Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 8990

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8990. 'And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl' means a representative sign of obedience. This is clear from the meaning of 'ear' as obedience, dealt with in 2542, 3869, 4551, 4652-4660; and from the meaning of 'piercing it with an awl' - that is to say, onto the door or onto the doorpost - as affixing, or at this point pledging forever, since it refers to obedience; and this is why the words follow, 'he shall serve him forever', that is, be obedient to him forever. From this it is evident that his master's piercing his ear with an awl, fixing it to the door or to the doorpost, is representative of obedience.

[2] The implications of all this may become clear from matters stated previously, where it has been shown that those imbued solely with truths and not with complementary good, that is, with faith and not with charity, are not free but slaves. Those whose actions spring from good or charity are free. They act from themselves; for actions that spring from good or charity spring from the heart, that is, from the will, and so from what is a person's own, since what exists in a person's will is his own and a deed springing from the will is said to go out of the heart. But those who are imbued solely with the truths of faith and not with the good of charity are slaves in comparison. They do not act from themselves since they have no good within themselves for actions to spring from; instead good is outside them, and they base their actions on it as often as they call it to mind. Those who stay like this through to the end of their lives remain permanently in this state after death. They cannot be brought to a state in which their actions spring from charitable affection, that is, from good; they can act only in obedience. In the Grand Man, which is heaven, they constitute those parts that serve more internal ones, like membranes and skins, 8977, 8980.

[3] All this shows what the situation is with faith alone, that is, with those who doctrinally place faith first and the good of charity second, indeed last. Those who place them in this order in the actual lives they lead are 'Hebrew slaves' in the representative sense; but those who place charity first, in the actual lives they lead, are free or 'the children of Israel' in the representative sense. From all this one may also conclude what the situation is with those who make salvation rest entirely on the truths of faith and not at all on the good of charity, that is to say, not at all on the actual life they lead. One may conclude that they cannot enter heaven; for good reigns in heaven, not truth without good, and truth is not truth, nor is faith faith, except with those imbued with good

[4] That his master's piercing his ear with an awl, fixing it to the door, is representative of obedience is also evident from the consideration that fixing his ear to the door means causing him to attend to the things commanded by his master who is in the room, that is, to hear him at all times and obey his instructions. At this point the things which good wills and commands are meant in the spiritual sense, for spiritual good is represented by the slave's master, 8981, 8986. Since 'the ear' means the hearing of obedience, there flows into human speech from an origin in the spiritual world the expression to tweak the ear, which stands for causing a person to pay attention and remember, and in like manner the expressions to hear and to hearken to someone, which stands for obeying him. For the inner meaning that very many words possess has sprung from correspondences from the spiritual world, as with expressions such as spiritual light and being enlightened by it which people use when speaking about matters of faith, and also spiritual fire and being animated by it when speaking about matters of love.

[5] The reason why piercing the ear was done with an awl was that 'an awl' has the same meaning as a pin or peg, namely affixing and pining onto, and in the spiritual sense pledging something. But an awl was a tool used by a servant, and therefore it served to represent the pledge of everlasting obedience by a slave. The meaning of 'a pin' or 'a peg' as affixing and joining onto is clear from the places where this object is mentioned, as in Isaiah 22:23; 33:20; 41:7; 54:2; Jer 10:4; Exod 27:19; 38:31; Num 3:37; 4:32.

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