Since it cannot but appear strange at the present day that a horse should mean the understanding of truth, and in an opposite sense, reasonings in confirmation of falsity, as if from perception, I wish to bring together still more passages from the Word where the horse is mentioned. They are the following
Is Thy wrath against the sea, O Jehovah, that Thou didst ride upon Thine horses? Thy chariots are [A.V. of] salvation. Thou hast trodden [A.V. didst walk through] the sea with Thine horses, the mire of the waters [A.V. the heap of great waters]. Hab. iii 8, 15.
The hoofs of the horses of Jehovah shall be counted like rocks [A.V. flint]. Isa. v 28.
At Thy rebuke both the chariot and horse have fallen asleep [A.V. are cast into a dead sleep]. Ps. lxxvi 6.
I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them and the horses and their riders shall come down. Hagg. ii 22.
I will cut off the horse from Jerusalem, and he shall speak peace unto the nations [A.V. heathen]. Zech. ix 10.
By a horse, in these passages, is meant the understanding of the truth of the Church. By a chariot is meant the doctrine derived therefrom, and by those who ride in chariots and on horses, those who are in the understanding and in doctrine from the Word. This appears still more clearly from these passages:
Gather yourselves on every side to My sacrifice. Ye shall be filled at My table with horse and chariot. So will I set My glory among the nations [A.V. heathen]. Ezek. xxxix 17, 20, 21.
Gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God, and [A.V. that ye may] eat the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them. Rev. xix 17, 18.
Here the New Church to be established by the Lord is treated of; and that then the understanding of the Word will be opened and men will be instructed in the doctrine of truth therefrom. What otherwise would it be but nonsense, that they should be filled at the Lord’s table with horse and chariot: and that they should eat the flesh of horses and of them that sit on them! In addition to the passages adduced the meaning of a horse and chariot is evident from the following:
Gird Thy sword [A.V. upon Thy thigh], O Mighty Mount up, ride upon the Word of truth [A.V. ride prosperously because of truth]. Ps. xlv 3, 4.
Sing ye extol Him that rideth upon the clouds [A.V. heavens]. Ps. lxviii 4.
Jehovah rideth upon a cloud. Isa. xix 1.
O sing praises unto the Lord; To Him that rideth upon the heaven of heavens, which was of old. Ps. lxviii 32, 33.
God rode upon a cherub. Ps. xviii 10.
Then shalt thou delight thyself in Jehovah; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth. [Isa. lviii 14]. Deut. xxxii 13.
I will make Ephraim to ride. Hosea x 11.
In these passages to ride means to instruct and to be instructed in the truths of doctrine, and so to become wise. By the high places of the earth are signified the sublimer truths of the Church. By Ephraim, also, is meant the understanding of the Word. Similar things are meant by horses and chariots, by the four chariots going forth from between the mountains of brass, and by the four horses harnessed to them, which were red, black, white and grisled, which are also called spirits, and are said to have gone forth from standing before, the Lord of all the earth, (Zech. vi 1-15). Similar things are also meant by these words:
When the Lamb opened the seals of the Book, there went forth horses in order; at first, a while horse, secondly a red horse, thirdly a black horse and fourthly a pale horse . . . Rev. vi 1-8.
By the Book whose seals the Lamb opened, is understood the Word. It is evident that nothing else could come forth from this but the understanding of it. How otherwise could it be understood that horses went forth out of an opened Book!
It is confirmed that a horse means the understanding of truth, and a chariot doctrine, from the same things when mentioned in an opposite sense. In this sense a horse signifies the understanding under the influence of reasonings from the falsification of truths, and a chariot, the doctrine or heresy arising therefrom, as in the following passages:
Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help and stay on horses; and look not unto the Holy One of Israel; for Egypt is man [A.V. the Egyptians are men] and not God; and his [A.V. their] horses flesh and not spirit. Isa. xxxii, 3.
Thou shalt set a king over Israel, whom Jehovah shall choose; but he shall not multiply horses to himself nor bring back the people into [A.V. cause the people to return to] Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses. Deut. xvii 15, 16.
These things are said because Egypt signifies the natural man, who perverts the truths of the Word by reasonings from the bodily senses. What else can be meant by the horses of Egypt being flesh and not spirit, and by the king not multiplying horses, but falsities of religion?
Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon a horse. Hosea xiv 3.
Some in a chariot, and some in horses: but we will glory in [A.V. remember] the name of our God. Ps. xx 7.
An horse is a lying thing for safety. Ps. xxxiii 17.
The Holy One of Israel hath said; in confidence shall be your strength. But ye said, No; we will flee upon an horse, we will ride upon the swift. Isa. xxx 15, 16.
Jehovah shall make Judah as a horse of glory and the riders on horses shall be made ashamed [A.V. confounded]. Zech. x 3, 5.
I will bring against Tyre the king of Babylon, with horse, and with chariot, and with horsemen; by reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee thy walls shall shake at the voice of the horseman, and of the chariot. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets. Ezek. xxvi 7, 10, 11.
By Tyre in the Word is meant the Church as to the cognitions* of good and truth, and by the king of Babylon, their falsification and profanation. It is on this account that it is here said that he would come with horse, and with chariot and with horsemen, and that by reason of the abundance of horses their dust would cover [it].
Woe to the city of bloods, it is all full of a lie [A.V. lies] . . . the neighing horse and the jumping chariot. Nahum iii 1, 2.
By the city of bloods is meant doctrine drawn from falsified truths of the Word. As well as in other passages, as in: Isa. v 26, 28; Jer. vi 23 viii 16; xlvi 4, 9; 137, 38, 42; Ezek. xvii 15; xxiii 5, 6, 20; Hab. i 6, 8, 9, 10 Ps. lxvi 11, 12; cxlvii 10. The understanding of the truth of the Word, when it is falsified and destroyed, is also meant by the red, black and pale horses, in Rev. vi 4, 5, 8. Since, therefore, horse signifies the understanding of truth, and in an opposite sense the understanding of falsity, it is evident of what quality the Word is in the spiritual sense.
It is well known that in Egypt there were hieroglyphics, and that these were inscribed on the columns and walls of the temples, etc.; but at the present time no one knows what things were signified by them. They were nothing else than correspondences of natural and spiritual things, which the Egyptians studied more than any other people in Asia of their time, and according to which the oldest writers of Greece composed their fables. The most ancient style of writing was no other. To this I will add this new information, that all things which appear in the spiritual world before angels and spirits are nothing but correspondences. It is on this account that the whole Sacred Scripture is written by correspondences, so that by means of it, because it is such, there might be conjunction between men of the Church and angels of heaven. Moreover, because the Egyptians, and with them others of the kingdoms of Asia, began to turn those correspondences into idolatries, to which the sons of Israel were inclined, therefore the latter were forbidden to make any use of them of their own accord. This is clearly evident from the first commandment of the Decalogue, where it is said:
Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven image, of any form that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for I am Jehovah thy God. Deut. v 8, 9.
besides in very many passages elsewhere. From that time the science of correspondences has been obliterated by degrees to such an extent that at the present day it is scarcely known that it ever existed and that it was something of importance. Now, however, because a New Church founded upon the Word is to be established by the Lord, which is understood by the New Jerusalem in Revelation, it has pleased the Lord to reveal that science, and thus to open the Word such as it is interiorly in its bosom, that is, in the spiritual sense. This has been done through me in ARCANA CAELESTIA, published in London, and later in APOCALYPSE REVEALED, published in Amsterdam. Since that science of correspondences was regarded by the ancients as the science of sciences, their wisdom being derived from it, it is important that someone of your Academy should devote his attention to the study of it. This can be done, in the first instance, from the correspondences disclosed in APOCALYPSE REVEALED, and proved from the Word. Should it be desired, I am willing to explain the Egyptian hieroglyphics, which are nothing but correspondences, and to publish their meaning, which cannot be done by anyone else.
* The term cognitiones, here used in the Latin, is translated “cognitions” to distinguish these knowledges from those that are meant by the Latin scientifica also used in the Writings of Swedenborg.
Two of the meanings most commonly associated with cognitiones are, (1) a particular species of knowledge, as knowledges of the Word, of good and truth, or of spiritual things (A.C. 24, 3665, 9945 N.J.H.D. 51; H.H. 111, 351, 469, 474, 517, 518) and (2) a higher type of knowledge which is from understanding and perception (A.C. 1486-7; H.H. 353).