Apocalypse Explained (Tansley) n. 1175

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1175. And they cast dust upon their heads, and cried out, weeping and mourning.- That this signifies grief, and confession that by a life according to that religion and its doctrine they were damned, is evident from the signification of casting dust upon their heads, which denotes mourning on account of damnation. - That this is on account of life according to that religion and its doctrine, follows as a consequence; - and from the signification of crying out, weeping and mourning, which denotes a state of grief on account of those things, to cry out having reference to doctrine, while to weep and mourn signify grief of soul and heart, as above (n. 1164). The reason why casting dust upon the head denotes mourning on account of damnation, is, because by dust is signified what is damned, and bead the man himself. Dust signifies what is damned, because the hells are beneath and the heavens above; and from the hells an exhalation of falsity from evil arises perpetually, consequently the dust over them signifies what is damned, concerning which see also above (n. 742). On account of this signification of dust it was usual in the representative church to cast dust upon the head, when any one had committed evil, and repented, for by that means they testified their repentance.

[2] That this was the case is evident from the following passages.

In Ezekiel:

"They shall cry out bitterly and shall cast dust upon their heads, they shall roll themselves in ashes" (xxvii 30);

by casting dust upon their heads is signified mourning on account of damnation; and by rolling themselves in ashes is signified mourning yet deeper; for ashes signify what is damned, because the fire that produces them signifies infernal love.

In Lamentations:

"They sit upon the earth, the elders of the daughter of Zion keep silence, they have cast up dust upon their heads, the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground" (ii. 10).

These things represented a state of grief and mourning, because of evils and falsities - of which they repented - and thus confession that they were accursed. The daughter of Zion signifies the church, and the virgins of Jerusalem signify the truths of doctrine. To sit upon the earth and keep silence signifies grief of mind; to cast up dust upon the head signifies confession that they were accursed, and to hang down the head to the earth, signifies confession that they were in hell.

In Job:

The friends of Job "rent their garments, and scattered dust upon their heads towards heaven" (ii. 12).

To scatter dust upon the head towards heaven signifies mourning, because Job appeared to be accursed. Mourning on account of the curse of evil is signified by dust upon the head, while by rending the garments is signified mourning on account of the curse of falsity. The signification of rolling themselves in the dust, in Micah i. 10, is similar.

That penitence was similarly represented, is clear also from Job:

"I repent upon dust and upon ashes" (xlii. 6).

Since dust signifies damnation, it was therefore said to the serpent,

"Upon thy belly shalt thou walk, and dust thou shalt eat, all the days of thy life" (Gen. iii. 14).

The serpent signifies infernal evil with those who pervert the truths of the Word, and by that means artfully and craftily deceive. Similarly in Isaiah:

"Dust shall be the serpent's bread" (lxv. 25).

It is evident from these things that dust signifies what is accursed; and that to cast dust upon the head means to testify to damnation.

[3] Continuation.- These things having been stated, an explanation shall be given of the nature of affection, and afterwards why man is led of the Lord by means of affections and not by means of thoughts, and lastly it shall be shown that a man cannot be saved in any other way.

(1). What is the nature of affection. The meaning of affection is similar to that of love, but love is, as it were, the fountain, and affections are, as it were, the streams which flow from it; they are thus also continuations of it. Love is like a fountain in man's will; his affections, which are its streams, flow by continuity into his understanding, and there by means of light from truths they produce thoughts, precisely as the influences of heat in a garden cause germinations by means of the rays of light. Love also, in its origin, is the heat of heaven, truths in their origin are the rays of the light of heaven, and thoughts are germinations from their union. From such a union spring all the societies of heaven, which are innumerable, and which in their essence are affections; for they are from the heat which is love, and from the wisdom which is light proceeding from the Lord as a sun. For this reason, those societies, in proportion as the heat in them is united to the light, and the light is united to the heat, are affections for good and truth. This is the origin of the thoughts of all who are in those societies. From this it is evident, that the societies of heaven are not thoughts, but affections; that, consequently, to be led by these societies is to be led by affections, or to be led by affections is to be led by societies, and therefore in what now follows, instead of societies the term affections shall he applied.

[4] (2). It shall now be shown why man is led of the Lord by means of his affections, and not by means of his thoughts. While man is led of the Lord by means of his affections, he is capable of being led according to all the laws of the Lord's Divine Providence; but not if he is led by means of his thoughts. Affections do not manifest themselves before a man, but thoughts do; affections again produce thoughts, but thoughts do not produce affections; it appears as if thoughts had this power, but it is a fallacy. And since affections produce thoughts, they also produce everything belonging to man, because they constitute his life. This is also well known in the world. For if you retain a man in his own affection, you have him in bonds, and can lead him where you please, and, in this case, one reason goes as far as a thousand; but if you do not retain him in his own affection, reasons are of no avail; for his affection, not being in harmony with these, perverts, rejects, or destroys them. The case would be similar if the Lord were to lead man by means of his thoughts immediately, and not by means of his affections. Also, when a man is led of the Lord by means of his affections, it appears to him as if he thought freely from himself, and as if he also spoke and acted in the same way. Hence, it is, that the Lord does not teach man without the use of means, but by the employment of them, such as the Word, doctrines, and preaching from the Word, and conversation, and intercourse with others; for from these things man thinks freely as if from himself.

[5] (3). That man can be saved in no other way, follows both from what has been said concerning the laws of the Divine Providence, and also from this fact, that thoughts do not give rise to affections in man. For if man knew the whole contents of the Word, and everything of doctrine, even to the arcana of wisdom which the angels possess, and moreover thought and spoke of them, while his affections were still concupiscences of evil, it would not nevertheless be possible for him to be led out of hell by the Lord. It is therefore evident, that if man were taught from heaven by influx into his thoughts, it would be like casting seed upon the highway, or into water, upon snow, or into fire.

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