Spiritual Meaning of

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 Thicket, Tangle

That a thicket or tangle in the internal sense signifies natural memory-knowledge, that is, that knowledge which sticks fast in the exterior memory, may also be seen from other passages in the Word. In Ezekiel:--

Behold, Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful foliage, and a shady grove, and lofty in height, and his branch was among the tangled boughs (Ezekiel 31:3);

where Egypt, which is memory-knowledge, is treated of (AC 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462); Asshur denotes the rational (AC 119, 1186); which is also the cedar, and also Lebanon, in the Word; among the tangled boughs means among memory-knowledges, for the human rational is founded on its memory-knowledges.

[7] In the same:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, Because thou art exalted in stature, and he hath set his branch among the tangled boughs, and his heart is lifted up in its height, strangers, the violent of the nations, shall cut him down, and cast him out (Ezek. 31:10, 12);

concerning Egypt; to set the branch among the tangled boughs denotes sticking fast in memory-knowledges, and regarding spiritual, celestial, and Divine things from them. In the same:--

To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves in their stature, neither set their branch among the tangled boughs, nor that all that drink waters stand over them in their height, for they shall all be delivered unto death, to the lower earth in the midst of the sons of man, to them that go down to the pit (Ezek. 31:14);

here those are treated of who by reasonings from memory-knowledges desire to enter into the mysteries of faith. That they are made altogether blind, see (AC 215, 232, 233, 1072, 1911, 2196, 2203, 2568, 2588). To reason from memory-knowledges is to set the branch among the tangled boughs. In the same:--

She had plants of strength for the scepters of them that bare rule, and her height was exalted among the tangled boughs (Ezek. 19:11);

this has a similar meaning.

[8] In the same:--

The slain of Israel shall be among their idols, round about their altars, and under every green tree, and under every tangled oak (Ezek. 6:13);

this treats of the worship which those form to themselves who have faith in themselves, and thus in the things which they hatch out from their memory-knowledges; the tangled oak denotes the memory-knowledges in such a state. That oaks are apperceptions from memory-knowledges, see (AC 1442, 1443, 2144). The like is found elsewhere in the same Prophet:--

They saw every high hill, and every tangled tree, and there they sacrificed their sacrifices (Ezek. 20:28);

a tangled tree denotes the things which are dictated not by the Word, but by one's own memory-knowledge. That worship was performed in groves, and was significative according to the qualities of the trees, see (AC 2722).

[9] In Isaiah:--

Wickedness burneth as the fire; it devoureth the briars and thorns, and kindleth in the thickets of the forest (Isa. 9:18);

the briars and thorns denote falsity and cupidity; the thickets of the forest, memory-knowledges. In the same:--

Jehovah Zebaoth shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one (Isaiah 10:34);

the thickets of the forest denote memory-knowledges and Lebanon, things rational. In Jeremiah:--

Set up a standard toward Zion, for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction a lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations; he is on his way, he is gone forth from his place, to make thy land a waste thy cities shall be destroyed, without inhabitant (Jeremiah 4:6, 7);

from his thicket denotes from memory-knowledge; and that which ascends into Divine arcana from this makes the land a waste, that is, lays waste the church.

[10] The reason why in the Word memory-knowledges are called thickets, is that they are comparatively of such a character, especially when the cupidities of the love of self and of the world, and the principles of falsity, seek for them. Celestial and spiritual love is that which disposes into order the knowledges which are of the exterior memory; and the love of self and of the world is that which perverts the order, and disturbs all things in it. These things the man does not take notice of, because he places order in perverted order, good in evil, and truth in falsity. On this account these things are in entanglement; and also on this, that the things of the exterior memory, where these knowledges are, compared with those in the interior memory, where rational things are, are as in a thicket, or as in a dark forest. How shady, opaque, and dark it is there in comparison, a man cannot know so long as he is living in the body; for he then supposes that all wisdom and intelligence are from this source; but he will know in the other life, when he comes into the things of his interior memory. That in the exterior memory, which is proper to man while he is living in the world, nothing is less to be found than the light of intelligence and wisdom; but that all is relatively dark, disorderly, and entangled there, may be seen above (AC 2469-2494).

from AC 2831

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