(SS) - Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture

SS 40

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40. The truths of the sense of the letter of the Word are in part not naked truths, but appearances of truth, and are as it were likenesses and comparisons taken from things such as exist in nature, and thus accommodated and adapted to the apprehension of the simple and of little children. But being correspondences they are receptacles and abodes of genuine truth; and are like enclosing and containing vessels, as a crystal cup encloses noble wine, and as a silver plate holds palatable food. They are also like garments which clothe, as swathings do an infant, and a pretty dress a maiden. They are also like the memory-knowledges [scientifica] of the natural man which contain within them perceptions and affections of truth of the spiritual man. The naked truths themselves which are enclosed, held, clothed, and contained, are in the spiritual sense of the Word; and the naked goods are in its celestial sense.
[2] But let this be illustrated from the Word. Jesus said:
Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, because ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may be clean also (Matt. 23:25-26).
The Lord here spoke by means of ultimate things which are containants, and said "cup and platter"; and "cup" means wine, and "wine" the truth of the Word; and "platter" means food, and "food" the good of the Word. To "cleanse the inside of the cup and platter" means to purify by means of the Word the interior things which belong to will and thought and thus to love and faith. "That the outside may be clean also" means that in this way, exterior things, which are the actions and the conversation, will have been made pure, for these derive their essence from the interior things.
[3] Again, Jesus said:
There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in crimson and fine linen, and living in mirth and splendor every day; and there was a certain poor man, named Lazarus, who was laid at his porch, full of sores (Luke 16:19-20).
Here also the Lord spoke by means of natural things that were correspondences, and contained spiritual things. The "rich man" means the Jewish nation, which is called "rich" because it possessed the Word, in which are spiritual riches. The "crimson and fine linen" with which he was clothed signify the good and truth of the Word; "crimson" its good, and "fine linen" its truth. To "live in mirth and splendor every day" signifies the delight they had in possessing and reading the Word. The "poor man Lazarus" means the Gentiles who had not the Word; and that these were despised and scorned by the Jews, is meant by Lazarus lying at the rich man's porch full of sores.
[4] The reason the Gentiles are meant by "Lazarus" is that the Gentiles were beloved by the Lord, as
Lazarus, who was raised from the dead was beloved by the Lord (John 11:3, 5, 36), and is called His friend (John 11:11), and reclined with the Lord at table (John 12:2).
From the two foregoing passages it is evident that the truths and goods of the sense of the letter of the Word are as vessels and as garments for the naked truth and good that lie hidden in its spiritual and celestial senses.


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