Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:4
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AC 2344. Verse 4. Scarcely yet were they lain down when the men of the city, the men of Sodom, compassed the house about, from a boy even to an old man, all the people from the uttermost part. "Scarcely yet were they lain down," signifies the first period of visitation; "the men of the city," signifies those who are in falsities; "the men of Sodom," signifies those who are in evils; "compassed the house about," signifies that they were against the good of charity; "from a boy even to an old man," signifies falsities and evils both recent and confirmed; "all the people from the uttermost part," signifies all and each of them.

AC 2345. Scarcely yet were they lain down. That this signifies the first period of visitation, is evident from what was said above concerning "evening" and "night" (n. 2323, 2335), namely, that in the Word they signify visitation and Judgment. Here neither evening nor night is indeed mentioned, but it is said, "scarcely yet were they lain down," whereby there is implied the time of evening advancing to night, or of commencing night, consequently the first period of visitation upon the evil; as is also evident from what follows, for here commences an inquisition concerning the evil within the church who are meant by " Sodom."

AC 2346. The men of the city. That this signifies those who are in falsities; and "the men of Sodom," those who are in evils, is evident from the signification of "city," and of " Sodom." That a "city" signifies truths, and also falsities or things contrary to truths, was shown before (n. 402); and that "Sodom" signifies evils of every kind (n. 2220, 2246). As there were both falsities and evils that were inquired into, or visited, it is said, "the men of the city, the men of Sodom." If both were not meant, it would only have been said, "the men of Sodom."

AC 2347. Compassed the house about. That this signifies that they were against the good of charity, is evident from the signification of "house," as being celestial good, which is nothing else than the good of love and of charity (n. 2048, 2233); and also from the signification of "compassing about," which is to be against that good, that is, to assail and attack it with hostile intent.

AC 2348. From a boy even to an old man. That this signifies falsities and evils both recent and confirmed, can be seen from the signification of a "boy" and of an "old man," when predicated of falsities and evils; namely, that "boys" denote those not yet matured, thus recent ones; and "old men," those which have attained to considerable age, thus those confirmed. "Boy" and "old man" occur elsewhere in the Word in a similar sense, as in Zechariah:--

There shall yet old men and old women dwell In the streets of Jerusalem; and the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets (Zechariah 8:4, 5);

where "Jerusalem" denotes the Lordís kingdom and church (n. 402, 2117); the "streets," truths therein (n. 2336); thus "old men," confirmed truths; and "old women," confirmed goods; "boys playing in the streets," recent truths; and "girls," recent goods and their affections and the derivative gladnesses. It is evident from this how celestial and spiritual things are changed into things historic, in their descent into the worldly things of the sense of the letter, in which sense it scarcely appears otherwise than that old men, boys, women, and girls, are meant.

[2] In Jeremiah:--

Pour out upon the child in the street of Jerusalem, and upon the assembly of young men in like manner; for even the man with the woman shall be taken, the old man with him that is full of days (Jeremiah 6:11);

here the "street of Jerusalem" denotes the falsities that reign in the church (n. 2336), of which the recent and the maturing are called the "child" and the "young men," and the old and the confirmed are called the "old man" and "him that is full of days." Again:--

I will scatter in thee the horse and his rider, and I will scatter in thee the chariot and him that is borne in it, and I will scatter in thee man and woman, and I will scatter in thee the old man and the boy (Jeremiah 51:21, 22);

where in like manner the "old man" and the "boy" denote confirmed truth and recent truth.

[3] Again:--

Death is come up into our windows, it is entered into our palaces, to cut off the child in the street, the young men from the roads (Jeremiah 9:21);

where the "child" denotes the truths which are first born, and which are cut off when death comes into the windows and palaces, that is, into the things of the intellect and of the will. "Windows" denote things of the intellect (n. 655, 658); and "palaces," or "houses," denote things of the will (n. 710).

AC 2349. All the people from the uttermost part. That this signifies all and each of them, is evident from what precedes (that by "boys" and "old men" are signified falsities and evils both recent and confirmed), so that here the "people from the uttermost part" signifies all and each of these. Moreover the term "people" in general signifies falsities (n. 1259, 1260).

[2] Here then there is described the first state of those within the church who are against the good of charity, and consequently against the Lord, for the one involves the other, because no one can be conjoined with the Lord except through love and charity. Love is spiritual conjunction itself, as can be seen from the essence of love; and whoever cannot be conjoined with Him, also cannot acknowledge Him. That they who are not in good cannot acknowledge the Lord, that is, have faith in Him, is evident in John:--

The light is come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their works were evil; for every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved; but he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they have been wrought in God (John 3:19-21);

from which it is evident that they who are against the good of charity are against the Lord; or what is the same, that they who are in evil hate the light, and do not come to the light. That the "light" is faith in the Lord, and is the Lord Himself, is evident in (John 1:9, 10; 12:35, 36, 46).

[3] In like manner in the same elsewhere:--

The world cannot hate you, but Me it hateth, because I testify of it that its works are evil (John 7:7).

More plainly still in Matthew:--

He shall say unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed for I was hungry, and ye gave Me not to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me not to drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in; naked, and ye clothed Me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me (Matthew 25:41-43, 45).

[4] These words show in what manner those are against the Lord who are against the good of charity; and also that every one is judged according to the good of charity, and not according to the truth of faith when this is separated from good. So also again in Matthew:--

The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then shall He render to every one according to his deeds (Matthew 16:27);

"deeds" denote the goods which proceed from charity; and the things which are of charity are also called the fruits of faith.

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info