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That holy things are signified by "seven" is evident from what has been said before respecting the seventh day, or the sabbath (n. 84-87), namely, that the Lord is the seventh day; and that from Him every celestial church, or celestial man, is a seventh day, and indeed the celestial itself, which is most holy because it is from the Lord alone. For this reason, in the Word, "seven" signifies what is holy; and in fact, as here, in the internal sense partakes not at all of the idea of number. For they who are in the internal sense, as angels and angelic spirits are, do not even know what number is, and therefore not what seven is. Therefore it is not meant here that seven pairs were to be taken of all the clean beasts; or that there was so much of good in proportion to evil as seven to two; but that the things of the will with which this man of the church was furnished were goods, which are holy, whereby he could be regenerated, as was said above.
 That "seven" signifies what is holy, or holy things, is evident from the rituals in the representative church, wherein the number seven so frequently occurs. For example, they were to sprinkle of the blood and the oil seven times, as related in Leviticus:
Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them; and he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its vessels, to sanctify them (Lev. 8:10-11).
Here "seven times" would be entirely without significance if what is holy were not thus represented. And in another place: When Aaron came into the holy place it is said: He shall take of the blood of the bullock and sprinkle with his finger upon the faces of the mercy seat toward the east; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times (Lev. 16:14).
And so at the altar:
He shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and sanctify it (Lev. 16:19).
The particulars here, each and all, signify the Lord Himself, and therefore the holy of love; that is to say, the "blood" the "mercy seat" and also the "altar" and the "east" toward which the blood was to be sprinkled, and therefore also "seven."
 And likewise in the sacrifices, of which in Leviticus:
If a soul shall sin through error, and if the anointed priest shall sin so as to bring guilt on the people, he shall slay the bullock before Jehovah, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before Jehovah, toward the veil of the sanctuary (Lev. 4:2-3, 6).
Here in like manner "seven" signifies what is holy; because the subject treated of is expiation, which is of the Lord alone, and therefore the subject treated of is the Lord. Similar rites were also instituted in respect to the cleansing of leprosy, concerning which in Leviticus:
Of the blood of the bird, with cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop, the priest shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall make him clean. In like manner he was to sprinkle of the oil that was upon the palm of his left hand seven times before Jehovah. And so in a house where there was leprosy, he was to take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and with the blood of the bird sprinkle seven times (Lev. 14:6-7, 27, 51).Here anyone may see that there is nothing at all in the "cedar wood" the "scarlet" the "oil" the "blood of a bird" nor yet in "seven" except from the fact that they are representative of holy things. Take away from them what is holy, and all that remains is dead, or profanely idolatrous. But when they signify holy things there is Divine worship therein, which is internal, and is only represented by the externals. The Jews indeed could not know what these things signified; nor does anyone at the present day know what was signified by the "cedar wood" the "hyssop" the "scarlet" and the "bird." But if they had only been willing to think that holy things were involved which they did not know, and so had worshiped the Lord, or the Messiah who was to come, who would heal them of their leprosy-that is, of their profanation of holy things-they might have been saved. For they who so think and believe are at once instructed in the other life, if they desire, as to what each and all things represented.
 And in like manner it was commanded respecting the red heifer:
The priest shall take of her blood with his finger and sprinkle of her blood toward the face of the tent of meeting seven times (Num. 19:4).
As the "seventh day" or "sabbath" signified the Lord, and from Him the celestial man, and the celestial itself, the seventh day in the Jewish Church was of all religious observances the most holy; and hence came the "sabbath of sabbath" in the seventh year (Lev. 25:4), and the "jubilee" that was proclaimed after the seven sabbaths of years, or after seven times seven years (25:8-9). That in the highest sense "seven" signifies the Lord, and hence the holy of love, is evident also from the golden candlestick and its seven lamps (concerning which in Exod. 25:31-33, 37; 37:17-19, 23; Num. 8:2, 3; Zech. 4:2) and of which it is thus written by John:
Seven golden lampstands; and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like unto the Son of man (Rev. 1:12-13).
It very clearly appears in this passage that the "lampstand with the seven lamps" signifies the Lord, and that the "lamps" are the holy things of love, or celestial things; and therefore they were "seven."
 And again:
Out of the throne went forth seven torches of fire, burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God (Rev. 4:5)
Here the "seven torches" that went forth out of the throne of the Lord are the seven lights, or lamps. The same is signified wherever the number "seven" occurs in the Prophets, as in Isaiah:
The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah bindeth up the breach of His people (Isa. 30:26).
