Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of shoes, is the sensuous things which are the externals of the natural (AC 1748); and the signification of feet, is the natural (AC 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952). That to pull off denotes to remove is evident, because it is said of sensuous things; for terms must be applied to their subject that is being treated of; thus to pull off, to the shoes; and to be removed, to sensuous things. How the case herein is, must be told. Everyone can see that shoes here represent something that was not in agreement with the holy Divine, and thus that to pull of, the shoes was representative of the removal of such things; otherwise what would it matter to the Divine whether man approached in shoes or with the soles of his feet bare, provided that he was interiorly of such a character as to be able to approach the Divine in faith and love? Therefore by shoes are signified sensuous things, and these being the externals of the natural are of such a nature that they cannot be present when the Divine is the object of holy thought; therefore, as at that time representatives were to be observed, Moses was not allowed to approach with shoes on his feet.

[2] That sensuous things, which are the externals of the natural, are of such a nature that they cannot receive the Divine, is because they are in things worldly, bodily, and even earthly, for they proximately receive these things; hence the things that are in the memory from sensuous things derive from the light and heat of the world all that belongs to them, and but little from the light and heat of heaven, and therefore they are the last things that can be regenerated, that is, receive anything of the light of heaven. Hence it is that when a man is in these sensuous things, and is thinking from them, he thinks no otherwise of the Divine than as he thinks about earthly things, and if he is in evil he thinks from these sensuous things quite against the Divine. Therefore if when a man is thinking about such things as are of faith and love to God he is in good, he is elevated from the sensuous things which are the externals of the natural, toward interior things, consequently from earthly and worldly things nearer to heavenly and spiritual things.

[3] This a man knows not, because he does not know that the interiors in him are distinct from the exteriors, and that thought is more and more interior and also more and more exterior; and as he does not know these things, he cannot reflect upon them. But see what has been before said about thought from sensuous things, namely, that they who think from them, have very little wisdom (AC 5089, 5094, 6201, 6310, 6312, 6314, 6316, 6318, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6694); that man is elevated from sensuous things, and that when thus elevated he comes into a milder light; and that this is especially the case with those who are being regenerated (AC 6183, 6313, 6315). From all this is now plain what is meant by putting off the shoes from upon the feet. That the natural with man is external, middle, and internal, see (AC 4570, 5118, 5126, 5497, 5649). The internal natural is signified by the feet, the middle natural by the soles of the feet, and the external by the shoes.

from AC 6844

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