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Gen. 1. 26. And he was put into a coffin (ark) in Egypt = concealment in the scientifics of the church. A. C. 6596.
We have here translated and presented to the reader the article on Egypt, wherever the term occurs throughout the book of Genesis. If the entire article were printed, it would occupy about thirty additional pages of this periodical, as every book of the Word is similarly quoted and explained. Some idea may now be formed of the value and extent of this Index, and how useful it will be, not only to the student of the Word, but to every reader who desires to have some spiritual discernment of what he reads. We cannot see that the manuscript, as Swedenborg left it, could be of much service, as it comprises none of the spiritual intelligence to be found in bis printed works, nor does it appear that he added anything to it during the last twenty-three years of his life. It forms, however, the outline of a work which Swedenborg contemplated, and which, if time had been granted, he might have executed. As it is, the outline is taken up by one who is adequate to the task of completing it in the manner in which the author would seem to have contemplated. The question is not, whether the work consists, as stated in our former notice, of about ten volumes 8vo., of at least 500 pages each, should be printed; but whether a man can be found with suffcient industry, energy, and patience to accomplish it. Dr. Tafel is the man who, through the Lord's belp, bas undertaken it, and we trust that he will be enabled to finish it. The only cause for hesitation whether the work shall be proceeded with in the thorough manner in which it has been begun, is the fear lest funds may not be forthcoming to complete the undertaking. There are other expenses besides printing and paper. The manuscript has to be copied, and very much has to be transcribed from the author's printed works, before the press can be supplied, all which must be done by a person employed for the purpose. This is certainly attended with much expense; but as one generous friend has come forward with a donation of £500. for the publication of these manuscripts, we believe that when more is required, it will, in due time, be supplied. Our brethren in America would, we are certain, willingly coöperate in this useful undertaking. An annual grant from their publication fund would greatly aid the work in its progress. It only requires to be brought under their notice to insure their cordial coöperation in a work which, when accomplished, will be of the greatest use to the church in all future generations.
ASSYRIA AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE IN THE WORD OF GOD, AS ILLUSTRATED BY THE NINEVEH SCULPTURES.
A course of Lectures recently delivered by the Rev. T. Chalklen.
THE former part of our last lecture was devoted to the consideration of such of the animals of Assyria as are named in the Holy Word and are found represented upon the sculptures, with a view of shewing their spiritual significations in a good sense, reserving their significations in the opposite sense for this lecture. We have already observed, in speaking of Assyria in general as representative of a perverted rationality, that the same thing which represents a genuine good or true principle, serves likewise to represent the opposite of such a principle; and this because no evil or falsity can be an original creation, or an emanation from the only source of all life and being, but has become what it is by the perversion of something good or true, to which it now stands opposed. The phrenological organs would afford a further illustration of this. By the exercise of the same organ a man may become either firm in righteousness or obstinate in iniquity. The faculty which would dispose a man to profound adoration of the Lord, by being perverted, might make him a stupid devotee of the absurdest superstition. Thus the power of loving, which, in an orderly condition, would concentrate its supreme regard upon the Lord, in a perverted state turns itself back into a man's self as its chief and central object. The representatives, therefore, in the Word denote either good or evil, truth or falsity, according as the subject treated of belongs to a state of order or a state of perversion.
In our investigation of the spiritual meaning of the animals of Assyria, we will again begin with the horse. The horse belonging to the highest class of animals, and therefore signifying, in a good sense, a superior principle or faculty of the mind, must, when meant in an opposite sense, denote something appertaining to a sadly perverted condition of things. In Ezekiel, 23rd chapter, the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, under the figure of two sisters, are thus charged—“ Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doated on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours, clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. Her sister Aholibah doated upon the Assyrians her neighbours, captains and rulers, clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.” In this passage
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a corrupt state of the church is evidently treated of, both as respects its faith or doctrines and its love by the sisters. By the horses mentioned must, therefore, be signified something contrary to the good and true; specifically they signify the intellectual principle in a perverted condition; the intellectuality or power of understanding used to serve a false rationality for self-exaltation. By the impure love of the sisters is represented the violation of true religious principles, through the fascinating influence of the apparent glory and self-elevation which such a perverted rationality induces. In the same chapter it is threatened that in consequence of their lewdness," the Lord will bring against them their lovers, the Assyrians, all of them captains and rulers, desirable young men, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses, who should deal with them hatefully, and despatch them with the sword, and burn up their houses with fire;" representing the utter destruction of all that can constitute a church, either internally or externally, that will inevitably follow when the doctrines and life of religion have become such as to encourage false reasonings, rather than preserve the integrity of their faith and love towards the Lord; for the false reasonings which serve to draw away men's hearts and understandings from the purity of truth and righteousness will eventually lead to the destruction of every religious feeling, and the spread of a dreary infidelity, even as the kings of Assyria and Babylon ultimately destroyed the cities of Israel and Judah, and led away the people into an inglorious