3876. Because I have borne him three sons. That this signifies what is successive, is evident from what was said above (n. 3871). The successive state that is here signified by the "three sons," is that charity now arrives; for while man is being regenerated, that is, being made a church, the first thing must be for him to know and understand what the truth of faith is; the second must be to will and to do it; and the third is to be affected with it. And when man is affected with truth, that is, when he perceives delight and bliss in acting according to truth, he is then in charity or mutual love. This succession is what is here meant by, "I have borne him three sons."