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so that his rider shall fall backward,” Gen. xlix. 17. By the horses' heels, are signified the ultimates of the understanding, which are sensual; by biting, is signified to adhere to them; by horseman, or rider, is signified defect of knowledge from them whereby truths are perverted, for which reason it is said, His rider shall fall backward. As sensual men are crafty and cunning, like foxes, therefore the Lord says, Be ye wise as serpents, Matt. x. 16;
, for the sensual man speaks and reasons from appearances and fallacies, and if he has a talent for disputation can ingeniously confirm every falsity, and also the heresy of faith alone; though in discerning truth it is scarcely possible for any one to be so dull and slow of comprehension.
456. " And the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues,” signifies, those in the reformed church who are not so spiritually dead from visionary reasonings, and from self-love, and from the pride of self-derived intelligence, and from the concupiscences thence proceeding, as the former, and yet make faith alone the head of their religion. By the rest of the men, are meant they who are not as the former, but yet make faith alone the head of their religion; who were not killed, signifies who are not so spiritually dead; by these plagues, are meant selflove, the pride of self-derived intelligence, and the concupiscences of evil and falsity flowing from them; these three being signified by fire, smoke, and brimstone, concerning which above, n. 432, 453. That such is the signification of plagues, will be seen below. But something must first be said respecting this class of persons, whom also it has been granted me to see and to converse with. “They dwell in the northern quarter towards the
west, where some of them have cottages with roofs, " and some without roofs ; their beds are of bulrushes, “ their garments of goat's hair. In the light flowing in “ from heaven their faces appear stupid and also livid. “ The reason is, because they know nothing more about " religion than that there is a God, that there are three
persons, that Christ suffered for them on the cross, and " that it is faith alone by which they are saved; and like“ wise by worship in temples, and by prayers at stated
“ times: as to any thing else relating to religion and its “ doctrine, they pay no attention whatever; for the “ worldly and corporeal things, with which their minds " are filled and overcharged, close up their ears against “ their admission. There are many of the presbyters among
them, whom I asked, "What do you think, when you - read in the Word of works, of love and charity, of “ fruits, of the precepts of life, of repentance, in short, “ of things that are to be done ?' They replied, That
they did indeed read them, and thus saw them; but “ still they did not see them, because they kept their “minds fixed upon faith alone, and therefore thought " that all these were faith, and did not perceive that they
were effects of faith. That such ignorance and stu
pidity prevails with those who have embraced faith « alone, and made it the all of their religion, is scarcely “ credible; nevertheless it has been permitted me to have 6 abundant experience of the fact.” That by plagues are meant spiritual plagues, by means of which man dies as to his spirit or soul, is evident from these passages : “ Thy bruise is desperate, thy plague is grievous, for I will restore health unto thee, I will heal thee of thy plagues," Jerem. xxx. 12, 14, 17. “ Every one that goeth by Babylon, shall biss at all her plagues,” Jerem. 1. 13. 'In one day shall plagues come upon Babylon, death and mourning, Apoc. xviii. 8. “I saw seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them is filled up the wrath of God,” Apoc. xv. 1. “Ah! sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity,—from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and recent plagues : they have not been closed, nor bound up, nor mollified with ointment,” Isaiah i. 4, 6. “In the day that Jehovah bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their plague," Isaiah xxx. 26; besides other places; as in Deut. xxviii. 59, Jerem. xlix. 17, Zech. xiv. 12, 15, Luke vii. 21, poc. xi. 6, xvi. 21.