captivity. The same is the signification of horses in Habakkuk; speaking of the Chaldeans~" Their horses are swifter than leopards, and fiercer than the evening wolves. They shall come all for violence; they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them. They shall deride every stronghold; for they shall heap dust and take it.” Shewing the intellectual power with which a perverted rationality attacks the things of the church, or the principles of religion, when the genuine iruth and life of the church have been departed from, and the weakness, the utter imbecility of the doctrines most gloried in before so self-confident and unmerciful an enemy. In Ezek., chapter 26, the Lord threatens to bring against Tyrus, “the king of Babylon, with horses and horsemen, and much people, by reason of the abundance of whose horses the dust should cover them, and who, with the hoofs of his horses, should tread them down in their streets.” In a good sense Tyrus represents the church's interior knowledge of truth, hence the enumeration of its many riches and resources given in the next chapter, when describing what had been its condition. In the passage noticed a perverted and corrupt state of the church is shewn, when the faculty of acquiring
the interior riches of truth turned itself to self-glory and exultation. A laying waste of the spiritual understanding, and destruction of its intellectual riches that follows, by reason of the profane use of sacred things, and the abundant power and influence of a depraved understanding as to religious truth, is represented by “the king of Babylon with his abundance of horses and horsemen and much people covering them with dust, and treading them down in the streets." In Jeremiah, chapter 50, in a denouncement of Babylon, it says—"A sword is upon their horses and upon their chariots,” foretelling the efficacy of truth, signified by a sword, in destroying the perversions of a depraved intellectuality and its false doctrines. In Nahum, chapter 3rd, prophesying woe to Nineveh, it exclaims—"The noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and the jumping chariot,” by which is represented the abundance and predominancy of false doctrines and perverted understandings existing when the rational principle has become, by perversion, the conquering adversary and spoliator of the Lord's church. In Hosea, chapter 14, Israel is made to say—“ Ashur or Assyria shall not save us ; we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods,” signifying that the genuine church of the Lord when raised up shall not look for salvation from evil and falsity unto the false reasonings of a fallen church, nor trust to its perverted understanding of truth, nor rely upon any notions originating in a self-derived intelligence.
The understanding of truth fighting against evil and falsity would be represented by the horse engaged in battle or in combats with wild beasts; but the horse variously engaged in the service of man, or peacefully grazing in the field, would also denote the spiritual understanding subserving the purposes of goodness, or receiving spiritual nourishment from the provisions of Divine Truth. A perverted rationality, however, making use of the intellectual power, is generally occupied in combat against truth. As the Assyrian represented this principle in its perversion at that time, when the sculptures now dug from its ruins were decorating their furnished and occupied palaces, it is quite consistent with such a representative character that these sculptures should be almost destitute of any carvings of the horse, except as engaged in the battle or the chase, or in some triumphal processions. There is, however, at least one exception to this among the sculptures in the Museum,-a representation of some kitchen occupations, and a man grooming a horse, and a group of three horses loose, two of them drinking at a tank. It is a somewhat remarkable fact that the horse, 50 much valued and used by the Assyrians, should not have been honoured
with a place among the emblematical figures. Why are there not human-headed winged horses, or at any rate, horses with some mythical metamorphosis? It was not because their horses were not of the noblest kind, neither that they were not proud of their horses. When, for the ornamentation of their palaces, in their later times, they adopted or selected from the symbolic figures with which they had always been familiar, had the horse been as common among these as the lion or bull, it would, no doubt, have shared their mythic honours, and contributed with these to adorn their walls in similar metamorphoses and colossal dimensions; or had those strange forms been the inventions of those later times, it is not likely the horse would have been omitted. Swedenborg tells us, as we have already noticed, that in the early times of that ancient church of which Assyria was a descendant branch, men were acquainted with the science of correspondences, and by its means invented numerous symbols, consisting, among other things, of animals and combinations of animal forms, by which they represented spiritual things in an instructive manner; but that the knowledge of their meanings in process of time became lost, and the symbols afterwards were regarded as invested with mysterious sanctity, and then supplied men with objects of idolatrous adoration. Before the truths of the church had become perverted, men's rational faculty would not have to employ the power of understanding spiritual truth in combating with falsity, as would become necessary after the introduction and increase of errors, as the horse is not naturally of a combative disposition, although capable of being trained to warfare. The horse, therefore, might not have appeared among those early symbols, except in a peaceful character. It might have been endowed with wings to represent the power of the intellect to soar away into elevated degrees of truth. I have seen one pair of winged horses, there may be more, among the embroidered ornaments on the garments of the king, but they are very rare.
It was, perhaps, when the Assyrian had become the representative of a combating principle, and the invention of symbols according to correspondences had ceased, that the horse was first used by him in a belligerent capacity. In that capacity, however, it would soon become a necessary and a very efficient auxiliary, and consequently a great favourite, although the power of its hoof to break open the Heliconian fountain and liberate the nine Muses, might be but very
appreciated. The horse, therefore, would not figure among the emblematical figures embellishing an Assyrian palace, but would be elaborately and carefully represented in the battle scenes that should tell so faithfully the conquests and glory of Assyria.
[Enl. Series.-- No. 67, vol. vi.]