INSECTS >> Affection for Superficial and Trifling Thoughts
BEES >> Rationalizations of the Natural Man
FLIES >> Falsities, LOCUSTS >> Falsities of the Sensual Man,
MOTHS >> Falsities and evil in the extreme borders of the Natural Mind
The great variety of little creatures come to mind, crawling, flying, buzzing. There are caterpillars which eat the green leaves so greedily, which afterward hide away in chrysalis or cocoon, and by and by fly about as bright butterflies or moths, sipping sweetness from the flowers. There are the hungry locusts and grasshoppers which have less beauty, and which in some countries come in clouds devouring every green thing. There are the industrious bees which fly about with their busy hum gathering honey for their hives. There are flies which are attracted in swarms to any sweetness or to any unclean thing. There are stinging and biting creatures too, which annoy us and exhaust our patience.
The most highly developed insects, in their mature state, have wings and remind us of the birds as they flit about among the flowers. But they are much less noble creatures than birds; they are feeble things and not highly organized; they seldom fly high, but are attracted from one object to another, and are much at the mercy of the winds. The birds correspond to the affections for thinking spiritually; for thinking of human life and the principles which relate to it. The insects must also correspond to affections for thinking, but of the most trifling kind. A thousand thoughts flit through the mind, suggested by what we see and hear, turning lightly from one attractive object to another, or blown here and there as if by chance. Thoughts of this kind, closely connected with the impressions of the senses, are first developed in little children, and they are plenty in our minds. (AE 543) Some of these thoughts are lovely; some are vile. Some, like insects which will not be driven away from the sweet they love, persist in keeping before the mind a fascinating scene, or a tune which we have heard. The trifling enjoyments in thinking of these passing impressions, are the insects of the mind. (AC 9331, 7441) The insects are food alike for birds and fishes and serpents. So the thoughts springing from the impressions of the senses may give rise to spiritual thoughts, or may be mere Matters of scientific interest, or may minister to the love of sensual pleasure. Thoughts of beauty, for example, silently spoken by the flowers, may minister to spiritual thoughts of the sweet graces of human character and of the perfect goodness of the Lord; or they may be valued only as increasing our knowledge of certain species of plants; or they may simply gratify our love for pleasant impressions.
In a general way it is easy to classify these insect thoughts. Some of them delight in beauty. They love to see and recall the beauties of nature or of art, or beauties of speech and manner. They delight to picture even the outward beauties of heaven. Such affections for thinking of beauty are lovely mental insects. They seem like butterflies and moths which in their colors express such pure delight.
You know that most insects go through stages of development before they gain their wings, often beginning life under water or in the ground. Even the butterfly at first was only a caterpillar. Then he could not fly, but was busy eating and growing, preparing for his more free and happy state. So if we wish to enjoy the highest beauties in painting or music or nature, or of any kind, a season of patient study and usually also a season of rest and silent growth, very like the hungry caterpillar and the quiet chrysalis, must come first. The change from the caterpillar to the butterfly is to every one a symbol of resurrection. Strictly, it pictures the change from the stage when from desire to enjoy beauty or grace of some kind we diligently study and practice it, to the stage when the enjoyment of it is spontaneous. The grandest example of this change is in our going from earth to heaven. (TCR 106, 12)
It is interesting to remember that silk, the beautiful material which we use for clothing, is supplied us by one of these little creatures which represent our enjoyment in thoughts about grace and beauty. Our enjoyment in thoughts of what is naturally beautiful and graceful finds its highest use in furnishing lovely clothing for the spiritual life. (AE 619, 1144; AR 773; AC 7601)
Think next of bees. "Busy bees" we call them, humming about from flower to flower, loading themselves with pollen and honey and flying in a "bee line " for the hive, there to leave their burden and return for more. They show their abhorrence of idleness by stinging to death the drones. They show a wonderful instinct for system and order in the regularity of their combs, and in the government of their hives. (TCR 12) Contrasted with the butterflies, the bees are built for work, while the butterflies are formed for beauty. The bees picture the enjoyment not in thoughts of beauty but in thoughts of order and of practical usefulness. Flowers are signs of approaching fruits, which represent good works. (Chapter xxi) In these the mental bee finds sweetness. He is impatient with disorder and indolence, and has a sting ready for every drone or for any one who interferes with his business. (AE 619)
