9723. And thou shalt make its pans, to take away its ashes. That this signifies what is to be removed after uses, is evident from the signification of "the pans for taking away the ashes," as being the things that effect removal after uses. For "ashes" signify such things in man's natural or external memory as remain after uses, and have to be removed so as not to prevent other things from taking their place, by means of which there may again be uses. The "pans" denote such things as effect removal, because by them the ashes are taken away. That it may be known what is signified by the "ashes" which remained upon the altar after a burnt-offering or sacrifice, it shall first be told how the case is with the things which remain in man after uses. From his infancy up to the end of his life in the world, a man is being perfected as to intelligence and wisdom; and if it is well with him, as to faith and love. Memory-knowledges chiefly conduce to this use. These knowledges are imbibed by hearing, seeing, and reading, and are stored up in the external or natural memory. These are of service to the internal sight or understanding as a plane of objects, from which it may choose and bring out such things as promote wisdom. For by virtue of its light, which is from heaven, the interior sight or understanding looks into this plane, that is, into this memory, which is below itself; and from the various things which are there, it chooses and brings out such as agree with its love. These it calls forth to itself from thence, and stores them up in its own memory, which is the internal memory (concerning which see n. 2469-2494). From this is the life of the internal man, and its intelligence and wisdom. The case is the same with the things that belong to spiritual intelligence and wisdom, which are those of faith and love. Memory-knowledges, that is to say, memory-knowledges from the Word, or from the doctrine of the church, which are called the knowledges of truth and good, are in like manner of service for implanting in the internal man these things of spiritual intelligence and wisdom. When these knowledges are stored up in the memory of the external man, they are in like manner of service as objects to the sight of the internal man, which sees from the light of heaven, and from them chooses and brings out such things as are in agreement with its love; for the internal man sees nothing else in, the external man. For the things which a man loves, he sees in the light, but the things which he does not love, he sees in the shade; the latter he rejects, but the former he chooses.
 From all this it can be seen how the case is with the truths of faith and the goods of love with the man who is being regenerated; namely, that the good of love chooses for itself suitable truths of faith, and by their means perfects itself; and thus the good of love is in the first place, and the truth of faith in the second, as often shown before (n. 3325, 3494, 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, 3570, 3576, 3603, 3701, 4925, 4977, 6256, 6269, 6272, 6273). After the memory-knowledges, or the knowledges of good and truth, in the memory of the external man, have performed this use, they as it were vanish from this memory. They are circumstanced like those matters of instruction which have served the man from infancy as means for perfecting his moral and civil life; after these have performed this use, and the man has acquired life therefrom, they perish from the memory, and remain only as a matter of practice or use. In this way man learns to speak, to think, to discriminate, and to judge, to lead a moral life, and to conduct himself becomingly; in a word, he learns languages, good manners, intelligence, and wisdom.
 The memory-knowledges which have served for these uses are signified by "the ashes which are to be removed;" and the knowledges of truth and of good, through which the man has gained spiritual life, after they have served this use, that is, after they have become of the life, are also signified by "the ashes of the altar which were to be removed." But when they are being removed, they are first placed near the altar, and afterward are carried forth outside the camp into a clean place. Meanwhile the fire of the altar is always burning for the use of a new burnt-offering or sacrifice, according to the process described by Moses in Leviticus:
The priest shall cause the burnt-offering to ascend upon the hearth upon the altar all night even unto the dawn. Afterward he shall put on his linen clothing and his linen breeches, and he shall take up the ashes, into which the fire hath consumed the burnt-offering on the altar. Afterward he shall put off his garments, and shall put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes outside the camp into a clean place. But the fire upon the altar shall be burning, it shall not be put out; the priest shall burn wood on it at the dawn of every day; and he shall arrange the burnt-offering upon it, and shall burn upon it the fat of the sacrifices. The fire shall be burning upon the altar continually; it shall not be put out (Lev. 6:9-13);
all these particulars involve arcana of heaven, and signify the Divine things of the worship of the Lord from the good of love; what "the ashes" consequently signify has been told above. That something heavenly is signified by "the ashes of the altar" can be seen by everyone who reflects, as that when the priest was to take away the ashes from the altar, he was to put on clothing of linen and breeches of linen, and afterward in other garments was to carry them outside the camp, and lay them in a clean place. Nothing in the Word is worthless, not even any word, thus not any circumstance of this procedure.
 From all this it can in some measure be seen what is signified by "the ashes of the red cow that was burnt," by means of which the water of separation and of cleansing was prepared, of which we read in Numbers 19:2-10, 17; and what is signified by "ashes" in the opposite sense, namely, what is condemned that remains after the burning from the fire of self love. This is signified by "the ashes" which they carried on the head, and in which they rolled themselves when bewailing their sins (Jer. 6:26; Ezek. 27:30; Jonah 3:6).