3778. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? That this signifies, Have they the good of this stock? is evident from the representation of Laban, as being the collateral good of a common stock (see n. 3612, 3665); and from the representation of Nahor, as being that common stock from which is the good represented by Laban; that "to know," in the internal sense signifies to be therefrom, is manifest from the series. How the case is with the representation of collateral good by Nahor, Bethuel, and Laban, shall be briefly stated. Terah, who was the father of three sons-Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Gen. 11:27), represents the common stock from which come churches. Terah himself was indeed an idolater, but representatives do not regard the person but the thing (n. 1361). And because the representative Jewish Church commenced in Abraham, and was renewed among his descendants from Jacob, therefore Terah and his three sons put on the representation of churches-Abram the representation of a genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word; but Nahor his brother the representation of a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word. That the Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and that it exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity, is manifest from what has been shown here and there concerning the Gentiles.
 This therefore is the reason why by Nahor, his son Bethuel, and Bethuel's son Laban, there is represented the collateral good of a common stock, that is, the good in which they are who are of the Lord's church among the Gentiles. This good differs from the good of a common stock in the direct line of descent, in this respect-that the truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine, but most of them are external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses; for these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened. In its essence indeed good is only one, but it receives its quality from the truths implanted in it, and thereby becomes various. The truths that to the Gentiles appear as truths are in general that they should worship some God from whom they seek their good and to whom they attribute it, and so long as they live in the world they do not know that this God is the Lord; also that they should adore their God under images, which they account holy; besides many other things. Nevertheless these things are no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians, provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor; for thus in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths (see n. 932, 1032, 1059, 2049, 2051, 2284, 2589-2604, 2861, 2863, 3263). This shows what is here meant by the collateral good of a common stock. That by Nahor are represented those out of the church who are in brotherhood by virtue of good, may be seen above (n. 2863, 2866, 2868); that by Bethuel is represented the good of the Gentiles of the first class (n. 2865, 3665); and by Laban the affection of external or corporeal good, and properly the collateral good of a common stock (n. 3612, 3665).
 With this good the case is that first of all it serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good, for it is external corporeal, and is grounded in external appearances which in themselves are fallacies of the senses. In childhood man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good, and although he is taught what internal good and truth are, still he has no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one; and because such is the first idea, therefore such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced. This is the arcanum which is here represented by Jacob and Laban.