Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5044

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5044. 'And the governor of the prison-house gave' means the truth governing in a state of temptations. This is clear from the meaning of 'the governor (or the prince)' as the primary and so governing truth, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'the prison-house' as the laying waste of falsity, and therefore temptation, dealt with above in 5038, 5039, 5043. What the truth governing in a state of temptations is must first be discussed. With all who are undergoing temptations truth from the Lord is flowing in, and this truth rules and governs their thoughts, uplifting them every time they are given to doubt and also to feelings of despair. This truth is what that governing truth is, and it is the kind of truth which they have learned from the Word and from doctrine and which they themselves have confirmed. Other kinds of truth may also be called on at such times, but these do not govern those persons interiorly. Sometimes the truth governing them does not make itself clearly visible in their understanding but lies obscured, yet continues to govern. For the Lord's Divine flows into that governing truth and in so doing keeps the interior parts of the mind within its domain, so that when it comes out into the light the person undergoing temptation receives comfort from it and is uplifted by it.

[2] Not the actual truth but an affection for it is what the Lord uses to govern those undergoing temptations; for the Divine does not flow into anything except that which is regarded with affection. Truth that has been implanted and become rooted in a person interiorly has been implanted and become rooted there through affection. Absolutely nothing grows there without affection. Truth that has been implanted and become rooted through affection sticks in the mind, and it is recollected through an affection for it. Furthermore when that truth is recollected it also manifests the affection attached to it, an affection which in that person is a reciprocal one. This being what goes on in a person who undergoes temptations, no one is therefore allowed to experience any spiritual temptation until he reaches adult years and so has acquired some truth by means of which he may be governed. Without that truth he goes under, in which case his latter state is worse than his former one. From all this one may see what is implied by the truth governing in a state of temptations, meant by 'the governor of the prison-house'.

[3] The reason 'a prince (or a governor)' means a primary truth is that 'a king' in the internal sense means the truth itself, 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4789, 4966, and consequently because 'princes' are the king's chief subjects the primary features of that truth are meant by them. For this meaning of 'princes', see 1482, 2089; yet because those two paragraphs have not shown that meaning from other places in the Word, let some be introduced here: In Isaiah,

To us a boy is born, to us a son is given, on whose shoulder will be the governmenta - the prince of peace, increasing governmentb and peace [to which] there will be no end. Isa 9:6, 7.

This refers to the Lord. 'The government upon his shoulder' means all Divine Truth in the heavens originating in Him, for the heavens are distinguished into separate principalities in keeping with the varieties of truth derived from good, which also explains why angels are called principalities. 'Peace' means the state of bliss in the heavens which inmostly affects what is good and true, 3780. This is why the Lord is called 'the prince of peace' and why it speaks of Him 'increasing government and peace to which there will be no end'.

[4] In the same prophet,

The princes of Zoan are foolish, the wise counsellors of Pharaoh. How do you say to Pharaoh, I am a son of the wise, a son of the kings of old? The princes of Zoan have become fools, the princes of Noph deluded, and they have led Egypt astray, the corner-stone of the tribes. Isa 19:11, 13.

This refers to Egypt, by which the Church's factual knowledge is meant, 4749, and so natural truth, which is the last and lowest degree of order. For the same reason Egypt is here called 'the corner-stone of the tribes', for by 'the tribes' are meant all aspects of truth in their entirety, 3858, 3862, 3926, 3939, 4060. Here however 'Egypt' is factual knowledge that perverts the truths known to the Church, and so is truths in the lowest degree of order that have been falsified, meant by 'the princes of Zoan and the princes of Noph'. The reason Egypt calls itself 'a son of the kings of old' is that the factual knowledge which existed in that land had its origin in the truths known to the Ancient Church. Actual truths are meant by 'kings', as shown above, and the truths known to the Ancient Church by 'the kings of old'.

[5] In the same prophet,

Asshur does not think what is right and his heart does not consider what is right, for his heart is to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few, for he says, Are not my princes kings? Isa 10:7, 8.

