De Verbo (Whitehead) n. 1

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1. I. THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORD, IN WHICH IS THE SPIRITUAL SENSE, REPRESENTED. It was given to see great purses, appearing like sacks, in which was hidden silver in great abundance; and, since these sacks were open, it seemed as if anyone might take from the silver placed therein, yea, steal from it; but near the sacks sat two angels who were guards. The place where the sacks were deposited appeared like a manger in a stable. In the next chamber were seen modest virgins together with a chaste wife, and near that chamber were two infants, and it was said that they were not to be played with in a childish manner, but wisely. Afterwards there appeared a harlot, and then a horse lying dead. It was then perceived that thus was represented the sense of the letter of the Word, in which is the spiritual sense.* Those great purses filled with silver signified the knowledges of truth in great abundance therein. That they were open and yet guarded by angels, signified that everyone may take thence the knowledges of truth, but that care must be taken lest its interior sense in which is nothing but verities be falsified. The manger in the stable where the sacks lay, signified spiritual instruction for the understanding. A manger signifies this, even the one wherein the Lord was laid when born; for a horse signifies the understanding: hence a manger signifies its nourishment. The modest virgins who were seen in the next chamber signified the truths of the church, and the chaste wife signified the conjunction of truth and good which is everywhere in the Word. The infants signified the innocence of wisdom in the Word; they were angels from the third heaven who all appear like infants. The harlot, with the dead horse, signified the falsification of the Word by many at this day, whereby all understanding of truth is destroyed; a harlot signifies falsification, and a dead horse, no understanding of truth. * [MARGINAL NOTE.] The sense of the letter is the foundation of the wall of Jerusalem and the twelve precious stones there; these are the Urim and Thummin upon the ephod of Aaron.

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