There is a Spiritual Sense in the Word hitherto unknown
No man who does not know that there is any spiritual sense in the Word, like the soul in the body, can judge of the Word otherwise than from its literal sense; when yet this is as a casket containing precious things, which are its spiritual sense. While therefore this internal sense is unknown, a man can only judge of the Divine sanctity of the Word as he might of a precious stone from the matrix which encloses it, and which sometimes appears as a common stone; or as he would judge of a casket made of jasper, lapis-lazuli, amianthus, or mica, or agate, in which lie in their order diamonds, rubies, sardonyxes, oriental topazes, etc. So long as this is not known it is not to be wondered at if this casket should be estimated only according to the value of the material of it which appears to the eye. So is it with the Word as to its literal sense. Lest therefore man should remain in doubt whether the Word is Divine and most holy, its internal sense has been revealed to me by the Lord; which in its essence is spiritual, and which is within the external sense which is natural, as the soul in the body. This sense is the spirit which gives life to the letter. It can therefore testify of the Divinity and holiness of the Word, and convince, if he is willing to be convinced, even the natural man.
Who does not acknowledge and assent when it is said that the Word, because it is Divine, in its bosom is spiritual? But who as yet has known what the spiritual is, and where in the Word it is concealed? The Word in its bosom is spiritual, because it descended from the Lord Jehovah and passed through the angelic heavens; and the very Divine, which in itself is ineffable and imperceptible, in its descent became adapted to the perception of angels, and at last to the perception of men. Hence is the spiritual sense; which is within, in the natural, just as the soul is in man, the thought of the understanding in speech, and the affection of the will in action. And if it may be compared with such things as appear before the eyes in the natural world, the spiritual sense is in the natural sense as the whole brain is within its meninges or matres, or as the young shoots of a tree are within its barks and rinds, nay, as all things for the generation of the chick are within the shell of the egg, and so on. But that there is such a spiritual sense of the Word within its natural sense has been divined by no one hitherto. It is therefore necessary that the mystery, which is eminent above all the mysteries yet revealed, should be opened to the understanding. (TCR n. 192, 193)
Since it was predicted that at the end of this church also darkness would arise, from the non-recognition and acknowledgment of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and from the separation of faith from charity, therefore, lest through this the genuine understanding of the Word should perish, it has pleased the Lord now to reveal the spiritual sense of the Word; and to make manifest that the Word in that sense, and from that in the natural sense, treats of the Lord and of the church, yea of these only; and many other things by which the light of truth from the Word, almost extinguished, may be restored. That at the end of the church the light of truth would be almost extinguished is predicted in many places in the Apocalypse; and is also meant by these words of the Lord in Matthew: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then … they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory” (xxiv. 29, 30). By the sun here the Lord as to love is meant; by the moon, the Lord as to faith; by the stars, the Lord as to cognitions of good and truth; by the Son of Man, the Lord as to the Word; by a cloud, the literal sense of the Word; and by glory, its spiritual sense, and its shining through the literal sense. (SS n. 112)