WINGS >> Power of Thought to Elevate

Eagle33 One striking difference between beasts and birds is seen in the wings of birds, instead of forelegs. Beasts use their forelegs to stand upon, to walk upon, to procure their food, to  dig, and to fight. But birds use their arms, or wings, mostly for flying. With their wings they rise above the earth, and soar in the atmosphere, and rapidly pass from one place to another. They thus possess powers which are not given to beasts. And we can readily see the corresponding difference between the powers of our affections and those of our thoughts. In the human body, the arm represents power. The arm, or wing, of the bird represents the power of thought, the ability of thought to elevate itself above our surroundings, and to soar rapidly from one thing to another. Our thoughts, like the birds, move rapidly from object to object. Now they are up in the air, taking a wide and general view, and now they descend, to a lower state, and are engaged with some particular thing of practical life. They are coming and going, flitting past in a moment. But our affections, like the beasts, move less rapidly. Beasts live upon the ground, which represents goodness. So our affections are based on what we love, as good. The birds often flit through the air, which corresponds to one aspect of truth, and which, being breathed in by the lungs, corresponds to the truth which is breathed in by the spiritual lungs, the understanding, or intellect.

Birds, too, are often very fond of being on the water. And water corresponds to natural truth, in which our thoughts delight. And in Genesis i. 20-25 we find a remarkable confirmation of these truths. It is said that, in the creation, the waters brought forth the birds on the fifth day. But the earth brought forth the beasts, on the sixth day. This is not literal history. There is no reason to suppose that full-grown birds sprang out of the waters, and beasts out of the ground. But this is a symbolic and correspondential account of the creation and development of the human mind, and also of its regeneration. The birds of the mind, the thoughts, came forth out of the waters of truth ; and the next stage of development was the bringing forth of the affections, out of the ground, or good, the principle of love. Birds differ much in their ability to fly. And some kinds of thoughts take a wide range, while others never rise above earthly things.


Wings are often mentioned in the Scriptures, to represent the power of thought. In Isaiah xi. 12, "And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble together the dispersed of Judah from the four wings of the earth." The subject is the restoration of the church. The wings of the earth, to which men had been driven, represent the conditions and powers of false thoughts, into which men had wandered, and from which the truth should make them free. Again, in Isaiah xxiv. 16, "From the wing of the earth have we heard songs, glory to the righteous." Here, too, the wing of the earth represents the power of thought in the natural mind, which is the earth of man's mind. And in Psalm xviii. lo, and Psalm civ. 3, and in Hosea iv. 19, we read of the "wings of the wind," meaning the influence of the power of thought. In Psalm cxxxix. 9, we read of "the wings of the morning," meaning the power of thought in new states of mental light, in the morning light of the mind.

In Malachi iv. 2, we read, "Unto you that fear My name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with healing in His wings." So, in man's regeneration, the Lord, as the spiritual Sun, will arise upon the darkness of man's mind, and will carry spiritual healing to man, by communicating to him the power of rational thought. And, in Revelation xii. 14, it is said of the woman, who brought forth a man-child, and who was persecuted by the dragon, "And to the woman were given the wings of a great eagle." Here, the wings of the eagle represent the power of intellectual thought, which aids man in escaping from the influence of sensuous lusts, denoted by the dragon. And the "wings of a dove," (mentioned in Psalm Iv. 6, and in Psalm Ixviii. 13) with which the mind can fly away from strife, and be at rest ; and which are bright with silver and gold ; are representative of the power of spiritual thought, from affection for truth, with which we rise above temptation ; and which are clad- in the silver of spiritual good, and the gold of celestial love. In the Scriptures, birds are often spoken of as "birds of wing," "fowl of wing," and "winged fowl," because the wings are the most striking of the characteristics of the bird's outward form. (See Gen. vii. 14; Ps. cxlviii. 10; and Ezk. xxxix. 17; when literally translated. Also Ezek. xvii. 23.)

Another characteristic of birds is their very quick and far-reaching sight. Their eyes are large, prominent, and so formed and placed as to give a great range of sight, in several directions at the same time. And they have great ability quickly to accommodate their sight to near or distant objects. And so is it with our thoughts : they are quick-sighted, far-sighted, and readily adjusted to near or distant objects, and to objects which are mentally either near or dear to us, or far removed from our states of life. But our affections are not so easily sent out to new objects, nor are they quickly so employed in new subjects. Like the beasts, they have not nearly so wide a range of vision. And they cannot so rapidly go beyond their circumstances ; nor can they soar in higher realms, by rapid flight. They are engaged with the things of actual life-experience. But our thoughts, like the birds, love to soar above the actual walks of life ; swiftly to circle through the mental atmosphere, playing with each other, in their easy flight ; sailing upward towards the sun, penetrating further and further into the upper air of spiritual things ; delighting in the exercise of their powers : and pouring forth their varied notes of mental songs, the happy and harmonious reasonings of the soaring mind.

Author: Edward Craig Mitchell From Scripture Symbolism  1904


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