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HEART AND LUNGS
Passages from Swedenborg's Writings
Collected by Andrew Heilman
February, 2002

Passages about the extension and intention, about the heart and lungs,
the will and the understanding, the wife and the husband,
followed by a summary showing the distinction and conjunction of these
two tents forming one tabernacle, resulting in a new heart and new spirit within.
 

The heart and lungs as two tents in the breast.

CL 75:5 [5] Desiring in my thought to learn about the marriages of the most ancients, I looked now at the husband, now at his wife, and in their faces I observed the unity, as it were, of their souls. So I said, "You two are one." The man replied: "We are one; her life is in me and mine in her. We are two bodies but one soul. The union between us is like the union of the two tents in the breast which are called heart and lungs, she being my heart and I her lungs. But here, by heart we mean love and by lungs wisdom. Thus she is the love of my wisdom and I am the wisdom of her love. Therefore her love veils my wisdom from without, and my wisdom is in her love from within. Hence, as you said, the appearance in our faces of the unity of our souls."

The heart and lungs as sharing a tent in the breast.

DLW 402:1 Yet one can see the nature of the betrothal and of the marriage of love with wisdom, or of the will with understanding through the parallelism that exists in their correspondence with the heart and lungs. For it is the same with these as with love and wisdom, so much so as to make absolutely no difference, except that one is spiritual and the other natural. Thus it is evident from the heart and lungs that the heart first forms the lungs, and later unites itself with them; it forms the lungs in the embryo, and unites itself with them after birth. This the heart does in its home, the breast, where they share their tent in common, separated from the other parts of the body by a wall, the diaphragm, and by a covering, the pleura. It is the same with love and wisdom, or with will and understanding.

In relation to the veil which separated the holy place which represented the spiritual kingdom from the holy of holies which represented the celestial kingdom:

AC 9670:2 To the angels of the inmost heaven correspond those things in man which belong to the province of the heart, and to that of the cerebellum; but to the angels of the middle heaven correspond those things in man which belong to the province of the lungs, and to that of the cerebrum. The things that belong to the heart and the cerebellum are called involuntary and spontaneous, because they so appear; but those which belong to the lungs and the cerebrum are called voluntary. From this can in some measure be seen the nature of the perfection of the one heaven over the other, and also the nature of the difference between them. But to the intermediate angels who accede to both heavens, and conjoin them, correspond the cardiac and pulmonary networks of blood vessels by means of which is effected the conjunction of the heart with the lungs; and also the medulla oblongata, in which the fiber of the cerebellum is conjoined with the fiber of the cerebrum.

[3] That the angels who are of the Lord's celestial kingdom, that is, who are in the inmost heaven, constitute the province of the heart in the Grand Man; and that the angels who are of the Lord's spiritual kingdom, that is, who are in the middle heaven, constitute the province of the lungs, see n. 3635, 3886-3890; also that from this comes the correspondence of the heart and of the lungs in man, n. 3883-3896.) ... From this it can be seen what is the quality of the intermediate angels who constitute the uniting intermediate which was represented by the veil.

The two lateral sides of the tabernacle and the furnishings are called ribs.

AC 10189. Upon its two ribs. That this signifies conjunction with truths on the one side, and preservation by means of them, is evident from the signification of "ribs," when by them are meant sides, as being truths; for the sides which are called "ribs" look to the south and the north, and by the "south" is signified truth in light (see n. 9462), and by the "north" truth in shade (n. 3708). But by "sides" properly so called is signified good, because they look to the east and the west, and by the "east" is signified good in clearness, and by the "west" good in obscurity (n. 3708, 9653). Therefore it is here said, "thou shalt make for it two rings of gold from beneath the border, upon the two ribs thereof thou shalt make them, upon the two sides thereof." That the sides properly so called look to the east and the west, but that the sides which are called "ribs" look to the south and the north, is plain in Exodus 26:13, 26, 27, 35. Moreover "ribs," being supports of the breast, signify the truths that support good.

SS 33 Without the sense of the letter the Word would be like a the Tabernacle (in the inmost of which was the ark of the covenant, and in its middle the golden lampstand, the golden altar for incense, and the table on which were the loaves of faces, which were its holy things) without its ultimates, which were the curtains and veils. ... And it would be like the heart and lungs in the chest without their covering which is called the pleura, and their supports which are called the ribs.

Stretching out the heavens relating to truth and spirit and breathe and the lungs.

Zech 12:1 The burden of the word of Jehovah for Israel, says Jehovah, which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.

AC 9818:4 'f where "stretching forth the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth" denotes a new church (that the church is meant by "heaven and earth," see n. 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535); "to form the spirit of man in the midst of him" denotes to regenerate him in respect to the understanding of truth and good.

