BY JOHN WORCESTER
MASSACHUSETTS NEW-CHURCH UNION
UNDER the renal capsules, separated only by them from the diaphragm, on either side of the vertebral column, toward which their concave faces are turned, and lying about two handbreadths apart, are the kidneys.
Into their concave sides the large renal arteries enter, beginning their divisions and subdivisions even before they reach the surface of the kidneys, and continuing them rapidly till their little branches ramify all over the exterior of the organs in company with equally minute veins. In close contact with these capillary vessels are multitudes of little glands and much convoluted tubes which form a layer about the kidneys and are continued into larger tubes. These larger tubes pass inwards, uniting as they go, and terminating in little papillae, through which the excretion of the [p. 137] kidneys is discharged into the basins at the head of the ureters.
The arteries come off from the aorta just below the branches which supply the stomach, liver, spleen, and the mesentery, and the suprarenal capsules. These have withdrawn a considerable proportion of the thick and the fresh blood, and have left the stream polluted with an unwonted proportion of watery materials and superfluous salts. These the renal arteries suck in as their prey, and send it whirling through their capillaries, into the convolutions of the renal glands and tubes, over pathways and through gates which none but the elastic living particles can pass, and from which the stale dying, particles, slow and reluctant even with sharpest urging, are ignominiously rejected. (A. K. 288.)
The living, purified blood returns through the veins and lymphatics to the heart. The worthless serum is caught by the tubes which form the principal substance of the kidneys, and discharged through their papillae into larger cavities, [p. 138] whence it is expelled by contractions of the kidneys into the ureters, and conducted to the bladder. The attitude of all the parts towards it is that of expulsion. (A. K. 290.)
Of those in the other life who belong to these provinces we read as follows : --
"They who constitute the province of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, in the Greatest Man, are of such a genius that they like nothing better than to explore and search out the quality of others, and there are also some who desire to chastise and to punish, if only there be some justice in it. The functions also of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder are such; for they explore the blood thrown into them to see if there be any useless and hurtful serum there, and also they separate it from the useful, and afterwards chastise it, for they drive it down towards the lower regions, and in the way and afterwards they agitate it in various ways. These are the functions of those who constitute the province of those parts. But the spirits and societies of spirits to which the urine itself, especially fetid urine, corresponds are infernal; for as soon as the urine is separated from the blood, although it is in the little tubes of the kidneys, or within in the bladder, [p. 139] still it is out of the body, for what is separated no longer circulates in the body, hence it contributes nothing to the existence and subsistence of its parts."
"I have often observed that they who constitute the province of the kidneys and ureters are quick to explore and search out the quality of others, what they think and what they will, and that they are in the desire of finding occasion to condemn, for the end especially that they may chastise; and I have spoken with them concerning that desire and that end. Many of that kind, in the world, when they lived there, were judges; and then rejoiced in heart when they found cause which they believed to be just to fine, chastise, and punish. The operation of such is felt at the region of the back where are the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. They who belong to the bladder extend themselves towards hell (gehennam), where also some of them sit as it were in judgment."
"The modes in which they explore or search out the dispositions of others, are very many, but it is permitted to present only the following. They induce other spirits to speak, which is done in the other life by influx, which cannot be described intelligibly; if then the induced speech is easily followed, they judge from it that the spirits are such; [p. 140] they induce also a state of affection. But they who explore thus are among the grosser of them; and others otherwise. There are some who as soon as they approach perceive immediately the thoughts, desires, and acts of another, also what he has done that he is ashamed of. This they seize upon, and, if they think there is just cause, they also condemn. It is wonderful in the other life, which scarcely any one in the world can believe, that as soon as any spirit comes to another, and still more when he comes to a man, he instantly knows his thoughts and affections, and what he then was doing, thus all his present state, altogether as if he had been long with him, so perfect is the communication. But there are differences in these apperceptions; some perceive interior things, and some only exterior; these if they are in the desire of knowing explore the interiors of others by various methods."
"The modes in which they punish who constitute the province of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder in the Greatest Man are also various; for the most part they remove joyous and glad things, and induce such as are joyless and sad. By this passion those spirits communicate with the hells; but by the justness of the cause, which they seek for before they punish, they communicate with heaven. [p. 141] Wherefore they are kept in that province." (A.C. 5381-5384.)
There is an evident correspondence between the mode of exploration here mentioned, and the most evident mode of the kidneys, -- the flow of speech induced by the spirits corresponds to the currents induced in the little tubes, the forms of speech corresponding to the forms of the tubes. The forms no doubt are heavenly forms, and all who love heavenly thought flow into them readily and gladly, while those who are gross and selfish and worldly flow into them unwillingly, if at all, and are quickly condemned and cast out.
"From these things it may appear what it signifies that it is said in the Word that Jehovah searches and tries the reins and the heart; also that the reins chasten, as in Jeremiah, 'Jehovah that triest the reins and the heart' (xi. 20). And again, 'Jehovah that triest the just and seest the reins and the heart' (xx. 12). In David, 'The just God trieth the hearts and reins' (Ps. vii. 9). And again, 'O Jehovah, try my reins and my heart" (xxvi. 2). 'Thou hast possessed my reins ' (cxxxix.13). [p. 142] In John, 'I am He Who trieth the reins and the heart' (Apoc. ii. 23). By the reins there are signified spiritual things, and by the heart celestial; that is, by the reins are signified those things which are of truth, and by the heart those which are of good. The reason is because the reins purify the serum, and the heart the blood itself; hence by trying, examining, and searching the reins is signified trying, examining, and searching the quantity and quality of truth or the quantity and quality of faith in man. That this is signified is also evident in Jeremiah, 'Jehovah, Thou art near in their mouth, but far from their reins' (xii. 2). And in David, 'Behold, Thou desirest truth in the reins' (li. 8). That chastening also is attributed to the reins, is also evident in David, 'My reins chasten me in the nights' (xvi. 7)." (n. 5385.)
With the heart; as an organ of purification, are included the liver, gall bladder, spleen, and pancreas, which unite with it in preparing the blood for the body. Even the mouth and the stomach belong to it as to this use (S. D. 1010; A. C. 4791). By the mental faculties corresponding to this series of organs, the spirit should be freed from narrow, selfish, indolent feelings and thoughts, [p. 143] also such as are vile and cruel, all of which are opposed to a life of charity. But the reins of the mind expose and separate from the current of thought false things, and such as being merely and pertinaciously natural prevent the mind from thinking spiritually; also fallacious and deceitful reasonings, excuses, and pretences, designed to cloak a fault or a malicious intention.
The love and the power to discern these things and separate them from our thoughts flow into our minds from the corresponding provinces of the Greatest Man. The angels of these provinces love to remove such things from heaven and from humanity, and wherever it will be received they give the ability. We receive it from them when we discern and condemn in ourselves anxious thoughts that are opposed to the Divine Providence, unjust or fraudulent thoughts in relation to one another; and, in general, any falseness toward God or man.*
* Certain pirates and other deceitful and fraudulent persons corresponding to urine are described in n. 5387-5390; the ways to hell by the bladder and by the intestines in n. 5380.