424. By an "artificer" in the Word is signified a wise, intelligent, and well-informed [sciens] man, and here by "every artificer in brass and iron" are signified those who are acquainted with natural good and truth. As in John: With violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in her; and no artificer, of whatsoever craft, shall be found anymore in her (Rev. 18:21-22).
"Harpers" here as above signify truths; "trumpeters" the goods of faith; an "artificer of any craft" one who knows, or the memory-knowledge [scientia] of truth and good. In Isaiah:
The artificer melteth a graven image, and the smelter spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains; he seeketh unto him a wise artificer, to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved (Isa. 40:19-20),
speaking of those who from phantasy forge for themselves what is false-a "graven image"-and teach it so that it appears true. In Jeremiah:
At the same time as they are infatuated they grow foolish, the doctrine of vanities, it is but a stock. Silver beaten out is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the artificer, and of the hands of the smelter; blue and raiment; they are all the work of the wise (Jer. 10:1, 8-9),
signifying one who teaches falsities, and collects from the Word things with which to forge his invention, wherefore it is called a "doctrine of vanities" and the "work of the wise." Such persons were represented in ancient times by artificers who forge idols, that is, falsities, which they adorn with gold, that is, with a semblance of good; and with silver, or an appearance of truth; and with blue and with raiment, or such natural things as are in apparent agreement.