Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/201

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
105
THE SACRED SCRIPTURES.

that when He opened the second seal there went forth a red horse and unto him who sat thereon there was given a great sword; that when He opened the third seal there went forth a black horse, and he that sat thereon had a pair of balances in his hand; and that when He opened the fourth seal there went forth a pale horse, and the name of him that sat thereon was Death. What these things signify can only be evolved by means of the spiritual sense; and it is fully evolved when it is known what is signified by the opening of the seals, by the horses, and by the other particular things mentioned. By these things the successive states of the church are described as to its understanding of the Word, from its beginning to its end. The opening of the seals of the book by the Lamb signifies the making of those states of the church manifest by the Lord. By a horse the understanding of the Word is signified; the white horse is the understanding of truth from the Word in the first state of the church. The bow of him that sat upon that horse signifies the doctrine of charity and faith contending against falsities; the crown signifies eternal life, the reward of victory. The red horse signifies the understanding of the Word as to good, destroyed in the second state of the church; the great sword is falsity fighting against truth. The black horse signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed, as to truth, in the third state of the church; the pair of balances signifies that the estimation of truth is so little as scarcely to be any. The pale horse signifies the understanding of the Word annihilated, by evils of life and the falsities from them, in the fourth or last state of the church; and death signifies eternal damnation. That such is the signification of these things in the spiritual sense is not apparent in the sense of the letter, or the natural sense; unless therefore the spiritual sense were once opened, the Word, as to this passage and the rest of the Apocalypse, would have been closed entirely so that at length no one would know where the Divine Holiness therein was concealed. It is equally so, in respect to what is signified by the four horses and the four chariots that came forth from between the two mountains of brass, in Zechariah vi. 1-8.

In the Apocalypse, chap, ix., it is written: "The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth, and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit; and he opened the bottomless pit, and there arose a smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the, pit; and there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, and unto them was given power as the scorpions of the earth have power . . . The shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared for battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold; and their faces were as the foxes of men, and they had hair

13