GARMENTS >> Intelligence

ang932 "A wolf in sheep's clothing." He is a cruel, selfish person disguised by kind and gentle words and manners such as are the true expression of innocent affection. The affection is the man, and that which expresses the affection truly (or disguises it, if one is a hypocrite) is the clothing. Words and manners are a part of this clothing; but in a broad sense it includes the whole department of intelligence which forms the affection into words and actions. This all is as a garment clothing the affection. Sometimes it clothes the affection becomingly, and sometimes, influenced by fashion, presents it in conventional and formal guise. (AC 1073, 9212; AE 195; AR 166)

Does natural clothing serve another use? It protects us from hurt, especially from cold. Does the intelligence which shows the fitting ways of expressing our affections serve such a use? Think how it is with little children; do they clothe their affections elaborately, or do their feelings come forth in nakedness, exposed sometimes to hurt and ridicule? We protect their tender affections from hurt, when we teach the children appropriate and useful ways of expressing them in words and actions. And so with us all, especially when we go out from the shelter of home, we need to know the wise ways of expressing our good and kind affections, or they will be hurt by the hardness and chilled by the coldness of the world. As wool, the clothing of sheep, protects our bodies from cold, so kind and gentle words and acts and manners keep warm our innocent affections.

Little children are naked in their innocence and are clothed as their intelligence develops and they learn to express their affection in fitting ways and perhaps to disguise feelings which are not good; and so it was with the race in its childhood in Eden. (Gen. ii. 25, iii. 7, 21; AC 165, 216, 292-295, 9960)

This is a good place to think of garments in the spiritual world. Should we expect to find pure and beautiful garments among angels or evil spirits? Should we expect to learn that the loving celestial angels or the intelligent spiritual angels are more elaborately and magnificently clothed? Be careful how you answer. The elaborate clothing belongs to the intellectual character, while the celestial angels, who impart immediately their pure affection, like little children are simply clothed, and those of the inmost heaven in their perfect innocence appear naked. We are prepared to learn further that the flaming brightness, or the shining light, or the simple whiteness of angels' garments is expressive of the degree of their intelligence. Garments of various lovely colors express the qualities of intelligence; heavenly garments also are changed in accord with changing states of intelligence. (HH 177, 182; AE 395, 828; AC 10536)

Do you remember places where the Bible tells us of angels and angels' garments? As the women stood sad and perplexed at the sepulcher of the Lord, "Behold two men stood by them in shining garments; . . . and they said, . . . He is not here, but he is risen." (Luke xxiv. 4-6) The shining garments are emblems of the angels' bright thoughts and of the message of truth they brought. (AR 166; AE 195, 196) In the Revelation, John saw a great multitude clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." And he was told, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev. vii. 9-14) The Lamb is the Lord; the blood is the current of His Divine thought; our robes are washed in it when by His truth we become intelligent and our speech and conduct are made right and true. (AE 457, 475, 476; AR 378, 379) So in another chapter: "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment." (Rev. iii. 4, 5) The church in Sardis stands for those who are in dead expressions and forms of worship and charity, these garments being with most of them defiled by evil life. Those who have not so defiled the outward forms of goodness, will enjoy in heaven a life whose outward expressions are genuinely pure and living. (AR 154, 166, 167; AE 182, 195, 196; HH 180) And again: "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (Rev. xix. 7, 8) The bride is the Lord's church, which appeared also as the New Jerusalem. The promise is that the church shall be instructed in genuine truths from the Lord's Word, which shall lead to genuine righteousness or goodness of life. (AR 814, 815; AE 1222, 1223; AC 5319) In a parable the Lord likened the kingdom of heaven to a marriage feast. "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness." (Matt. xxii. 11-13) What we have learned of the garments of heaven shows us that the man without a wedding garment means those who have claimed heaven by mere outward pretence of goodness; and when this is lost, as it soon is after death, they find themselves without spiritual intelligence or any appearance of goodness; that they are bound hand and foot and are cast into outer darkness means that they are powerless to do heavenly deeds or to see in heavenly light. (AE 195; HH 48; AC 2132)

Remember the rich garments made for Aaron according to Divine instructions. They were among the sacred things of the Jewish worship which were all representative of spiritual life. "And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." (Exod. xxviii) Aaron as the priest, was the representative of the Lord in His Divine goodness. The precious garments are representative of all the lovely forms of Divine truth in which the Lord's love is clothed to men. (AC 9805-9966; AE 195 end, 717) Put with this the familiar words of the Psalm: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments." (Ps. cxxxiii. 1, 2) So the oil of the Lord's Divine kindness descends from His inmost love into the most external forms of truth in which His love speaks to us. And so the oil of kindness from Him in our inmost heart descends into our thought and speech and conduct. (AC 9806; AE 375; PP)

