HEAVENLY SECRETS
Emanuel Swedenborg

Back | Next | Index | Home


AC GENESIS Chapter 5

CONCERNING HEAVEN AND HEAVENLY JOY

AC 449. Hitherto the nature of heaven and of heavenly joy has been known to none. Those who have thought about them have formed an idea concerning them so general and so gross as scarcely to amount to any idea at all. What notion they have conceived on the subject I have been able to learn most accurately from spirits who had recently passed from the world into the other life; for when left to themselves, as if they were in this world, they think in the same way. I may give a few examples.

AC 450. Some who during their abode in this world had seemed to be pre-eminently enlightened in regard to the Word, had conceived so false an idea about heaven that they supposed themselves to be in heaven when they were high up, and imagined that from that position they could rule all things below, and thus be in self-glory and pre-eminence over others. On account of their being in such a phantasy, and in order to show them that they were in error, they were taken up on high, and from there were permitted in some measure to rule over things below; but they discovered with shame that this was a heaven of phantasy, and that heaven does not consist in being on high, but is wherever there is any one who is in love and charity, or in whom is the Lord‘s kingdom; and that neither does it consist in desiring to be more eminent than others, for to desire to be greater than others is not heaven, but hell.

AC 451. A certain spirit, who during his life in the body had possessed authority, retained in the other life the desire to exercise command. But he was told that he was now in another kingdom, which is eternal; that his rule on earth was dead; and that where he was now no one is held in estimation except in accordance with the good and truth, and the mercy of the Lord, in which he is; and further, that it is in that kingdom as it is on earth, where every one is rated according to his wealth, and his favor with his sovereign; and that there good and truth are wealth, and favor with the sovereign is the Lord’s mercy; and that if he desired to exercise command in any other way, he was a rebel, seeing that he was now in the kingdom of another. On hearing this he was ashamed.

AC 452. I have conversed with spirits who supposed heaven and heavenly joy to consist in being the greatest. But they were told that in heaven he is greatest who is least, because he who would be the least has the greatest happiness, and consequently is the greatest, for what is it to be the greatest except to be the most happy? it is this that the powerful seek by power, and the rich by riches. They were told, further, that heaven does not consist in desiring to be the least in order to be the greatest, for in that case the person is really aspiring and wishing to be the greatest; but that heaven consists in this, that from the heart we wish better for others than for ourselves, and desire to be of service to others in order to promote their happiness, and this for no selfish end, but from love.

AC 453. Some entertain so gross an idea of heaven that they suppose it to be mere admission, in fact that it is a room into which they are admitted through a door, which is opened, and then they are let in by the doorkeepers.

AC 454. Some think that heaven consists in a life of ease, in which they are served by others; but they are told that there is no possible happiness in being at rest as a means of happiness, for so every one would wish to have the happiness of others made tributory to his own happiness; and when every one wished this, no one would have happiness. Such a life would not be an active life, but an idle one, in which they would grow torpid, and yet they might know that there is no happiness except in an active life. Angelic life consists in use, and in the goods of charity; for the angels know no greater happiness than in teaching and instructing the spirits that arrive from the world; in being of service to men, controlling the evil spirits about them lest they pass the proper bounds, and inspiring the men with good; and in raising up the dead to the life of eternity, and then, if the souls are such as to render it possible, introducing them into heaven. From all this they perceive more happiness than can possibly be described. Thus are they images of the Lord; thus do they love the neighbor more than themselves; and for this reason heaven is heaven. So that angelic happiness is in use, from use, and according to use, that is, it is according to the goods of love and of charity. When those who have the idea that heavenly joy consists in living at ease, idly breathing in eternal joy, have heard these things, they are given to perceive, in order to shame them, what such a life really is, and they perceive that it is a most sad one, that it is destructive of all joy, and that after a short time they would loathe and nauseate it.

AC 455. One who in this world had been most learned in regard to the Word, had the idea that heavenly joy consists in being in a glorious light, like that which exists when the solar rays appear of a golden hue, so that he too supposed it to consist in a life of ease. In order that he might know himself to be in error, such a light was granted him, and he, being in the midst of the light, was as delighted as if he were in heaven, as indeed he said. But he could not remain long in it, for it gradually wearied him and became no joy at all.

AC 456. The best instructed of them all said that heavenly joy consists solely in praising and glorifying the Lord, being a life destitute of any doing of the goods of charity, and that this is an active life. But they were told that praising and celebrating the Lord is not such an active life as is meant, but is an effect of that life; for the Lord has no need of praises, but wills that they should do the goods of charity, and that it is according to these that they will receive happiness from the Lord. But still these best instructed persons could form no idea of joy, but of servitude, in doing these goods of charity. But the angels testified that such a life is the freest of all, and that it is conjoined with happiness unutterable.

AC 457. Almost all who pass from this world into the other life suppose that hell is the same for every one, and that heaven is the same for every one. And yet in both there are endless, diversities and varieties, and neither the heaven nor the hell of one person is ever exactly like that of another; just as no man, spirit, or angel is ever exactly like another. When I merely thought of there being two exactly alike or equal, horror was excited in the inhabitants of the world of spirits and of the angelic heaven, and they said that every one is formed by the harmony of many components, and that such as is the harmony, such is the one, and that it is impossible for anything to subsist that is absolutely a one, but only a one that results from a harmony of component parts. Thus every society in the heavens forms a one, and so do all the societies together, that is, the universal heaven, and this from the Lord alone, through love. A certain angel enumerated the most universal only of the genera of the joys of spirits, that is, of the first heaven, to about four hundred and seventy-eight, from which we may infer how innumerable must be the less universal genera and the species in each genus. And as there are so many in that heaven, how, illimitable must be the genera of happinesses in the heaven of angelic spirits, and still more so in the heaven of angels.

AC 458. Evil spirits have sometimes supposed that there is another heaven besides that of the Lord, and they have been permitted to seek for it wherever they could, but to their confusion they could never find any other heaven. For evil spirits rush into insanities both from the hatred they bear against the Lord, and from their infernal suffering, and catch at such phantasies.

AC 459. There are three heavens: the first is the abode of good spirits; the second, of angelic spirits; and the third, of angels. Spirits, angelic spirits, and angels are all distinguished into the celestial and the spiritual. The celestial are those who through love have received faith from the Lord, like the men of the Most Ancient Church treated of above. The spiritual are those who through knowledges of faith have received charity from the Lord, and who act from what they have received. A continuation of this subject will follow at the end of this chapter.

GENESIS 5:1-32

1. This is the book of the births of Man. In the day that God created Man, in the likeness of God made He him.

2. Male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Man, in the day when they were created.

3. And Man lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat into his likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth.

4. And the days of Man after he begat Seth were eight hundred years; and he begat sons and daughters.

5. And all the days that Man lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.

6. And Seth lived a hundred and five years, and begat Enosh.

7. And Seth lived after he begat Enosh eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.

8. And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.

9. And Enosh lived ninety years, and begat Kenan.

10. And Enosh lived after he begat Kenan eight hundred and fifteen years; and begat sons and daughters.

11. And all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died.

12. And Kenan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalalel.

13. And Kenan lived after he begat Mahalalel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters.

14. And all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died.

15. And Mahalalel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared.

16. And Mahalalel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.

17. And all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety and five years; and he died.

18. And Jared lived a hundred sixty and two years, and begat Enoch.

19. And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

20. And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years; and he died.

21. And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah.

22. And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

23. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years.

