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 Heart and Soul

In many passages of the Word it is said from the heart and from the soul, or from the whole heart and from the whole soul, and by this is signified that it is from all the will and all the understanding. That man has two faculties, namely, will and understanding, may be known to every one; also that the will is a separate faculty from the understanding, for we are able to understand good and truth and yet will what is evil and false. From the beginning man was so created that his will and understanding should make a one, so that he should not think one thing and will another, nor will one thing and think another. Such is the state with the celestial, and such it was in the celestial church, which was called Man or Adam." But with the spiritual, or in the spiritual church, one faculty has been separated from the other, that is, the understanding from the will; and the man is reformed by the Lord as to the intellectual part, and in this there is formed a new will and a new understanding (AC 863, 875, 895, 897, 927, 928, 1023, 1044, 2256). The new will which is from the Lord, in this part, is what is called heart, and the new understanding is what is called soul; and when it is said, from all the heart and from all the soul, by this is meant from all the will and from all the understanding.

[2] This is what is meant by heart and soul in Moses:--

Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength (Deut. 6:5).

And again:--

Now, O Israel, what doth Jehovah thy God require of thee, but to fear Jehovah thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul (Deut. 10:12; 11:13).


This day Jehovah thy God commandeth thee to do these statutes and judgments; and thou shalt keep and do them with all thy heart and with all thy soul (Deut. 26:16).

in the book of Kings:--

David said to Solomon, Jehovah will establish His word which He spake concerning me, saying, If thy sons take heed to their way to walk before Me in truth, with all their heart and with all their soul; there shall not be cut off from thee a man from upon the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:4).

In Matthew:--

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29, 30).

[3] The same is also predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, because thence comes the affection of good which is of the will, and the affection of truth which is of the understanding, with the man of the church. As in Samuel:--

I will raise Me up a faithful priest, according to that which is in My heart and in My soul (1 Sam. 2:35).

And in Jeremiah:--

I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land in truth, with all My heart and with all My soul (Jeremiah 32:41).

And in other passages throughout the Word, soul signifies the affection of truth, as in Isaiah:--

With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit in the midst of me have I sought Thee early; for according to Thy judgments to the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9);

here soul denotes the affection of truth spirit, the affection of good. That judgments are predicated of truths, and righteousness of good, (AC 2235).

[4] In the same:--

The fool speaketh folly, to make empty the hungry soul and to cause the thirsty for drink to fail (Isaiah 32:6);

the hungry soul denotes the desire for good, which the fool maketh empty; the soul thirsty for drink' denotes the desire for truth, which the fool causeth to fail. In Jeremiah:--

Their soul shall be as a watered garden, and I will water the wearied soul, and every sorrowful soul will I fill (Jeremiah 31:12, 25);

here soul denotes the affection of good and of truth. Again:--

All her people sigh, they seek bread, they have given their pleasant things for food to restore the soul. The comforter that restoreth my soul is far from me; my sons are desolate. They sought food for themselves, to restore their soul (Lam. 1:11, 16, 19);

soul denotes the life of the affection of good and truth; food, wisdom and intelligence.

[5] It is said that soul signifies the affection of truth from the heart, because there are affections of truth which are not from the heart; as those which are from the love of self or of being eminent, from the love of the world or of making gain, also from the love of meriting; from these in like manner there come forth affections of truth, but they are not genuine; being from the will of the flesh, and not from the heart: that which is from the heart is from the Lord. Moreover soul in the Word signifies in the universal sense all life (AC 1000, 1005, 1040, 1742), for in the universal sense the soul is that from which another thing is, and lives; thus the soul of the body is its spirit, for from this the body lives but the soul of the spirit is its still more internal life, from which it has wisdom and understanding.

from AC 2930

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