'Asshur' stands for reasoning about Divine truths which gives rise to falsities, and so stands for perverted reason, 1186. Truths falsified in this way, that is, falsities, which are the product of reasoning and look altogether like truths, are meant when Asshur says 'Are not my princes kings?' As long as a person's mind is fixed on the historical sense of the letter he cannot see or consequently believe that 'Asshur' means reasoning, and that 'princes who are kings' means major falsities which are regarded as supreme truths. Still less can he believe this if he refuses to entertain the idea that there is something holier and more universal within the Divine Word than that which is seen in the literal sense. Yet in the internal sense 'Asshur' is used to mean in the Word nothing else than reason and reasoning, and 'kings' to mean actual truths, 'princes' the primary features of truth. Also, those in heaven have no knowledge as to what or who 'Asshur' may be, besides which angels put away from themselves the idea of a king or a prince; and when they detect this idea residing with man they transfer it to the Lord and then perceive that which goes forth from the Lord and which is the Lord's in heaven, namely His Divine Truth going forth from His Divine Good.

[6] In the same prophet,

Asshur will fall by the sword, not of man (vir), and a sword, not of man (homo), will devour him. Also his rock will pass away by reason of terror, and his princes will be dismayed by the ensign. Isa 31:8, 9.

This too refers to Egypt, by which the Church's factual knowledge once it has been perverted is meant. Reasoning based on known facts regarding Divine truths which leads to perversion and falsification is meant by 'Asshur', those perverted and falsified truths being 'his princes'. 'The sword by which Asshur will fall' is falsity engaged in conflict with truth and bringing about the devastation of it, 2799, 4499.

In the same prophet,

The strength of Pharaoh will become shame for you, and trust in the shadow of Egypt ignominy, when his princes will be in Zoan. Isa 30:3, 4.

'Princes in Zoan' stands for truths that have been falsified, and so stands for falsities, as above.

[7] In the same prophet,

The spoon-bill and the duck will possess it, and the owl and the raven will dwell in it; and he will stretch over it the line of emptiness, and the plumb-line of a waste place. Let them call its nobles who are not there a kingdom, and all its princes will be nothing. Isa 34:11, 12.

'The spoon-bill', 'the duck', 'the owl', 'the raven' stand for varieties of falsity which arise when Divine truths in the Word are rendered valueless. The desolation and laying waste of truth is meant by 'the line of emptiness and the plumb-line of a waste', while the falsities, which are primary truths so far as the people described here are concerned, are meant by 'its princes'. In the same prophet,

I will render the princes of holiness profane, and I will give Jacob to utter destruction and Israel to reproaches. Isa 43:28.

'Rendering the princes of holiness profane' refers to holy truths. The annihilation of the truth known to the Church - the internal Church and the external - is meant by 'giving Jacob to utter destruction and Israel to reproaches', 'Jacob' being the external Church and 'Israel' the internal, see 4286.

[8] In Jeremiah,

There will enter through the gates of this city kings and princes seated on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes. Jer. 17:25.

Anyone who understands the Word at this point according to its historical sense cannot know that anything deeper and holier lies hidden within these words than the idea that kings and princes will enter through the gates of the city in chariots and on horses, from which he gathers that the duration of the kingdom is meant. But one who is aware of what is meant by 'city' in the internal sense, and what is meant by 'kings', 'princes', 'the throne of David', and 'riding in chariots and on horses' sees deeper and holier matters in this description. For 'the city', which is Jerusalem, means the Lord's spiritual kingdom, 2117, 3654; 'kings' Divine Truths, as shown above; 'princes' the primary features of truth; 'the throne of David' the Lord's heaven, 1888; and 'riding in chariots and on horses' the existence in the Church of a spiritual understanding, 2760, 2761, 3217.

[9] In the same prophet,

O sword against the Chaldeans and against the inhabitants of Babel, and against its princes and against its wise men! O sword against the liars! O sword against its horses and against its chariots! Jer 50:35-37.