24. And Enoch walked with God, and he was no more, for God took him.

25. And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech.

26. And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters.

27. And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died.

28. And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son;

29. And he called his name Noah, saying, He shall comfort us from our work, and the toil of our hands, out of the ground which JEHOVAH hath cursed.

30. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters.

31. And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years; and he died.

32. And Noah was a son of five hundred years; and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

THE CONTENTS

AC 460. This chapter treats specifically of the propagation of the Most Ancient Church through successive generations, almost to the flood.

AC 461. The Most Ancient Church itself, which was celestial, is what is called "Man (homo)," and a "likeness of God" (verse 1).

AC 462. A second church which was not so celestial as the Most Ancient Church, is called "Seth" (verses 2, 3).

AC 463. A third church was called "Enosh" (verse 6); a fourth "Kenan" (verse 9); a fifth "Mahalalel" (verse 12); a sixth " Jared" (verse 15); a seventh "Enoch" (verse 18); and an eighth church "Methuselah" (verse 21).

AC 464. The church called " is described as framing doctrine from what was revealed to and perceived by the Most Ancient Church, which doctrine, although of no use at that time, was preserved for the use of posterity. This is signified by its being said that "Enoch" was no more, because God took him" (verses 22, 23, 24).

AC 465. A ninth church was called "Lamech" (verse 25).

AC 466. A tenth, the parent of three churches after the flood, was named "Noah." This church is to be called the Ancient Church (verses 28, 29).

AC 467. "Lamech" is described as retaining nothing of the perception which the Most Ancient Church enjoyed; and "Noah" is described as a new church (verse 29).

THE INTERNAL SENSE

AC 468. From what has been said and shown in the foregoing chapter, it is evident that by names are signified heresies and doctrines. Hence it may be seen that by the names in this chapter are not meant persons, but things, and in the present instance doctrines, or churches, which were preserved, notwithstanding the changes they underwent, from the time of the Most Ancient Church even to "Noah." But the case with every church is that in course of time it decreases, and at last remains among a few; and the few with whom it remained at the time of the flood were called "Noah."

[2] That the true church decreases and remains with but few, is evident from other churches which have thus decreased. Those who are left are in the Word called "remains," and a "remnant," and are said to be " in the midst," or "middle," "of the land." And as this is the case in the universal, so also it is in the particular, or as it is with the church, so it is with every individual man; for unless remains were preserved by the Lord in every one, he must needs perish eternally, since spiritual and celestial life are in the remains. So also in the general or universal-if there were not always some with whom the church, or true faith, remained, the human race would perish; for, as is generally known, a city, nay, sometimes a whole kingdom, is saved for the sake of a few. It is in this respect with the church as it is with the human body; so long as the heart is sound, life is possible for the neighboring viscera, but when the heart is enfeebled, the other parts of the body cease to be nourished, and the man dies. The last remains are those which are signified by "Noah;" for the whole earth had become corrupt (Genesis 6:12).

[3] Of remains as existing in each individual as well as in the church in general, much is said in the Prophets; as in Isaiah:--

He that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy to Him, even every one that is written unto lives in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have washed away the bloods of Jerusalem from the midst thereof (Isaiah 4:3, 4),

in which passage holiness is predicated of the remains, by which are signified the remains of the church, and also of a man of the church; for "those left" in Zion and Jerusalem could not be holy merely because they were "left." Again:--

It shall come to pass in that day, that the remains of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon Jehovah the Holy One of Israel in truth. The remains shall return, the remains of Jacob, unto the mighty God (Isaiah 10:20, 21).

In Jeremiah:--

In those days, and in that time, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon him whom I shall make a remnant (Jeremiah 50:20).

In Micah:--

The remains of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples, as the dew from Jehovah, as the showers upon the grass (Micah 5:7).

[4] The residue or remains of a man, or of the church, were also represented by the tenths, which were holy; hence also a number with ten in it was holy, and "ten" is therefore predicated of remains; as in Isaiah:--

Jehovah shall remove man, and many things (shall be) left in the midst of the land; and yet in it (shall be) a tenth part, and it shall return, and shall be for exterminating; as an oak, and an ilex, when the stock is cast forth from them, the holy seed is the stock thereof (Isaiah 6:12, 13);

where the residue is called a "seed of holiness." And in Amos:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, The city that goeth forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which goeth forth a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel (Amos 5:3).

In these and many other passages, in the internal sense are signified the "remains" of which we have been speaking. That a city is preserved for the sake of the remains of the church, is evident from what was said to Abraham concerning Sodom:--

Abraham said, Peradventure ten may be found there; and He said, I will not destroy it for ten‘s sake (Gen. 18:32).

AC 469. Verse 1. This is the book of the births of Man. In the day that God created Man, in the likeness of God made He him. The "book of the births," is an enumeration of those who were of the Most Ancient Church; "in the day that God created Man," denotes his being made spiritual; and "in the likeness of God made He him," signifies that he was made celestial: thus it is a description of the Most Ancient Church.

AC 470. That the "book of the births" is an enumeration of those who were of the Most Ancient Church, is very evident from what follows, for from this to the eleventh chapter, that is, to the time of Eber, names never signify persons, but actual things. In the most ancient time mankind were distinguished into houses, families, and nations; a house consisting of the husband and wife with their children, together with some of their family who served; a family, of a greater or lesser number of houses, that lived not far apart and yet not together; and a nation, of a larger or smaller number of families.

AC 471. The reason why they dwelt thus alone by themselves, distinguished only into houses, families, and nations, was that by this means the church might be preserved entire, that all the houses and families might be dependent on their parent, and thereby remain in love and in true worship. It is to be remarked also that each house was of a peculiar genius, distinct from every other; for it is well known that children, and even remote descendants, derive from their parents a particular genius, and such marked characteristics that they can be distinguished by the face, and by many other peculiarities. Therefore, in order that there might not be a confounding, but an exact distinction, it pleased the Lord that they should dwell in this manner. Thus the church was a living representative of the kingdom of the Lord; for in the Lord’s kingdom there are innumerable societies, each one distinct from every other, according to the differences of love and faith. This, as observed above, is what is meant by "living alone," and by "dwelling in tents." For the same reason also it pleased the Lord that the Jewish Church should be distinguished into houses, families, and nations, and that every one should contract marriage within his own family; but concerning this, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter.

AC 472. That by the "day in which God created Man," is signified his being made spiritual, and that by "God making him in His likeness," is signified his being made celestial, appears from what was said and shown above. The expression to "create" properly relates to man when he is being created anew, or regenerated; and the word "make," when he is being perfected; wherefore in the Word there is an accurate distinction observed between "creating," "forming," and "making," as was shown above in the second chapter, where it is said of the spiritual man made celestial that "God rested from all His work, which God created in making;" and in other passages also, to "create" relates to the spiritual man, and to "make," that is, to perfect, to the celestial man. (n. 16, 88).

