(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 3518

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3518. Go now to the flock. That this signifies to natural domestic good not conjoined with the Divine rational, is evident from the signification of "flock," as being good (n. 343, 415, 1565), here, natural good, because it is said to Jacob, and indeed domestic good, because it was at home, whereas the field whence Esau (by whom is signified the good of the natural, n. 3500, 3508) took his hunting, was good not domestic. Elsewhere in the Word "flock" is predicated of the good of the rational; but in this case "herd" is predicated of the good of the natural (n. 2566). Natural domestic good is that good which a man derives from his parents, or into which he is born, quite distinct from the good of the natural which flows in from the Lord (the nature and quality of natural good may be seen above, n. 3470, 3471); and therefore for the sake of distinction the one good is called the Good of the Natural, and the other Natural Good. Moreover every man receives domestic good from his father and from his mother, which goods are in themselves distinct; that which he receives from the father being interior, and that from the mother exterior. In the Lord these goods were most distinct, for the good which He had from the Father was Divine, but that which He had from the mother was contaminated with hereditary evil; that good in the natural which the Lord had from the Father was His own, because it was His very life, and is that which is represented by Esau; whereas the natural good which the Lord derived from the mother, being contaminated with hereditary evil, was in itself evil, and this is what is meant by "domestic good." Although of such a character, this good was yet of service for the reformation of the natural; but when it had answered this purpose it was rejected.
[2] The case is similar with every man who is being regenerated: the good which he receives from the Lord as from a new father is interior, but the good which he derives from his parents is exterior; the former good, which he receives from the Lord, is called spiritual; but the latter, which he derives from his parents, is called natural good. The good that a man derives from his parents is serviceable first of all for his reformation, for by means of it are introduced as by what is pleasurable and delightful, first, memory-knowledges, and afterwards the knowledges of truth; but when it has served as a means for this use it is separated from these; and then spiritual good comes forth and manifests itself. This must be evident from much experience, as from the single instance that when a child is first instructed he is affected with the desire of knowing, not at first for any end that is manifest to himself, but from a certain pleasure and delight that is born with him and is also derived from other sources; but afterwards, as he grows up, he is affected with the desire of knowing for the sake of some end, as that he may excel others, or his rivals; and next for some end in the world; but when he is to be regenerated, he is affected from the delight and pleasantness of truth; and when he is being regenerated, which takes place in adult age, from the love of truth, and afterwards from the love of good; and then the ends which had preceded, together with their delights, are separated little by little, and to them succeeds interior good from the Lord, which manifests itself in his affection. From this it is evident that the former delights, which had appeared in the outward form as good, had served as means. Such successions of means are continual. [3] The case herein may be compared to that of a tree, which in its first age, or at the beginning of spring, adorns its branches with leaves, and afterwards as its age or the spring advances, decorates them with flowers; and next in summer puts forth the first germs of fruits, which afterwards become fruit; and lastly puts seeds therein, which contain in them new trees of a like kind, and indeed whole orchards in potency; and if the seeds are sown, in act. Such analogues are there in nature, which also are representative; for universal nature is a theater representative of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, thus of His kingdom on earth, that is, in the church, and hence of His kingdom in every regenerate man. From this it is plain how natural or domestic good, although a merely outward delight and indeed a worldly one, may serve as a means for producing the good of the natural, which may conjoin itself with the good of the rational, and thus become regenerate or spiritual good, that is, good which is from the Lord. These are the things which are represented and signified by "Esau and Jacob" in this chapter.


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