8971. THE INTERNAL SENSE
That the Word is holy, nay, most holy, is known to everyone within the church. This is not only acknowledged, but is also perceived, by those who are in the truths of faith and in a life according to them, for when reading the Word they are continually kept in the idea of what is holy. But those who are not in the truths of faith and in a life according to them do not acknowledge, still less perceive, anything of holiness in the Word. When these persons read the Word, they do not see anything higher in it than in any other writing. And they who in their hearts deny the holiness of the Word also say to themselves when they read it, that the writings of men are finer, because insofar as regards the literal sense they are composed in a finer style. This has been shown me by living experience with regard to those in the other life who in their hearts have denied that the Word has been inspired by the Divine. But when they were told that the Word is holy and Divine as to every jot and smallest point in it, they stood amazed, and marveled whence this could be. And when they were told further, and also shown to the life, that all things which are in the Word contain in them a spiritual sense which does not appear in the letter, and that this sense of the Word is with the angels in heaven when the Word is being read by man, they then acknowledged it because it was shown; but they said that they did not know this in the world, and that because they did not know it, they are free from blame. But when these same persons were examined, it was observed that they had lived just as they liked, without any restraints from conscience, and had therefore at heart denied the Divine, heaven and hell, the life after death, and all other matters of faith, and that this was the cause of their not having acknowledged the holiness of the Word. And it was further shown that all those who have been in the truths of faith and in a life according to them, have held the Word to be holy, and have also while reading it perceived in themselves that it is so. From this they were convinced that the cause was not in the Word, but in themselves. For with those who are in a life of good the interiors are open into heaven, whence the holiness of the Word flows in from the angels; whereas with those who are in a life of evil the interiors are closed toward heaven, but are open into hell, whence there flows in the contrary.
 Take for example the judgments or laws in this chapter about menservants, maidservants, and oxen. They who deny the holiness of the Word, because they are in a life of evil, will say that in these judgments or laws they do not see anything Divine-as when it is said that a manservant who does not desire to go away free should be brought to a door or a doorpost, and his master should bore through his ear with an awl, and accordingly he should serve forever; also that if a manservant who is smitten shall live a day or two, his master who smote him shall not be punished, because he is his silver; as also that a manservant should be free for the loss of an eye or a tooth; and that an ox striking with the horn should be stoned, besides the other things there mentioned. They who in their hearts deny the holiness of the Word regard these things as not worthy of the Word, and still less worthy to be dictated by Jehovah Himself on Mount Sinai; in like manner do they regard all other things that are in the Word, whether historical or prophetical. But the reason why they so regard them is that heaven is closed to them on account of their life of evil, consequently they have a contrary perception. The case is quite different with those who are in a life of good.
 Whence comes the holiness of the Word which flows in from heaven, is evident from all that has hitherto been said and shown about the internal sense of the Word; namely, that the Word alone has an internal sense, and that this sense treats of such things as belong to heaven, which are the things of eternal life, and that inmostly it treats of the Lord alone, thus of holy things, nay, of Divine things themselves which are most holy; and that this sense is for the angels who are with man while the Word is being read, consequently that there is from this source an influx of holiness, and a perception of it, with those who are in the life of faith and charity. As regards the judgments or laws in this chapter about menservants, maidservants, and oxen, these contain in the internal sense such things as are of Divine order with respect to those who are in the truth of faith, and also with respect to those who injure or destroy the things which belong to faith and charity, and those which belong to love to the Lord; and in the inmost sense, those things which would injure or destroy the Lord Himself. From this everyone can see how holy in themselves these judgments are, however little they appear so in the letter.