AC 473. That a "likeness of God" is a celestial man, and an "image of God," a spiritual man, has also been previously shown. An "image" is preparatory to a "likeness," and a "likeness" is a real resemblance, for a celestial man is entirely governed by the Lord, as His "likeness."

AC 474. Since therefore the subject here treated of is the birth or propagation of the Most Ancient Church, this is first described as coming from a spiritual to a celestial state, for the propagations follow from this.

AC 475. Verse 2. Male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Man, in the day when they were created. By "male and female," is signified the marriage between faith and love; by "calling their name Man," is signified that they were the church, which, in an especial sense, is called "Man (homo)."

AC 476. That by "male and female" is signified the marriage between faith and love was declared and proved above, where it was shown that the male or man (vir) signifies the understanding and whatever belongs to it, consequently everything of faith; and that the female or woman signifies the will, or the things appertaining to the will, consequently whatever has relation to love; wherefore she was called Eve, a name signifying life, which is of love alone. By the female therefore is also signified the church, as has been previously shown; and by the male, a man (vir)of the church. The subject here is the state of the church when it was spiritual, and which was afterwards made celestial, wherefore "male" is mentioned before "female," as also in (Genesis 1:26, 27). The expression to "create" also has reference to the spiritual man; but afterwards when the marriage has been effected, that is, when the church has been made celestial, it is not said "male and female," but "man (homo)," who, by reason of their marriage, signifies both; wherefore it presently follows, "and He called their name Man," by which is signified the church.

AC 477. That "Man" is the Most Ancient Church has been often said and shown above; for in the supreme sense the Lord Himself alone is Man. From this the celestial church is called Man, as being a likeness, and from this the spiritual church is afterwards so called because it was an image. But in a general sense every one is called a man who has human understanding; for man is man by virtue of understanding, and according thereto one person is more a man than another, although the distinction of one man from another ought to be made according to his faith as grounded in love to the Lord.

[2] That the Most Ancient Church, and every true church, and hence those who are of the church, or who live from love to the Lord and from faith in Him, are especially called "man," is evident from the Word, as in Ezekiel:--

I will cause man to multiply upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; I will cause to multiply upon you man and beast, that they may be multiplied and bear fruit; and I will cause you to dwell according to your antiquities; and I will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and I will cause man to walk upon you, My people Israel (Ezekiel 36:10, 11, 12),

where by "antiquities" is signified the Most Ancient Church; by "beginnings," the Ancient Churches; by the "house of Israel" and "people Israel," the primitive church, or Church of the Gentiles; all which churches are called "man."

[3] So in Moses:--

Remember the days of eternity, understand ye the years of generation and generation; when the Most High would give the nations an inheritance, when He would set apart the sons of man, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel (Deut. 32:7, 8),

where by the "days of eternity" is meant the Most Ancient Church; by "generation and generation," the Ancient Churches; the "sons of man" are those who were in faith toward the Lord, which faith is the "number of the sons of Israel." That a regenerate person is called "man," appears from Jeremiah:--

I beheld the earth, and lo it was empty and void; and the heavens, and they had no light; I beheld, and lo, no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled (Jeremiah 4:23, 25),

where "earth" signifies the external man; "heaven" the internal; "man" the love of good; the "birds of the heavens" the understanding of truth.

[4] Again:--

Behold the days come that I will sow the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, with the seed of man, and with the seen of beast (Jeremiah 31:27),

where "man" signifies the internal man, "beast" the external. In Isaiah:--

Cease ye from man in whose nostrils is breath, for wherein is he to be accounted of (Isaiah 2:22),

where by "man" is signified a man of the church. Again:--

Jehovah shall remove man far away, and many things shall be left in the midst of the land (Isaiah 6:12),

speaking of the vastation of man, in that there should no longer exist either good or truth. Again:--

The inhabitants of the earth shall be burned, and man shall be left very little (Isaiah 24:6),

where "man" signifies those who have faith. Again:--

The paths have been desolated, the farer on the path hath ceased, he hath made vain the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he hath not regarded man, the earth mourneth and languisheth (Isaiah 33:8, 9),

denoting the man who in the Hebrew tongue is "Enosh." Again:--

I will make a man more precious than fine gold, and a man than the gold of Ophir; therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall be moved out of her place (Isaiah 13:12, 13),

where the word for man in the first place is "Enosh," and in the second is "Adam."

AC 478. The reason why he is called "Adam" is that the Hebrew word "Adam" signifies "man;" but that he is never properly called "Adam" by name, but "Man," is very evident from this passage and also from former ones, in that (in some cases) he is not spoken of in the singular number, but in the plural, and also from the fact that the term is predicated of both the man and the woman, both together being called "Man." That it is predicated of both, every one may see from the words, for it is said, "He called their name Man, in the day that they were created;" and in like manner in the first chapter: "Let us make man in our image, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea" (Genesis 1:27, 28). Hence also it may appear that the subject treated of is not the creation of some one man who was the first of mankind, but the Most ancient Church.

AC 479. By "calling a name," or "calling by name," is signified in the Word to know the quality of things, as was shown above, and in the present case it has relation to the quality of the Most Ancient Church, denoting that man was taken from the ground, or regenerated by the Lord, for the word "Adam" means "ground;" and that afterwards when he was made celestial he became most eminently "Man," by virtue of faith originating in love to the Lord.

AC 480. That they were called "Man" in the day that they were created, appears also from the first chapter, (Genesis 1:26, 27), that is, at the end of the sixth day, which answers to the evening of the sabbath, or when the sabbath or seventh day began; for the seventh day, or sabbath, is the celestial man, as was shown above.

AC 481. Verse 3. And Man lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat into his likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth. By a "hundred and thirty years" there is signified the time before the rise of a new church, which, being not very unlike the Most Ancient, is said to be born "into its likeness, and after its image;" but the term "likeness" has relation to faith, and "image" to love. This church was called "Seth."

AC 482. What the "years," and the "numbers of years," which occur in this chapter, signify in the internal sense, has hitherto been unknown. Those who abide in the literal sense suppose them to be secular years, whereas from this to the twelfth chapter there is nothing historical according to its appearance in the literal sense, but all things in general and every single thing in particular contain other matters. And this is the case not only with the names, but also with the numbers. In the Word frequent mention is made of the number three, and also of the number seven, and wheresoever they occur they signify something holy or most sacred in regard to the states which the times or other things involve or represent; and they have the same signification in the least intervals of time as in the greatest, for as the parts belong to the whole, so the least things belong to the greatest, for there must be a likeness in order that the whole may properly come forth from the parts, or the greatest from its leasts. Thus in Isaiah:--

Now hath Jehovah spoken, saying, within three years, as the years of a hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be rendered worthless (Isaiah 16:14).

