585. And repented not of the works of their hands.- That this signifies those who have not actually turned themselves away from such things as are from the proprium, is evident from the signification of repenting as denoting to actually turn away from evil, of which in what follows; and from the signification of the works of their hands, as denoting those things that man thinks, wills, and does, from the proprium. That those things are signified by the works of the hands, will be clear from the passages in the Word that follow; also from this fact, that works are of the will, and thence of the understanding, or of the love and thence of the faith, as may be seen above (n. 98), and that hands signify power, and their hands [their] own proper power, thus also whatever proceeds from the proprium of man.
 In regard to the proprium of man, it must be observed, that it is nothing but evil, and the falsity therefrom. The voluntary proprium is evil, and the intellectual proprium thence is falsity; and this proprium man derives principally from parents, grandfathers, and ancestors, in a long series back, so that at length the hereditary [nature], which is his proprium, is nothing but evil successively accumulated and rendered compact. For every man is born into two diabolical loves, the love of self, and the love of the world, and from these loves all evils and falsities proceed, as from their own fountains; and because man is born into those loves, he is also born into evils of every kind. More may be seen concerning this in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 65-83).
 Because the proprium of man is of such a nature, therefore the Lord, from His Divine mercy, has provided the means by which he may be withdrawn from his proprium; these means are furnished in the Word, and when man acts in accordance with them, that is, when he thinks and speaks, wills and acts, from the Divine Word, then he is kept by the Lord in things Divine, and thus is withheld from his proprium. And as he perseveres in this course, as it were, a new proprium as well voluntary as intellectual, which is altogether separated from his own proprium, is formed in him by the Lord; thus man becomes as it were created anew. This is called his reformation and regeneration by truths from the Word, and by a life according to them. On this subject more may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, in the articles concerning Remission of sins (n. 159-172) and concerning Regeneration (n. 173-186). To repent is actually to turn oneself away from evils, because the quality of every man is according to his life, and the life of man principally consists in willing and thence in acting. It follows from this, that repentance, which is of the thought alone, and thence of the lips, and not at the same time of the will and thence of action, is not repentance, for in such case the life remains of the same quality afterwards as it was before. It is therefore evident, that to repent is actually to turn oneself away from evils, and to enter upon a new life, as may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 159- 172).
 That the works of the hands signify those things that a man thinks, wills, and does, from the proprium, is evident from the following passages in the Word:
"Provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands, that I may not do evil to you. Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands for evil to you. Many nations and great kings shall make them to serve: and I will recompense them according to their work, and according to the deed of their hands" (Jeremiah xxv. 6, 7, 14).
"Work" and "deed of the hands" mean, in the external sense, their molten images and idols, but in the spiritual sense, the work of their hands signifies all the evil and falsity that proceed from [their] own love and [their] own intelligence. Molten images and idols, which are called the works of their hands, signify similar things, as will be seen in what follows, when the signification of idols is explained. Because the proprium of man is nothing but evil, thus in opposition to the Divine, therefore it is said, "provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; that I may not do evil to you." To provoke God to anger signifies to be in opposition to Him, whence man has evil; and since all evils and falsities are from man's proprium, therefore it is said, "Many nations and great kings shall make them to serve," by which is signified, that evils from which are falsities, and falsities from which are evils, shall take possession of them, many nations denoting the evils from which falsities arise, and great kings falsities from which evils spring
 Again, in the same prophet:
"The sons of Israel provoke me to anger with the work of their own hands" (xxxii. 30).
"Ye provoke me to anger with the works of your own hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt" (xliv. 8).
The works of their hands, in the spiritual sense, here mean worship from falsities of doctrine, which are from [man's] own intelligence, such worship being signified by burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt, for to burn incense denotes worship, other gods denote falsities of doctrine, and the land of Egypt denotes the Natural, in which the proprium of man resides, and consequently whence [man's] own intelligence proceeds. This passage of the Word is thus understood in heaven.
 And again:
"I will utter my judgments with them touching their wickedness because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and bowed themselves to the works of their own hands" (i. 16).
By burning incense unto other gods, is here also signified worship from falsities of doctrine; and by bowing themselves to the works of their own hands, is signified worship from those things that are from [man's] own intelligence; and that they are from the proprium, and not from the Divine, is signified by that they have forsaken me.
 Thus also in Isaiah:
"In that day a man shall have respect unto his Maker, and his eyes shall look unto the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not have respect unto the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall regard that which his fingers have made" (xvii. 7, 8).
This is spoken of the coming of the Lord, and a new church at that time. His Maker, to whom it is said a man shall at that day have respect, means the Lord as to Divine Good, and the Holy One of Israel, to whom his eyes shall look, means the Lord as to Divine Truth. The altars, the work of his hands and which his fingers have made, unto which a man shall not have respect, nor shall regard them, signifies worship from evils, and thence from falsities of doctrine originating in [man's] own intelligence. These words therefore mean that everything of doctrine will be from the Lord, and not from man's proprium, which is the case when man is in the spiritual affection for truth, that is, when he loves truth because it is truth, and not chiefly for the sake of his own reputation and name.