AE 294:12 [12] In Isaiah:

Thus said God Jehovah, He has created the heavens, and spreads them out; He that stretches out the earth; He that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein (Isa. 42:5).

"Creating the heavens and spreading them out" and "stretching out the earth" signifies to reform; "the heavens" signify both the heavens and the internals of the church; for the internals of the church are the heavens with the men that are in them; "the earth" signifies the external of the church, which is said to be "spread out" and "stretched out" when truths from good are multiplied. It is plain that reformation by truths is signified, for it is said, "He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein."

Describing the curtains of the tabernacle, and the new understandingfrom a new will

AC 9595:5 [5] From all this it is evident what is meant in David:

O Jehovah Thou hast put on glory and honor; who covers Himself with light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a curtain (Ps. 104:1, 2).

"To cover Himself with light as with a garment" denotes Divine truths. (That "light" denotes truth, see n. 9548; as also "a garment," n. 4545, 4763, 5319, 5954, 9093, 9212, 9216); consequently "to stretch out the heavens like a curtain" denotes to enlarge the heavens by means of an influx of truth Divine, from which come intelligence and wisdom. That "to stretch out and expand the heavens" is predicated of the new, that is, the regenerate, understanding, may be seen at the end of the following article.

AC 9596:2 [2] As spiritual and celestial things follow in this order, therefore fine twined linen is here mentioned first; but in the case of the veil, which was between the Habitation and the ark, or between the holy and the holy of holies-see verse 31 of this chapter-it is mentioned in the last place. The reason why in the veil the fine twined linen is mentioned last, is that the veil signifies the intermediate that unites the inmost heaven with the middle heaven, and therefore in this intermediate it must be the last, so that, for the sake of conjunction, it may be the first in what follows.

AC 9596:3 [3] But by "fine twined linen" is properly signified the understanding such as belongs to a spiritual man, or to an angel who is in the Lord's spiritual kingdom. The reason why the understanding is signified by "fine twined linen," is that with the spiritual man a new will from the Lord has been implanted in his understanding (n. 863, 875, 895, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 1555, 2256, 4328, 4493, 5113); and as the understanding of the spiritual man is signified by "fine twined linen," therefore also spiritual truth is signified thereby, because all truth belongs to the part of the understanding, and all good to the part of the will (n. 3623, 9300); for the understanding is the subject or containant, and truth belongs to it, and these two make a one. From all this it can also be seen that with those who are of the Lord's spiritual kingdom the understanding is "the Habitation" in the close sense (n. 9296, 9297), and that it is described by the expanse of the curtains.

AC 9596:4 [4] From all this it can be known what is signified by "spreading out and stretching out the heavens" in the following passages:

Jehovah that stretcheth out the heavens, that spreadeth out the earth, that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein (Isa. 42:5).

I, Jehovah, that maketh all things; that stretcheth out the heavens alone; that spreadeth out the earth by Myself (Isa. 44:24).

I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, My hands, have stretched out the heavens (Isa. 45:12).

He who maketh the earth by His power, prepareth the world by His wisdom, and by His intelligence stretcheth out the heavens (Jer. 51:15).

Jehovah, that stretcheth out the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man in the midst of him (Zech. 12:1).

AC 9596:5 [5] That by "stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth" the same is here signified as by "stretching out and spreading out the habitation" by means of the curtains is manifest; and that this denotes to regenerate man, and thus to create or form a new understanding in which is a new will, which is the very heaven of the spiritual man, wherein the Lord dwells with this man. That it is regeneration, or the formation of a new understanding and therein of a new will, thus of a new man, which is signified by "stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth" is clear from the very explanation given in the above passages, for it is said, "that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein; also, "that formeth the spirit of man within him." That "heaven and earth" denote the internal and external church, see n. 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535; also that "the earth" in general denotes the Lord's kingdom and church (n. 9334); and this is also plainly to be seen, for unless "the earth" had this signification, what could be meant by "spreading out the earth," and by "laying the foundation of the earth," and by "forming the spirit of man therein"?

AC 9596:6 [6] That by "stretching out the heavens, and spreading out the earth" the like is here signified as by "stretching out and spreading out the habitation" by means of the curtains is evident from other passages where it is stated more expressly, as in the following:

Jehovah, that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in (Isa. 40:22).

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch the curtains of thy habitations (Isa. 54:2).

Jehovah covereth Himself with light as with a garment; He stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain (Ps. 104:2).

From all this it is also evident what is signified by "the expanse" in the first chapter of Genesis:

God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it be to the waters a dividing between the waters. And God made the expanse, and divided between the waters that were under the expanse and the waters that were above the expanse. And God called the expanse heaven (Gen. 1:6-8).

In this first chapter is described the regeneration of the man of the celestial church; and his new will and understanding are described by "the expanse;" "the waters under the expanse, and above the expanse" denote the truths of the external and of the internal man (that "waters" denote truths, see n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 8568, 9323).

