(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 2831

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2831. Behind, caught in a thicket. That this signifies entangled in natural knowledge, is evident from the signification of being "caught," as here being entangled; and from the signification of a "thicket" or "tangle" as being memory-knowledge-explained in what follows. That the spiritual are held entangled in natural knowledge in regard to the truths of faith, is as follows. The spiritual have not perception of good and truth, as the celestial have, but instead of it conscience formed from the goods and truths of faith which they have imbibed from infancy from their parents and masters, and afterwards from the doctrine of faith into which they were born. They who have no perception of good and truth have to be confirmed by knowledges. Everyone forms for himself some idea respecting the things he has learned, and also respecting the goods and truths of faith; for without an idea, nothing remains in the memory otherwise than as an empty thing. Confirmatory things are added thereto, and fill up the idea of the thing, from other knowledges, even from memory-knowledges. The confirmation of the idea itself by many things causes not only that it sticks in the memory, so that it can be called forth into the thought, but also that faith can be insinuated into it.
[2] As regards perception in general, since few know what perception is, this must be declared. There is perception of what is good and true in celestial and spiritual things; there is perception of what is just and equitable in civil life; and there is perception of what is honorable in moral life. As regards the perception of what is good and true in celestial and spiritual things, the interior angels have this perception from the Lord, the men of the Most Ancient Church had it, and the celestial, who are in love to the Lord, have it. These know at once, from a kind of internal observation, whether a thing is good and whether it is true; for this is insinuated by the Lord, because they are conjoined with Him by love. Spiritual men, however, have no such perception of good and truth in celestial and spiritual things, but instead of it have conscience which dictates; but as before said, this conscience is formed from the knowledges of good and truth which they have imbibed from their parents and masters, and afterwards from their own study in doctrine and in the Word; and in these, even though not entirely good and true, they put their faith. Hence it is that men can have conscience from any doctrine whatever; even the Gentiles have something not unlike conscience from their religion.
[3] That the spiritual have no perception of the good and truth of faith, but say and believe that to be true which they have learned and apprehended, is sufficiently evident from the fact that everyone says that his own dogma is true, heretics more than others; and that they are not able to see the truth itself, still less to acknowledge it, although thousands of things should declare it. Let everyone explore himself and see if he is able to perceive from any other source whether a thing is true; and if when a thing most true is made manifest to him he still does not fail to acknowledge it. As for example, one who makes faith the essential of salvation, and not love: even if all should be read before him which the Lord spoke concerning love and charity (see n. 2373), and if he should know from the Word that all the Law and the Prophets hang upon love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, he will nevertheless remain in the idea of faith, and will say that this alone saves. It is otherwise with those who are in celestial and spiritual perception.
[4] As regards the perception of what is just and equitable in civil life, however, those in the world who are rational have this, and also the perception of what is honorable in moral life. These two perceptions distinguish one man from another, but by no means do such men for this reason have the perception of the good and truth of faith, because this perception is higher or more internal, and flows in from the Lord through the inmost of the rational.
[5] The reason also why the spiritual have no perception of the good and truth of faith, is that good and truth are not implanted in their will part, as with celestial men, but in their intellectual part (see n. 863, 875, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 2256). Hence it is that the spiritual cannot arrive at the first degree of the light in which the celestial are (n. 2718), but have what is obscure in comparison (n. 1043, 2708 at the beginning, 2715). That the spiritual are entangled in natural memory-knowledge in respect to the truths of faith, follows from this.
[6] That a "thicket" or "tangle" in the internal sense signifies natural memory-knowledge, that is, that knowledge which sticks fast in the exterior memory, may also be seen from other passages in the Word. In Ezekiel:
Behold, Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful foliage, and a shady grove, and lofty in height, and his branch was among the tangled boughs (Ezek. 31:3);
where Egypt, which is memory-knowledge, is treated of (n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462); "Asshur" denotes the rational (n. 119, 1186); which is also the "cedar," and also "Lebanon," in the Word; "among the tangled boughs" means among memory-knowledges, for the human rational is founded on its memory-knowledges.
[7] In the same:
Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, Because thou art exalted in stature, and he hath set his branch among the tangled boughs, and his heart is lifted up in its height, strangers, the violent of the nations, shall cut him down, and cast him out (Ezek. 31:10, 12);
concerning Egypt; to "set the branch among the tangled boughs" denotes sticking fast in memory-knowledges, and regarding spiritual, celestial, and Divine things from them. In the same:
To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves in their stature, neither set their branch among the tangled boughs, nor that all that drink waters stand over them in their height, for they shall all be delivered unto death, to the lower earth in the midst of the sons of man, to them that go down to the pit (Ezek. 31:14);
here those are treated of who by reasonings from memory-knowledges desire to enter into the mysteries of faith (that they are made altogether blind, may be seen above, n. 215, 232, 233, 1072, 1911, 2196, 2203, 2568, 2588). To reason from memory-knowledges is to "set the branch among the tangled boughs." In the same:
She had plants of strength for the scepters of them that bare rule, and her height was exalted among the tangled boughs (Ezek. 19:11);
this has a similar meaning.
[8] In the same:
The slain of Israel shall be among their idols, round about their altars, and under every green tree, and under every tangled oak (Ezek. 6:13);
this treats of the worship which those form to themselves who have faith in themselves, and thus in the things which they hatch out from their memory-knowledges; the "tangled oak" denotes the memory-knowledges in such a state. (That "oaks" are apperceptions from memory-knowledges may be seen above, n. 1442, 1443, 2144.) The like is found elsewhere in the same Prophet:
They saw every high hill, and every tangled tree, and there they sacrificed their sacrifices (Ezek. 20:28);
a "tangled tree" denotes the things which are dictated not by the Word, but by one's own memory-knowledge. (That worship was performed in groves, and was significative according to the qualities of the trees, may be seen above, n. 2722.)
[9] In Isaiah:
Wickedness burneth as the fire; it devoureth the briars and thorns, and kindleth in the thickets of the forest (Isa. 9:18);
the "briars and thorns" denote falsity and cupidity; the "thickets of the forest," memory-knowledges. In the same:
Jehovah Zebaoth shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one (Isa. 10:34);
the "thickets of the forest" denote memory-knowledges and "Lebanon," things rational. In Jeremiah:
Set up a standard toward Zion, for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction; a lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations; he is on his way, he is gone forth from his place, to make thy land a waste; thy cities shall be destroyed, without inhabitant (Jer. 4:6-7);
"from his thicket" denotes from memory-knowledge; and that which ascends into Divine arcana from this makes the "land a waste," that is, lays waste the church.
[10] The reason why in the Word memory-knowledges are called "thickets," is that they are comparatively of such a character, especially when the cupidities of the love of self and of the world, and the principles of falsity, seek for them. Celestial and spiritual love is that which disposes into order the knowledges which are of the exterior memory; and the love of self and of the world is that which perverts the order, and disturbs all things in it. These things the man does not take notice of, because he places order in perverted order, good in evil, and truth in falsity. On this account these things are in entanglement; and also on this, that the things of the exterior memory, where these knowledges are, compared with those in the interior memory, where rational things are, are as in a thicket, or as in a dark forest. How shady, opaque, and dark it is there in comparison, a man cannot know so long as he is living in the body; for he then supposes that all wisdom and intelligence are from this source; but he will know in the other life, when he comes into the things of his interior memory. That in the exterior memory, which is proper to man while he is living in the world, nothing is less to be found than the light of intelligence and wisdom; but that all is relatively dark, disorderly, and entangled there, may be seen above (n. 2469-2494).


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