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not to be understood that he in any manner ceased to be. By crucifying him, the Jews only rejected and removed him from themselves, and cut off all visible and perceptible communication between themselves and him, and thus made him, as it were, dead in relation to themselves. But he continued to live, and not only to live, but to have visible communication with those who did not reject him, so that he was not dead to them. Thus in the spiritual sense, the Lord may be said to be living to all those who receive him, and dead to all who reject him. But of those unto whom the Lord is dead, there are two classes. Some are so much interested in worldly concerns, and are so desirous of becoming great themselves, that they think very little about him and his Word. He is dead to them and buried, under their worldly loves and worldly habits of thinking. Having neither love for him nor faith in him, he is not present and living in them; but on the contrary, whenever they do think of him, he and his laws appear to them as deadly, and destructive of all that lives with them and in them; for their thoughts of him are always connected with a dreadful judgment and eternal misery, or with regeneration, which is considered by them as amounting to about the same thing, because it is a renunciation of self and the world, and therefore comprehends within it both the judgment and the eternal misery. Thus the Lord is dead to them, because he is opposite to the loves which are their life.
The Lord is also equally dead to many, who think much about him and about his Word; for there are many who make it a business to think much about him and to acquire knowledge of him and his Word-doing it for the sake of gain or of worldly reputation, or for the sake of spiritual power. Thus it was not among the heathen that our Lord was crucified, but it was at Jerusalem, and by the instigation of those who were supposed to have and boasted of having the greatest knowledge of the Scriptures. But they were not pure in heart so as to see him through the heart, and therefore they could not abide with him and his pretensions before their eyes. So it is with all who study the Scriptures, not for the sake of understanding the truth, and living according to it. Because the spirit of truth is not congenial with the spirit with which they study the truth, therefore they deprive the truth of its spirit, and thus make it dead unto them. If a man's own honour, or any selfish or worldly purpose, be the only thing or the principal thing by which he is influenced in studying the Scriptures, he will understand them no better than the Jews did. He will not find any thing in them which would condemn himself. He will not find any thing more required in them than what he imagines himself to possess. He will not acknowledge that there is any thing in them of importance to be understood, which is not
understood by him. It would not be consistent with his pride nor with his business to acknowledge that there are spiritual and divine mysteries in the Word which he is not yet prepared to comprehend. The end he has in view does not lead him to contemplate such things, and gives him no taste for them. Since he does not look unto the Lord and study his Word for the purification of his heart, therefore he does not perceive the Lord and his Word through purity of heart; he does not see them as they are revealed from above and from within; but he sees only the natural appearances of them which are made known to him through the senses, and which when their spirit and life are thus denied and rejected, are like bodies deprived of souls.
But they who, by walking in the commandments of the Lord, come into his presence and perceive his influence, hear a voice saying, I am he who liveth and was dead; for they are then sensible that the reason why the Lord was not always present to them as he now is, is because they have been in low states, and have been under the influence of external and selfish loves-that the fault was altogether in themselves—that the Lord was made as dead unto them by themselves, howsoever it might at that time appear otherwise that he was made to be as dead unto them, because they were indulging affections which were opposed to him, or because they were seeking him from the influence of impure motives, and that consequently they could not then behold him, because they were not pure in heart.
And they are further instructed, by the light of his presence, that he is living to ages of ages; that whatever changes await them; whatever states of darkness and trial a merciful providence may yet permit them to pass through for their further purification of heart, still the Lord liveth and will be living to ages of ages. And although our days may continue to be followed by nights, and our summers by winters, yet these changes with respect to us are converted into tokens and memorials of the covenant established with us, and they bear us up unto him who liveth forever.
And they are still further instructed, by the light which they are then in, that with the Lord are the keys of hell and of death: the keys of hell, because he has power over all evils, and because his presence and power has withdrawn them from and raised them out of evils, and now protects them from assault;—and that he has the keys of death, because they perceive that their life is from him, and that it is by the reception of life from him that they have been raised from the dead; from what they now regard as death. Thus are they made ready and willing to ascribe from the heart-from a pure heart to ascribe the kingdom, the power and the glory unto Him who liveth and was made dead; unto Him who liveth into ages of ages, and hath the keys of hell and of death.
For the New Jerusalem Magazine.
REMARKS ON THE TEXT, “ AN EYE FOR AN EYE," &c.
THAT the above words are not to be understood literally is very evident from what immediately follows,-" But I say unto you resist not evil." They however remained a long time as precepts by which the Jews were to regulate their conduct. We do not understand from the words of the Lord, "but I say unto you resist not evil," that the literal injunction, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," is done away. If it were a rule for the regulation of the conduct of the Jews, it is a rule by which all men, who are of the same character of the Jews, in whatever age or country, may regulate their conduct; for the Lord came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. The Lord is unchangeable, but man is changeable. The Lord cannot, in his government, give laws and then revoke them, as the children of men do. Word, proceeding from the Lord, while it is an emanation of his love, is also a manifestation of his immutability; the literal representation of changes, the permission of acts of retaliation, &c. are but manifestations of the state and condition of mankind to which the Word is sent, and to which it is to be applied; and he only who supposes that God is changeable like himself, will think that any part of the letter of the commandment is revoked. One jot or one tittle shall not fail from the law, until all is fulfilled; until all men are either saved by conformity to the law, or self-destroyed by non-conformity to it.