The idea of extending the heart relating to the will and life. When the word to stretch or extend is used in relation to the ear (for obedience) or the heart (for love) the Writings translate this word as incline, but the idea of stretching or tending or tents can be seen in the idea of intentions.

Josh 24:23 23. And now remove the alien gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto Jehovah, the God of Israel.

Psal 119:36 36 Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, And not to covetousness.

Psal 119:111-112 Thy testimonies have I inherited forever; For they are the joy of my heart.

I have inclined my heart to do Thy statutes, Forever, unto the last.

2Sam 19:14 14. And he inclined the heart of all the men of Judah as of one man, and they sent unto the king, Return thou and all thy servants.

1Kin 8:57-58

Jehovah our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not forsake us nor abandon us;

That He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments which He commanded our fathers.

Stretching, inclining or intending the heart to evil instead of good.

1st Kings 11

1. And King Solomon loved many alien women, and the daughter of Pharaoh, those of the Moabites, the Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites;

2. Of the nations of which Jehovah said unto the sons of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, and they shall not come in to you; for surely they will incline your heart after their gods; Solomon clave unto these to love them.

3. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses; and three hundred concubines; and his wives inclined his heart.

4. And it came to pass in the old age of Solomon, that his wives inclined his heart after other gods; and his heart was non entire with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father.

9. And Jehovah was angry against Solomon, because his heart inclined away from Jehovah, the God of Israel, who had ppeared unto him twice.

Psal 141:4 Incline not my heart to any evil word, To practice doings in wickedness, With men working iniquity:'

Isa 44:20 . He feeds on ashes: a deluded heart has inclined away; so that he cannot deliver his own soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Jer 7:24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels, in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and were backward, and not forward.

Jer 11:8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the stubbornness of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded [them] to do; but they did [them] not.

That the inclination or intention of the heart relates to love and the will is clear from many places in the Writings.

AC 1094:1 That, regarded in itself, external worship is nothing, unless there be internal worship to make it holy, must be evident to everyone. For what is external adoration, without adoration of the heart, but a gesture? Or what is prayer of the lips, if the mind is not in it, but mere babbling? And what is any work, if there is no intention in it, but a thing of nought? So that in itself every external thing is an inanimate affair, and lives solely from what is internal.

AE 734:17 [17] In David:

Free me from the evil man, and preserve me from the man of violences, who think evils in the heart; all the day they gather together for war; they have sharpened their tongue like serpents (Ps. 140:1-3).

"Evil man" and "man of violences" signify those who pervert the truths of the Word; he is called "a man of violences" who from a depraved intention offers violence to the truths of the Word by perverting them. The depraved intention is further described by "thinking evils in the heart;"

HH 532. Everyone may know that thoughts are led and tend in accord with the intentions, that is, in the directions that one intends; for thought is man's internal sight, and resembles the external sight in this, that to whatever point it is directed or aimed, thither it turns and there it rests.

Summary

Both the heart and the lungs in the breast of man stretch in and out. Yet in normal breathing the lungs are extending to take in air, the understanding extends to take in truth, but the heart contracts, inclines, intends to send out blood, the will intends to send out affection, which then extends to the lungs. Two tents in one, distinct and yet united, extending and intending in harmony but not unison in a heavenly marriage of good and truth. In the mind of man, in the Lord's kingdom in heaven and on earth, and in the marriage of one man and one woman who look to the Lord. But this distinction we must both extend our mind to see the truth and intend to see the truth when it presents itself. This is beautifully illustrated in the following passage from conjugial love.

CL 174. That there are functions proper to the man, and functions proper to the wife; and that the wife cannot enter into the functions proper to the man, nor the man into the functions proper to the wife, and rightly perform them. That there are functions (officia) proper to the man, and functions proper to the wife, has no need of being illustrated by a recounting of those functions; for they are many and various, and every one knows how to classify them according to their genera and species if only he extend (or intend - intendat) his mind to the distinguishing of them.

The uses of the heart and lungs, the distinction between justice and judgment between the celestial and spiritual kingdoms (CL 184), the two tents in one in the tabernacle of Israel. Each of these illustrates this distinction between the will and the understanding, the wife and the husband, and how they work together by stretching themselves to accommodate the one to the other.

CL 75. So I said, "You two are one." The man replied: "We are one; her life is in me and mine in her. We are two bodies but one soul. The union between us is like the union of the two tents in the breast which are called heart and lungs, she being my heart and I her lungs. But here, by heart we mean love and by lungs wisdom. Thus she is the love of my wisdom and I am the wisdom of her love. Therefore her love veils my wisdom from without, and my wisdom is in her love from within. Hence, as you said, the appearance in our faces of the unity of our souls."