(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 3175

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3175. Let the damsel remain with us. That this signifies a detention by them, appears from the signification of "remaining," as here being to be detained, as is also evident from the series in the internal sense. For the case is this Man is never born into any truth, not even into any natural truth-as that he should not steal, should not kill, should not commit adultery, and the like; still less is he born into any spiritual truth-as that there is a God, and that he has an internal which will live after death. Thus of himself man knows nothing that relates to eternal life. Man learns both these kinds of truth; otherwise he would be much worse than a brute animal; for from his hereditary nature he loves himself above all and desires to possess all things in the world. Hence unless he were restrained by civil laws and by fears for the loss of honor, of gain, of reputation, and of life, he would steal, kill, and commit adultery, without any perception of conscience. That this is the case is very evident; for a man, even when instructed, commits such crimes without conscience, nay, defends them, and by many considerations confirms himself in the commission of them so far as he is allowed; what then would he not do if he had not been instructed? The case is the same in spiritual things; for of those who are born within the church, who have the Word, and are constantly instructed, there are still very many who ascribe little or nothing to God, but everything to nature; thus who do not at heart believe that there is any God, and therefore do not believe that they shall live after death; and who accordingly have no wish to learn anything relating to eternal life.
[2] From all this it is evident that man is born into no truth, but that he has all to learn, and this by an external way, namely, that of hearing and seeing. By this way truth has to be insinuated, and implanted in his memory; but so long as the truth is there only, it is merely memory-knowledge; and in order that truth may pervade the man it must be called forth thence, and be conveyed more toward the interiors; for his human is more internal, being in his rational; for unless man is rational, he is not man; and therefore according to the quality and the measure of a man's rational, such is the quality and the measure of the man. Man cannot possibly be rational unless he possesses good. The good whereby man surpasses the animals, is to love God, and to love the neighbor; all human good is from this. Into this good truth must be initiated and conjoined, and this in the rational. Truth is initiated into good and conjoined with it when man loves God and loves his neighbor, for then truth enters into good, inasmuch as good and truth mutually acknowledge each other, all truth being from good, and having respect to good as its end and as its soul, and thus as the source of its life.
[3] But truth cannot without difficulty be separated from the natural man, and be thence elevated into the rational; for in the natural man there are fallacies, and cupidities of evil, and also persuasions of falsity; and so long as these are there and adjoin themselves to the truth, so long the natural man detains truth with himself, and does not suffer it to be elevated from itself into the rational; and this is what is signified in the internal sense by the words, "Let the damsel remain with us days, at least ten, afterwards thou shalt go." The reason is that the natural man puts truth in doubt, and reasons about it as to whether it is so; but as soon as the cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity, and the derivative fallacies, are separated by the Lord, and the man begins from good to be averse to reasonings against truth, and to be superior to doubts, then truth is in a state to depart from the natural and to be elevated into the rational, and to put on a state of good; for then truth becomes of good and has life.
[4] For the better comprehension of this, let us take examples. It is a spiritual truth that all good is from the Lord, and all evil from hell: this truth must in many ways be confirmed and illustrated before it can be elevated out of the natural man into the rational, nor can it ever be elevated until the man is in the love of God; for before this it is not acknowledged, consequently is not believed. The case is similar in regard to other truths, as in regard to the truth that the Divine Providence is in the veriest singulars; and that unless it is in these, it is not in what is universal. Again: in regard to the truth that man first begins to live when that perishes which in the world he believes to be the all of life; and that the life which he then receives is relatively ineffable and unlimited; and that he is altogether ignorant of this so long as he is in evil-these and similar truths can never be believed, unless the man is in good; for it is good which comprehends, because the Lord through good flows in with wisdom.


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