457. Yet repented not of the work of their hands, signifies that neither did they shun their own things, which are evils of every kind, as sins. By "the works of a man's hands" are signified man's own things, which are evils and falsities thence, because by "hand" are signified those things in the aggregate which proceed from man; for the powers of the mind, and thence of its body, are determined to the hands and there terminate; wherefore by "hands," in the Word, is signified power: consequently, by "the works of a man's hands," his own things are signified, which are evils and falsities of every kind; his own things in the will are evils, and his own things in the understanding are falsities thence. It is said of those who are here treated of, that they repented not; the reason is, because they who make faith alone the all of religion, say in themselves, "What need is there of repentance, when by faith alone sins are remitted, and we are saved? Of what avail are our own works in this matter? I know that I was born in sins, and that I am a sinner; if I confess this, and pray that my faults may not be imputed to me, is not the work of repentance then performed, and what need is there for anything more?" Thus he has no thought at all about sins, even so that at length he does not know that there are sins; wherefore he is continually borne along within them and into them, by the delight and pleasantness which flow from them, in like manner as a ship is carried by the wind and tide toward the rocks, whilst the pilot and mariners are asleep.
 By "the works of men's hands," in the Word, in its natural sense, are meant graven images, molten images, and idols; but in the spiritual sense, by them are signified evils and falsities of every kind, which are man's own things; as in these passages:
Provoke me not to anger by the works of your hands; if ye provoke Me to anger by the works of your hands, to your own evil, I will recompense them according to their works, and according to the deeds of their hands (Jer. 25:6-7, 14).
The sons of Israel provoked Me to anger by the works of their hands (Jer. 32:30; 44:8).
I will speak judgments with them touching all their wickedness, that they have bowed themselves down to the works of their hands (Jer. 1:16).
In that day the eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel, and not to the altars, the work of their hands, and which their fingers have made (Isa. 17:7-8; 31:7; 37:19; Jer. 10:9).
 That "the work of a man's hands" is his proprium, and the evil and falsity thence, may be manifestly evident from this, that for that reason it was prohibited to build the altar and the temple of hewn stones, and to lift up a tool of iron upon those stones; for by this "the work of man's hands" was signified.
If thou makest an altar of stones unto me, thou shalt not build them hewn; because if thou movest a chisel upon it, thou wilt profane it (Exod. 20:25).
Joshua built an altar of stones, upon which he did not move any iron (Josh. 8:30-31).
The temple of Jerusalem was built of whole stone, and neither hammer nor axe nor any instruments of iron were heard when it was building (1 Kings 6:7).
 All things also which are done by the Lord, are called "the works of his hands"; which are his own and in themselves goods and truths; as in these places:
The works of the hands of Jehovah are truth and judgment (Ps. 111:7).
O Jehovah, Thy mercy is for ever; forsake not the works of Thy hands (Ps. 138:8).
Thus said Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and His Former, ask signs of Me concerning My sons, concerning the work of My hands command ye Me (Isa. 45:11).
Thy people shall all be just, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands (Isa. 60:21).
O Jehovah, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hands (Isa. 64:8).