Spiritual Meaning of
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The signification of "clay," is good, and in the opposite sense evil; and the signification of "bricks," is the falsities which they devise (AC 1296). That "clay" denotes evil from which is falsity, is plain from the following passages in the Word:--
The wicked are like the driven sea, when it cannot rest; its waters cast up mire and clay (Isa. 57:20);
"mire" denotes falsity from which is evil; and "clay," evil from which is falsity.
 In Jeremiah:--
Thy feet are sunk in the clay, they have gone backward (Jer. 38:22);
"the feet sunk in the clay" denotes the natural sunk in evil.
Draw thee waters for the siege, strengthen thy fortresses; enter into the mire, and tread the clay, repair the brick-kiln; there shall the fire devour thee, and the sword shall cut thee off (Nahum 3:14, 15);
"to tread the clay" denotes to think from evil what is false.
He shall say, Woe to him that multiplieth what is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with clay! Shall they not rise up suddenly that bite thee? (Hab. 2:6, 7);
"to lade himself with clay" denotes with evil.
 In David:--
Jehovah hath made me to come out of the pit of devastation, out of the mire of clay, and He hath set my feet upon a rock (Ps. 40:2).
I sank in deep clay where there is no standing. I am come into depths of waters, and the wave overwhelmed me; rescue me out of the clay, lest I be submerged, and out of the depths of waters; and let not the deep swallow me up (Ps. 69:2, 14, 15);
"clay" denotes evil, from which is falsity. In Isaiah:--
The rulers shall come as clay, and as the potter treadeth the mire (Isa. 41:25).
 "Clay," however, denotes good in the following passages:--
Now, Jehovah, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand (Isa. 64:8);
"clay" denotes the man of the church who is being formed, thus the good of faith by means of which man is formed, that is, reformed.
 So in Jeremiah:--
Jehovah said to Jeremiah, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will make thee to hear My words. I went down therefore into the potter's house, and behold he wrought his work upon the board; but the vessel he was making was spoiled, as clay in the hand of the potter; and he turned back and made it another vessel, as was right in the hand of the potter to make it. Then was the word of Jehovah effected unto me, saying, Cannot I do with you, O house of Israel, as this potter? saith Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the hand of the potter, so are ye in My hand, O house of Israel (Jer. 18:1-6);
the "house of Israel" denotes the church which was to be formed; and as the formation is done by means of the good of charity and the truth of faith, and these are signified by "clay" and the "potter's vessel," therefore the prophet was ordered to go into the potter's house, which would not have been done unless these things had been signified by "clay" and the "potter's vessel."
 Jehovah, or the Lord, is called a "potter," and the man who is being reformed is called "clay," namely, in (Isa. 29:15, 16; 45:9; Job 10:9; 33:6). That the Lord made clay with spittle, and anointed the eyes of the man born blind, and commanded him to wash in the pool of Siloam, and that thereupon he that was blind was made to see (John 9:6, 7, 11), was done because there was represented the reformation of a man who has been born in ignorance of truth, and that reformation is made through the good of faith, which is the "clay."
from AC 6669
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|