August 11, 2017

The Quality of the Literal Sense of the Word When the Internal Sense is Perceived Within It

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.(Exodus 24:10) KJV
That this signifies what is translucid there from internal truths, and all things from the Lord, is evident from the signification of "a work of sapphire," as being the quality of the literal sense of the Word when the internal sense is perceived within it, thus when the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord, such as it is in heaven, shines through.

For the Word is the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord, which in its origin is Divine, and in its progress through the heavens is celestial in the inmost heaven; in the second or middle heaven is spiritual; in the first or ultimate heaven is spiritual natural; and in the world is natural and worldly, such as it is in the sense of the letter, which is for man. From this it is evident that this latter sense, which is the last in order, contains within it the spiritual and the celestial senses, and inmostly the Divine Itself; and as these senses are contained in the ultimate or literal sense, and become apparent to those who apprehend the Word spiritually, it is therefore represented by a work of sapphire, in that it transmits the rays of heavenly light, or is translucid.

That some idea of this shining through may be presented, take as an example human speech.

In its first origin this is the end which the man desires to set forth by the speech. This end is his love; for what a man loves, he has as his end. From this flows the man's thought, and finally his speech. That this is so, everyone who reflects well, can know and perceive. That the end is the first of speech, is evident from the general law that in all intelligence there is an end; and that without an end there is no intelligence. And that thought is the second thing of speech flowing from the first, is also manifest; for no one can speak without thought, nor think without an end. That from this follows the speech of words, and that this is the ultimate which properly is called speech, is known. This being so, the man who attends to the speech of another does not attend to the expressions or words of the speech, but to their sense, which comes from the thought of the speaker; and he who is wise attends to the end for the sake of which he spoke from his thought; that is, to what he intends and what he loves. These three things are presented in the speech of man, and to these the speech of words serves as an ultimate plane.
From this comparison an idea can be formed about the Word in the letter; for this is attended to and perceived in heaven in exactly the same way as is usually the thought of a man which is presented by the speech of words:
in the inmost heaven as the intention or end is usually attended to and perceived. But the difference is that the sense of the letter of the Word, when read by man, is not heard or perceived in heaven; but only the internal sense, because only the spiritual and celestial senses of the Word are perceived in heaven, and not its natural sense. Thus one sense passes into another, because they correspond; and the Word has been written wholly by correspondences. From this it is plain what is meant by the shining through signified by "a work of sapphire" when said of the Word.
But he who cannot think intellectually, that is, abstractedly from material things, cannot apprehend these things, nor indeed that there can be any other sense in the Word than that which stands forth in the letter; and if he is told that there is a spiritual sense in it, which is of truth; and within this a celestial sense, which is of good; and that these senses shine through from the literal sense; he will first be amazed, afterward he will reject it as of no account, and finally he will ridicule it.

That at the present day there are such persons in the Christian world, especially among the learned of the world, has been shown me by living experience; and also that those who reason against this truth, claim to be wiser than those who affirm it; when yet in those primeval times called the golden and the silver ages, learning consisted in speaking and writing in such manner that the sense of the letter was not attended to, except insofar as the hidden wisdom shone through from it; as can be plainly seen from the oldest books, even among the Gentiles, and likewise from remains in their languages; for their chief science was the science of correspondences and the science of representations, which sciences are now among the things that have been lost.

That under the Lord's feet there appeared as it were a work of sapphire, and that this signifies the shining through of the Word in the sense of the letter, is because a "stone" in general signifies truth, and a "precious stone" truth shining through from the Divine of the Lord. This was signified by the "twelve precious stones" in the breast plate of Aaron, which was called "the Urim and Thummim."

In like manner in Ezekiel:
(Ezek. 28:12, 13, 15); speaking of Tyre, by which is signified the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and of good; her intelligence and wisdom, such as it had been in her infancy, that is, in the first age, is described by these precious stones; "the day that she was created" signifies the first state when they were regenerated, for "creation" in the Word denotes regeneration, or the new creation of man.

Like things are signified by the precious stones in John:
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst (Rev. 21:19, 20).

The subject here treated of is the holy Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, by which is meant a new church among the nations, after the present church in our European world has been vastated; the precious stones which are the foundations denote truths Divine shining through in the ultimate of order.