457. “ Yet repented not of the works of their hands," signifies, that neither did they shun the things that are proper to themselves, which are evils of every kind, as sins. By the works of a man's hands are signified the things proper to man, which are evils and consequent falses, because by hands are signified those things, in the aggregate, which proceed from man; for the powers of the mind, and thence of its body, are determined to the hands and there terminate; wherefore by hands, in the Word, is signified power: consequently, by the works of a man's hands, the things proper to him are signified, which are evils and falses of all kinds; the things proper to his will are evils, and the things proper to his understanding are falses flowing from them. It is said of those who are here treated of, that they repented not; the reason is, because they who make faith alone the all of religion, say in themselves, What need is there of repentance, when by faith alone sins are remitted, and we are saved ? Of what avail are our own works in this matter? I know that I was born in sin, and that I am a sinner; if I confess this, and pray that my faults may not be imputed to me, is not the work of repentance then performed, and what need is there for any thing more? Thus he has no thought at all about sins, and comes at length not to know that there is any such thing as sin ; wherefore he is continually borne along within them and into them, by the delight and pleasantness which flow from them, in like manner as a ship is carried by a fair wind and tide towards the rocks, whilst the pilot and mariners are asleep. By the works of men's hands, in the Word, in its natural sense, are meant graven images, molten images, and idols; but, in the spiritual sense, they signify evils and falses of every kind, which are the things proper to man; as in these passages : Provoke me not to anger by the works of your hands ; if ye provoke me to anger by the works of your hands, to your own hurt, “I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands," Jerem. xxv. 6, 7, 14. “For the children of Israel have provoked me to anger with the work of their hands," Jerem. xxxii. 30, xliv. 8. “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, because they have worshiped the works of their own hands," Jerem. i. 16. In that day their eyes
shall look up to the Holy One of Israel, and not to altars -the work of their hands, and which their fingers have made, Isaiah xvii. 7, 8, xxxi. 7, xxxvii. 19, Jerem. x. 9. That the work of men's hands is his selfhood, and thence evil and falsity, may appear manifestly from this consideration, that on this account it was forbidden to build the altar and temple with hewn stones, or to lift up an iron tool upon them, for this would signify the work of men's hands : “ And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone, for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it,” Exod. xx. 25. Joshua built an altar of stones, over which he did not lift up any iron, Joshua viïi30, 31. The temple of Jerusalem was built of “stone made ready, so that there was neither hammer nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard, while it was building," 1 Kings vi. 7. All things which are done by the Lord are also called the works of his hands, which are proper to him, and in themselves are goods and truths, as in these passages : The works of Jehovah's hands are truth and judgment, Psalm cxi. 7. “Thy mercy, Jehovah, endureth for ever, forsake not the works of thine own hands," Psalm cxxxviii. 8. “ Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come, concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me, Isaiah xlv. 11. Thy people shall be all righteous,the branch of my planting, the work of my hands," Isaiah Ix. 21.
“But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father ; we are clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand," Isaiah lxiv. 8.
458. “ That they should not worship demons,” signifies, that thus they are in the evils of their concupiscences, and make one with their like in hell. By demons are signified the concupiscences of evil springing from the love of the world; the reason is, because in hell they are called demons who are in those concupiscences; and men also, who are in the same, become demons after death ; there is also a conjunction between them and such men; for every man is conjoined with spirits as to his affections, even to their making a one ; from which circumstance it
is evident, that to worship demons, is to sacrifice to those concupiscences from the love of them. Therefore he who invokes faith alone, as the head of his religion, or as his idol, remains in evil, by reason of his not searching out any evil in himself which he considers a sin, and consequently is not desirous of removing it by repentance; and as every evil is composed of concupiscences, being nothing but a fascicle or bundle of them, it follows, that he who does not search out any evil in himself, and shun it as a sin against God, which can only be done by repentance, becomes a demon after death. Nothing but such concupiscences are signified by demons in the following passages : “ They sacrificed unto devils, not to God,” Deut. xxxii. 17. The children of Israel no longer sacrificed to the devils, after which they went a whoring, Levit. xvii. 7, Psalm cvi. 37. “ The wild beast of the desert and of the islands (Ziim and Ijim) shall meet, and the demon of the woods shall cry to his fellow," Isaiah xxxiv. 14. “But the wild beast of the desert (Ziim) shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, (Ochim,) and the daughters of the owl shall dwell there, and the demons of the woods shall dance there,” Isaiah xiji. 21. By Ziim, Ijim, Ochim, and the daughters of the owl, are signified various concupiscences; wood demons are such concupiscences as appertain to priapuses and satyrs. Babylon is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean spirit, Apoc. xviii. 2. The demons which the Lord cast out, were such concupiscences, when they lived in the world, concerning which, see Matt. viii. 16, 29, ix. 32, 33, x. 8, xii. 22, xv. 22. Mark i. 32, 33, 34, Luke iv. 33–38, 41, viii. 2, 26—40, ix. 1, 37–44–50, xiii. 32.
459. “ And idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood,” signilies, that thus they are in worship grounded in mere falses. By idols, in the Word, are signified the falses of worship, and therefore to worship then signifies worship from falses; and by adoring idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, is signified worship from falses of all kinds, and, taken collectively, worship from mere falses ; moreover, the materials of which idols were