Again:--

Thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall be consumed (Isaiah 21:16),

where both the least and the greatest intervals are signified. in Habakkuk:--

Jehovah, I have heard Thy renown, and was afraid; O Jehovah, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known (Habakkuk 3:2),

where the "midst of the years" signifies the Lord’s advent. In lesser intervals it signifies every coming of the Lord, as when man is being regenerated; in greater, when the church of the Lord is arising anew. It is likewise called the "year of the redeemed," in Isaiah:--

The day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come (Isaiah 63:4).

So also the thousand years in which Satan was to be bound (Rev. 20:2, 7), and the thousand years of the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4, 5, 6), by no means signify a thousand years, but their states; for as "days" are used to express states, as shown above, so also are "years," and the states are described by the number of the years. Hence it is evident that the ties in this chapter also involve states; for every church was in a different state of perception from the rest, according to the differences of genius, hereditary and acquired.

AC 483. By the names which follow: "Seth," "Enosh," "Kenan," "Mahalalel," "Jared," "Enoch," " Methuselah," "Lamech," "Noah," are signified so many churches, of which the first and principal was called "Man." The chief characteristic of these churches was perception, wherefore the differences of the churches of that time were chiefly differences of perception. I may here mention concerning perception, that in the universal heaven there reigns nothing but a perception of good and truth, which is such as cannot be described, with innumerable differences, so that no two societies enjoy similar perception; the perceptions there existing are distinguished into genera and species, and the genera are innumerable, and the species of each genus are likewise innumerable; but concerning these, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter. Since then there are innumerable genera, and innumerable species in each genus, and still more innumerable varieties in the species, it is evident how little-so little that it is almost nothing the world at this day knows concerning things celestial and spiritual, since they do not know even what perception is, and if they are told, they do not believe that any such thing exists; and so with other things also. The Most Ancient Church represented the celestial kingdom of the Lord, even as to the generic and specific differences of perception; but whereas the nature of perception, even in its most general aspect, is at this day utterly unknown, any account of the genera and species of the perceptions of these churches would necessarily appear dark and strange. They were at that time distinguished into houses, families, and nations, and contracted marriage within their houses and families, in order that genera and species of perceptions might exist, and be derived from the parents precisely as are the propagations of native character; wherefore those who were of the Most Ancient Church dwell together in heaven.

AC 484. That the church called "Seth" was very nearly like the Most Ancient Church, is evident from its being said that the man begat in his likeness, according to his image, and called his name Seth; the term "likeness" having relation to faith, and "image" to love; for that this church was not like the Most Ancient Church with regard to love and its derivative faith, is plain from its being said just before, "Male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Man," by which is signified the spiritual man of the sixth day, as was said above, so that the likeness of this man was to the spiritual man of the sixth day, that is, love was not so much the principal, but still faith was conjoined with love.

AC 485. That a different church is here meant by "Seth" from that which was described above (Genesis 4:25), may be seen at (n. 435). That churches of different doctrine were called by the same name, is evident from those which in the foregoing chapter (Genesis 4:17, 18) were called "Enoch" and "Lamech," while here other churches are in like manner called "Enoch" and "Lamech" (Genesis 5:21, 30).

AC 486. Verse 4. And the days of Man after he begat Seth were eight hundred years, and he begat sons and daughters. By "days" are signified times and states in general; by "years," times and states in special; by "sons and daughters" are signified the truths and goods which they perceived.

AC 487. That by "days" are signified times and states in general, was shown in the first chapter, where the "days" of creation have no other signification. In the Word it is very usual to call all time "days," as is manifestly the case in the present verse, and in those which follow (verses 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 27, 31); and therefore the states of the times in general are likewise signified by "days;" and when "years" are added, then by the seasons of the years are signified the qualities of the states, thus states in special. The most ancient people had their numbers, by which they signified various things relating to the church, as the numbers " three," " seven," "ten," "twelve," and many that were compounded of these and others, whereby they described the states of the church; wherefore these numbers contain arcana which would require much time to explain. It was an account or reckoning of the states of the church. The same thing occurs in many parts of the Word, especially the prophetical. In the rites of the Jewish Church also there were numbers, both of times and measures, as for instance in regard to the sacrifices, meat-offerings, oblations, and other things, which everywhere signify holy things, according to their application. The things here involved, therefore, in the number "eight hundred," and in the next verse, in the number "nine hundred and thirty," and in the numbers of years in the verses following-namely, the changes of state of their church as applied to their own general state-are too many to be recounted. In a future part of this work, of the Lord’s Divine mercy we shall take occasion to show what the simple numbers up to " twelve" signify, for until the signification of these is known, it would he impossible to apprehend the signification of the compound numbers.

AC 488. That "days" signify states in general, and "years" states in special, appears from the Word, as in Ezekiel:--

Thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years (Ezekiel 22:4),

speaking of those who commit abominations, and fill up the measure of their sins, of whose state in general are predicated "days," and in special "years." So in David:--

Thou shalt add days to the days of the king, and his years as of generation and generation (Ps. 61:6),

speaking of the Lord and of His kingdom, where also "days" and "years" signify the state of His kingdom. Again:--

I have considered the days of old, the years of the ages (Ps. 77:5),

where "days of old" signify states of the Most Ancient Church, and "years of the ages," states of the Ancient Church. In Isaiah:--

The day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come (Isaiah 63:4),

speaking of the last times, where the "day of vengeance" signifies a state of damnation, and the "year of the redeemed" a state of blessedness. Again:--

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn (Isaiah 61:2),

where both "days" and "years" signify states. In Jeremiah:--

Renew our days as of old (Lam. 5:21),

where state is plainly meant.

[2] In Joel:--

The day of Jehovah cometh, for it is nigh at hand, a day of darkness and of thick darkness, a day of cloud and of obscurity; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be after it, even to the years of generation and generation (Joel 2:1, 2),

where "day" signifies a state of darkness and of thick darkness, of cloud and of obscurity, with each one in particular, and with all in general. In Zechariah:--

I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day; in that day shall ye cry a man to his companion under the vine, and under the fig-tree (Zechariah 3:9, 10).

And in another place:--

It shall be one day which is known to Jehovah, not day nor night, and it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light (Zechariah 14:7),

where it is plain that state is meant, for it is said that there shall be a day that is "neither day nor night, at evening time it shall be light." The same appears from expressions in the Decalogue:--

Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may be well with thee upon the ground (Deut. 5:16 25:15),

where to have the "days prolonged" does not signify length of life, but a happy state.

[3] In the literal sense it must needs appear as if "day" signifies time, but in the internal sense it signifies state. The angels, who are in the internal sense, do not know what time is, for they have no sun and moon that distinguish times; consequently they do not know what days and years are, but only what states are and the changes thereof; and therefore before the angels, who are in the internal sense, everything relating to matter, space, and time disappears, as in the literal sense of this passage in Ezekiel:--

The day is near, even the day of Jehovah is near, a day of cloud; it shall be the time of the nations (Ezekiel 30:3),

and of this in Joel:--

Alas for the day for the day of Jehovah is at hand, and as vastation shall it come (Joel 1:15),

where a "day of cloud" signifies a cloud, or falsity; the "day of the nations" signifies the nations, or wickedness; the "day of Jehovah" signifies vastation. When the notion of time is removed, there remains the notion of the state of the things which existed at that time. The case is the same with regard to the "days" and "years" that are so often mentioned in this chapter.

