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A song, or Psalm for the sons of Korah. To him that presides; upon Mahalath; Leannoth, an instructive Psalm of Heman, the Ezrahite.
The lord to the father in temptation, even to despair that he is in a manner overcome by the internals, verses 1 to 9, 13 to 18; that god has no glory from the hells, verses 10 to 12.
Verses 4 and 6. I am counted with them that go down to the pit; you have laid me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the deeps. That hereby is signified among falses, is manifest from the signification of pits, as denoting falses; the reason why pits denote falses is because men who have been in false principles, after death are kept for some time in the lowest earth, until falses be removed from them; the places in that earth are called pits; hence it is that by pits, in the abstract sense, are signified falses. AC 4728.
Verses 5, 6, 7, 12. I am prostrate among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom you remember no more; and who are cut off from your hand. You have laid me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the deeps. Your wrath presses upon me, and you afflict me with all your breakers. Shall your wonders be known in darkness; and your justice in the land of forgetfulness? The subject here treated of is concerning temptations, in the supreme sense, concerning the temptations of the lord, which are described as to their quality, namely that he seems to himself as if in hell, amongst the damned; for the temptations, which the lord sustained, were so severe and enormous; wherefore he was counted with them that go down into the pit, by which is signified that he seemed to himself as in hell, a pit denoting hell; he became as a man that has no strength, signifies that he then seemed to himself as without power, for temptations immerse man into falses and evils, which have no power; prostrate amongst the dead, signifies amongst those who have nothing of truth and good, and are therefore rejected; amongst the slain buried in the grave, signifies as those who are in falses grounded in evil; slain signify those who perish by falses; a grave signifies hell by reason that they who are in hell are spiritually dead; whom you remember no more, and who are cut off from your hand, signifies deprived of all truth and good; you have laid me in the lowest pit, signifies in the places of hell inhabited by such; in dark places, signifies as in falses; in deeps, signifies as in evils. Now follows prayer arising from grief, that he might be delivered from temptation; and amongst the causes was also this, shall your mercy be declared in the grave and truth in destruction, signifies that in hell, where and whence are evils and falses, divine good and divine truth cannot be preached; mercy is the divine good of the divine love, and truth is the divine truth of the divine wisdom; grave is hell, where and whence are evils, and destruction is hell, where and whence are falses; from these considerations it is also evident that by a grave is meant hell; for this reason, that they who are in hell are spiritually dead. AE 659.
Verse 14. O jehovah, why cast you off my soul? why hide you your face from me? From this consideration it may also be known what is signified by hiding or concealing the face, when spoken of jehovah or the lord, namely: that it is to leave man in his own selfhood, and thence in the evils and falses which flow from that selfhood; for man considered in himself is nothing but evil and the false principles thence derived, and he is withhold from them by the lord that he may be in good, which is effected by an elevation above the selfhood, hence it may be manifest that by hiding and concealing the face, when it relates to the lord, is signified to leave man in evils and falses. AE 412.
As this Psalm is descriptive of the most direful temptations it may be well to explain, in this place, the cause and uses of temptation. They alone who are regenerated undergo spiritual temptations, for spiritual temptations are pains of the mind, induced by evil spirits, with those who are in goods and truths. Whilst these spirits excite the evils which are with such persons, there arises an anxiety which is that of temptation; man knows not whence it comes, because he is unacquainted with this its origin.
For there are evil spirits and good spirits attendant on every man; the evil spirits are in his evils, and the good spirits are in his goods: when the evil spirits approach they draw forth his evils, and the good spirits, on the contrary, draw forth his goods, whence a collision and combat takes place, from which the man perceives an interior anxiety, which is temptation. Hence it is plain that temptations are not from heaven, but are induced by hell: which is also according to the faith of the church, which teaches that god tempts no one.
Interior anxieties also take place with those who are not in goods and truths, but these are natural anxieties, not spiritual ones: they are distinguished by this, that natural anxieties have worldly things for their objects, but spiritual anxieties have heavenly things for their objects.
In temptations, the dominion of good over evil, or of evil over good, is what is contended for. The evil which desires to have the dominion, is in the natural or external man, and the good is in the spiritual or internal; if good conquer, then the spiritual man has the dominion.
Those combats are fought by means of the truths of faith, which are from the Word; it is from these that man must fight against evils and falses, for if he combats from any other principles than these, he does not conquer, because the lord is not in any other principles. For as much as the combat is fought by means of the truths of faith, therefore man is not admitted into that combat before he is in the knowledges of good and truth, and has thence obtained some spiritual life; wherefore those combats do not take place with man, until he has arrived at years of maturity.
If man falls in temptation, his state after it becomes worse than his state before it, inasmuch as evil has thereby acquired power over good, and the false over truth inasmuch as at this day faith is rare because there is no charity, the church being at its end, therefore few at this day are admitted into any spiritual temptations: hence it is that it is scarcely known what they are, and to what end they conduce.
Temptations conduce to acquire for good the dominion over evil, and for the truth the dominion over the false; also to confirm truths, and to conjoin them to goods, and at the same time to disperse evils and the falses thence derived.They conduce likewise to open the internal spiritual man, and to subject the natural thereto: as also to break the loves of self and the world, and to subdue the cravings which proceed from them. When these things are effected, man acquires illustration and perception respecting what truth and good are, and what the false and evil are; whence man obtains intelligence and wisdom, which afterwards continually increase.
The lord alone combats for man in temptations; if a man does not believe that the lord alone combats and conquers for him, he then only undergoes an external temptation, which does not conduce to his salvation. NJHD 187—195.PSALMS 88 Other translations - previous - next - meaning - Psalms - BM Home - Full Page