Now let us think of other passages about garments, as they come to mind, reserving till the last those which speak of the Lord's own garments. "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day." (Luke xvi. 19) The rich man in the parable is the Jewish Church, and the garments of purple and fine linen are the abundant knowledges of good and truth which the Jews had from the Word, which gave them the appearance of possessing "the righteousness of saints." (AC 9467; AE 118, 717, 1143; TCR 215) Again, the Lord said of the scribes and Pharisees, "But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments." (Matt. xxiii. 5) "These things the scribes and Pharisees literally did, but still, by their doing so, was represented and signified that they spoke many things from the ultimates of the Word, and applied them to life, and to their traditions, in order that they might appear holy and learned." The phylacteries on the head and hands suggest outward display of goodness. "To enlarge the borders of robes denotes to speak truths magnificently, only to be heard and seen by men." (AE 395; AC 9825) "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse." (Matt. ix. 16) The Lord compared the new spiritual truths which He was teaching, and the manner of life which they required, with the external truths and representative rites of the Jewish Church. The new were not in agreement with the old - as in the avoidance of sinners, the observance of the Sabbath and of fasts. (AE 195) Remember the Lord's charge to clothe the naked: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? . . . Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him? " (Isa. lviii. 6, 7) We clothe the naked when we teach those who desire instruction the useful and becoming ways of expressing good affections, and repressing evil ones. (AE 295, 240; AC 5433)

We read in the Gospel, of our Lord's birth on earth: "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke ii. 7) This was also a sign to the shepherds, by which they should know the Lord. (Ver. 12) The whole account shows the great mercy of the Lord in coming in such a humble way that men could receive and know Him. The swaddling clothes represent the first, simple forms of natural truth in which He clothed His love and began to make it known to men. (AE 706) Years after, a poor woman "when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole." (Mark V. 27, 28) "And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole." (Mark vi. 56) The Lord's garments are the Divine truths in which He clothes His love and makes it comprehensible to us. What is the garment's hem, which is its lowest, outmost border, and at the same time that which gives it fixity and permanence? It is the literal precepts of the Lord's Word. And in these is healing power. Though we may not be wise in its spirit, in temptation when we feel our weakness, we must hold to the ten commandments and other simple, literal Divine words. We touch the garment's hem, and we feel in ourselves that we are healed. The Lord too feels that His healing power is received. (AE 195; AC 10023) When we remember the blessing imparted by the Lord's garments, and especially when we know that they represent the Lord's Word with its saving power, it is more than ever sad to read: "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture did they cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did." (John xix. 23, 24) The Lord's garments here as elsewhere represent the truth in which He clothes His love to us. The soldiers rending His garments are a picture of the church at that day and many times since, rending the Lord's Word in her disputes, till its truth is destroyed. But the coat, or inner garment, woven without seam, represents the inner, spiritual truth of the Word, which is one connected lesson of life throughout. It is safe from harm from those who rend the letter. (AC 4677, 9093, 9942; AE 64, 195)

When the three disciples in the mountain saw the Lord transfigured, "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." (Matt. xvii. 2) "His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them." (Mark ix. 3) The disciples' eyes were opened to see something of the glory in which the Lord appears to angels. What Divine quality was expressed by His face shining as the sun? The Lord's Divine love. And what was represented by His shining garments? The Divine truth which reveals Him to angels and men, filling their minds with brightness, and shining even outwardly to the eyes of angels. (AC 5319, 9212; AE 412; HH 129) As we learn to know the Lord's presence clothed in the truths of His Word, and to value the power and light which they impart to our souls, we can join with angels in the song: "Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord, my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment." (Ps. civ. 1, 2; AC 9433, 9595; AE 283)


ang47_400_487  The garments with which angels are clothed, like all other things with them, correspond; and because they correspond they have real existence (see above n. 175). Their  garments correspond to their intelligence, and therefore all in the heavens appear clothed in accordance with their intelligence; and as one is more intelligent than another so the garments of one surpass those of another. The most intelligent have garments that blaze as if with flame, others have garments that glisten as if with light; the less intelligent have garments that are glistening white or white without the effulgence; and the still less intelligent have garments of various colors. But the angels of the inmost heaven are not clothed.[HH178]

