FLOWERS >> Memory-knowledges of Truth

flower1_500_375 And its flowers. That this signifies the memory- knowledges of truth, is evident from the signification of "flowers," as being the memory-knowledges of truth. "Flowers" have  this signification, because flowers are growths which precede, and in their manner produce, the fruits and seeds; for, as is known, trees and plants blossom before they bear fruit. The case is the same with man in respect to intelligence and wisdom. The memory-knowledges of truth precede, and in their manner produce with man, the things of wisdom; for they serve as objects to his rational, and thus as means for growing wise. It is for this reason that the memory-knowledges of truth are as flowers; and the good of life, which is the good of wisdom, is as fruit. As all things in the spiritual world bear relation to such things as are in man, for the reason that heaven bears relation to a man, and corresponds to each and all things with man, therefore also all things in the natural world have a correspondence, a representation, and a signification in accordance with their agreement with such things as are in man (see n. 9496). From this it can now be seen why "flowers" signify the memory-knowledges of truth, and in general truths; and why "fruits," and likewise "seeds," signify goods.

[2] That "flowers" denote the memory-knowledges of truth, and in general truths, is evident from the following passages:

Their root shall be as rottenness, and their flower as dust; because they have rejected the law of Jehovah Zebaoth, and despised the discourse of the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 5:24).

Jacob shall cause those to come to take root; Israel shall blossom and flower; so that the faces of the world shall be filled with produce (Isa. 27:6).

Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glory and comeliness (Isa. 28:1).

"Drunkards" denote those who reason from falsities (see n. 1072); "Ephraim" denotes the intellectual of the church, here perverted (n. 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267); "glory," truth Divine (n. 4809, 5922, 8267, 8427, 9429); from which it is plain that a "flower" denotes the memory-knowledge through which is truth. Again:

The grass is withered, the flower faded, the people is grass; but the word of our God abideth forever (Isa. 40:7, 8).
The flower of Lebanon languisheth (Nah. 1:4);

where also "the flower" denotes memory-knowledges as means for growing wise.

[3] In Daniel:

Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, the height thereof great, the leaf thereof beautiful, and the flower thereof much; the beast of the field had shade under it, and the birds of heaven dwelt in the branches thereof, and all flesh was fed. But the Holy One from heaven, crying aloud, said, Hew down the tree, cut off his branches, shake off his leaf, scatter his flower; let the beast of the field flee from under it, and the birds from its branches (Dan. 4:10, 12-14).

By "the tree" and "the height thereof" is signified the increase of the religiosity signified by "Babel," which is holy in externals, but profane in internals (n. 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326); "the leaf" denotes memory-truth in general (n. 885); "the flower," the memory-knowledge of truth insofar as it serves as a means for growing wise, but here insofar as it serves as a means for growing insane, because it is said that "the flower shall be scattered;" "the beast of the field" denotes those who are in affections of good; and in the opposite sense, those who are in affections of evil (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 719, 776, 1823, 2179, 2180, 3218, 3519, 5198, 7523, 9090, 9280); but "the birds of heaven" denotes those who are in affections of truth, and in the opposite sense those who are in affections of falsity (n. 3219, 5149, 7441); therefore it is said that "under the shade of that tree dwelt the beast of the field," and that "in its branches dwelt the birds of heaven," and that "all flesh was fed;" and afterward that "the beast of the field should flee from under it, and the birds from its branches." [AC9553]


A certain person who had been much talked of and celebrated in the learned world for his skill in the science of botany, after death heard in the other life, to his great surprise, that there also flowers and trees are presented to view; and as botany had been the delight of his life he was fired with a desire to see whether such was the case, and was therefore carried up into the paradisal regions, where he saw most beautiful plantations of trees and most charming flower gardens of immense extent. And as he then came into the ardor of his delight from affection, he was allowed to wander over the field, and not only to see the plants in detail, but also to gather them and bring them close to his eye, and to examine whether the case was really so.

