4720. And the man said, They are departed hence, for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. That this signifies that they betook themselves from generals to special things of doctrine, is evident from the signification of "departing," as being to betake themselves; and from the signification of "from Shechem," which is the place they departed from, as being from the generals of doctrine (n. 4707, 4716); and from the signification of "Dothan," as being the special things of doctrine. That "Dothan" is the special things of doctrine cannot so well be confirmed from other passages in the Word, because it is mentioned in the second book of Kings only (2 Kings 6:13), where it is related that the king of Syria sent chariots and horsemen and a great army to Dothan to take Elisha, and that they were smitten with blindness and led by Elisha to Samaria.
 As all the historicals of the Word are representative of the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom, so also is this, and by the king of Syria are represented those who are in the knowledges of truth (n. 1232, 1234, 3249, 3664, 3680, 4112); here in the opposite sense those who are in the knowledges of what is not true; by Elisha is represented the Word of the Lord (n. 2762); by Dothan, doctrinals from the Word; by the chariots and horsemen and the great army which the king of Syria sent, are signified falsities of doctrine; by the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha, which his young man saw, are signified the good and true things of doctrine from the Word (n. 2762); by the blindness with which those were smitten who were sent thither by the king of Syria, are signified the falsities themselves (n. 2383); and by their being led by Elisha to Samaria, where their eyes were opened, is signified instruction by means of the Word. Such things are involved in this history, in which by Dothan, where Elisha was, are signified doctrinal things of good and truth from the Word. Its signification in the present verse is similar, the special things of doctrine being nothing else; but here the special things of false principles are signified, because the subject treated of is the church that begins from faith, which it thus separates from charity from the very beginning. All the doctrinals which are then formed savor of the general principle, thus of faith without charity; whence come the falsities which are the special things of the false principles.
 Every church in its beginning knows only the generals of doctrine, for it is then in its simplicity, and as it were in its childhood; but in the course of time it adds particulars, which in part are confirmations of the generals, and in part additions (which, however, are not contrary to the generals), and also explanations to reconcile plain contradictions and to avoid violence to the dictates of common sense. All these things are nevertheless the special things of false principles; for all things of every doctrine which recognize the general principle as father, have relation to one another as in a kind of fellowship, and are conjoined as if by relationships of blood and of marriage. It is plain from this that when the general principle is false, all things savor of falsity.