You will at once think of other insects - wasps and hornets - which are less noble than bees, and seem really to enjoy giving pain with their stings. And is there an enjoyment - evil, of course - in seeing the weak points in others and reproaching them in a way to cause them pain' It is "waspish " to take such delight in causing pain, especially when it is done by petty misrepresentations. (AC 9331)
Then there are the flies, which linger so persistently about sweetness, and gather also about everything unclean! Plainly they picture the enjoyment of the thought in hovering about some pleasant scene, till perhaps it interferes sadly with our usefulness; or in dwelling upon some evil and unclean thing in spite of our persistent efforts to drive it away. (AC 7441)
There are locusts too, large brown grasshoppers we should call them, which in some countries are so destructive. When their army is devouring, it is said that the sound of their jaws can be heard a long way off. Locusts have not the beauty of butterflies; they have not the order and busy usefulness of bees, but enjoy eating every growing thing, almost, it seems, for the sake of destroying. They are however used as an article of food by the poorer people in the countries where they are plenty. These hungry creatures picture the enjoyment of seeing and hearing all that is going on - an enjoyment innocently active in children and becoming almost a passion with some people. The thoughts formed from these hastily gathered impressions are very superficial and are usually untrue, but the mental locust is content, for he has no real desire for truth. Locusts and grasshoppers are many times mentioned in the Bible, and they always correspond to affections for thinking in a superficial way, from the mere appearance of things, sometimes with a good purpose, but more often for the sake of perverting the real truth. (AE 543; AC 7643; AR 424)
In Isaiah, contrasting men with the Lord, it is said: "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers." (Isa. xl. 22) It is especially the littleness and superficialness of man's thoughts which is contrasted with the Lord's perfect wisdom. (AE 543)
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left." (Exod. x. 12-15) Remember that the plague's of Egypt were but outward expressions of the spiritual state of people who care only for natural knowledge and natural pleasures. The locusts, which darkened the land and devoured every green thing, picture the affection for thinking from mere impressions of the senses, which destroys all real intelligence. (AE 543; A. C- 7643; AR 424, 430; TCR 635) Much the same is meant by locusts in the Revelation. Smoke was seen arising from the bottomless 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." (Rev. ix. 2-7)
We read of John the Baptist, that "his meat was locusts and wild honey." (Matt. iii. 4) John, we know, taught the plain rules of right and wrong from the letter of the Word. The locusts which were his food represent the affection for learning and thinking these external, superficial truths of heavenly life. Here we have the locusts in their best sense. (AE 543, 619; AC 9372, 7643)
The wild honey takes us back to the bees, which are affections for simple thoughts of busy, orderly, economical usefulness. The honey which John ate represents the sweetness of the thoughts of usefulness from the letter of the Word. Honey is very often mentioned in the Bible; and it means the pleasantness of simple thoughts in regard to usefulness. (AC 5620; AE 61g) "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Ps. cxix. 103) The words of the Lord are compared to honey because they afford such abundance of sweet thoughts of use. (AE 619) The land of Canaan is called "a land flowing with milk and honey." (Exod. iii. 8) Canaan represents a heavenly state of life. Milk, we remember, is instruction in practical uses, and honey, we now see, is the pleasantness of simple thoughts of use. (AC 6857; AE 619) We are reminded of the honey found by Samson in the carcass of the lion. (Judges xiv. 5-9) It represents the enjoyment of thoughts about sweet uses of charity, which refreshes the soul when with the Lord's help the persuasion that empty faith is salvation has been overcome. (AE 619; see Chapter xvi)
Author: WILLIAM WORCESTER 1897
And Jehovah said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo he goeth forth unto the waters; and say unto him, Thus saith Jehovah, Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if thou let not My people go, behold I send against thee, and against thy servants, and against thy people, and into thy houses, the noisome fly; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with the noisome fly, and also the land whereon they are. And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, upon which My people stands, that no noisome fly be there; to the end that thou mayest know that I am Jehovah in the midst of the land. And I will set redemption between My people and thy people; unto the morrow shall this sign be. And Jehovah did so; and there came the grievous noisome fly into the house of Pharaoh, and into the house of his servants, and into all the land of Egypt; the land was destroyed from before the noisome fly. "And Jehovah said unto Moses" signifies instruction again; "Rise up early in the morning" signifies elevation to a still greater sign of power; "and stand before Pharaoh" signifies the appearance of the Divine to those who are in evils; "lo he goeth forth to the waters" signifies that from these evils they again think falsities; "and say unto him, Thus saith Jehovah" signifies command; "Let