 Again, in the same prophet:
Jehovah "gave the goods" of the kings of Assyria "to the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of man's hands, wood and stone" (xxxvii. 19).
The gods of the kings of Assyria signify reasonings from falsities and evils, which are in agreement with man's proprium, and are therefore also called the work of the hands of man. Wood and stone, or idols of wood and stone, signify the evils and falsities of religion and of doctrine originating in the proprium.
"In that day every man shall cast away the idols of his silver, and the idols of his gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin; and then shall the Assyrian fall" (xxxi. 7, 8).
This refers to the restoration of the church; and by the idols of silver, and the idols of gold, which they shall in that day cast away, are signified the falsities and evils of religion and of worship, which they call truths and goods. And since the falsities and evils of religion and of worship are from [man's] own intelligence, therefore it is said, which your hands have made unto you. That there shall then be no reasonings from such things, is signified by, then shall the Assyrian fall.
 Again, in Jeremiah:
"Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: purple (hyacinthinum) and crimson (purpura) is their clothing, all the work of wise men" (x. 9).
These describe the falsity and evil of religion and of worship which are confirmed from the sense of the letter of the Word. Silver spread into plates from Tarshish, signifies the truths of the Word in that sense, and gold from Uphaz, signifies the good of the Word in that sense. And because those falsities and evils are from [man's] own intelligence, therefore they are called the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder. Also the truth of good, and the good of truth, from the sense of the letter of the Word, by which they confirm, and as it were invest, the falsities of evil and the evils of falsity, which are from [man's] own intelligence, are signified by the purple and crimson of the raiment, all the work of wise men.
 Moreover, the work of the workman, the artificer, and the smith, in the Word, also signifies such [part] of doctrine, religion, and worship, as originates in [man's] own intelligence; hence it was, that the altar, and also the temple, were, by command, built of whole stones, and not hewn by any workman or artificer. Of the altar it is written as follows in Moses:
"If thou make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stones; for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou wilt profane it" (Exod. xx. 25).
And in Joshua:
"Joshua built an altar unto the God of Israel in Mount Ebal, an altar of whole stones, over which no man had moved iron" (viii. 30, 31).
Again, concerning the temple it is said in the First book of Kings:
"The temple at Jerusalem was built of stone, whole as it was brought away: for there was neither hammer, axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building" (vi. 7).
The altar, and afterwards the temple, were in an especial manner representative of the Lord as to Divine Good and Divine Truth, therefore the stones of which they were built, signified the truths of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, stones in the Word also denoting truths. That nothing of [man's] own intelligence should be added to the truths of doctrine and worship therefrom, and consequently be therein, was represented by the stones of which they were built being whole and not hewn, for the work of the workman, and of the artificer, signified such things. Also the tool, the hammer and the axe, and iron in general, signify truth in its ultimate, and this is especially falsified by man's proprium; for this truth is the same as the truth of the sense of the letter of the Word.
 These things are said concerning the signification of the works of the hands of man; but where works of the hands, in the Word, are ascribed to Jehovah, that is, to the Lord, they signify the reformed or regenerated man, also the church, and, specifically, the doctrine of truth and good pertaining to the church. These things are signified by works of the hands in the following passages.
Thus in David:
The works of the hands of Jehovah "are truth and judgment" (Psalm cxi. 7).
"Jehovah will perfect for me: thy mercy, O Jehovah, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands" (Psalm cxxxviii. 8).
And in Isaiah:
"Thy people are all just: they shall possess the land for ever, the shoots of my plants, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified" (lx. 21).
Again, in the same prophet:
"O Jehovah, thou art our father: we are the clay, but thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hands" (lxiv. 8).
"Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, They asked me signs upon my sons, and upon the work of my hands they command Me" (xlv. 9, 11).
That here Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, the Maker, means the Lord, is evident from what follows in verse 13, and the work of his hands means the man who is regenerated by Him, thus the man of the church.
 And again:
"Jehovah of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance" (xix. 25).
Egypt here signifies the Natural, Assyria the Rational, and Israel the Spiritual; and Assyria is called the work of the hands of Jehovah, because it is this that is reformed in man, for the Rational is that which receives truths and goods, and from this the Natural. The Spiritual, that is to say, the Lord by spiritual influx is that which regenerates. In a word, the Rational is the medium between the Spiritual and the Natural; and the Spiritual, which regenerates, flows in by means of the Rational into the Natural, and thus the latter is regenerated.
Again, in Moses:
"Bless, Jehovah, his strength, and accept the work of his hands " (Deut. xxxiii. 11).
This is said of Levi, who signifies the good of charity, and, in the highest sense, the Lord as to that good; reformation thereby is meant by the work of his hands.