AC 489. That by "sons and daughters" are signified the truths and goods which they had a perception of, and indeed by "sons" truths, and by "daughters" goods, is evident from many passages in the Prophets; for in the Word, as also in olden time, the conceptions and births of the church are called " sons and daughters," as in Isaiah:--

The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising; lift up thine eyes round about and see; all they gather themselves together and come to thee; thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side; then thou shalt see and flow together, and thy heart shall be amazed, and shall be enlarged (Isaiah 60:3, 4, 5),

in which passage "sons" signify truths, and of "daughters" goods.

[2] In David:--

Deliver me and rescue me from the hand of the sons of the stranger, whose mouth speaketh vanity; that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth, that our daughters may be as corner-stones hewn in the form of a temple (Ps. 44:11, 12),

where the "sons of the stranger" signify spurious truths, or falsities; "our sons" signify doctrinals of truth; "our daughters," doctrinals of good.

[3] In Isaiah:--

I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; bring forth the blind people, and they shall have eyes; the deaf, and they shall have ears (Isaiah 43:6, 8),

in which passage "sons" signify truths; "daughters," goods; the "blind," those who would see truths; and the "deaf," those who would obey them.

[4] In Jeremiah:--

Shame hath devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth; their flocks, their herds, their sons, and their daughters (Jeremiah 3:24),

where "sons" and "daughters" signify truths and goods. That "children" and "sons" signify truths, is plain from Isaiah:--

Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale; for when he shall see his children the work of My hands in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel; they also that erred in spirit shall know understanding (Isaiah 29:22, 23, 24),

where the "Holy One of Jacob, the God of Israel," signifies the Lord; "children" signify the regenerate, who have the understanding of good and truth, as is indeed explained.

[5] Again:--

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear, for more are the sons of the desolate than the sons of the married wife (Isaiah 54:1),

where the "sons of the desolate" signify the truths of the primitive Church, or that of the Gentiles; the "sons of the married wife," the truths of the Jewish Church.

[6] In, Jeremiah:--

My tent is laid waste and all My cords are plucked out; My sons are gone forth of Me, and are not (Jeremiah 10:20),

where "sons" signify truths. Again:--

His sons shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before Me (Jeremiah 30:20),

where "sons" signify the truths of the Ancient Church. In Zechariah:--

I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, with thy sons, O Javan, and make thee as the sword of a mighty man (Zechariah 9:13),

signifying the truths of the faith of love.

AC 490. In the Word "daughters" frequently denote goods; as in David:--

Kings‘ daughters were among thy precious ones; at thy right hand doth stand the queen in the best gold of Ophir; the daughter of Tyre with a gift; the king’s daughter is all glorious within of eyelet work of gold is her raiment; instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons (Ps. 45:10-17),

where the good and beauty of love and faith are described by the "daughter." Hence churches are called "daughters" by virtue of goods, as the "daughter of Zion" and the "daughter of Jerusalem" (Isa. 37:22); they are also called "daughters of My people" (Isa. 22:4), the "daughter of Tarshish" (Isa. 23:10), the "daughter of Sidon" (Isaiah 23:12), and "daughters in the field" (Ezek. 26:6, 8).

AC 491. The same things are signified by "sons" and "daughters" in this chapter (verses 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 26, 30), but such as is the church, such are the "sons and daughters," that is, such are the goods and truths; the truths and goods here spoken of are such as were distinctly perceived, because they are predicated of the Most Ancient Church, the principal and parent of all the other and succeeding churches.

AC 492. Verse 5. And all the days that Man lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. By "days" and "years" are here signified times and states, as above; by "Man‘s dying" is signified that such perception no longer existed.

AC 493. That by "days" and "years" are signified times and states needs no further explication, except to say that in the world there must needs be times and measures, to which numbers may be applied because they are in the ultimates of nature; but whenever they are applied in the Word, the numbers of the days and years, and also of the measures, have a signification abstractedly from the times and measures, in accordance with the signification of the number; as where it is said that there are six days of labor, and that the seventh is holy, of which above; that the jubilee should be proclaimed every forty-ninth year, and should be celebrated in the fiftieth; that the tribes of Israel were twelve, and the apostles of the Lord the same; that there were seventy elders, and as many disciples of the Lord; and so in many other instances where the numbers have a special signification abstractedly from the things to which they are applied; and when thus abstracted, then it is states that are signified by the numbers.

AC 494. That he "died," signifies that there was no longer such perception, is evident from the signification of the word "die," which is, that a thing ceases to be such as it has been. This in John:--

Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things saith He that hath the seven spirits, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou art said to live, but art dead; be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God (Rev. 3:1, 2).

In Jeremiah:--

I will cast out thy mother that bare thee, into another country where ye were not begotten, and there shall ye die (Jeremiah 22:26),

where "mother" signifies the church. For as we have said, the case with the church is that it decreases and degenerates, and loses its pristine integrity, chiefly by reason of the increase of hereditary evil, for every succeeding parent adds new evil to that which he has inherited. All the actual evil in the parents puts on a kind of nature, and when it often recurs, becomes natural to them, and is added to their hereditary evil, and is transmitted into their children, and so to posterity. In this way the hereditary evil is immensely increased in the descendants. That this is so is evident from the fact that the evil dispositions of children are exactly like those of their progenitors. Quite false is the opinion of those who think that there is no hereditary evil except that which they allege to have been implanted in us from Adam (n. 313). The truth is that every one makes hereditary evil by his own actual sins, and adds it to the evils that he has inherited, and in this way it accumulates, and remains in all the descendants, nor is it abated except in those who are being regenerated by the Lord. In every church this is the principal cause of degeneration, and it was so in the Most Ancient Church.

AC 495. How the Most Ancient Church decreased cannot appear unless it be known what perception is, for it was a perceptive church, such as at this day does not exist. The perception of a church consists in this, that its members perceive from the Lord what is good and true, like the angels; not so much what the good and truth of civic society is, but the good and truth of love to the Lord and of faith in Him. From a confession of faith that is confirmed by the life it can be seen what perception is, and whether it has any existence.

AC 496. Verse 6. And Seth lived a hundred and five years, and begat Enosh. "Seth," as was observed, is a second church, less celestial than the Most Ancient Church, its parent, yet one of the most ancient churches; that he "lived a hundred and five years," signifies, as before, times and states; that he "begat Enosh," signifies that from them there descended another church that was called "Enosh."

AC 497. That "Seth" is a second church less celestial than the Most Ancient Church, its parent, yet one of the most ancient churches, may appear from what was said above concerning Seth (verse 3). The case with churches, as we have said, is that by degrees, and in process of time, they decrease as to essentials, owing to the cause above mentioned.

AC 498. That he "begat Enosh" signifies that from them there descended another church called "Enosh," is evident from the fact that in this chapter the names signify nothing else than churches.

AC 499. Verses 7, 8. And Seth lived after he begat Enosh eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died. The "days" and numbers of "years" signify here as before the times and states. "Sons and daughters" too have the same signification as before; and so likewise has the statement that he "died."

