(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 3316

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3316. And Jacob boiled pottage. That this signifies a chaotic mass of doctrinal things, is evident from the representation of Jacob, as being the doctrine of natural truth (n. 3305), thus the doctrinal things which are in the natural man; and from the signification of "pottage," as being a chaotic mass of such things. "Boiling it," signifies amassing, for in the original tongue the expression is proper to pottage, as if it had been said that he "pottaged pottage," that is, he amassed it. The first state of the conjunction of good and truth is that which is described in this and the following verses, down to the end of the chapter.
[2] The first state of the man who is being regenerated, or in whom truth is being conjoined with good, is that first of all in his natural man, or in its storehouse called the memory, there are amassed the doctrinal things of truth without any certain order. The doctrinal things at that time therein may be compared to some undigested and uncompounded mass, and to a kind of chaos. But this is to the end that they may be reduced to order, for whatever is to be reduced to order is at first in this state of confusion; and this is what is signified by the pottage which Jacob boiled, that is, amassed. These doctrinal things are not reduced to order by themselves, but by the good which flows into them, and the good reduces them into order in exact proportion to the amount and the quality of its action upon them. When good first longs for and desires these doctrinal things, to the end that it may conjoin them with itself, it manifests itself under the appearance of the affection of truth. This is what is signified by Esau's saying to Jacob, "Cause me to sup I pray of the red, this red."
[3] These things do indeed appear remote from the sense of the letter; nevertheless, when these words are read by man, and are apprehended by him according to the sense of the letter, the angels who are then with him have no idea at all of pottage, or of Jacob, or of Esau, or of what is red, or of supping of what is red, but instead thereof they have a spiritual idea which is altogether different and remote from such natural ideas, and into this spiritual idea these natural things are instantly turned. It is the same with other things in the Word; as for example when man reads of bread, the angels have no perception of bread, but instantly instead of bread they perceive celestial love and all that belongs thereto, that is, to love to the Lord; and when wine is read of in the Word, they do not perceive wine, but instead of wine spiritual love and all that belongs thereto, that is, to love toward the neighbor. So when pottage or pulse is read of, they do not perceive pottage or pulse, but doctrinal things not yet conjoined with good, thus an inordinated mass of them. This shows the nature and quality of the angelic thought and perception, and how remote it is from the thought and perception of man. If man thought in like manner when he is in a holy state, as when he attends the Holy Supper, and instead of bread perceived love to the Lord, and instead of wine love toward the neighbor, he would be in thought and perception like that of the angels, who would then approach nearer to him, till at last they could consociate their thoughts, but only so far as the man was at the same time in good.
[4] That "pottage" or "pulse" signifies a chaotic mass, is evident also from what is said in the book of Kings concerning the sons of the prophets and Elisha:
Elisha came back to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his lad, Set on the great pot and boil pottage for the sons of the prophets; and one went out into the field to gather herbs, and he found a vine of the field and gathered from it gourds of the field his garment full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage, because they knew not; and they poured out to the men to eat; and it came to pass, in their eating of the pottage, that they cried out and said, O man of God there is death in the pot! And they could not eat; and he said, Take ye meal; and he put it into the pot, and said, Pour out for the people; and they did eat, and there was no evil word in the pot (2 Kings 4:38-41).
In the internal sense these words signify things altogether different from that which they signify in the sense of the letter. A "famine in the land" signifies a scarcity of the knowledges of good and truth (n. 1460); the "sons of the prophets" signify those who teach (n. 2534); "pottage" signifies an ill-assorted mass of memory-knowledges; and "meal," the truth which is from good, or the spiritual which is from the celestial (n. 2177); thus that Elisha put meal in the pot, and there was then no evil in it, signifies that that chaotic mass was amended by means of spiritual truth from the Lord's Word; for Elisha represented the Lord as to the Word (n. 2762). Apart from this spiritual sense, this story concerning the pottage and the change in it by the meal, would not have been worthy of relation in the most holy Word. It was for the sake of the representation of such things that this miracle was wrought, as also is the case with the rest of the miracles in the Word, all of which have Divine things concealed within them.


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