(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 10236

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10236. And its base of brass. That this signifies the good of the ultimate of the natural, which is the good of the sensuous, is evident from the signification of the "base" of the laver wherein was water for washing, as being the ultimate of the natural, which is called the sensuous; and from the signification of "brass," as being good (see above, n. 10235). That the "base" denotes the ultimate of the natural, which is called the external sensuous, is because by the laver which is above it is signified the natural in which is purification, consequently by that which is beneath is signified what is in the lowest place; that is, in the ultimate, thus the external sensuous of man. The natural of man is external, middle, and internal; the external of the natural communicates with the world, and is called the external sensuous; the internal natural is what communicates with the internal man, which is in heaven; the middle natural is that which conjoins the two; for where there are an external and an internal, there must be a conjoining intermediate. (That man has an external, a middle, and an internal natural, see n. 4009, 4570, 5118, 5120, 5649, 9216.)
[2] By the sensuous, which is the ultimate of the natural, is properly meant that which is called the "flesh," and which perishes when man dies, thus what has served man for his functions in the world; as the sensuous of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. That this sensuous is the ultimate plane, in which the life of man terminates, and on which it reposes as a base, is evident, for it stands forth directly in the world, and through it as the outermost the world enters, and heaven departs. But this sensuous is common to man with brute animals, whereas the external sensuous which man has not so much in common with them, and yet is an external sensuous, is that which man has in his memory from the world, and is constituted of merely worldly, bodily, and earthly things there. The man who thinks and reasons from these things alone, and not from interior things, is called a sensuous man. This sensuous remains with man after death, but is quiescent; and this external sensuous is what is properly signified by the "base."
[3] The nature of this sensuous was represented by the bases of the ten lavers, which were set near the temple, and which are thus described:
Solomon made the ten bases of brass; four cubits the length of each base, and four cubits the breadth; three cubits the height. Upon the closures that were between the flights of steps were lions, oxen, and cherubs; and upon the flights of steps in like manner above. Moreover, each base had four wheels and tables of brass; and its four corners had shoulders: beneath the laver were the shoulders molten. The work of the wheels was like the work of a chariot wheel; their hands, and their backs, and their tires, and their spokes, were all molten. After this manner he made the ten bases; all of them had one casting, one measure, one proportion. Then he made the ten lavers of brass; each laver contained forty baths; each laver was four cubits (1 Kings 7:27-39).
[4] The nature of the external sensuous in man is here described by representatives, and especially the protection of the Lord lest man should enter into the things of heaven or of the church from his sensuous, thus from the world, because this is contrary to Divine order. For the world cannot enter into heaven, but heaven can enter into the world, which comes to pass when the Lord inflows through heaven with man, and enlightens him, teaches him, and leads him, by means of the Word. That to enter from the world into the things of heaven is contrary to Divine order, can be seen from those who enter from their sensuous, thus from the memory-knowledges which enter from the world, in that they believe nothing whatever.
[5] Protection to prevent this is signified by the lions, the oxen, and the cherubs, for by "lions" is signified protection lest truths enter, "lions" denoting truths in their power (n. 6367, 6369); by "oxen" is signified protection lest goods enter, for "oxen" denote goods in their power (see n. 2781). That by "cherubs" is signified the protection of the Lord lest this be done, see n. 308, 9509; also that the "shoulders" of which mention is made denote power and resistance, n. 1085, 4931-4937, 9836. By the "wheels as of a chariot" is signified the capacity of being wise when all things enter from heaven, for thus all things advance according to order, because the "wheels" of a chariot denote the capacity of advancing, thus of learning (n. 8215, 9872); and "chariots" denote what belongs to the doctrine of heaven and the church (n. 5321, 8215).
[6] What the sensuous man is, may again be briefly told. He is called a sensuous man who thinks only from such things as are in the memory from the world, and who cannot be raised toward interior things; such especially are they who believe nothing about heaven and the Divine because they do not see them, for they trust solely in the senses; and what does not appear before the senses they believe to be nothing. Such people closely approach the nature of brute animals, which also are led solely by the external senses; nevertheless they are cunning and skilful in acting and reasoning; but they do not see truth from the light of truth. Such were formerly called serpents of the tree of knowledge, and such for the most part is the infernal crew. (But what the sensuous man is, and what the sensuous itself, may be seen in the places cited in n. 9331, 9726, 9730, 9731, 9922, 9996; and what it is to be raised above sensuous things, or to be withdrawn from them, in those cited in n. 9922.)
[7] The good of the sensuous, which is signified by the "base of brass," is what is called the pleasure and delight that affect the imaginative thought, which thought is merely from what is earthly, bodily, and worldly; and it is distinguished from other delights by the fact that it looks to no other uses than those of self, or for the sake of self. For the sensuous man is in the love of self and of the world, and his delights belong to these loves. And because the loves of the sensuous man are of this nature, it is evident that he is more skilful than others in reasoning and in acting for the sake of profits and honors. For his body burns with the fire of this love, and this fire kindles a light which is called natural light; and when this has been kindled to brightness, then the light of heaven, which is of the interior man, is completely obscured; consequently the things of this light, being in thick darkness, are said to be nothing. It is otherwise with those who act from the fire of heaven, and think from the light of this fire. From all this it can be seen what is meant by the good of the sensuous, which is signified by the "base" of the laver.


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