Spiritual Meaning of

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 Sweep, Prepare

The signification of sweeping, is to prepare and to be filled (of which we shall speak presently). The reason to sweep signifies to prepare and to be filled, is that nothing else is required of man than to sweep the house; that is, to reject the cupidities of evil and the derivative persuasions of falsity; for he is then filled with goods, because good is continually flowing in from the Lord-- but into the house, that is, into the man who is purified from such things as impede the influx, that is, which reflect, or pervert, or suffocate the inflowing good. Hence it was common with the ancients to speak of sweeping or cleaning the house, and of sweeping and preparing the way; and by sweeping the house was meant to purify one's self from evils, and thereby to prepare one's self for goods to enter; but by sweeping the way was meant to prepare one's self so that truths might he received, for by a house was signified good, (AC 3128); and by a way, truth, (AC 627, 2333).

[2] As in Isaiah:--

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Sweep (prepare) ye the way of Jehovah; make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isa. 40:3).

In the same:--

Cast up, cast up, sweep (prepare) the way, take away the stumbling block out of the way of My people (Isa. 57:14).


Go through, go through the gates, sweep (prepare) the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway, gather out the stones (Isa. 62:10).

In Malachi:--

Behold I send Mine angel, and He shall sweep (prepare) the way before Me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple (Mal. 3:1).

In these passages, to sweep the way signifies to make themselves ready and prepare to receive truth. The subject treated of therein is the advent of the Lord, for which they were to prepare themselves for receiving the truth of faith, and thereby the good of charity, and by this eternal salvation.

[3] In David:--

Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt, Thou didst drive out the nations and plantedst it; Thou didst sweep before it, and didst cause its root to be rooted, and it filled the land (Ps. 80:8, 9);

where in the supreme sense the Lord is treated of; the vine out of Egypt is truth from memory-knowledges; driving out the nations is purifying from evils; sweeping before it, is making ready so that goods may fill. In the opposite sense to sweep the house is said also of the man who deprives himself of all goods and truths, and thus is filled with evils and falsities; as in Luke:--

The unclean spirit, finding no rest, says, I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come he findeth it swept and garnished; then goeth he and taketh to him seven other spirits worse than himself, and they enter in and dwell there (Luke 11:24-26; Matt. 12:43-45).

from AC 3142

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