SWINE >> Greediness, uncleanness >> Filthy Loves

swinep Greediness and uncleanness are characteristic of swine. They eat far more than they need, not refusing even the vilest food. What they do not eat they trample in the mud  and filth in which they love to wallow. If a person is called a "pig " or a "hog," or is said to be "swinish," we understand that he is unclean and that he wants to get and keep everything for himself. Have we ever seen this disposition in children who have something good to eat? What shall we think of a child who picks all the flowers his hands will hold and tramples on the rest so that no one else shall get them? Are there older people who scrape together money and hoard it up for no useful purpose, enjoying the sense of power it gives them? Swine correspond to this greed for getting and possessing, and to a delight in defiling good things. (AC 4751 939; AE 659, 1044)

We are not surprised to find swine among the animals forbidden to the Jews. "And the swine . . . he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you." (Lev. xi. 7, 8; Deut. xiv. 8) The character will not grow strong by indulging unclean and greedy affections and making them its own. They are not heavenly food. Greedy and unclean affections, more than all else, close the heart to heaven. Therefore the Jewish law, which represented the principles of true heavenly life, commanded not to eat the swine's flesh nor to touch their carcass. (AE 617)

The greed of possessing, especially of possessing money, was by nature strong with the Jews; and because of the correspondence of this love with swine, the people often fell into the sin of keeping swine and eating their flesh. They are called "a people that provoketh me to anger; . . . which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels." (Isa. lxv. 3, 4, lxvi. 17) Remaining among the graves points to their fondness for unclean ways, in which was no spiritual life. Eating swine's flesh suggests the spiritual wrong of cherishing unclean affections, and the greedy love of possessing for no good use. (AE 659)

In the Gospels we read how the Lord, once casting out devils in the country of the Gadarenes, suffered them to go into a herd of swine. "And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man which had devils a long time, and wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. . . . And there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked." (Luke viii. 26-37; Mark v. 1-17) Here again the dwelling in the tombs pictures a fondness for unclean ways in which is nothing of heavenly life. The fierce and unclean spirits prayed that they might go into the swine, because they were themselves swinish in nature; and the Lord suffered them to go, because they thus showed their true character, which every evil must do before it can be condemned and removed. The miracle was done to teach us of the Lord's power to cast out from us swinish affections which no man can bind or tame, that we too may sit at His feet, clothed and in our right mind. Do we gratefully accept the Lord's deliverance? or are we troubled at the loss of the swine, and do we beseech the Lord to depart? (AC 1742; AE 659)

Remember the parable of the prodigal son. The younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land, and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." (Luke xv. 11-32) It is the story of all who wander from their Heavenly Father and the happy life He provides, in the effort to find greater happiness in ways of their own choosing. The mighty famine in that land, suggests the lack of real heavenly satisfaction. Sent into the fields to feed swine, the prodigal represents the last effort to find happiness in the indulgence of gross appetites. Even in this extremity our Father remembers us, tenderly waiting for us to arise and come to Him, that He may meet us with His loving kiss.

"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." (Matt. vii. 6) Dogs and swine are here named together, representing appetites and filthy loves. In other places nobler qualities of dogs are recognized, and they represent humble, faithful affections. The verse before us describes the contemptuous rejection of the holy affections and the precious truths of heaven, by those who are in filthy loves. They not merely reject them, but do so with abusive contempt. (AE 1044) A further meaning of this verse will be seen when we study the pearl. (Chapter 35)


swine-jw_500_375   Give me the soul, and take the substance to thyself. That this signifies that He should give them life, and they would not care for other things, is evident from the signification of "soul," as being life (n. 1000, 1005, 1040); and from the signification of the "substance," as being the other things that are not so properly of life, of which more will be said presently.

[2] The life which evil spirits have, and which they love extremely, is the life of the cupidities of the love of self and of the world, hence a life of hatreds, revenge, and cruelties; and they suppose that there can be no delight in any other life. They are like men-for they have been men, and they retain this belief from their life when they were men-who place all life in the delights of such cupidities, not knowing but that such life is the only life, and that when they lose it they will utterly die. But of what nature is that life which they love, is plain from those of this character in the other life, where it is turned into a fetid and excrementitious life, and wonderful to say, they perceive the stench as most enjoyable; as may be seen from what is related from experience in (n. 820, 954).

