Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead) n. 237

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237. And knowest not that thou are wretched, signifies that they do not know that their falsities have no coherence with truths. This is evident from the signification of "wretchedness," as meaning the breaking up of truth by means of falsities, and also no coherence; this shows what is meant by "the wretched." They are so because their doctrine is founded on two false principles, which are faith alone and justification by faith; consequently falsities flow in from these in constant succession, and the truths which they adduce from the sense of the letter of the Word to confirm these are weakened and falsified, and truths when falsified are in themselves falsities. This is described in many passages in the Word, and is meant by the "vanities" that the prophets see, and the "lies" that they speak. It is described also by the "breaches" in the walls and houses so that they fall; likewise by "idols" and "graven images" that the artificer makes and connects by chains that they may cohere; for "idols" and "graven images" signify the falsities of doctrine; the like is signified by "breaches of the walls" and "of the houses," and by "the prophets who see vanities and speak lies;" for "prophets" mean doctrines, "vanities" such things as are of no account, and "lies" falsities. But as these things are mentioned in many passages in the Word they cannot be cited here on account of their abundance; they will therefore be omitted, and a few only quoted here in which "wretchedness" and "wall" are mentioned, that it may be known that these signify the weakening of truth by falsities, and thus no coherence. [2] In Isaiah:

Thy wisdom and thy knowledge it hath misled thee, when thou hast said in thine heart, I, and none like me besides. Therefore shall wretchedness fall upon thee, and devastation shall come upon thee (Isa. 47:10-11). Here also those are described who believe that they know all things and that they are more intelligent than all others, when yet they know and understand nothing of truth; and that therefore the understanding of truth is taken away from them. Their belief that they are more intelligent than all others is meant by "Thy wisdom and thy knowledge it hath misled thee, when thou hast said in thine heart, I, and none like me besides;" and the loss of all understanding of truth is meant by "wretchedness shall fall upon thee, devastation shall come upon thee." [3] In Ezekiel:

Wretchedness shall come upon wretchedness; therefore they shall seek a vision from the prophets; but the law hath perished from the priest, and counsel from the elders. The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with astonishment (Ezek. 7:26-27). Here the vastation of the church is treated of, which takes place when there is no truth that is not falsified. Falsity from falsity is meant by "wretchedness upon wretchedness;" "a vision from the prophet" is doctrine, here the doctrine of falsity; "the law hath perished from the priest" means that the Word is not understood, for "law" signifies the Word, and the "priest" one who teaches; "counsel hath perished from the elders" means that right has perished from the intelligent, "counsel" signifying right, and "elders" the intelligent; "the king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with astonishment," means that there is no longer any truth, "king" signifying truth, and "prince" truths that are primarily of service. [4] In David:

Right is not in their mouth, wretchedness is in their inward part (Ps. 5:9);

where "wretchedness" likewise stands for falsities not cohering with any truth. So too in Jeremiah:

Lament, and wander among the walls; for their king is gone into exile, and his priests and his princes together (Jer. 49:3). "Wandering among the walls" is among truths destroyed by falsities; "the king gone into exile" signifies truth; and "his priests and princes together" signify the goods and truths of life and doctrine (see above). [5] In Ezekiel:

When they build a wall [maceriem], behold they daub it with untempered mortar. Say to them which daub it with untempered mortar, that the wall [paries] shall fall. Is it not said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? (Ezek. 13:10-12). "The wall which they daub with untempered mortar" signifies falsity assumed as a principle, and by application of the Word from the sense of the letter made to appear as truth; "daubing" is application and seeming confirmation thereby; "untempered mortar" is what has been falsified; and because the truth of the Word is thus destroyed, and the truths used to confirm become truths falsified, which in themselves are falsities, and these with the false principle perish together, it is said, "Behold, the wall shall fall. Is it not said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?" [6] In Hosea:

Behold, I obstruct thy way with thorns, and I will encompass wall with wall, that she shall not find thy* paths (Hosea 2:6). "To obstruct the way with thorns" is to obstruct all thoughts by falsities of evil, that truths be not seen; falsities of evil are "thorns;" "to encompass wall with wall" is to heap falsities upon falsities; "that she shall not find thy paths" means that nothing of truth can be seen; this comes to pass because truths and falsities of evil cannot be together, as heaven cannot be with hell; for truths are from heaven, and falsities of evil are from hell; therefore when falsities from evil reign communication with heaven is taken away, and when that is taken away truths cannot be seen, and if presented by others they are rejected. For this reason, those who are in false principles, as those who are in the principles of faith alone and justification by faith, cannot be in any truths (as may be seen above, n. 235, 236). [7] But let examples illustrate this. Those who have adopted faith alone and justification by faith as a principle of religion, when they read the Word and see that the Lord says that man shall be recompensed according to his deeds and works, and that he who has done good, shall come into heaven, and he who has done evils into hell, call the good things that they do fruits of faith, not knowing or not wanting to know, that the good things called fruits are all from charity, and none of them from faith separate, which is called faith alone; every good also is of charity, and truth is of the faith therefrom. From this it is clear that they pervert the Word; and they do this because they cannot otherwise apply truth to their principle, believing still that the two may thus cohere; but the result is that truth perishes and becomes falsity, and not only falsity but also evil. [8] From this falsities evidently follow in constant succession, for they teach that the good works that man does are meritorious, not being wing to see that as faith with its truths are from the Lord, and thus not meritorious, so are charity with its goods. They teach also that as soon as a man receives faith he is reconciled to God the Father through the Son, and that the evils thenceforth done, as well as those done before, are not imputed; for they say that all are saved however they have lived, if only they receive faith, even though it be in the hours before death. But these, and many other things which are deductions from the falsity of the principle, do not cohere with the truths from the Word, but destroy them, and truths destroyed are falsities, even such falsities as emit a bad odor. From these a grievous smell is perceived in the other life, which is such that it cannot be endured by any good spirit; it is like the stench of purulent matter from the lungs. Many other examples might be adduced; there is an abundance of them; for whatever is deduced from a false principle becomes thereby a falsity, since in the deduction the principle only is regarded to which it clings because from this it flows and to this it is applied. [9] What the religion of faith alone and of justification by faith is can be inferred from the simple fact that all who have confirmed these tenets in themselves by doctrine and life, send out from themselves in the other life a sphere of abominable adultery like that of a mother or stepmother with a son; this abominable adultery corresponds to such, and is also perceived from them wherever they go; from that sphere I have a thousand times recognized their presence. Such a sphere flows out from them because they adulterate the goods of charity and of the Word, and adulteries correspond to adulterations of good, while whoredoms correspond to the falsifications of truth (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 2466, 2729, 3399, 4865, 6348, 8904, 10648). [10] There is a like meaning in:

Reuben's lying with Bilhah, of whom his father begat Dan and Naphtali (Gen. 35:22);

And therefore he was also accursed (Gen. 49:4);

And because he defiled his father's couch the primogeniture was taken away from him and given to Joseph (1 Chron. 5:1). For by "Reuben" in the Word faith is meant, and here faith alone (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 3325, 3861, 3866, 3870, 4601, 4605, 4731, 4734, 4761, 6342, 6350); and by "Joseph," the good of faith (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 3969, 3971, 4669, 6417). [11] That such things are to take place at the end of the church is predicted in Daniel, where the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream is described in these words:

Whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of man; but they shall not cleave one to the other, even as iron doth not mingle with clay (Dan. 2:43). By "iron" truth without good is meant; by "miry clay" the falsity that is from self-intelligence; by "the seed of man" the Word of the Lord (Matt. 13:24, 37). That these do not cohere is meant by "they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron doth not mingle with clay." * For "thy" the Hebrew has "her," as found in Arcana Coelestia, n. 9144.

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