Truth Divine shining through in the ultimate of order, which is the Word in the letter, is especially signified by the "sapphire," as in Isaiah:
O thou afflicted, and tossed with tempests, and not comforted, behold I will set thy stones with antimony, and lay thy foundations in sapphires (Isa. 54:11).

Here also the subject treated of is the church that will succeed the former, which is meant by "the desolate having more sons than the married one" (verse 1); "setting stones" denotes arranging the truths of the church; "foundations in sapphires" denotes truths shining through in ultimates.

The same is signified by "sapphire" in Jeremiah:
Her Nazirites were whiter than snow, they were whiter than milk, their bones were redder than pearls, their polish was sapphire (Lam. 4:7).

In the representative sense "the Nazirites" signified the Lord as to the Divine natural consequently also the Divine truth that proceeds from Him in ultimates, which is the Word in the sense of the letter; for the hair, which is here meant by the "Nazirites," and which is said to be "whiter than snow and whiter than milk," signifies truth in ultimates, "whiteness" being predicated of truth; the "bones that are red" denote memory-truths, which are the ultimate ones, and serve the others as servants; "redness" is predicated of the good of love which is in the truths. From this it is evident that a "sapphire" denotes truth in ultimates translucent from internal truths.

In Ezekiel:
Above the expanse that was over the head of the cherubs was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne as it were the appearance of a man sitting upon it (Ezek. 1:26; 10:1).

"Cherubs" denote the guard and providence of the Lord lest there should be any approach to Him except through good; "the throne upon which was the appearance of a man" denotes Divine truth from the Divine good of the Lord (n. 5313, 6397, 9039). From this it is plain that "a sapphire stone" denotes truth translucent from internal truths-namely, a "stone" denotes truth, and a "sapphire" translucence.

That all things of the Word are translucent from the Lord, is because the Divine truth which is from the Lord is the one only thing from which are all things; for that which is first is the one only thing in the sequents and derivatives, because they are and come forth from it; and Divine truth is the Lord. Wherefore also in the supreme sense of the Word nothing is treated of but the Lord alone, His love, His providence, His kingdom in the heavens and on earth, and especially the glorification of His Human.

That Divine truth is the Lord Himself, is evident from the fact that whatever proceeds from anyone is himself, just as that which proceeds from a man while speaking or acting is from his will and understanding; and the will and understanding make the man's life, thus the man himself. For man is not man from the form of the face and the body; but from the understanding of truth, and the will of good. From this it can be seen that that which proceeds from the Lord is the Lord; that this is Divine truth, has been frequently shown in what goes before.

But he who does not know the arcana of heaven may suppose that the case with the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord is no different from that of the speech which proceeds from a man. But Divine truth is not speech; but is the Divine filling the heavens, just as light and heat from the sun fill the world. This may be illustrated by the spheres that proceed from the angels in heaven, and which, as can be seen in the passages here cited, are spheres of the truth of faith and good of love from the Lord. But the Divine sphere which proceeds from the Lord and is called "Divine Truth," is universal, and as just said fills the whole heaven and makes everything of life there. It appears there before the eyes as light which illumines not only the sight, but also the minds. It is also the same that makes the understanding in man.

This is meant in John:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and the world was made through Him (John 1:4, 9-10).

The subject here treated of is the Divine truth, which is called "the Word;" and it is said that the Divine truth, or the Word, is the Lord Himself.

This light, which is the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord, was pictured by the ancients with radiant circles of a golden color around the head and body of God, represented as a man, for the ancients perceived God no otherwise than under the human form.

When a man is in good, and from good in truths, he is then raised into this Divine light, and into its interior light according to the amount and quality of his good. From this he has a general enlightenment, in which from the Lord he sees innumerable truths, which he perceives from good; and then he is led by the Lord to perceive and be imbued with those truths which are suited to him; and this in respect to the veriest singulars in order, just as is conducive to his eternal life. It is said "in respect to the veriest singulars," because the universal providence of the Lord is universal because it is in the veriest singulars, for singulars taken together are called "universal."

(Arcana Cœlestia 9407)