[3] It was the same with the demons, who, when the Lord cast them out of the maniac, fearing for their life, asked that they might be sent into the swine (Mark 5:7-13). That these demons were those who in the life of the body had been given up to filthy avarice, may be seen from the fact that such seem to themselves in the other life to pass their time among swine, for the reason that the life of swine corresponds to avarice, and is therefore delightful to them; as is evident from what is related from experience in (n. 939). [AC 1742]

And pearls, signifies the knowledges of good and truth which are of the Word with them. By "pearls," in the spiritual sense, are signified the knowledges of good and truth both celestial and spiritual which are from the Word, particularly from the sense of its letter; and because "pearls" signify those knowledges, they are therefore named after "purple and scarlet," and after "gold and precious stones." The same knowledges are signified by pearls in the following passages:
The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a merchant seeking beautiful pearls; who, when he had found one precious pearl, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Matt. 13:45-46).
By this is signified knowledge concerning the Lord.
The twelve gates of the wall of the New Jerusalem were twelve pearls, everyone of the gates was one pearl (Rev. 21:21).
"The gates of The New Jerusalem" signify introduction into the New Church, and introduction is effected by the knowledges of good and truth from the Word.
Neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and rend you (Matt. 7:6).
By "swine" are signified they who only love worldly riches, and not spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of good and truth from the Word. Because by "Babylon" is signified that religious persuasion by which all the knowledges of good and truth derived from the Word were rejected, it is said of her:
And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over Babylon, for no one buyeth their merchandise; the merchandise of gold and silver, of precious stone and of pearls (Rev. 18:11-12). [AR727]

 That evil affections are signified by the "beasts not clean" is evident from what has been said and shown before respecting the clean beasts. They are called "clean" because they are gentle, good, and useful. The unclean-of which there are genera and species-are the contrary, being fierce, evil, and not useful. In the Word also they are described as wolves, bears, foxes, swine, and many others; and various cupidities and evil dispositions are signified by them. As to its being here said that unclean beasts also (that is, evil affections) should be brought into the ark, the truth is that the man of that church is here described such as he was in character, and this by the ark, and therefore by the things that were in the ark, or that were brought into the ark; that is to say, the things are described that were in the man before he was regenerated. There were in him the truths and goods with which he had been furnished and gifted by the Lord before regeneration; for without truths and goods no one can ever be regenerated. But here the evils that were in him are spoken of, and are signified by the unclean beasts. There are evils in man which must be dispersed while he is being regenerated, that is, which must be loosened and attempered by goods; for no actual and hereditary evil in man can be so dispersed as to be abolished. It still remains implanted; and can only be so far loosened and attempered by goods from the Lord that it does not injure, and does not appear, which is an arcanum hitherto unknown. Actual evils are those which are loosened and attempered, and not hereditary evils; which also is a thing unknown. [AC719]

The lusts of the flesh, the eye, and the other senses, separated from the lusts, that is, from the affections, the desires, and the delights of the spirit, are wholly like the lusts of beasts, and consequently are in themselves beastlike. But the affections of the spirit are such as angels have, and therefore are to be called truly human. For this reason, so far as anyone indulges the lusts of the flesh, he is a beast and a wild beast; but so far as one satisfies the desires of the spirit, he is a man and an angel. The lusts of the flesh may be compared to shriveled and dried up grapes and to wild grapes; but the affections of the spirit to juicy and delicious grapes, and also to the taste of the wine that is pressed from them. The lusts of the flesh may be compared to stables where there are asses, goats, and swine; but the affections of the spirit to stables where there are noble horses, and sheep and lambs; and they differ as an ass and a horse, a goat and a sheep, a lamb and a pig; in general, as dross and gold, as limestone and silver, as coral and rubies, and so on. Lust and the deed are connected like blood and flesh, or like flame and oil; for lust is within the deed, as air from the lungs is in breathing or in speaking, or as wind in the sail when the vessel is in motion, or as water on the wheel that gives motion and action to machinery. [TCR328]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

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