 As the garments of angels correspond to their intelligence they correspond also to truth, since all intelligence is from Divine truth; and therefore it is the same thing whether you say that angels are clothed in accordance with intelligence or in accordance with Divine truth. The garments of some blaze as if with flame, and those of others glisten as if with light, because flame corresponds to good, and light corresponds to truth from good.{1} Some have garments that are glistening white and white without the effulgence, and others garments of various colors, because with the less intelligent the Divine good and truth are less effulgent, and are also received in various ways,{2} glistening white and white corresponding to truth,{3} and colors to its varieties.{4} Those in the inmost heaven are not clothed, because they are in innocence, and innocence corresponds to nakedness.{5}  [HH179]  

As in heaven the angels are clothed with garments, so when seen in the world they have appeared clothed with garments, as those seen by the prophets and those seen at the Lord’s sepulchre: 

  Whose appearance was as lightning, and their garments glistening and white (Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; John 20:12, 13); 

 and those seen in heaven by John: 

 Who had garments of fine linen and white (Apoc. 4:4; 19:14). 

 And because intelligence is from Divine truth: 

 The garments of the Lord, when He was transfigured, were radiant and glistening white like the light (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29). 

 As light is Divine truth going forth from the Lord (see above, n. 129), so in the Word garments signify truths and intelligence from truths, as in the Apocalypse: 

 Those that have not defiled their garments shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments (3:4, 5); 

 Blessed is he that is awake and keepeth his garments (16:15).

And of Jerusalem, which means a church that is in truth,{1} it is written in Isaiah:

Awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of thy beauty, O Jerusalem (52:1)

And in Ezekiel: 

 Jerusalem, I girded thee about with fine linen, and covered thee with silk. Thy garments were of fine linen and silk (16:10, 13); 

 besides many other passages. But he who is not in truths is said “not to be clothed with a wedding garment,” as in Matthew: 

When the king came in he saw a man that had not on a wedding garment; and he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? Wherefore he was cast out into the outer darkness (22:11-13). 

 The house of the wedding feast means heaven and the church because of the conjunction of the Lord with heaven and the church by means of His Divine truth; and for this reason the Lord is called in the Word the Bridegroom and Husband; and heaven, with the church, is called the bride and the wife.   [HH180]  

 That the garments of angels do not merely appear as garments, but are real garments, is evident from the fact that angels both see them and feel them, that they have many garments, and that they put them off and put them on, that they care for those that are not in use, and put them on again when they need them. That they are clothed with a variety of garments I have seen a thousand times. When I asked where they got their garments, they said from the Lord, and that they receive them as gifts, and sometimes they are clothed with them unconsciously. They said also that their garments are changed in accordance with their changes of state, that in the first and second state their garments are shining and glistening white, and in the third and fourth state a little less bright; and this likewise from correspondence, because their changes of state have respect to intelligence and wisdom (of which see above, n. 154, 161). [HH181]

 As everyone in the spiritual world has garments in accordance with his intelligence, that is, in accordance with truths which are the source of intelligence, so those in the hells, because they have no truths, appear clothed in garments, but in ragged, squalid, and filthy garments, each one in accordance with his insanity; and they can be clothed in no others. It is granted them by the Lord to be clothed, lest they be seen naked.   [HH182] 

And to all of them he gave each changes of garments. That this signifies truths initiated in good, is evident from the signification of "garments" as being truths (of which below). Thus "changes of garments" are truths which are new; and truths become new when they are initiated in good, because they then receive life. For the subject treated of is the conjunction of the natural man with the spiritual, or of the external man with the internal. When the conjunction is being effected, then truths are changed and become new, for they receive life from the influx of good (as just above, n. 5951). (That to change the garments was representative of holy truths being put on, and that hence came changes of garments, see n. 4545.)

 [2] That by "garments" in the Word are signified truths, is because truths clothe good almost as the vessels do the blood, and the fibers the [animal] spirit. That a "garment" is a significative of truth is because spirits and also angels appear clothed in garments, and each according to the truths appertaining to him. Those appear in white garments who are in the truths of faith through which is good, but those appear in bright shining garments who are in the truths of faith that are from good; for good shines through the truth, and gives the resplendence (see n. 5248).

 [3] That spirits and angels appear in garments can also be seen from the Word, where it is mentioned that angels were seen, as in Matthew:

 The appearance of the angel sitting at the Lord's sepulcher was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow (Matt. 28:3).

 In John:

 Upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white garments (Rev. 4:4).

