Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 2327

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2327. 'And bowed down with his face towards the ground' means humiliation. This becomes clear without explanation. The reason why in the past, especially in the representative Churches, people would bow so far down that their faces touched the ground, was that 'the face' meant man's interiors, 358,1999. And they did so clown 'to the ground' because 'the dust of the ground' meant that which is profane and condemned, 278. In doing this they represented the fact that of themselves they were profane and condemned. They therefore prostrated themselves face downwards on the ground, indeed they wallowed in dust and ashes, and also cast dust or ashes over their heads, as becomes clear from Lam 2: 10; Ezek 27: 30; Micah 1: 10; Josh 7: 6; Rev 18: 19; and elsewhere.

[2] By these actions they represented a state of true humility, which can in no way exist unless people acknowledge that of themselves they are profane and condemned, and so of themselves are incapable of looking towards the Lord where everything is Divine and Holy. To the extent therefore that a person acknowledges his own condition he can possess true humility, and when engaged in worship can have real devotion. For all worship must contain humility, and if separated from it no adoration and so no worship at all is present.

[3] The reason a state of humility is vital to worship itself is that insofar as the heart is humbled self-love and all resulting evil come to an end; and insofar as these come to an end good and truth, that is, charity and faith, flow in from the Lord. For what above all else stands in the way of their being received is self-love. Indeed within self-love there lies contempt for all others in comparison with oneself; there lies hatred and revenge if one is not venerated most highly; and there lies mercilessness and cruelty within it, and thus the worst evils of all into which good and truth cannot possibly be introduced, since they are completely opposite.

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