Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead) n. 990

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990. And they gnawed their tongues for distress, signifies that from loathing they are unwilling to perceive and know genuine goods and truths. This is evident from the signification of "gnawing their tongues," as being to be unwilling to perceive and know genuine goods and truths (of which presently); also from the signification of "distress," as being loathing. "Gnawing their tongues" signifies to be unwilling to perceive and know genuine goods and truths, because the "tongue" signifies perception of truth, and "to gnaw the tongue" to repress it. For the tongue has various significations, because it is an organ both of speech and of taste; as an organ of speech it signifies confession, thought, and religion; and as an organ of taste it signifies the natural perception of good and truth; while the sense of smell corresponds to the spiritual perception of good and truth. For the tongue tastes and relishes foods and drinks; and foods and drinks signify the goods and truths which nourish the natural mind. To be unwilling to have that perception, or to be unwilling to perceive genuine goods and truths, is signified by "gnawing their tongues." This has been said of those who separate faith from the goods of life; for they bring together all things of the church or of religion into one article of faith; and contend that by this man is justified. And as man is justified and saved by this alone, it follows that they loathe the remaining things of faith, which are truths of the church, even so as to be unwilling to perceive or to know them; for they say in their heart, "Of what use are these when this one thing is what saves, namely, that God the Father sent the Son, who has redeemed me from hell by the passion of the cross? Therefore the works of the law neither condemn nor save me, because I am saved simply by thinking and believing this with confidence." This, then, is why they are unwilling from loathing to perceive or know genuine truths and goods. They are nauseated at them, because being in faith alone they have an inward antagonism to the goods and truths of heaven and the church, also because these goods and truths are subjects of interior thought, and therefore transcend their material ideas. This loathing and nausea are here signified by "distress."

(Continuation respecting the Sixth Commandment)

[2] It has been said abode that the difference between the love of marriage and the love of adultery is like that between heaven and hell. There is a like difference between the delights of these loves; for delights derive their all from the loves from which they spring. The delights of the love of adultery derive what they are from the delights of doing evil uses, thus of evil doing; and the delights of the love of marriage from the delights of doing good uses, thus of well-doing. Therefore such as the delight of the evil is in doing evil such is the delight of their love of adultery; because the love of adultery descends therefrom. That it descends from that scarcely anyone can believe; and yet such is its origin. From this it is evident that the delight of adultery ascends from the lowest hell. But the delight of the love of marriage, since it is from the love of the conjunction of good and truth and from the love of doing good, is a heavenly delight; and it comes down from the inmost or third heaven, where love to the Lord from the Lord reigns. [3] From this it can be seen that the difference between these two delights is like that between heaven and hell. And yet, what is wonderful, it is believed that the delight of marriage and the delight of adultery are similar; nevertheless the difference between them is such as has now been described. But the difference can be discerned and felt only by one who is in the delight of conjugial love. One who is in that delight very clearly feels that in the delight of marriage there is nothing impure or unchaste, thus nothing lascivious; and that in the delight of adultery there is nothing but what is impure, unchaste, and lascivious. He feels that unchastity comes up from beneath, and that chastity comes down from above. But one who is in the delight of adultery is incapable of feeling this, because he feels what is infernal as his heavenly. From all this it follows that the love of marriage, even in its ultimate act, is purity itself and chastity itself; and that the love of adultery in its acts is impurity itself and unchastity itself. Since the delights of these two loves are alike in outward appearance, although inwardly they are wholly unlike, because opposites, the Lord provides that the delights of adultery shall not ascend into heaven and that the delights of marriage shall not descend into hell; and yet that there shall be some correspondence of heaven with prolification in adulteries, though none with the delight itself in them.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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