2435. That I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken. That this signifies that so he would not perish, namely, the man with whom there is truth within which there is good, is evident from the signification of a "city," as being truth (see n. 402, 2268, 2428). It has been disputed from the most ancient times which is the firstborn of the church, charity or faith; for the reason that man is regenerated and becomes a church by means of the truths of faith. But they who have set faith foremost and made it the firstborn, have all fallen into heresies and falsities, and at length have extinguished charity altogether; as we read of Cain, by whom such faith is signified, that at length he killed his brother Abel, by whom is signified charity; and afterwards of Reuben, the firstborn son of Jacob, by whom likewise faith is signified, that he polluted his father's couch (Gen. 35:22; 49:4), and therefore was held unworthy, and the primogeniture was given to Joseph (Gen. 48:5; 1 Chron. 5:1).
 This was the source of all the contentions, and also all the laws, respecting primogeniture that are mentioned in the Word. The cause of there being such a controversy was that it was not known, as even at this day it is not known, that a man has only so much of faith as he has of charity; and that when a man is being regenerated, charity presents itself to faith, or what is the same, good presents itself to truth, and insinuates itself into it and adapts itself to it in every particular, causing faith to be faith; and thus that charity is the very firstborn of the church, although to man it appears otherwise (see also n. 352, 367). But as these things will frequently be treated of hereafter, of the Lord's Divine mercy we shall say more on the subject as the occasion arises.