Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1159

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1159. 'Every one according to his tongue, according to their families, as to their nations' means that they were ranged according to the character of each one, 'according to his tongue' meaning according to each one's individual belief, 'according to their families' meaning according to uprightness, 'as to their nations' meaning as to both belief and uprightness in general. This becomes clear from the meaning of 'tongue', and 'families', and 'nations' in the Word, which will in the Lord's Divine mercy be discussed later on. The reason why in the internal sense 'tongue' means individual belief, and so basic assumptions and persuasions, is that the tongue corresponds to the understanding part of man's mind, that is, to his thought, in the way that an effect corresponds to its cause. Such is the case not only with the influx of a person's thoughts into the movements of the tongue in speaking, but also with the influx of heaven, about which something from personal experience will in the Lord's Divine mercy be stated elsewhere.

[2] That 'families' in the internal sense means uprightness, as well as charity and love, arises from the fact that all things belonging to mutual love are in the heavens like blood relatives and relatives by marriage, and so are like families, see 685. This is why in the Word things belonging to love or charity are described as 'houses' and also as 'families', points which there is no need to pause over and confirm here. That 'a house' has this meaning, see 710.

[3] That 'nations' means both belief and uprightness in general is clear from the meaning of 'a nation' or 'nations' in the Word. In the good sense nations mean things of the new will and understanding, and so mean the goods of love and the truths of faith. But in the contrary sense evils and falsities are meant. The same applies to houses, families, and tongues, as may be confirmed from very many places in the Word. The reason is that the Most Ancient Church was distinguished into separate houses, families, and nations. A married couple with their children, together with menservants and maidservants, constituted one house. A number of houses in close proximity in turn constituted one family, while a number of families constituted a nation. Consequently nations meant all families taken together as a whole. The same applies in heaven, but all relationships there are determined by love to and faith in the Lord, 685.

[4] This then is how nations come to mean what they do in the internal sense, namely that which is general embracing things both of the will and of the understanding, or what amounts to the same, both the things of love and those of faith. Their meaning however depends on the families and houses of which they consist. For these points, see also what has been stated already in 470, 471, 483 From these considerations it is clear that 'nations' means both belief and uprightness in general, and that 'everyone according to his tongue, according to their families, and as to their nations' means the disposition of each person, family, and nation whose worship was derived from the Ancient Church.

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