Here the "sevenfold light, as the light of seven days" does not signify sevenfold, but the holy of the love signified by the "sun." See also what was said and shown above respecting the number "seven" (chapter 4, verse 15). From all this again it is clearly evident that whatever numbers are used in the Word never mean numbers (as was also shown before, chapter 6:3). [AC716]
John to the seven churches, signifies to all who are in the Christian world where the Word is, and by it the Lord is known, and who draw near to the church. By the "seven churches" are not meant seven churches, but all who are of the church in the Christian world; for numbers, in the Word, signify things, and "seven," all things and all, and thence, also, what is full and perfect, and it occurs in the Word where anything holy is treated of, and in the opposite sense, of anything profane; consequently, this number involves what is holy, and, in the opposite sense, what is profane. The reason why numbers signify things, or rather resemble certain adjectives to substantives adding some quality to the things, is, because number is, in itself, natural; for natural things are determined by numbers, but spiritual things by things and their states. Therefore, he who does not know the signification of numbers in the Word, and especially in Revelation, cannot know the many arcana which are contained therein. Now, since "seven" signifies all things and all, it may appear that by the "seven churches" are meant all who are in the Christian world where the Word is, and by it the Lord is known. These, if they live according to the Lord's precepts in the Word, make the church itself.
 Hence it is that the Sabbath was instituted on the seventh day, and the seventh year was called the sabbatical year; and the seven times seventh year the Jubilee, by which was signified everything holy in the church: for this cause, also, a week, in Daniel, and elsewhere, signifies an entire period from beginning to end, and is predicated of the church. Similar things are signified by seven in the following passages, as by:
The seven golden lampstands, in the midst of which was the Son of Man (Rev. 1:13).
The seven stars in his right hand (Rev. 1:16, 20).
The seven spirits of God (Rev. 1:4; 4:5).
The seven lamps of fire (Rev. 4:5).
The seven angels, to whom were given seven trumpets (Rev. 8:2).
The seven angels having the seven last plagues (Rev. 15:5-6).
The seven vials full of the seven last plagues (Rev. 16:1; 21:9).
The seven seals with which the book was sealed (Rev. 5:1).
In like manner in the following places that:
Their hands should be filled seven days (Exod. 29:35).
They should be sanctified seven days (Exod. 29:37).
When they were consecrated they should go clothed in the garments of holiness seven days (Exod. 29:30).
They were not to go out of the door of the tent seven days, when they were initiated into the priesthood (Lev. 8:33, 35).
An atonement was to be made seven times upon the horns of the altar (Lev. 16:18-19).
The altar was to be sanctified with oil seven times (Lev. 8:11).
The blood was to be sprinkled seven times before the veil (Lev. 4:16-17).
And also seven times toward the east (Lev. 16:12-15.)
The water of separation was to be sprinkled seven times towards the tent (Num. 19:4).
The passover was celebrated seven days; and unleavened bread was eaten seven days (Exod. 12:15; Deut. 16:4-7).
In like manner:
The Jews were to be punished seven times more for their sins (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28).
Wherefore David says:
Recompense unto our neighbor sevenfold into their bosom (Ps. 79:12).
 Sevenfold is fully. Likewise in these places:
The sayings of Jehovah are pure sayings, silver purified in the furnace seven times (Ps. 12:6).
The hungry ceased, so that the barren hath borne seven, but she that hath many children lacketh (1 Sam. 2:5).
"The barren" is the church of the Gentiles, who had not the Word; "she that hath many children" is the church of the Jews, who had the Word.
She who had borne seven languisheth, she shall breathe out her soul (Jer. 15:9).
In like manner:
They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall set on fire and burn up the arms, and they shall kindle them with fire seven years: they shall bury Gog, and seven months shall they be cleansing the land (Ezek. 39:9, 11-12).
The unclean spirit will take with him seven other spirits worse than himself (Matt. 12:45).
Profanation is here described, and by "the seven spirits" with which he would return, are signified all the falsities of evil; thus the plenary extinction of good and truth. By "the seven heads of the dragon," and "the seven diadems upon his heads" (Rev. 12:3), is signified the profanation of all good and truth. From these things it is evident, that "seven" involves what is holy or profane, and signifies all and full. [AR10]
That "seven" signifies an entire period from beginning to end, thus what is full, is evident from many passages in the Word. In Isaiah:
The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah shall bind up the breach of His people (Isa. 30:26);
The subject here treated of is the salvation of the faithful, and their intelligence and wisdom in the Lord's kingdom. The "moon" denotes faith from the Lord, thus faith in the Lord; and the "sun," love from the Lord, thus love to the Lord (see n. 30-38, 1521, 1529, 1531, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4321, 4696, 5377, 7078, 7083, 7171, 8644); "the light of the sun being sevenfold, as the light of seven days" denotes a full state of intelligence and wisdom from love and faith in the Lord.