My people go, that they may serve Me" signifies that they should leave those who are of the spiritual church in order that they may worship their God in freedom; "for if thou let not My people go" signifies if they would not release them; "behold I send against thee, and against thy servants, and against thy people, and into thy houses, the noisome fly" signifies that they would have malevolent falsity in all things and in each; "and the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with the noisome fly, and also the land whereon they are" signifies that the falsities of malevolence will take possession of all things of the natural mind; "and I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, upon which My people stands, that no noisome fly be there" signifies that they shall not be able to infest by falsities of malevolence those who are of the spiritual church, although they will be near them; "to the end that thou mayest know that I am Jehovah in the midst of the land" signifies a consequent noticing that the Lord is the only God of the church; "and I will set redemption between My people and thy people" signifies the liberation of those who are of the spiritual church from those who are near in the hells; "unto the morrow shall this sign be" signifies the manifestation of Divine power from this forever; "and Jehovah did so" signifies that as said, so it was done; "and there came the grievous noisome fly into the house of Pharaoh, and into the house of his servants, and into all the land of Egypt" signifies that malevolent falsities burst forth from all sides among them; "the land was destroyed from before the noisome fly" signifies that the natural mind was corrupted in respect to truth. [AC 7433]
Behold I send against thee, and against thy servants, and against thy people, and into thy houses, the noisome fly. That this signifies that they would have the falsity of malevolence in all things and in each, is evident from the signification of 'Pharaoh, his servants, and his people,' as being all things and each that belong to the natural mind (n. 7396), and as ?into thy houses? is added, there is also signified into the interiors of this mind (n. 7407); and from the signification of 'the noisome fly,' as being the falsities of that evil which was signified by the portent which precedes, thus the falsities of malevolence. What falsities, therefore, and of what kind, are here signified by 'the noisome fly,' is clear from the evils from which these falsities come. These evils were the evils that are in the outermost parts of the natural mind, thus that are in the sensuous, (n. 7419); and the falsities that are from these evils are of the same kind, and are the falsities which are signified also by the 'flies of Egypt' in Isaiah:--
It shall come to pass in that day, that Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Asshur; and they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the rivers of desolations and in the clefts of the rocks (Isa. 7:18, 19);
here 'the fly in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt' denotes the falsities that are in the outermost parts of the natural mind, thus that are in the sensuous nearest the body. These falsities are compared to such an insect, because the things in this part of the mind are like insects flying in the air, obscuring interior things and also inflicting injury on them; for they are mostly imaginary, and are fallacies, the reasonings from which are like castles in the air. The 'noisome fly' of this kind is mentioned only in (Ps. 78:45; 105:31), where Egypt is also spoken of. Be it known that all the flying things mentioned in the Word signify things of the intellect, and consequently truths, and in the opposite sense falsities (n. 40, 745, 776, 778, 866, 988, 3219, 5149); but flying things of the lowest sort, which are insects, signify truths and in the opposite sense falsities, which are more ignoble and obscure in proportion as they belong to the sensuous, for unless these things are in total obscurity and darkness, being next the body, and consequently near to earthly things, where heavenly things terminate, and are immersed in thick darkness. [AC 7441]
Behold to-morrow I bring the locust into thy border. That this signifies that falsity will take possession of their extremes, is evident from the signification of 'the locust,' as being falsities in the extremes; from the signification of 'border,' as being the extremes; and from the signification of 'bringing,' because predicated of falsity, as being to take possession of. It is said that 'Jehovah will bring,' but thereby is meant that it will be brought, that is, by evil. The case is the same here as when it is attributed to Jehovah (that is, to the Lord) that He made heavy Pharaoh's heart, when yet this is from man, from his evil in him, as shown above (n. 7632). That evil is not from the Lord, but that it arises from man, is because man turns to himself that good which flows in from the Lord, and instead of regarding the Lord and what is of the Lord in all things, he regards himself. Hence comes the concupiscence of reigning over all, and of possessing all that belongs to others; and hence come contempt for others, and hatred, revenge, and cruelty toward those who do not favor and be friendly to one's self; hence also comes contempt for all things that are of faith and charity, because when these flow in from the Lord they are turned to self, thus away from the Lord.
