2045. 'Shall be circumcised among you' means purification. This is clear from the representation and meaning of 'circumcision' as purification from filthy loves, dealt with above in 2039. People who are immersed in self-love and love of the world are quite incapable of believing that they are under the influence of such filthy and unclean loves as in fact they are. Indeed a certain pleasure and delight exists which coaxes, encourages, and allures, and causes them to love that life, to prefer it to every other kind of life, and so to imagine that there is nothing bad about it at all. For whatever encourages anyone's love and resulting life is considered to be good. For this reason also the rational agrees to and produces confirmatory falsities which lead to blindness so great that people see nothing at all of what heavenly love is. And if they did see it they would in their hearts say that it was something wretched, or not really anything at all, or something in the nature of a delusion which takes possession of the mind as it does in sickness.
 That the life which belongs to self-love and love of the world, together with its pleasures and delights, is filthy and unclean may become clear to anyone if he is willing to think from the powers of reason which have been given to him. Self-love is the source of all the evils that destroy civilized society. From it, as from a filthy pit, all forms of hatred, revenge, and cruelty stream forth, and indeed of adultery. For anyone who loves himself either holds in contempt or reviles or hates everybody else who does not serve him or who does not further his interests or who fails to show him favour; and in hating he breathes nothing but revenge and cruelty - doing so in the measure that he loves himself. Such love is for these reasons destructive of society and of the human race. That this is its nature, see also what has been stated in Volume One on the same subject, in 693, 694, 760, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1506, 1594, 1691, 1862. That self-love is in the next life utterly filthy and diametrically opposed to the mutual love that constitutes heaven will in the Lord's Divine mercy be discussed later on.
 And since that love is the source of all hatred, revenge, cruelty, and adultery, it is the source of all things that are called sins, crimes, abominations, and profanations. When therefore self-love is present in a person's rational, and in the desires and delusions of his external man, the influx of heavenly love from the Lord in that case is constantly intercepted, degraded, and defiled. It is like foul excrement which dispels, indeed pollutes, every pleasant odor. It also resembles an object which is constantly converting inflowing rays of light into dark and hideous colours. Or it is like a tiger or a serpent that hisses when fondled and kills with its bite or poison those who feed it. Or else it is like a villain who converts even the best intentions of other people, and sheer acts of kindness, into what is reprehensible and wicked. From this it is clear that those loves - self-love and love of the world - are what were represented and meant by the foreskins that were to be cut off.