AC 500. Verse 9. And Enosh lived ninety years, and begat Kenan. By "Enosh," as before said, is signified a third church, still less celestial than the church "Seth," yet one of the most ancient churches; by "Kenan" is signified a fourth church, which succeeded the former ones.

AC 501. As regards the churches that in course of time succeeded one another, and of which it is said that one was born from another, the case with them was the same as it is with fruits, or with their seeds. In the midst of these, that is, in their inmosts, there are as it were fruits of the fruits, or seeds of the seeds, from which live as it were in regular order the successive parts. For the more remote these are from the inmost toward the circumference, the less of the essence of the fruit or of the seed is there in them, until finally they are but the cuticles or coverings in which the fruits or seeds terminate. Or as in the case of the brain, in the inmost parts of which are subtle organic forms called the cortical substances, from which and by which the operations of the soul proceed; and from which in regular order the purer coverings follow in succession, then the denser ones, and finally the general coverings called meninges, which are terminated in coverings still more general, and at last in the most general of all, which is the skull.

AC 502. These three churches, "Man," "Seth," and "Enosh," constitute the Most Ancient Church, but still with a difference of perfection as to perceptions: the perceptive faculty of the first church gradually diminished in the succeeding churches, and became more general, as observed concerning fruit or its seed, and concerning the brain. Perfection consists in the faculty of perceiving distinctly, which faculty is diminished when the perception is less distinct and more general; an obscurer perception then succeeds in the place of that which was clearer, and thus it begins to vanish away.

AC 503. The perceptive faculty of the Most Ancient Church consisted not only in the perception of what is good and true, but also in the happiness and delight arising from well-doing; without such happiness and delight in doing what is good the perceptive faculty has no life, but by virtue of such happiness and delight it receives life. The life of love, and of the derivative faith, such as the Most Ancient Church enjoyed, is life while in the performance of use, that is, in the good and truth of use: from use, by use, and according to use, is life given by the Lord; there can be no life in what is useless, for whatever is useless is cast away. In this respect the most ancient people were likenesses of the Lord, and therefore in perceptive powers they became images of Him. The perceptive power consists in knowing what is good and true, consequently what is of faith: he who is in love is not delighted in knowing, but in doing what is good and true, that is, in being useful.

AC 504. Verses 10, 11. And Enosh lived after he begat Kenan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters, And all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died. Here in like manner the "days" and numbers of "years," and also "sons and daughters," and his "dying," signify like things.

AC 505. "Enosh," as before observed, is a third church, yet one of the most ancient churches, but less celestial, and consequently less perceptive, than the church "Seth;" and this latter was not so celestial and perceptive as the parent church, called "Man." These three are what constitute the Most Ancient Church, which, relatively to the succeeding ones, was as the kernel of fruits, or seeds, whereas the succeeding churches are relatively as the membranaceous parts of these.

AC 506. Verse 12. And Kenan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalalel. By "Kenan" is signified a fourth church, and by "Mahalalel" a fifth.

AC 507. The church called "Kenan" is not to be so much reckoned among those three more perfect ones, inasmuch as perception, which in the former churches had been distinct, began now to become general, comparatively as are the first and softer membranes relatively to the kernel of fruits or seeds; which state is not indeed described, but still is apparent from what follows, as from the description of the churches called "Enoch" and "Noah."

AC 508. Verses 13, 14. And Kenan lived after he begat Mahalalel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died. The "days" and numbers of "years" have the same signification here as before. "Sons and daughters" here also signify truths and goods, whereof the members of the church had a perception, but in a more general manner. That he "died" signifies in like manner the cessation of such a state of perception.

AC 509. It is here only to be remarked, that all things are determined by their relation to the state of the church.

AC 510. Verse 15. And Mahalalel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared. By "Mahalalel" is signified, as before said, a fifth church; by "Jared" a sixth.

AC 511. As the perceptive faculty decreased, and from being more particular or distinct, became more general or obscure, so also did the life of love or of uses; for as is the life of love or of uses, so is the perceptive faculty. From good to know truth is celestial; the life of those who constituted the church called "Mahalalel" was such that they preferred the delight from truths to the delight from uses, as has been given me to know by experience among their like in the other life.

AC 512. Verses 16, 17. And Mahalalel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety and five years, and he died. It is the same with these words as with the like words before.

AC 513. Verse 18. And Jared lived a hundred sixty and two years, and begat Enoch. By "Jared," as before said, is signified a sixth church; by "Enoch" a seventh.

AC 514. Concerning the church called "Jared" nothing is related; but its character may be known from the church "Mahalalel" which preceded it, and the church "Enoch" which followed it, between which two it was intermediate.

AC 515. Verses 19, 20. And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years, and he died. The signification of these words also is similar to that of the like words above. That the ages of the antediluvians were not so great, as that of Jared nine hundred and sixtytwo years, and that of Methuselah nine hundred and sixty-nine years, must appear to every one, especially from what of the Lord’s Divine mercy will be said at (Genesis 6:3) of the next chapter, where we read, "Their days shall be a hundred and twenty years;" so that the number of the years does not signify the age of any particular man, but the times and states of the church.

AC 516. Verse 21. And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah. By "Enoch," as before said, is signified a seventh church; and by "Methuselah" an eighth.

AC 517. The quality of the church "Enoch" is described in the following verses.

AC 518. Verse 22. And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. To "walk with God" signifies doctrine concerning faith. That he "begat sons and daughters" signifies doctrinal matters concerning truths and goods.

AC 519. There were some at that time who framed doctrines from the things that had been matters of perception in the most ancient and succeeding churches, in order that such doctrine might serve as a rule whereby to know what was good and true: such persons were called "Enoch." This is what is signified by the words, "and Enoch walked with God;" and so did they call that doctrine; which is likewise signified by the name "Enoch," which means to "instruct." The same is evident also from the signification of the expression to "walk," and from the fact that he is said to have "walked with God," not "with Jehovah:" to "walk with God" is to teach and live according to the doctrine of faith, but to "walk with Jehovah" is to live the life of love. To "walk" is a customary form of speaking that signifies to live, as to "walk in the law," to "walk in the statutes," to "walk in the truth." To "walk" has reference properly to a way, which has relation to truth, consequently to faith, or the doctrine of faith. What is signified in the Word by "walking," may in some measure appear from the following passages.

[2] In Micah:--

He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do judgment and the love of mercy, and to humble thyself by walking with thy God? (Micah 6:8),

where to "walk with God" signifies to live according to the things here indicated; here however it is said "with God," while of Enoch another word is used which signifies also "from with God," so that the expression is ambiguous. In David:--

Thou hast delivered my feet from impulsion, that I may walk before God in the light of the living (Ps. 56:13),

where to "walk before God" is to walk in the truth of faith, which is the "light of the living." In like manner in Isaiah:--

The people that walk in darkness see a great light (Isaiah 9:1).

So the Lord says by Moses:--

I will walk in the midst, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people (Lev. 26:12),

signifying that they should live according to the doctrine of the law.

