Spiritual Meaning of

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That by the fruit of the ground are meant the works of faith without charity, appears also from what follows; for the works of faith devoid of charity are works of no faith, being in themselves dead, for they are solely of the external man. Of such it is written in Jeremiah:--

Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Thou hast planted them, they also have taken root; they have gone on, they also bear fruit; Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins; how long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither? (Jeremiah 12:1, 2, 4).

Near in the mouth, but far from the reins, denotes those who are of faith separated from charity, concerning whom it is said that the land mourns. In the same Prophet such works are called the fruit of works:--

The heart is deceitful (supplantativum) above all things, and it is desperate, who can know it? I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works (Jer. 17:9, 10).

In Micah:--

The land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their works (Micah 7:13).

That such fruit is no fruit, or that the work is dead, and that both fruit and root perish, is thus declared in Amos:--

I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath (Amos 2:9).

And in David:--

Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from the sons of man (Ps. 21:10).

But the works of charity are living, and of them it is declared that they take root downward, and bear fruit upward; as in Isaiah:--

The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward (Isaiah 37:31).

To bear fruit upward, is to act from charity. Such fruit is called the fruit of excellence, in the same Prophet:--

In that day shall the shoot of Jehovah be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel (Isa. 4:2).

It is also the fruit of salvation, and is so called by the same Prophet:--

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let them bring forth the fruit of salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I Jehovah will create it (Isa. 45:8).

from AC 348

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