Spiritual Meaning of

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 Hewn, Unhewn

By hewn stone is signified that which is from self-intelligence in the following passages also:--

That the people may know, Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in haughtiness and pride of heart, The bricks are fallen, and we will build with hewn stone (Isa. 9:9, 10).

Although I cry and shout, He hath shut out my prayers, He hath fenced about my ways with hewn stone, He hath overturned my paths (Lam. 3:8, 9).

Forasmuch as ye trample upon the worn one, and seize from him the burden of wheat; ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them (Amos 5:11).

In these passages hewn stone denotes such things in matters of faith as are from self-intelligence.

[5] Such being the signification of hewn stone, therefore the altar first built in the land of Canaan by the sons of Israel after they had passed over the Jordan, was built of unhewn stones; for by the passage over the Jordan was represented introduction into the kingdom of the Lord, which is effected by means of the truths of faith. Of this altar it is thus written in Joshua:--

Joshua built an altar unto Jehovah the God of Israel in Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of Jehovah commanded the sons of Israel, an altar of whole stones, upon which no man had moved iron (Joshua 8:30, 31; Deut. 27:1-8).

[6] In like manner the temple of Jerusalem was built of whole stones unhewn, of which it is thus written in the first book of Kings:--

As to the house itself, when it was in building, it was built of whole stone, as it was brought; for there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tools of iron heard in the house, while it was in building (1 Kings 6:7)

for by the temple of the Lord was represented the Lord as to Divine truth. That the Lord was represented by the temple, He Himself teaches in (John 2:19, 21, 22); and that He was represented as to the Divine truth, was because this truth was there taught; for which reason also it was built of stones, because by stones was signified Divine truth (AC 8940); and hence also the Lord Himself was called the Stone of Israel (AC 6426).

[7] from all this it is now evident what was signified by the stone of the altar, and what also by the stone of the temple, likewise what by the stones being whole and unhewn, namely, that religion was to be formed by truths from the Lord, thus from the Word, and not from self-intelligence. Truths which are from self-intelligence are thus described also in Isaiah:--

The workman casteth a graven image, and the founder overlayeth it with gold, and casteth silver chains. He seeketh an intelligent workman to prepare a graven image (Isa. 40:19, 20);

a graven image denotes a religiosity that is from one's own, which is set up to be worshiped as Divine (AC 8869); the workman denotes those who hatch and devise from one's own; that they may appear like truths is described by his overlaying it with gold, casting silver chains, and seeking an intelligent workman.

[8] Again:--

They that form a graven image are all of them vanity. All his fellows shall be ashamed, and the workmen themselves. He fashioneth the iron with the tongs, and worketh with coal, and formeth it with sharp hammers; thus he worketh it with the arm of his strength; he fashioneth pieces of wood, he stretcheth out a thread, and marketh it off with a rule, he maketh it into its angles, and defineth it with a compass, that he may make it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house (Isa. 44:9, 11-13);

in this passage also is described a religiosity which is from self-intelligence. In like manner in Jeremiah:--

The statutes of the nations are vanity; surely he cutteth out wood from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with an axe. He decketh it with silver and with gold; he fasteneth it with nails and with hammers (Jer. 10:3, 4).

And also in Hosea:--

Nevertheless now they sin more and more, and make them a molten image of silver, idols in their intelligence, all the work of the craftsmen (Hosea 13:2).

A religiosity that is hatched from self-intelligence, and not derived from the Word, is meant in the internal sense by idols and strange gods, by molten images and graven images, for the things which are from one's own are nothing else, because in themselves they are dead, and yet are adored as living.

from AC 8941

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