[3] In Jeremiah:--

They shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and to the armies of the heavens, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought (Jeremiah 8:2),

where a manifest distinction is made between the things of love, and those of faith; the things of love being expressed by "loving" and "serving;" and those of faith by "walking" and "seeking." In all the prophetical writings every expression is used with accuracy, nor is one term ever used in the place of another. But to "walk with Jehovah," or "before Jehovah," signifies, in the Word, to live the life of love.

AC 520. Verses 23, 24. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years. And Enoch walked with God, and he was no more, for God took him. By "all the days of Enoch being three hundred sixty and five years," is signified that they were few. By his "walking with God," is signified, as above, doctrine concerning faith. By "he was no more, for God took him," is signified the preservation of that doctrine for the use of posterity.

AC 521. As to the words "he was no more, for God took him" signifying the preservation of that doctrine for the use of posterity, the case with Enoch, as already said, is that he reduced to doctrine what in the Most Ancient Church had been a matter of perception, and which in the time of that church was not allowable; for to know by perception is a very different thing from learning by doctrine. They who are in perception have no need to learn by formulated doctrine that which they know already. For example: he who knows how to think well, has no occasion to be taught to think by any rules of art, for in this way his faculty of thinking well would be impaired, as is the case with those who stick fast in scholastic dust. To those who learn by perception, the Lord grants to know what is good and true by an inward way; but to those who learn from doctrine, knowledge is given by an external way, or that of the bodily senses; and the difference is like that between light and darkness. Consider also that the perceptions of the celestial man are such as to admit of no description, for they enter into the most minute and particular things, with all variety according to states and circumstances. But as it was foreseen that the perceptive faculty of the Most Ancient Church would perish, and that afterwards mankind would learn by doctrines what is true and good, or by darkness would come to light, it is here said that "God took him," that is, preserved the doctrine for the use of posterity.

AC 522. The state and quality of the perception with those who were called "Enoch" have also been made known to me. It was a kind of general obscure perception without any distinctness; for in such a case the mind determines its view outside of itself into the doctrinal things.

AC 523. Verse 25. And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech. By "Methuselah" is signified an eighth church, and by "Lamech" a ninth.

AC 524. Nothing is mentioned concerning the quality of this church; but that its perceptive faculty was general and obscure, is evident from the description of the church called "Noah;" so that perfection decreased, and with perfection wisdom and intelligence.

AC 525. Verses 26, 27. And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty and nine years, and he died. These words have a like signification.

AC 526. Verse 28. And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and ten years, and begat a son. By "Lamech" is here signified a ninth church, wherein the perception of truth and good was so general and obscure that it was next to none, so that the church was vastated. By the "son" is signified the rise of a new church.

AC 527. That by "Lamech" is signified a church wherein the perception of truth and good was so general and obscure as to be next to none, consequently a church vastated, appears from what was said in the preceding chapter, and from what follows in the next verse. "Lamech" in the preceding chapter has nearly the same signification as in this, namely, vastation (Genesis 4:18, 19, 23, 24); and he who begat him is also called by nearly the same name, "Methuselael," so that the things signified by the names are nearly the same. By " Methuselael" and "Methuselah" is signified something that is about to die; and by "Lamech" what is destroyed.

AC 528. Verse 29. And he called his name Noah, saying, He shall comfort us from our work, and the toil of our hands, out of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed. By "Noah" is signified the Ancient Church. By "comforting us from our work and the toil of our hands, out of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed," is signified doctrine, whereby what had been perverted would be restored.

AC 529. That by "Noah" is signified the Ancient Church, or the parent of the three churches after the flood, will appear from the following pages, where Noah is largely treated of.

AC 530. By the names in this chapter, as we have said, are signified churches, or what is the same, doctrines; for the church exists and has its name from doctrine; thus by "Noah" is signified the Ancient Church, or the doctrine that remained from the Most Ancient Church. How the case is with churches or doctrines has already been stated, namely, that they decline, until there no longer remains anything of the goods and truths of faith, and then the church is said in the Word to be vastated. But still remains are always preserved, or some with whom the good and truth of faith remain, although they are few; for unless the good and truth of faith were preserved in these few, there would be no conjunction of heaven with mankind. As regards the remains that are in a man individually, the fewer they are the less can the matters of reason and knowledge that he possesses be enlightened, for the light of good and truth flows in from the remains, or through the remains, from the Lord. If there were no remains in a man he would not be a man, but much viler than a brute; and the fewer remains there are, the less is he a man, and the more remains there are, the more is he a man. Remains are like some heavenly star, which, the smaller it is the less light it gives, and the larger, the more light. The few things that remained from the Most Ancient Church were among those who constituted the church called Noah; but these were not remains of perception, but of perfection, and also of doctrine derived from the things of perception in the most ancient churches; and therefore a new church was now raised up by the Lord, which being of an entirely different native character from the most ancient churches, is to be called the Ancient Church-Ancient from the fact that it existed at the close of the ages before the flood, and during the first period after it. Of this church, by the Divine mercy of the Lord, more will be said hereafter.

AC 531. That by "comforting us from our work and the toil of our hands, out of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed," is signified doctrine, whereby what had been perverted would be restored, will also appear, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy, in the following pages. By "work" is signified that they could not perceive what is true except with labor and distress. By the "toil of the hands out of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed," is signified that they could do nothing good. Thus is described "Lamech," that is, the vastated church. There is "work and labor of the hands" when, from themselves or from their Own, men must seek out what is true and do what is good. That which comes of this is the "ground which Jehovah hath cursed," that is, nothing comes of it but what is false and evil. But what is signified by Jehovah cursing, see (n. 245). To "comfort" has reference to the "son," or Noah, whereby is signified a new regeneration, thus a new church, which is the Ancient Church. By this church, or "Noah," is therefore likewise signified rest, and comfort that comes from rest, just as it was said of the Most Ancient Church that it was the seventh day, in which the Lord rested. (n. 84-88).

AC 532. Verses 30, 31. And Lamech lived after he begat that Noah (illum Noachum) five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years, and he died. By "Lamech," as before said, is signified the church vastated. By "sons and daughters," are signified the conceptions and births of such a church.

AC 533. As nothing more is related concerning Lamech than that he begat sons and daughters, which are the conceptions and births of such a church, we shall dwell no longer on the subject. What the births were, or the "sons and daughters," appears from the church; for such as is the church, such are the births from it. Both the churches called "Methuselah" and "Lamech" expired just before the flood.

AC 534. Verse 32. And Noah was a son of five hundred years; and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. By "Noah," as has been said, is signified the Ancient Church. By "Shem, Ham, and Japheth" are signified three Ancient Churches, the parent of which was the Ancient Church called "Noah."

AC 535. That the church called "Noah" is not to be numbered among the churches that were before the flood, appears from (verse 29), where it is said that it should "comfort them from their work and the toil of their hands, out of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed." The "comfort" was that it should survive and endure. But concerning Noah and his sons, of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter.

