203. To show that a knowledge of correspondences was long preserved among the nations of Asia, although among those called diviners and sages, and by some Magi, I will present one example from 1 Sam. 5 and 6. It is there recorded that the ark containing the two tables on which the Decalogue was written was captured by the Philistines and placed in the temple of Dagon at Ashdod, and that Dagon fell to the ground before it, and afterwards his head and the palms of his hands, severed from his body, lay upon the threshold of the temple; also that on account of the ark the men of Ashdod and Ekron were smitten by thousands with tumors and their land laid waste by mice, and that therefore the Philistines called together their lords and diviners; and to stay this destruction they determined to make five tumors of gold and five golden mice and a new cart, and upon the cart to place the ark, and beside it the golden tumors and mice; and by two cows, which lowed on the way before the cart, to send it back to the children of Israel, by whom the cows and the cart were offered in sacrifice; and thus the God of Israel was propitiated. That all these things studied out by the diviners of the Philistines were correspondences is evident from their signification, which is as follows:
"The Philistines" themselves signified those who are in faith separate from charity; "Dagon" represented that religion; "the tumors" with which they were smitten, signified natural loves, which when separated from spiritual love are unclean; "the mice" signified the devastation of the church by falsifications of truth; "the new cart" signified natural doctrine of the church (as doctrine from spiritual truths is signified in the Word by "a chariot"); "the cows" signified good natural affections; "the golden tumors" signified natural loves purified and made good; "the golden mice" signified the vastation of the church removed by means of good ("gold" in the Word signifying good); "the lowing of the cows in the way" signified the difficult conversion of the natural man's lust of evil to good affections; the offering of the cows together with the cart as a burnt offering, signified that thus the God of Israel was propitiated. All these things which the Philistines did by the advice of their diviners were correspondences from which it is clear that that knowledge was long preserved among the nations.