 In Ezekiel:
They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shield and the buckler, with the bow and with the arrows, and with the handstaff and with the spear; they shall kindle fire with them seven years; so that they shall bring no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; and they shall cleanse the land seven months (Ezek. 39:9, 12);
the subject here treated of is the destruction of falsity. The "weapons" here enumerated denote the falsities by means of which the evil fight against the truths of the church; "to kindle fire with them seven years" signifies complete destruction through the cupidities of the loves of self and of the world; that "they shall bring no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests" signifies until nothing of good remains, either in the interior or in the exterior man; "to cleanse the land seven months" signifies the complete restoration of good and truth in the church. It has already been shown in many places that "weapons" denote truths fighting against falsities, and in the opposite sense falsities fighting against truths; that "bows with arrows" denote doctrinal things of truth, and in the opposite sense doctrinal things of falsity; that a "handstaff" denotes the power of truth, and in the opposite sense the power of falsity; that "to set on fire and burn" denotes to lay waste through the cupidities of the loves of self and of the world; that "wood out of the field" denotes the interior goods of the church, and "wood out of the forests" the memory-knowledges of good and truth; and that "the land" denotes the church. Everyone can see that other things are here signified than those which appear in the letter, as that they should burn the weapons and kindle a fire with them seven years, and that they should bring no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests. Yet we know that holy and Divine things must be signified, because the Word is holy and from the Divine; but what holy and Divine things are contained in these words cannot possibly be known, unless it is known what is signified by "weapons," what by "seven years" and by "seven months," and what by "wood out of the field and wood out of the forests." It is clear therefore that these prophetic words cannot in the least be apprehended without some acquaintance with the internal sense.
 In David:
Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of the judgments of Thy righteousness (Ps. 119:164).
Render unto our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom (Ps. 79:12).
"Sevenfold" denotes to the full. In like manner in Moses, that they should be "punished sevenfold if they transgressed the commandments and the statutes" (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28). He who does not know that "seven" signifies an entire period from beginning to end, consequently what is full, must believe that "seven weeks" signify seven periods of time in the following passage in Daniel:
Know thou and perceive that from the going forth of the Word even unto the restoring and building of Jerusalem, even to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks (Dan. 9:25);
but the "seven weeks even to Messiah the Prince," signify that which is said of the Lord, that He will come "in the fullness of the times," thus they signify an entire period. From this it is evident that "the seven spirits before the throne of God" (Rev. 1:4); the "book sealed with seven seals" (Rev. 5:1); and the "seven angels having seven vials which are the seven last plagues" (Rev. 15:1, 6, 7; 21:9), do not mean seven spirits, nor seven seals, nor seven angels, nor seven vials, nor seven plagues; but all things in fullness. So by "the barren one bearing seven" (1 Sam. 2:5) is not meant seven, but much, even to fullness.
 Because "seven" had such a signification, it was therefore ordained that a priest, at his initiation, should "put on the garments seven days" (Exod. 29:30); that "his hands should be filled seven days" (verses 24, 35); that "the altar should be sanctified seven days" (verse 37); and that "those who were initiated into the priesthood should not go out from the tent for seven days" (Lev. 8:33). In like manner, "when the unclean spirit goeth out of a man and returneth with seven others" (Matt. 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26); "if a brother sin seven times in the day, and seven times turn again, he should be forgiven" (Luke 17:4); and that "the heart of Nebuchadnezzar should be changed from a man's, and a beast's heart be given to him, until seven times had passed over him" (Dan. 4:16, 23, 25). From this also it was that Job's friends "sat down with him upon the earth seven days and seven nights, and spoke nothing unto him" (Job 2:13). (That "seventy" in like manner signifies what is full, see n. 6508; and also a "week," that is, seven days, n. 2044, 3845.) From all this it can now be seen that by "the eighth day" is signified the beginning of the following state. [AC9228]
That "in yet seven days" here signifies the beginning of temptation, is evident from the internal sense of all things mentioned in this verse, in that the temptation of the man called "Noah" is treated of. It treats in general both of his temptation and of the total vastation of those who were of the Most Ancient Church and had become such as has been described. Therefore "in yet seven days" signifies not only the beginning of temptation, but also the end of vastation. The reason why these things are signified by "in yet seven days" is that "seven" is a holy number, as was said and shown before (at verse 2 of this chapter, and in chapter 4:15, 24; and at n. 84-87). "In seven days" signifies the Lord's coming into the world, also His coming into glory, and every coming of the Lord in particular. It is an attendant feature of every coming of the Lord that it is a beginning to those who are being regenerated, and is the end of those who are being vastated. Thus to the man of this church the Lord's coming was the beginning of temptation; for when man is tempted he begins to become a new man and to be regenerated. And at the same time it was the end of those of the Most Ancient Church who had become such that they could not but perish. Just so when the Lord came into the world-the church at that time was in its last state of vastation, and was then made new.