The Word of God penetrates and overrules the actions of all men, however bad. "If I ascend up to heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, thou art there." With regard to the Word, in its genuine and spiritual sense, it is said, "all men cannot receive this saying, he that is able to receive it, let him receive it." It is of mercy that such do not receive it; for if they were to enter into the spiritual sense of the Word any farther than they have a love for the spiritual precepts therein contained; any farther than their lives accord with those internal truths,-their own states of mind would be injured. These permissions are for the sake of preserving the spiritual sense from violation-cherubims which guard the way to the tree of life and the paradise of God.
We commenced with the intention of making a few remarks on the spiritual sense of the text at the head of this article, but finding a very full explanation of that and the following verses in the Apocalypse Explained, we prefer to insert it entire, although a few ideas contained in it may have been anticipated, in part, in the remarks we have already made. But in order to render Swedenborg's explanation more intelligible to those who are unaccus
VOL. 1.-NO. VII.
tomed to his mode of illustrating the spiritual sense of Scripture, we will offer a single remark in regard to the spiritual sense given to eyes, teeth, &c. The body and every part thereof, even its minutest members, are considered as corresponding with and as being created from the mind and all its various principles. Thus the mind, or soul, is believed, when in order, to be in a perfect human form, and to have all the parts, or members which the body has. And whenever any member of the body is spoken of in the Word, it has reference, in the spiritual sense of the Word, to a corresponding property of the mind; and this signification is not arbitrary, but is founded in the very order of creation. Matt.
v. 38 to 42:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on the right jaw bone, turn to him the other also; and if any one will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, permit him to take thy cloak also: whoever shall force thee to go with him a mile, go with him two; give to every one that asketh of thee, and from him that desireth to borrow from thee, turn not away,' v. 38 to 42; that these words are not to be understood according to the letter must be obvious to every one; for who considers himself held, by christian love, to turn the left jaw bone to him who smiteth the right, and to give also the cloak to him, who would take away the coat, in a word, who is there to whom it is not allowable to resist evil? but inasmuch as all things which the Lord spake, were in themselves divine celestial, it may appear that these words, as well as the others which the Lord spake, contain a celestial sense: the reason why such a law was given to the sons of Israel, as that they should give an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, Exod. xxi. 23, 24, Levit. xxiv. 20, Deut. xix. 21, was, because they were external men, and thence were only in the representatives of things celestial, and not in celestial things themselves, hence neither were they in charity, in mercy, in patience, or in any spiritual good, and therefore they were in the law of retaliation; for the celestial law, and consequently the christian law, which the Lord taught in the Evangelists, is,All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also unto them, this is the law and the prophets,' Matthew vii. 12, Luke vi. 30; inasmuch as this is the law in heaven, and from heaven in the church, hence also every evil hath with itself a corresponding punishment, which is called the punishment of evil, being in the evil, and as it were conjoined with it, and from this flows the punishment of retaliation, which was dictated to the sons of Israel, because they were external men, and not internal: internal men, such as are the angels of heaven, do not desire retaliation of evil for evil, but from celestial charity forgive freely, for they know that the Lord defendeth all who are in good, against the evil, and that He defends according to the good appertaining to them, and that He would not defend, if, on account of the evil done to them, they should suffer enmity, hatred, and revenge, to be enkindled, for these
things avert protection: these are the things therefore involved in the above words which the Lord spake, but their signification shall be given in order: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, signifies, that so far as any one takes away from another the understanding of truth, and the sense of truth, so far they are taken away from himself, eye signifying the understanding of truth, and tooth, the sense of truth, for the tooth denotes either the true or the false, such as appertains to the sensual man; that he, who is in christian good, will permit an evil person to take those things away as far as he can, is described by what the Lord replies upon the same subject; the precept not to resist evil, signifies, that it is not to be fought against in return nor recompensed, for the angels do not fight with the evil, much less do they recompense evil for evil, but they permit them to do it, because they are defended by the Lord and hence no evil from hell can possibly hurt them; whosoever smiteth thee on the right jaw bone, turn to him the other also, signifieth, if any one desireth to injure the perception and understanding of interior truth it should be permitted so far as he makes the attempt, jaw bone signifying the perception and understanding of interior truth, the right jaw bone the affection and thence perception thereof, and the left jaw bone, the understanding thereof, and because mention is made of the jaw bone, mention is also made of smitting, by which is meant to do hurt; for all things about the mouth, as the throat, the mouth itself, the lips, the jaw bones, the teeth, signify such things as appertain to the perception and understanding of truth, because they correspond thereto, wherefore they are used to express such things in the literal sense of the Word, which consists of mere correspondences; if any one will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also, signifies, if any one desireth to take away the truth which is within, or interior, that he shall be allowed also to take away that which is without or exterior, the coat signifying truth interior, and the cloak, truth exterior; this also the angels do when they are with the evil, for the evil cannot take away any thing of good and truth from the angels, but they can from those who on that account burn with enmity, hatred, and revenge, for these evils avert and reject the protection which is from the Lord: if any one force thee to go one mile, go with him two, signifies, if any desire to lead thee away from what is true to what is false, and from good to evil, that he shall not be opposed, because he cannot do it, a mile signifying the same as a way, namely that which leadeth away and leads; give to every one that asketh of thee, signifies that it should be permitted; and from him that desires to borrow of thee, turn not away, signifies, to instruct if any one desire to be instructed, for the evil desire this in order that they may pervert and deprive, which however they cannot do this is the spiritual sense of the above words, in which are stored up the things which have been now said, which are more especially for the angels, who perceive the Word only according to its spiritual sense; they are also for men in the world, who are principled in good, when the evil try to seduce them that the opposition of the evil against those whom the Lord defendeth is of such a nature, hath been given me to know by