AC 536. As in the foregoing pages much has been said about the perception possessed by the churches that existed before the flood, and as at this day perception is a thing utterly unknown, so much so that some may imagine it to be a kind of continuous revelation, or to be something implanted in men; others that it is merely imaginary, and others other things; and as perception is the very Celestial itself given by the Lord to those who are in the faith of love, and as there is perception in the universal heaven of endless variety: therefore in order that there may be among men some conception of what perception is, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy I may in the following pages describe the principal kinds of perception that exist in the Heavens.

 

CONTINUATION CONCERNING HEAVEN AND HEAVENLY JOY

AC 537. A certain spirit attached himself to my left side, and asked me whether I knew how he could get into heaven. I was permitted to tell him that admission into heaven belongs solely to the Lord, who alone knows what a man’s quality is. Very many arrive from the world who make it their sole pursuit to get into heaven, being quite ignorant of what heaven is, and of what heavenly joy is, that heaven is mutual love, and that heavenly joy is the derivative joy. Therefore those who do not know this are first instructed about it by actual experience. For example, there was a certain spirit, newly arrived from the world, who in like manner longed for heaven, and in order that he might perceive what the nature of heaven is, his interiors were opened so that he should feel something of heavenly joy. But as soon as he felt it he began to lament and to writhe, and begged to be delivered, saying that he could not live on account of the anguish; and therefore his interiors were closed toward heaven, and in this way he was restored. From this instance we may see with what pangs of conscience and with what anguish those are tortured who not being prepared for it are admitted even but a little way.

AC 538. There were some who sought admission into heaven without knowing what heaven is. They were told that unless they were in the faith of love, to enter heaven would be as dangerous as going into a flame; but still they sought for it. When they arrived at the first entrance court, that is to say, the lower sphere of angelic spirits, they were smitten so hard that they threw themselves headlong back, and in this way were taught how dangerous it is merely to approach heaven until prepared by the Lord to receive the affections of faith.

AC 539. A certain spirit who during his life in the body had made light of adulteries, was in accordance with his desire admitted to the first threshold of heaven. As soon as he came there he began to suffer and to be sensible of his own cadaverous stench, until he could endure it no longer. It seemed to him that if he went any farther he should perish, and he was therefore cast down to the lower earth, enraged that he should feel such torment at the first threshold of heaven, merely because he had arrived in a sphere that was contrary to adulteries. He is among the unhappy.

AC 540. Almost all who come into the other life are ignorant of the nature of heavenly happiness and bliss, because they know not the nature and quality of inward joy. They form a conception of it merely from the delights and joys of the body and the world. What they are ignorant of they suppose to be nothing, the truth being that bodily and worldly joys are relatively non-existent and foul. In order therefore that those who are well disposed may learn and may know what heavenly joy is, they are taken in the first place to paradises that surpass every conception of the imagination (concerning which, of the Lords Divine mercy hereafter), and they suppose that they have arrived in the paradise of heaven; but they are taught that this is not true heavenly happiness, and are therefore permitted to experience interior states of joy which are perceptible to their inmost being. They are then transported into a state of peace, even to their inmost being, and they confess that nothing of it is at all expressible or conceivable. And finally they are introduced into a state of innocence, also to their inmost feeling. In this way are they permitted to learn the nature of true spiritual and celestial good.

AC 541. Certain spirits who were ignorant of the nature of heavenly joy were unexpectedly taken up into heaven after they had been brought into such a state as to render this possible, that is to say a state in which their bodily things and fanciful notions were lulled into quiescence. From there I heard one saying to me that now for the first time he felt how great is the joy in heaven, and that he had been very greatly deceived in having a different idea of it, but that now he perceived in his inmost being a joy immeasurably greater than he had ever felt in any bodily pleasure such as men are delighted with in the life of the body, and which he called foul.

AC 542. They who are taken up into heaven in order that they may know its quality either have their bodily things and fanciful notions lulled to quiescence-for no one can enter heaven with the bodily things and fanciful notions that they take with them from this world-or else they are surrounded by a sphere of spirits who miraculously temper such things as are impure and that cause disagreement. With some the interiors are opened. In these and other ways they are prepared, according to their lives and the nature thereby acquired.

AC 543. Certain spirits longed to know the nature of heavenly joy, and were therefore allowed to perceive the inmost of their own, to such a degree that they could bear no more; and yet it was not angelic joy, being scarcely equal to the least angelic joy, as was given me to perceive by a communication of their joy. It was so slight as to be as it were chilly, and yet being their inmost joy they called it most heavenly. From this it was evident not only that there are degrees of joys, but also that the inmost of one scarcely approaches the outmost or middle of another, and that when any one receives his own inmost joy, he is in his heavenly joy, and cannot endure that which is still more interior, for it becomes painful.

AC 544. Certain spirits who were admitted into the heaven of innocence of the first heaven spoke to me thence, and confessed that the state of joy and gladness was such as they never could have conceived any idea of. Yet this was only in the first heaven, and there are three heavens, and states of innocence in each, with their innumerable varieties.

AC 545. But in order that I might know the nature and quality of heaven and of heavenly joy, for long and often I have been permitted by the Lord to perceive the delights of heavenly joys, so that as I know them from actual experience I can indeed know them, but can by no means describe them. However, in order to give some idea of it I may say that heavenly joy is an affection of innumerable delights and joys that form one general simultaneous joy, in which general joy, that is, in which general affection, there are harmonies of innumerable affections that do not come distinctly to perception, but obscurely, because the perception is very general. Yet I was permitted to perceive that there are things innumerable within it, in such order as can never be described, these innumerable things being such as flow from the order of heaven. Such order exists in every least thing of the affection, all of which together are presented and perceived as a very general one according to the capacity of him who is the subject of it. In a word, in every general joy or affection there are illimitable things ordinated in a most perfect form, and there is nothing that is not alive or that does not affect even the inmost things of our being, for heavenly joys proceed from inmost things. I perceived also that the joy and deliciousness came as if from the heart, and very softly diffused themselves through all the inmost fibers, and so into the congregated fibers, with such an inmost sense of delight that the fiber is as it were nothing but joy and deliciousness, and the whole derivative perceptive and sensitive sphere the same, being alive with happiness. In comparison with these joys the joy of bodily pleasures is like gross and pungent dust as compared with a pure and gentle breeze.

AC 546. In order that I might know how the case is with those who desire to be in heaven and are not such that they can be there, once when I was in some heavenly society, an angel appeared to me as an infant with a chaplet of bright blue flowers about its head, and girded about the breast with wreaths of other colors. By this I was given to know that I was in some society where there was charity. Some well-disposed spirits were then admitted into the same society, who the moment they entered became much more intelligent, and spoke like angelic spirits. Afterwards some were admitted who desired to be innocent from themselves, whose state was represented to me by an infant that vomited milk out of its mouth. Such is their state. Then some were admitted who supposed that they were intelligent from themselves, and their state was represented by their faces, which appeared sharp, but fair enough; and they seemed to wear a peaked hat from which a sharp point projected, but their faces did not appear to be of human flesh, but as if carved out and devoid of life. Such is the state of those who believe that they are spiritual from themselves, that is, able from themselves to have faith. Other spirits were admitted who could not remain there, but were dismayed, became distressed, and fled away.


Back | Next | Index | Home