2041. 'You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin' means the removal of self-love and love of the world. This is clear from the representation and the meaning of 'circumcision' as purification from filthy loves, dealt with just above in 2039, and also from the meaning of 'flesh' as man's proprium, dealt with already in 999. Man's proprium consists of nothing but self-love and love of the world, and so of every desire that stems from those loves. Just how filthy it is has been shown in Volume One, in 141, 150, 154, 210, 215, 694, 731, 874-876, 987, 1047.
Because this proprium that is to be removed is meant it is here called 'the flesh of the foreskin'.
 There are two loves so-called, and their desires, which obstruct the influx of heavenly love from the Lord. For when these reign in the interior man and in the external man and take possession there they either reject or they stifle, and also degrade and defile, heavenly love flowing in, for they are absolutely contrary to heavenly love. The fact that they are absolutely contrary will in the Lord's Divine mercy be shown later on. To the extent they are removed however, heavenly love flowing in from the Lord starts to make its appearance, and in fact starts to dawn in his interior man; and to that extent he starts to notice first that he is under the influence of evil and falsity, then that he is under the influence of what is impure and filthy, and lastly that this has been his proprium.
 It is with those who are being regenerated that those loves are removed. That removal may also be recognized from what goes on in those who are not regenerate when the desires belonging to those loves become quiescent, as happens sometimes when they are engaging in meditation on holy things or when they are languishing - as is the case with them in times of misfortune, sickness, and disease, and above all when they are about to die. At these times, since bodily and worldly interests have grown languid and are so to speak dead, such persons become aware of something of heavenly light and of the comfort brought by this. But with these it is not a removal of those desires, only a languishing, for the moment that these people return to their previous state they sink back into those desires.
 With the evil as well, bodily and worldly interests can be made to languish, in which case they are able to be raised up into, as it seems, something heavenly, as is sometimes done to souls, especially those newly arrived in the next life, who have an intense desire to see the glory of the Lord because during their lifetime in the world they have heard so much about heaven. At such times their external interests languish and in this condition they are conveyed into the first heaven and enjoy what they have desired. But they are not able to remain there for long because their bodily and worldly interests are merely quiescent and have not been removed, as they have been with angels, regarding which see 541, 542. It should be realized that with man heavenly love from the Lord is flowing in constantly, and that nothing else stands in the way, obstructs, or prevents the reception of it than the desires belonging to those loves, and the falsities resulting from them.