(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 8941

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8941. Thou shalt not build it of hewn stones. That this signifies that it must not be from self-intelligence, is evident from the signification of "hewn stones," as being such things as are from self-intelligence; for "stones" denote truths (see n. 8940); and to "hew," or fit, them denotes to hatch or devise truths, or such things as resemble truths, from one's own, or from self-intelligence. For things which are hatched or devised from one's own, or from self-intelligence, have their life from man, which life is no life, because man's own is nothing but evil (n. 210, 215, 694, 874-876,874-876, 987, 1047, 5660, 5786, 8480); whereas that which is not from man's own, but from the Divine, has life in itself, because all life is from the Divine. The worship of the Lord from truth is here treated of, for this worship is signified by "an altar of stones" (n. 8940).
[2] The truths from which the Lord is to be worshiped are to be taken solely from the Word, for in every detail of the Word there is life from the Divine. When truths are taken from one's own, they regard and have as their end dignity and eminence over all in the world, and likewise earthly possessions and wealth above all men, and therefore they have in them the love of self and of the world, thus all evils in the complex (n. 7488, 8318). But truths which are from the Word regard and have as their end eternal life, and have in them love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor, thus all goods in the complex. When truths are hatched from one's own, or from self-intelligence, they rule over the truths which are from the Divine, because these are applied to confirm them; when yet the contrary should be the case, namely, that truths from the Divine should rule, and those which are from self-intelligence should serve. Those which are from one's own, or from self-intelligence, are called truths, but they are not truths; they only appear as truths in the external form, for they are rendered like truths by means of applications from the literal sense of the Word, and by reasonings, while in the internal form they are falsities (what and of what quality they are, see above, n. 8932).
[3] There are in the world two religiosities which are from self-intelligence-one in which the love of self and of the world is everything, which religion is that which is called in the Word "Babel;" it is inwardly profane from the love of self and of the world, and outwardly holy from the Word which has been applied to confirm. The other religiosity is that in which the light of nature is everything; they who are in this acknowledge nothing as truth which they do not apprehend. Some from this religiosity acknowledge the Word, but they apply it for confirmation, thus to serve. Some however do not acknowledge the Word; but these make the Divine to consist in nature, for their light, being of nature, falls into nature, and cannot be enlightened by the light of heaven, because they reject the Word from which is all enlightenment. Those who are from these two religiosities are in hell, because they are void of heavenly life, which they cannot receive because they have rejected the Word. And those of them who have applied the Word for confirmation, have made the Word of none effect in their hearts; but because of its great authority with the common people, they have used it for this service, in order to give weight to the devices of their own intelligence. From all this it can be seen what is signified in the spiritual sense by the altar not being to be built of hewn stones.
[4] By "hewn stone" is signified that which is from self-intelligence in the following passages also:
That the people may know, Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in haughtiness and pride of heart, The bricks are fallen, and we will build with hewn stone (Isa. 9:9, 10).
Although I cry and shout, He hath shut out my prayers, He hath fenced about my ways with hewn stone, He hath overturned my paths (Lam. 3:8, 9).
Forasmuch as ye trample upon the worn one, and seize from him the burden of wheat; ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them (Amos 5:11).
In these passages "hewn stone" denotes such things in matters of faith as are from self-intelligence.
[5] Such being the signification of "hewn stone," therefore the altar first built in the land of Canaan by the sons of Israel after they had passed over the Jordan, was built of unhewn stones; for by the passage over the Jordan was represented introduction into the kingdom of the Lord, which is effected by means of the truths of faith. Of this altar it is thus written in Joshua:
Joshua built an altar unto Jehovah the God of Israel in Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of Jehovah commanded the sons of Israel, an altar of whole stones, upon which no man had moved iron (Josh. 8:30, 31; also Deut. 27:1-8).
[6] In like manner the temple of Jerusalem was built of whole stones unhewn, of which it is thus written in the first book of the Kings:
As to the house itself, when it was in building, it was built of whole stone, as it was brought; for there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tools of iron heard in the house, while it was in building (1 Kings 6:7).
For by the temple of the Lord was represented the Lord as to Divine truth. That the Lord was represented by the temple, He Himself teaches in John 2:19, 21, 22; and that He was represented as to the Divine truth, was because this truth was there taught; for which reason also it was built of stones, because by "stones" was signified Divine truth (n. 8940); and hence also the Lord Himself was called the "Stone of Israel" (n. 6426).
[7] From all this it is now evident what was signified by the stone of the altar, and what also by the stone of the temple, likewise what by the stones being whole and unhewn, namely, that religion was to be formed by truths from the Lord, thus from the Word, and not from self-intelligence. Truths which are from self-intelligence are thus described also in Isaiah:
The workman casteth a graven image, and the founder overlayeth it with gold, and casteth silver chains. He seeketh an intelligent workman to prepare a graven image (Isa. 40:19, 20).
"A graven image" denotes a religiosity that is from one's own, which is set up to be worshiped as Divine (see n. 8869); "the workman" denotes those who hatch and devise from one's own; that they may appear like truths is described by his "overlaying it with gold," "casting silver chains," and "seeking an intelligent workman."
[8] Again:
They that form a graven image are all of them vanity. All his fellows shall be ashamed, and the workmen themselves. He fashioneth the iron with the tongs, and worketh with coal, and formeth it with sharp hammers; thus he worketh it with the arm of his strength; he fashioneth pieces of wood, he stretcheth out a thread, and marketh it off with a rule; he maketh it into its angles, and defineth it with a compass, that he may make it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house (Isa. 44:9, 11-13).
in this passage also is described a religiosity which is from self-intelligence. In like manner in Jeremiah:
The statutes of the nations are vanity; surely he cutteth out wood from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with an axe. He decketh it with silver and with gold; he fasteneth it with nails and with hammers (Jer. 10:3, 4).
And also in Hosea:
Nevertheless now they sin more and more, and make them a molten image of silver, idols in their intelligence, all the work of the craftsmen (Hos. 13:2).
A religiosity that is hatched from self-intelligence, and not derived from the Word, is meant in the internal sense by "idols" and "strange gods," by "molten images" and "graven images," for the things which are from one's own are nothing else, because in themselves they are dead, and yet are adored as living.


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