 From all this it can be seen that man turns into evil the very good which flows in from the Lord. From this also it is that the evil in the other life remove as far as possible from heaven; for when heaven comes near them, that is, when good and truth flow in more strongly, they then rush the more strongly into the opposite, that is, into evil and falsity; and in the degree that evil and falsity increase, they expel truth from themselves, and devastate themselves; and then also in the same degree they rush into the evils of penalty, for in the other life evils and their penalties are joined together.
 The Lord is continually bringing the heavens into order, and is constantly receiving new residents of heaven, to whom He gives dwelling places and inheritances; and when He does this, heaven approaches, that is, flows in more strongly, causing the infernal spirits to rush more strongly into evils and falsities, and into the penalties of these; and in consequence of this rushing into evils and falsities, they as before said vastate themselves; and this does not cease with them until they have completely devastated themselves, and cast themselves deeply into the hells. From all this it can be seen that nothing else than good proceeds from the Lord, and that the evil is from those themselves who are in evil. All this shows how is to be understood what is said of Jehovah (that is, of the Lord), that 'He made heavy Pharaoh's heart,' and here that 'He brings the locust,' by which is signified falsity from evil in the extremes.
 In the Word, where the vastation of the evil is treated of, mention is sometimes made of the 'locust' and of the 'caterpillar,' and by the 'locust' in the internal sense is there meant the falsity which vastates the extremes. For as before shown, the natural with man is interior and exterior; the falsity which is in the extremes of the natural, being meant by the 'locust,' and the evil therein by the 'caterpillar.' As by the 'locust' is meant the falsity which is in the extremes of the natural, therefore it is said that the locust would be brought 'into the border,' and would 'cover the surface of the earth;' and afterward (verse 14), 'the locust went up upon the land of Egypt, and rested in all the border of Egypt, and it covered the surface of the whole land.' By the 'border' and by the 'surface' are signified the extremes and ultimates in which the interiors rest, that is, terminate.
 The same is meant by the 'locust' and the 'caterpillar' in David:--
He sent among them swarms, which consumed them; and the frog, which destroyed them; and He gave their produce to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust (Ps. 78:45, 46).
He said that the locust should come, and the caterpillar, so that there was no number (Ps. 105:34).
These things are said of Egypt, and the 'caterpillar' is mentioned, although there is no mention made of it in Moses, but only of the 'locust.' The reason why the 'caterpillar' also is mentioned, is that by it is signified evil; and by the 'locust' falsity; each in the extremes of the natural. But when the 'locust' alone is mentioned, it signifies both falsity and evil together, for the 'locust' denotes falsity from evil.
 In Nahum:--
There shall the fire devour thee, the sword shall cut thee off, it shall devour thee like the caterpillar; multiply thyself like the caterpillar, multiply thyself like the locust. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of the heavens; the caterpillar hath spread himself, and hath flown away. Thy crowned ones are as the locust, thy commanders are as the locust of the locusts (Nahum 3:15-17);
the subject here treated of is the 'city of bloods,' by which is signified the doctrine of falsity; and because falsity and evil are especially multiplied in the extremes of the natural, for therein are the fallacies of the senses that originate from the objects of the world, and of the earth, and also pleasures from various kinds of appetites, therefore the multiplication of evil and falsity is also described by 'the caterpillar and the locust,' as also in (Judges 6:5; 7:12; Jeremiah 46:23). The sensuous, which is the lowest of the natural, is very full of fallacies and the derivative falsities, (n. 5084, 5089, 5094, 6310, 6311, 6313, 6318, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6948, 6949).
 In Joel:--
That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust devoured; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm devoured; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar devoured. Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, in that it is cut off. For a nation will come up upon My land, strong, and without number, and will reduce My vine into a waste, and My fig-tree into froth (Joel 1:4-7).
The threshing-floors are full of pure grain, and the vats overflow with new wine and oil; and I will compensate to you the years that the locust hath consumed, the cankerworm, the caterpillar, and the palmerworm (Joel 2:24, 25);
where the 'locust' denotes falsity in the extremes vastating truths and goods. In Moses:--
Thou shalt bring out much seed into the field, but shalt gather little, because the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, but thou shalt neither drink the wine, nor gather; for the worm shall devour it (Deut. 28:38, 39);
where the 'locust' denotes falsity from evil.
