1717. And he brought back all the substance. That this signifies that the interior man reduced all things in the external man into a conforming state, may be seen from the signification of "bringing back all the substance." The "substance" here is the things which Chedorlaomer and the kings with him took from their enemies; as told in what goes before. By Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, are signified the goods and truths of the exterior man. The substance they took from their enemies was nothing else than their being deprived of the power of doing evil and thinking falsity, which was signified by the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah, and by all the food which they took (treated of above, at verse 11).
 This matter is of such a nature that it cannot be set forth in few words; but what here follows may be sufficient to give some notion of it. He who is in the combats of temptations, and overcomes, acquires to himself more and more a power [potestas] over the evil spirits, or over the diabolical crew, till at last they do not dare to tempt at all. But as often as a victory is gained, so often does the Lord reduce into order the goods and truths from which the combat was waged; and so often are they thus purified; and so far as they are purified, so far are the celestial things of love insinuated into the exterior man, and a correspondence effected. These are the things that are signified by bringing back all the substance.
 He who supposes that the external man can be reduced into correspondence without combats of temptations is mistaken; for temptations are the means of dissipating evils and falsities, as also of introducing goods and truths, and of reducing the things which are of the external man into obedience, so that it may serve the interior or rational man, and through this the internal, that is, the Lord operating through the internal man. That these things are effected by temptations, no one can know but he who has been regenerated through temptations. But how this is done can scarcely be described even in the most general manner, since it is done without the man's knowing whence and how; for it is the Lord's Divine operation.