[2] Speaking with me from thence he said that he could never have believed it, and that if such things had been heard of In the world, they would have been regarded as marvels. He said further that he saw an immense abundance of flowers there which are never seen in the world, and of which it would be almost impossible there to form any idea; and that they all glow with an inconceivable brightness, because they are from the light of heaven. That the glow was from a spiritual origin, he was not yet able to perceive, that is, that they glowed because there was in each one of them something of the intelligence and wisdom which are of truth and good. He went on to say that men on earth would never believe this, because few believe there is any heaven and hell, and they who believe only know that in heaven there is joy, and few among them believe that there are such things as eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and the mind has never conceived; and this although they know from the Word that amazing things were seen by the prophets, such as many things seen by John, as recorded in the Revelation, and yet these were nothing else than the representatives which are continually coming forth in heaven, and which appeared to John when his internal sight was opened.

[3] But these things are comparatively of little moment. They who are in the very intelligence and wisdom which are the source of these things, are in such a state of happiness that the things which have been related are to them of slight importance. Some spirits also who when in the paradisal regions said that these surpass every degree of happiness, were therefore carried up into a heaven more to the right, which sparkled with a still greater resplendence, and finally they were carried up into the heaven where there is also a perception of the blessedness of the intelligence and wisdom that exist in such things. And when they were there, they told me that what they had seen before was comparatively worthless. At last they were carried up into a heaven where on account of the bliss of interior affection, they could scarcely subsist, for the bliss penetrated to the very marrows, and these being as it were dissolved away with bliss, they began to fall into a holy swoon. [AC 4529]



   It was shown above that a heaven from the human race is the essential end of the creation of the universe, and that this end in its operation and progress is the Divine Providence for the salvation of men; and also that all things which are external to man and which are serviceable for his use are secondary ends of creation; and these in short have relation to all things that exist in the three kingdoms, the animal, the vegetable and the mineral. When the things in these kingdoms constantly proceed according to the laws of Divine order established at their first creation, how can the primary end, which is the salvation of the human race, fail to proceed constantly according to the laws of its order, which are the laws of the Divine Providence?

grd736[2] Just observe a fruit tree. It first springs from a tiny seed as a slender shoot, and afterwards gradually grows to a stem and spreads forth branches which are then covered with leaves. It later puts forth flowers and bears fruit, depositing therein new seeds by which it provides for its perpetuity; and it is the same with every shrub and herb of the field. Do not all things therein, in general and in particular, proceed constantly and wonderfully from one end in view to another according to the laws of their own order? Why then should not the primary end, which is a heaven from the human race, proceed in a similar manner? Can there be anything in the course of its progress which does not proceed with unfailing constancy according to the laws of the Divine Providence?

[3] As there is a correspondence between the life of man and the growth of a tree, draw a parallel or comparison between them. In the language of comparison man's infancy is like the tender shoot of a tree springing out of the earth from the seed; and his childhood and youth are like the shoot growing up to a stem with its little branches. Natural truths which everyone first acquires are like the leaves with which the branches are covered, for leaves in the Word signify these truths. Man's first steps in the marriage of good and truth, that is, the spiritual marriage, are like the flowers which the tree puts forth in the spring-time, and spiritual truths are the petals of these flowers. The earliest results of the spiritual marriage are like the beginnings of the fruit, while spiritual goods, which are the goods of charity, are like the fruit; and these are signified by fruit in the Word. Wisdom's offspring from love resembles the seed, and by such offspring man becomes as a garden and a paradise. Moreover, man is described in the Word by a tree, and his wisdom from love by a garden. This is what is signified by the Garden of Eden.

[4] Man, indeed, is a corrupt tree from the seed; but, nevertheless, there is possible a grafting or budding with shoots taken from the Tree of Life, by which the sap drawn up from the old root is turned into sap forming good fruit. This comparison is made in order that it may be known that when there is so constant a progression of the Divine Providence in the development and regeneration of trees there must be a constant progression in the reformation and regeneration of men, who are of much more value than trees, as we read in these words of the Lord:

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God:
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows....
Which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
Consider the lilies how they grow....
If then God so clothe the grass, which is to-day in the field, and to-morrow Is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith? Luke xii. 6, 7; 25-28. [DP332]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

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