(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 4462

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4462. To give our sister to a man that hath a foreskin. That this signifies unless they made the truth and good of the church to consist in representatives, and would recede from the things which these signify, is evident from the signification of the "foreskin," as being an external representative-a sign that they were of the church; and therefore it was usual to speak of circumcision and the foreskin when a distinction was to be made between those who were of the church and those who were not. For "circumcision" signifies recession from filthy loves, namely, from the love of self and of the world, and accession to heavenly loves, which are love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor, thus accession to the church. Hence it is that by these words is signified accession to their religiosity, and consequently that like them they should make the truth and good of the church consist in representatives by receding from the internal things which are signified, for otherwise they would not be like them, according to the words that follow: "In this will we consent to you, if ye be as we." (That circumcision is a sign of purification from filthy loves, see n. 2039, 2632; and that they who are in these loves were called "uncircumcised," n. 2049, 3412, 3413.)
[2] Scarcely anyone at this day knows what is the specific signification of circumcision, and therefore this must be told. The genitals in both sexes signify the things which belong to the conjunction of good and truth; nor do they merely signify these things, but also actually correspond to them. It has been shown at the end of the chapters that all man's organs and members have a correspondence with spiritual things in heaven, and consequently so have the organs and members allotted to generation. These correspond to the marriage of good and truth; and from this marriage descends conjugial love (see n. 2618, 2727-2729, 2803, 3132, 4434). As the foreskin covers the genital, in the Most Ancient Church it corresponded to the obscuration of good and truth, but in the Ancient Church to their defilement. For with the man of the Most Ancient Church, who was an internal man, good and truth could be obscured but not defiled; whereas with the man of the Ancient Church, being a comparatively external man, good and truth could be defiled, because it is external things - that is, external loves - which defile. For this reason they who were of the Most Ancient Church knew nothing of circumcision, but only they who were of the Ancient Church.
[3] From this church circumcision spread to many nations; and it was not enjoined upon Abraham and his descendants as anything new, but merely as a discontinued rite that was to be restored; and it became to his posterity a sign that they were of the church. But that nation neither knew nor desired to know what this rite signified, for they made their religiosity consist in mere representatives, which are external matters, and therefore they included all the uncircumcised in one general condemnation, although circumcision was only a sign representative of purification from the love of self and of the world. Those who are purified from this love are the spiritually circumcised, and are said to be "circumcised in heart," as in Moses:
Jehovah thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love Jehovah thy God in all thy heart, and in all thy soul (Deut. 30:6).
In the same:
Ye shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and shall no longer harden your neck (Deut. 10:16).
And in Jeremiah:
Break up your fallow ground, and take away the foreskin of your heart (Jer. 4:3-4).
[4] But they who are in the loves of self and of the world are called "the uncircumcised," in spite of the fact that they had been circumcised; as in Jeremiah:
Behold the days come in which I will visit upon everyone that is circumcised in the foreskin, upon Egypt, and upon Judah, and upon Edom, and upon the sons of Ammon, and upon Moab, and upon all that are cut off at the corner, that dwell in the wilderness; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart (Jer. 9:25-26);
this passage shows that many other nations were circumcised, for it is said, "I will visit upon everyone that is circumcised in the foreskin," so that as already stated this was not a new rite, or restricted to the descendants of Jacob as a mark of distinction. The Philistines were not circumcised, and therefore it is they who are usually meant by "the uncircumcised" (1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26, 36; 31:4; 2 Sam. 1:20, and in other places).


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