BY JOHN WORCESTER
MASSACHUSETTS NEW-CHURCH UNION
MUSCLES IN GENERAL
THE power of the body is exerted by the muscles,--which represent the love of work in the mind, and, in the heavens, societies of those who love the active uses corresponding to those of the muscles respectively. Thus, the diaphragm is not a passive means of communication between the thorax and the abdomen; its active force is essential both to the motions of the lungs and to the communication of those motions to the rest of the body. And the muscles of the diaphragm correspond to the angels who have active pleasure in the animations of wisdom and in the communication of them through the heavens. They combine and exert an animating pressure upon the provinces of digestion, inviting the expansion of the lungs; which, without this powerful cooperation, would be greatly confined in their action, as in cases of rheumatism of the diaphragm. [p. 219] The heart itself is almost wholly muscular, and they who constitute it are in the active love of communicating love from the Lord to all whom they can influence, and sending them forth to do the uses of love. So all the active force exerted by the hands and feet, by the mouth in receiving food and in speaking, and by all parts of the body in their several uses, is exerted by muscles; which, accordingly, represent the active zeal of the provinces for those uses.
In these activities many angels combine, and exert their influence as a one. "How many spirits," Swedenborg says, "concur in one action, was shown me by those who are in the muscles of the face, from the forehead even to the neck. ... It was observed that they were only the subjects of very many, so that in every muscular fibre very many concur. ... In heaven, or the Greatest Man, there are innumerable societies thus unanimous, to which the muscles correspond." (D. S. Index. "Musculus.")
But the muscles exert their force mostly through [p. 220] tendons, or tendinous sheaths, by which they are attached to bones or to other parts of the body, and direct their action. And these tendons or ligaments correspond to passive subjects, who love indeed to receive the influence and to communicate it, but do not themselves modify it.