8] In John:--
Out of the smoke of the opened abyss there went forth locusts on the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power; and it was said unto them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any tree, but only such men as had not the seal of God upon their foreheads; and it was given them that they should not kill them, but should torment them five months; and the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared for war; and upon their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as it were the faces of men; and they had hair as the hair of women; and their teeth were as the teeth of lions; and they had breastplates, as it were of lion; and the voice of their wings was as the voice of the chariots of many horses running to war; and they had tails like scorpions; and stings were in their tails, that they might hurt men five months. They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in the Greek he hath the name Apollyon (Rev. 9:3-11);
what is signified by all these things no one can see except from the internal sense. From the details clearly seen therein according to the internal sense, it is evident that by 'locusts' are there signified reasonings from fallacies and the falsities thence derived, also confirmed by philosophical things. Thus also by the 'locusts' are signified the falsities which are in the extremes with man, and which are more earthly and corporeal than all other falsities; and by which man may be easily deceived and seduced, for he apprehends what is obvious to the senses, and with difficulty what is opposed to the senses.
 That it may be known that such is the signification of 'locusts,' the contents of this passage may be set forth in detail. The 'abyss out of which the locusts came up' denotes hell; the 'grass of the earth which they were not to hurt' denotes memory-knowledge; the 'tree' denotes the knowledges of good and truth; the 'men' denote the affections of good; their 'hurting these, and not the grass of the earth and the tree,' denotes that truth and good can be understood although the life is not in accordance therewith; 'they who have the seal upon their foreheads' denotes those who have been regenerated; their 'tormenting five months those who had not the seal of God upon their foreheads' denotes that they should vastate them; that 'the locusts were like horses prepared for war,' denotes reasonings from falsities, whereby there is combat against the truths of the church; 'crowns upon their heads like gold, and their faces as men's faces,' denotes that the reasonings appear like truth, and as it were from good; 'hair as of women, and teeth as the teeth of lions,' denotes the external things of the natural, that is, sensuous things, or the fallacies therein, which make an appearance of good; 'breastplates of iron' denote external things which make an appearance of truth; 'the voice of the wings like that of the chariots of many horses running to war,' denotes the falsities of doctrine from which and for which they fight; 'tails like scorpions and stings in their tails' denote the harm which such things bring; the 'king of the abyss' denotes infernal falsity; 'Abaddon' denotes perdition; 'Apollyon' denotes reasoning from falsities appearing as from truth, especially if by those who are believed wise it is confirmed by philosophical things wrongly applied, for the blind admiration of their wisdom leads to faith in them.
 By the 'locust' in a good sense is signified ultimate and most general truth, and also its pleasantness; hence John's food was 'locusts and wild honey' (Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6). These were his food for the reason that John represented the Word, and by his food, as also by his clothing which was of camel's hair with a leathern girdle, he represented the Word in the external sense, for external pleasantness is signified by the 'locust and wild honey' (n. 5620); and external truth by the 'garment of camel's hair' and by the 'leathern girdle' (n. 3301). Hence it is that by John is meant Elias, who was to come and announce the advent of the Lord. 'Elias' denotes the Word, (n. 2135a, 2762, 5247). Locusts are among the small animals to be eaten, (Lev. 11:22). [AC7643]
And I will send the hornet before thee. That this signifies the dread felt by those who are in the falsities of evil, is evident from the signification of 'hornets,' as being stinging and deadly falsities, and hence such as excite dread. 'Terror' is predicated of those who are in evils; and 'dread' of those who are in falsities. As regards the terror of the former, (n. 9327). That 'hornets' signify the dread felt by those who are in falsities, is because they are winged, and furnished with stings, with which they inflict poisoned wounds. For both the larger and the smaller animals signify such things as are of the affections, that is, which bear relation to the will; or else they signify such things as are of the thoughts, that is, which bear relation to the understanding. For all things whatsoever in man bear relation either to his will or to his understanding; and those things which bear no relation either to the one or to the other are not in the man, thus are not of the man. Those animals which walk, and also those which creep, signify the affections in both senses; thus goods or evils, for these are of the affections. But those animals which fly, and also winged insects, signify such things as are of the thoughts in both senses; thus truths or falsities, for these are of the thoughts. That 'animals' signify goods, or evils, see (n. 9280); that 'creeping things' signify the same in the external sensuous, (n. 746, 909, 994); that 'flying things' signify truths or falsities, (n. 40, 745, 776, 778, 866, 988, 3219, 5149, 7441); consequently winged insects signify the like things, but in man's extremes.