 That these things are signified by "in yet seven days" is evident in Daniel:
Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people, and upon the city of thy holiness, to consummate the transgression, to seal up sins, and to purge away iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of the ages, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies. Know therefore and perceive, from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks (Dan. 9:24-25).
Here "seventy weeks" and "seven weeks" signify the same as "seven days" namely, the coming of the Lord. But as here there is a manifest prophecy, the times are still more sacredly and certainly designated by septenary numbers. It is evident then not only that "seven" thus applied to times signifies the coming of the Lord, but that the beginning also of a new church at that time is signified by the "anointing of the holy of holies" and by Jerusalem being "restored and built." And at the same time the last vastation is signified by the words, "Seventy weeks are decreed upon the city of holiness, to consummate the transgression, and to seal up sins."
 So in other places in the Word, as in Ezekiel, where he says of himself:
I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that sat by the river Chebar, and I sat there astonished among them seven days; and it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of Jehovah came unto me (Ezek. 3:15-16).
Here also "seven days" denote the beginning of visitation; for after seven days, while he sat among those who were in captivity, the word of Jehovah came unto him. Again:
They shall bury Gog, that they may cleanse the land, seven months; at the end of seven months they shall search (Ezek. 39:12, 14).
Here likewise "seven" denotes the last limit of vastation, and the first of visitation. In Daniel:
The heart of Nebuchadnezzar shall they change from man, and the heart of a beast shall be given unto him, and seven times shall pass over him (Dan. 4:16, 25, 32),
denoting in like manner the end of vastation, and the beginning of a new man.
 The "seventy years" of Babylonish captivity represented the same. Whether the number is "seventy" or "seven" it involves the same, be it seven days or seven years, or seven ages which make seventy years. Vastation was represented by the years of captivity; the beginning of a new church by the liberation and the rebuilding of the temple. Similar things were also represented by the service of Jacob with Laban, where these words occur:
I will serve thee seven years for Rachel; and Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and Laban said, Fulfill this week, and I will give thee her also, for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years; and Jacob did so, and fulfilled this week (Gen. 29:18, 20, 27-28).
Here the "seven years" of service involve the same, and also that after the days of seven years came the marriage and freedom. This period of seven years was called a "week" as also in Daniel.
 The same was represented too in the command that they should compass the city of Jericho "seven times" and the wall would then fall down; and it is said that:
On the seventh day they rose with the dawn and compassed the city after the same manner seven times, and it came to pass at the seventh time the seven priests blew the seven trumpets and the wall fell down (Josh. 6:10-20).If these things had not likewise had such a signification, the command that they should compass the city seven times, and that there should be seven priests and seven trumpets would never have been given. From these and many other passages (as Job 2:13; Rev. 15:1, 6-7; 21:9), it is evident that "in seven days" signifies the beginning of a new church, and the end of the old. In the passage before us, as it treats both of the man of the church called "Noah" and his temptation, and of the last posterity of the Most Ancient Church, which destroyed itself, "in yet seven days" can have no other signification than the beginning of Noah's temptation and the end or final devastation and expiration of the Most Ancient Church. [AC728]
And the seven thin and evil kine that came up after them are seven years. That this signifies states of the multiplication of falsity that infests the interior natural, is evident from the signification of "kine," as being in the genuine sense truths in the interior natural (see n. 5198, 5265), but in the opposite sense falsity therein (n. 5202), and therefore the former are called "good" kine, but the latter "thin and evil;" from the signification of "coming up," as being progression toward interior things (n. 5202); and from the signification of "years," as being states (of which just above, n. 5265). As "seven" signifies what is holy, so too in the opposite sense it signifies what is profane; for most of the expressions in the Word have also an opposite sense, and this for the reason that the same things that take place in heaven, on flowing down toward hell, are turned into the opposite things, and actually become opposite. Hence the holy things signified by "seven" there become profane.
 That by "seven" both holy and profane things are signified, may be confirmed from the passages in Revelation alone where seven is mentioned. First, that holy things are signified:
John to the seven churches, Grace and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come; and from the seven spirits that are before His throne (Rev. 1:4).
