Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of washing, is purification from evils and falsities (AC 3147, 5954). As in what now follows from Exodus 30:17 the subject treated of in the internal sense is purification from evils and falsities by means of the truths of faith, it shall be briefly told how this is; for by washing is signified purification; by waters are signified the truths of faith; and by the laver containing the water is signified the natural, because all spiritual purification is effected in the natural. Man has an external and an internal; the external is called the natural, and also the natural man; and the internal is called the spiritual, and also the spiritual man, for the reason that the internal of man is in the spiritual world where spirits and angels are, and his external is in the natural world where men are. Both the internal and the external man are purified, the internal in heaven, and the external while the man lives in the world, thus in the natural which is in the world.

[2] The reason why purification goes on in the natural at that time, is that the truths of faith come to clear perception in the natural; for there they are among the memory-knowledges, or things of the memory, which are clearly perceived when they are thought of. But this is not the case with the things that are thought of in the internal man; these do not come to clear perception while the man is in the world, because the ideas in the internal man are spiritual. Hence it is that purification is effected in the natural. That it is effected by means of the truths of faith can be seen from the fact that those who are being purified must not only know what evil and falsity are, but must also acknowledge them, and then hold them in aversion and shun them. When this is done, then for the first time is the man purified from them; and evils and falsities cannot be known, thus cannot be acknowledged, except in the natural by means of the truths of faith; for these truths teach what things are evil and false, and thus make them manifest. He who believes that he is purified from evils and falsities before he sees and acknowledges them in himself, is very much mistaken (AC 8388, 8390).

[3] It was said that it is in the natural that a man knows his evils and falsities by means of the truths of faith; that is, he knows them in the external man, but not in the internal; the reason is that the ideas of thought in the internal man are spiritual, and spiritual ideas cannot be comprehended in the natural, for they are intellectual ideas which have no such objects as are in the material world; nevertheless these spiritual ideas, which are proper to the internal man, flow into the natural ideas which belong to the external man, and produce and make them, which is done by means of correspondences. But concerning the spiritual ideas which belong to the internal man, of the Lord's Divine mercy more will be said when heaven is described, with the spirits and angels there, for they think by means of spiritual ideas, and also converse with each other by means of them.

from AC 10237

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