Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1551

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1551. That 'silver' means truths is clear from the meaning of 'silver' as truth. The most ancient people compared the goods and truths present in man to metals. Innermost or celestial goods which flow from love to the Lord they compared to gold, truths deriving from these to silver. Goods of a lower or natural kind however they compared to bronze, and truths of a lower kind to iron. Nor did they just compare them; they also called them such. This was the origin of periods of time being likened to those same metals and being called the golden, silver, bronze, and iron ages, for these followed in that order one after another. The golden age was the time of the Most Ancient Church, which was celestial man. The silver age was the time of the Ancient Church, which was spiritual man. The bronze age was the time of the Church that followed, and the iron age came after that. Similar things were also meant by the statue which Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream, whose head was of fine gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and shins of iron, Dan 2:32, 33. That periods of the Church were to follow one another in that order, and actually did so, is clear in that very chapter of the same prophet.

[2] That 'silver' in the internal sense of the Word wherever it is mentioned means truth, or in the contrary sense falsity, is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,

Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. And I will make peace your assessment, and righteousness your tax-collectors. Isa 60:17.

Here it is evident what each metal means The subject is the Lord's Coming, His kingdom, and the celestial Church. 'Instead of bronze, gold' is celestial good in place of natural good; 'instead of iron, silver' is spiritual truth in place of natural truth; 'instead of wood, bronze' is natural good in place of bodily good; 'instead of stone, iron' is natural truth in place of truth acquired through the senses. In the same prophet,

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and he who has no money,a come, buy and eat! Isa 55:1.

'He who has no money'a is the person who does not know the truth but who nevertheless possesses the good that stems from charity, as is the case with many people inside the Church, and with gentiles outside it.

[3] In the same prophet,

The islands will wait for Me, the ships of Tarshish at their head, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of Jehovah your God, and to the Holy One of Israel Isa 60:9.

This refers specifically to a new Church, or a Church among gentiles, and in general to the Lord's kingdom. 'Ships from Tarshish' stands for cognitions, 'silver' for truths, and 'gold' for goods, which are those things they 'will bring to the name of Jehovah'. In Ezekiel,

For your adornment you took vessels made of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and you made for yourselves figures of the male. Ezek 16:17.

Here 'gold' stands for cognitions of celestial things, 'silver' of spiritual things. In the same prophet,

You were adorned with gold and silver, and your raiment was fine linen and silk, and embroidered cloth. Ezek 16:13.

This refers to Jerusalem, by which the Lord's Church is meant, whose adornment is being described in this manner. In the same prophet,

Behold, you who are wise, there is no secret they have hidden from you; by your wisdom and by your intelligence you have acquired riches for yourself, and you have acquired gold and silver in your treasuries. Ezek 28:3, 4.

Here, in what is said in reference to Tyre, 'gold' is plainly identified with the riches of wisdom, and 'silver' with the riches of intelligence.

[4] In Joel,

You have taken My silver and My gold, and My good and desirable treasures you have carried into your temples Joel 3:5.

This refers to Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia, which mean cognitions, and these are 'the silver and the gold they took into their temples'. In Haggai,

The elect of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory. Mine is the silver, and Mine is the gold. The glory of this latter house will be greater than that of the former Hagg 2:7-9.

This refers to the Lord's Church to which 'gold and silver' have reference. In Malachi,

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi. Mal 3:3.

This refers to the Coming of the Lord. In David,

The words of Jehovah are pure words, silver refined in an earthen crucible, poured seven times. Ps 12:6.

'Silver purified seven times' stands for Divine truth. At the time of their exodus out of Egypt the children of Israel were commanded that every woman should ask of her neighbour, and of her who sojourned in her house, vessels of silver and vessels of gold and garments, and that they should put them on their sons and on their daughters, and so despoil the Egyptians, Exod 3:22; 11:2, 3; 12:35, 36. Anyone may see from the children of Israel would never have been ordered to steal and despoil the Egyptians of those possessions in that way if these did not represent some arcana. But what those arcana are may become clear from the meaning of 'silver and gold, garments, and Egypt', and from the fact that what these possessions represented is similar to the words here 'rich in the silver and gold from Egypt', used in reference to Abram.

[5] Just as 'silver' means truth so in a contrary sense it means falsity, for people under the influence of falsity imagine falsity to be the truth, as is also clear in the Prophets. In Moses,

You shall not covet the silver and the gold of the nations, nor take it for yourself, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to Jehovah your God. You shall utterly detest it. Deut 7:25, 26.

'The gold of the nations' stands for evils, and 'their silver' for falsities. In the same author,

You shall not make gods of silver to be with Me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. Exod 20:23.

In the internal sense these words mean nothing other than falsities and evil desires, falsities being meant by 'gods of silver', and evil desires by 'gods of gold'. In Isaiah,

On that day everyone will spurn his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your hands have made for you - a sin. Isa 31:7.

'Idols of silver and idols of gold' stands for similar things that are false and evil 'Which your hands have made' stands for what is a product of the proprium. In Jeremiah,

They are foolish and stupid; that wood is a way of learning vanities! Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the smith and of the hands of the moulder. Their clothing is violet and purple These are all the work of the wise. Jer 10:8, 9.

Here 'silver' and 'gold' quite clearly stand for similar things that are false and evil.


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