These things saith He that hath the seven spirits, and the seven stars (Rev. 3:1).
Out of the throne went forth seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God (Rev. 4:5).
I saw upon the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals (Rev. 5:1).
I saw and behold in the midst of the throne stood a Lamb, as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (Rev. 5:6).
To the seven angels were given seven trumpets (Rev. 8:2).
In the days of the voice of the seventh angel the mystery of God should be consummated (Rev. 10:7).
The seven angels that had the seven plagues went forth from the temple, clothed in linen white and shining, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles. Then one of the four animals gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials (Rev. 15:6-7).
 That in the opposite sense "seven" signifies profane things is plain from these passages also in Revelation:
Behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems (Rev. 12:3).
I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads a name of blasphemy (Rev. 13:1).
I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Here is intelligence, if anyone hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman sitteth upon them; and they are seven kings. The beast that was, and is not, is himself the eighth king, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition (Rev. 17:3, 7, 9-11). [AC5268]
Seventy days. That this signifies a full state, is evident from the signification of "seventy;" for this number involves the like as "seven," and "seven" signifies an entire period from beginning to end, thus a full state (see n. 728, 2044, 3845). (That numbers in the Word signify things, see n. 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 4495, 4670, 5265, 6175; and that numbers multiplied signify the like with the simple numbers from which they are compounded, n. 5291, 5335, 5708; thus "seventy" the like with "seven.")
 That "seventy" denotes an entire period, thus a full state, is evident also from the following passages:
It shall come to pass in that day that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king; from the end of seventy years it shall be to Tyre like the song of the harlot; for it shall come to pass from the end of seventy years that Jehovah shall visit Tyre (Isa. 23:15, 17);
"Tyre" denotes the knowledges of good and truth of the church (n. 1201), which should be forgotten; "seventy years," an entire period from beginning to end; "according to the days of one king," the state of truth within the church, for "days" denote states (n. 6505), and "king," truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 5044, 5068, 6148). Everyone who considers the matter can see that by "Tyre" in this passage is not meant Tyre, and that without the internal sense it cannot be apprehended what is meant by "Tyre being forgotten seventy years," nor what is meant by this being "according to the days of one king;" and so on.
 And in Jeremiah:
The whole earth shall be a desolation, and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years; and it shall come to pass, when seventy years are fulfilled, that I will visit their iniquity upon the king of Babylon, and upon this nation (Jer. 25:11, 12; 29:10);
"seventy years" denote a full state of desolation and devastation, and this was signified by the captivity of seventy years which the Jewish people endured.
 In Daniel:
Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people, and upon the city of thy holiness, to consummate the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of the ages, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies (Dan. 9:24);
where "seventy" manifestly denotes a full state, thus an entire period, before the Lord was to come; whence it is said of Him, that He came "in the fullness of time." That "seventy weeks" denotes a full state, is plain from the particulars in this verse, namely, that so many weeks were "decreed to consummate the transgression," also to "expiate iniquity," and to "bring in the righteousness of the ages," to "seal up vision and prophet," to "anoint the holy of holies," each particular involving fullness. The like is involved in what follows in the same chapter:
Know therefore and perceive, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem, even unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks (Dan. 9:25);
where "seven" denotes a full state. (That "seven" as well as "seventy" signifies a full state, may be seen above.) "Jerusalem" in this passage manifestly denotes a new church, for Jerusalem was not then built, but was destroyed. [AC6508]
That Cain's being "avenged sevenfold" signifies that it was sacrilege to do violence to that separated faith which is meant by "Cain" has been already shown at verse 15. And that by a "seventy and sevenfold avengement" is signified a far greater sacrilege the consequence of which is damnation, is evident from the signification of "seventy and sevenfold." That the number "seven" is holy, originates in the fact that the "seventh day" signifies the celestial man, the celestial church, the celestial kingdom, and, in the highest sense, the Lord Himself. Hence the number "seven" wherever it occurs in the Word, signifies what is holy, or most sacred; and this holiness and sanctity is predicated of, or according to, the things that are being treated of. From this comes the signification of the number "seventy" which comprises seven ages; for an age, in the Word, is ten years. When anything most holy or sacred was to be expressed, it was said "seventy-sevenfold" as when the Lord said that a man should forgive his brother not until seven times, but until seventy times seven (Matt. 18:22), by which is meant that they should forgive as many times as he sins, so that the forgiving should be without end, or should be eternal, which is holy. And here, that Lamech should "be avenged seventy and sevenfold" means damnation, because of the violation of that which is most sacred. [AC433]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)