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, for there is power in Divine truth, insomuch that it is power itself (n. 3091, 4931, 6344, 6423). The Divine truth proceeding from the Lord flows into every man, through his interiors into the exteriors, even into the external sensuous and into the corporeal, and calls forth everywhere things correspondent in their order; in the sensuous, things correspondent such as appear in the world and upon the earth. But as the things which are in the world and upon the earth appear otherwise than as they are, they are therefore full of fallacies; and therefore when the sensuous is in these evils only, it must needs think against the goods and truths of faith, because it thinks from fallacies; and when Divine truth flows in, it must needs turn it into falsity.  That a man who is not elevated from the sensuous, but is in it and thinks from it, thinks from fallacies, may be illustrated by examples: The fallacies in respect to the life of man-that it is of the body, when yet it is of the spirit in the body; in respect to the sight-that it is of the eye; in respect to the hearing that it is of the ear; in respect to the speech-that it is of the tongue and mouth; when yet it is the spirit which sees, hears, and speaks, through these organs of the body. The fallacies in respect to life-that it is permanent in man, when yet it flows in. The fallacies in respect to the soul-that it cannot be in a human form, and in human senses and affections. The fallacies in respect to heaven and hell-that the former is above man, and the latter beneath him, when yet they are in him. The fallacies that objects flow into the exteriors, when yet what is external does not flow into what is internal, but what is internal into what is external. The fallacies in respect to the life after death-that it is impossible except together with the body. Besides the fallacies in natural things, which give rise to the self-contradictory conjectures of so many persons.  Who cannot see that fallacies and the falsities thence derived have dominion instead of truths, merely from the dispute which long existed in respect to the circulation of the blood, which though supported by so many experimental proofs, nevertheless long remained in doubt; and also from the dispute about the sun-that it revolved once a day around this earth, and not only the sun, but also the moon, all the planets, and the whole starry heaven; and also from the dispute which still continues in respect to the soul, its conjunction with the body, and its seat therein. Seeing that the fallacies of the senses have dominion in such things, although their true character is plain from so many phenomena and effects, why should they not do so in such things as belong to heaven, which being spiritual are not plain except through correspondences?  From all this it can now be seen what is the quality of man's sensuous, viewed in itself, and left to itself; namely, that it is in fallacies, and thence in falsities, thus is against the truths and goods of faith. Hence it is that when man is in the sensuous and in its light, he is in thick darkness in respect to the things of the spiritual world, that is, in respect to those which are in light from the Divine; and that the sensuous light is turned into mere thick darkness when the light from heaven falls into it. The reason is, that the truths which are of the Divine light cannot be together with fallacies and the falsities thence derived; but [the falsities] extinguish [the truths] and thereby induce thick darkness.6949.
And it became a serpent. That this signifies the sensuous and corporeal man separate from the internal, is evident from the signification of a "serpent," as being a man who reasons from things sensuous (see n. 195-197, 6398, 6399), thus the sensuous of man; and as by "serpent" is signified the sensuous, it signifies also the corporeal, for what the sensuous has, it has from the senses of the body. And because, regarded in itself, the sensuous is such as has been described just above (n. 6948), the "serpent" also (which is the sensuous), signifies all evil in general (n. 251, 254, 257). That by the "serpent" is here meant the sensuous and corporeal man separated from the internal or rational, is evident from the fact that Moses fled from before it, whereby is signified horror of it; and also from the fact that by this sign is described the state of those of the spiritual church, if they did not have faith; for then their internal would be closed, nor would more of the light of heaven flow in, than to enable them to think, and from this to speak, from the sensuous separated. All those think from the sensuous separated who defend falsities against truths, and evils against goods; in a word, all who are in evil of life, and thence in no faith, for he who lives evilly, believes nothing. Such persons excel others in the gift of reasoning, and also of persuading, especially the simple, for the reason that they speak from the fallacies of the senses, and from appearances in the world. They also know how to extinguish or veil truths by fallacies, whence also by "serpents" are signified cunning and craftiness. But when the sensuous has been conjoined with the internal, or rightly subordinated to the rational, then by a "serpent" is signified prudence and circumspection (see n. 197, 4211, 6398).6950.
And Moses fled from before it. That this signifies horror at the sensuous separated, is evident from the signification of "fleeing," as being horror, for he who feels horror at anything, flees from it; and from the signification of the "serpent," which is that from before which he fled, as being the sensuous separated (of which just above, n. 6949).