'Sword' stands for truth engaged in conflict with falsity, and for falsity in conflict with truth and laying it waste, 2799, 4499. 'The Chaldeans' stands for those who profane truths, and 'the inhabitants of Babel' for those who profane good, 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, 1327 (end). 'Princes' stands for falsities, which to such people are primary truths. 'Horses' stands for the Church's possession of understanding, and 'chariots' for its doctrinal teaching, the laying waste of these being meant by 'a sword against its horses and against its chariots'.

[10] In the same prophet,

How in His anger the Lord covers the daughter of Zion with a cloud! The Lord has swallowed up - He has not spared - all the dwelling-places of Jacob. He has destroyed in His wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has cast them down to the ground; He has profaned the kingdom and her princes. The gates have sunk into the ground; He has broken in pieces her bars; her king and princes are among the nations. Lam 1:1, 2, 9.

'The daughter of Zion and Judah' stands for the celestial Church, in this case for that Church when it has been destroyed. 'The kingdom' stands for the truths of doctrine there, 2547, 4691, 'king' for truth itself, and 'princes' for the primary features of this truth.

[11] In the same prophet,

Our skins have been blackened like an oven because of the storms of famine; they have ravished women in Zion, virgins in the cities of Judah. Princes have been hung up by their hands. Lam 5:10-12.

'Princes hung up by their hands' stands for the fact that truths have been made profane, for being hung up represented the damnation brought about by profanation. And because being hung up represented that profanation the command was also given that when the people went whoring after Baalpeor and worshipped their gods, the princes were to be hung up before the sun, Num 25:1-4, since 'to go whoring after Baalpeor and to worship their gods' was to make worship profane.

In Ezekiel,

The king will mourn, and the prince will be wrapped in stupidity, and the hands of the people of the land will be all atremble; I will deal with them in their way. Ezek 7:27.

Here likewise 'the king' stands for truth in general, and 'the prince' for the primary features of it.

[12] In the same prophet,

The prince who is in the midst of them will be carried on the shoulder under darkness and will go forth; they will dig through the wall to lead out through it; he will cover his face, so that with the eye he does not see the earth. Ezek 12:12.

Here it is quite evident that 'the prince' does not mean a prince but truth known to the Church. When the words 'will be carried on the shoulder under darkness' are used in reference to it, the meaning is that total power is used to bear away among falsities, 'darkness' meaning falsities. 'Covering the face' means that truth is completely out of sight; 'so that with the eye he does not see the earth' means that nothing of the Church is visible, 'earth' or 'land' meaning the Church, see 661, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 4535. In Hosea,

The children of Israel will sit many days with no king and no prince, and no sacrifice, and no pillar, and no ephod, and no teraphim. Hosea 3:4.

[13] And in David,

All glorious is the king's daughter within, in her clothing with gold interweavings; in embroidered robes she will be led to the king. Instead of your fathers will be your sons; you will set them as princes in the whole earth. Ps 45:13, 14, 16.

'The king's daughter' means the Lord's spiritual kingdom. It is called His spiritual kingdom by virtue of the Lord's Divine truth, which in this instance is described by means of 'clothing consisting of gold interweavings and of embroidered robes'. 'Sons' are the truths of that kingdom which are derived from the Lord's Divine, which are going to be 'the princes', that is, the primary features of it.

'The prince' who is described - he and his possession in the New Jerusalem and in the new land - in Ezekiel 44:3; 45:7,8,17; 46;8,10,12,16,18; 48:21, means, in general, truth that is derived from the Lord's Divine. For 'the New Jerusalem' in these places, 'the New Temple', and 'the new land' are used to mean the Lord's kingdom in heaven and on earth, which kingdom is described here in Ezekiel by means of representatives such as figure elsewhere in the Word.


a lit. principality or princely rule
b lit. multiplying the principality or princely rule

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