 In the same:

 He that sat upon the white horse was clothed in a garment dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. His armies which are in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 19:11, 13, 14);

"garments white as snow," and "fine white linen," signify holy truths, for whiteness and shining white are predicated of truths (n. 3301, 3993, 4007, 5319), for the reason that they approach nearest to light, and the light which is from the Lord is Divine truth; and therefore when the Lord was transfigured, His garments appeared as the light, of which in Matthew:

When Jesus was transfigured His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became as the light (Matt. 17:2).
That "light" is Divine truth is known in the church, and that it is compared to a "garment" is evident in David:

 Jehovah covereth Himself with light as with a garment (Ps. 104:2).

 [4] That "garments" are truths is plain from many passages in the Word, as in Matthew:

 When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man not clad with a wedding garment; and he said to him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? wherefore he was cast out into the outer darkness (Matt. 22:11-13);

 who are meant by "him not clad in a wedding-garment" may be seen at n. 2132. In Isaiah:

 Wake up! wake up! put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of thine ornament, O Jerusalem, the city of holiness; because there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isa. 52:1);

 "garments of ornament" denote truths from good.

 [5] In Ezekiel:

I clothed thee with broidered work, and shod thee with badger (taxo), and I girded thee with fine linen, and covered thee with silk. Thy garments were of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, honey, and oil (Ezek. 16:10, 13);

 speaking of Jerusalem, by which is there meant the Ancient spiritual Church which was set up by the Lord after the Most Ancient celestial Church had expired. The truths with which this church was endowed are described by the "garments;" "broidered work" is memory-knowledge, which when genuine also appears in the other life like broidered work, and like lace, as also it has been given to see; "fine linen and silk" are truths from good; but in heaven, being in the light there, these are intensely bright and are transparent.

 [6] In the same:

 Fine linen in broidered work from Egypt was thy sail; blue and crimson from the isles of Elishah were thy covering (Ezek. 27:7);

 speaking of Tyre, by which are represented the knowledges of truth and good (n. 1201), which when genuine are "fine linen in broidered work from Egypt;" the derivative good, or good of truth, is the "blue and crimson."

 [7] In David:

 The king's daughter is all glorious; of inweavings of gold is her garment; in embroideries shall she be brought to the king (Ps. 45:13, 14);

the "king's daughter" denotes the affection of truth; "of inweavings of gold is her garment" denotes the truths wherein is good; "embroideries" denote the lowest truths. In John:
Thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white ones, because they are worthy. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments (Rev. 3:4, 5);

 "not to defile the garments" denotes not to befoul truths with falsities.

 [8] In the same:

 Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, that he walk not naked, and they see his shame (Rev. 16:15);

 "garments" in like manner denote truths. It is the truths of faith from the Word which are properly signified by "garments." He who has not acquired these from that source, or he who has not acquired truths or semblances of truths from his religiosity, as the Gentiles, and applied them to life, is not in good, howsoever he supposes himself to be. For as he has no truths from the Word, or from his religiosity, he suffers himself to be led by means of reasonings equally by evil spirits as by good spirits, and thus cannot be defended by the angels. This is meant by the exhortation "to watch and to keep his garments, that he walk not naked and they see his shame."

 [9] In Zechariah:

 Joshua was in defiled garments; thus he stood before the angel, who said to those who stood before him, Remove the defiled garments from before him. And unto him he said, See I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and am clothing thee with changes of garments (Zech. 3:3, 4);

 "defiled garments" denote truths polluted by falsities which are from evil; wherefore when these garments are removed, and others are put on, it is said, "See, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee." Anyone can know that iniquity does not pass away by a change of garments, and hence also anyone can conclude that a change of garments was representative, as was also the washing of garments, which was commanded when the people were being purified, as when they came near unto Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:14), and when they were being cleansed from things impure (Lev. 11:25, 40; 14:8, 9; Num. 8:6, 7; 19:21; 31:19-24).

 [10] For cleansings from things impure are effected through the truths of faith, because these teach what good is, what charity, what the neighbor, what faith, that there is a Lord, that there is a heaven, that there is eternal life. Without truths which teach, it is not known what these things are, nor even that they are. Who from himself knows otherwise than that the good of the love of self and of the world is the only good appertaining to man; for both are the delight of his life? And who can know except from the truths of faith that there is another good which can be applied to man, namely, the good of love to God and the good of charity toward the neighbor, and that in these goods is heavenly life; and also that this good flows in through heaven from the Lord insofar as the man does not love himself more than others, and insofar as he does not love the world more than heaven? From all this it is evident that the purification which was represented by the washing of garments is effected through the truths of faith.  [AC 5954]

 Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

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