 But the falsities now treated of are of many kinds: there are falsities which do not injure, there are falsities which injure slightly, there are those which injure grievously, and there are also those which kill. Their kind is known from the evils they spring from; for every falsity that injures, or kills, springs from evil; because falsity from evil is evil appearing in a form. Moreover in the other life, when such falsities are represented in a visible form, they appear as a swarm of insects and of unclean flying things, the appearance of which is terrible according to the kind of evil from which they spring. From all this it is evident why 'hornets' signify the dread felt by those who are in the falsities of evil. In like manner in Deuteronomy:--
Jehovah thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and those hidden before thee, perish (Deut. 7:20).
 In the Word throughout mention is made of insects of various kinds, and they everywhere signify falsities or evils in the extremes (that is, in man's external sensuous), which are evils and falsities arising from the fallacies of the senses, and from various pleasures and appetites in the body, which seduce by their allurements and their appearances, and cause the rational to assent, and thus to be immersed in falsities from evil. That falsities of this kind are signified by the 'noisome flies' of Egypt, (n. 7441); likewise by the 'locusts' there, (n. 7643); and that by the 'frogs' of Egypt are signified reasonings from falsities, (n. 7351, 7352, 7384); by the 'lice' there, evils of the same kind, (n. 7419); and that by 'worms' are signified falsities which consume and torment, (n. 8481).
 Such evils and falsities are also signified by insects of various kinds in the following passages. In Isaiah:--
It shall come to pass in that day that Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. And they shall all come and rest in the river of desolations and in the clefts of the rocks, and in all shrubs (Isa. 7:18, 19);
the subject here treated of is the coming of the Lord, and the state of the church at that time. 'The fly in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt' denotes falsity in the extremes, that is, in man's external sensuous (n. 7441); 'the bee in the land of Assyria' denotes the falsity which perverts the reasonings of the mind, for 'Assyria' denotes reasoning (n. 1186); 'the river of desolations' denotes falsity reigning everywhere; 'the clefts of the rock' denote the truths of faith in obscurity, because removed from the light of heaven (n. 8581) the 'shrubs' denote nascent truths of a similar kind (n. 2682).
I have smitten you with blasting and mildew; your many gardens, and your vineyards, and your fig-trees, and your olive-trees, hath the caterpillar devoured (Amos 4:9).
That which the caterpillar hath left shall the locust eat; and that which the locust hath left shall the cankerworm eat; and that which the cankerworm hath left shall the bruchus eat. Awake, ye drunkards; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the must which is cut off from your mouth (Joel 1:4, 5).
The floors are full of clean grain, the presses overflow with must and oil. And I will compensate to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the bruchus, and the caterpillar, My great army which I have sent among you (Joel 2:24, 25).
That falsities and evils in the extremes-that is, in the external sensuous of the man of the church-are signified by the kinds of insects here mentioned, is evident from these various expressions, for the subject treated of is the perversion of the truth and good of the church. What is signified by the 'locust' and the 'bruchus,' (n. 7643). 'Gardens,' 'vineyards,' 'fig-trees,' 'olive-trees,' 'wine,' and 'must,' which are destroyed by such insects, are signified the goods and truths of the church in general, has often been shown in these explications).
 In David:--
He made frogs to creep forth in their land, in the chambers of their kings He said that there should come filthy swarms, lice in all their border (Ps. 105:30, 31);
speaking of Egypt, what is meant by the 'frogs' there, (n. 7351, 7352, 7384); and what by the 'lice,' (n. 7419). In Moses:--
Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but thou shalt not drink the wine, nor gather, for the worm shall eat it (Deut. 28:39);
'the worm' denotes all such falsity and evil in general.
 In Isaiah:--
Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings; for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the blatta shall eat them like wool (Isa. 51:7, 8);
'the moth' denotes the falsities in man's extremes; and 'the blatta,' the-evils therein; for 'the garment which the moth shall eat' signifies the lower or more external truths which belong to the sensuous of man (n. 2576, 5248, 6377, 6918, 9158, 9212), and 'the wool which the blatta shall eat' signifies the lower or more external goods which belong to the sensuous of man, as is evident from many passages, and also from the signification of 'a sheep,' from which wool comes, as being the good of charity (n. 4169). What, and of what quality, are the extremes of the natural man, which are called his sensuous things, (n. 4009, 5077, 5081, 5089, 5094, 5125, 5128, 5580, 5767, 5774, 6183, 6201, 6310-6318, 6564, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949, 7442, 7645, 7693, 9212, 9216). [AC 9331]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)