4110. And Laban was gone to shear his flock. That this signifies a state of use and of an end of good, which is the "flock of Laban," is evident from the signification of "shearing," as being use, and thus end, for use is end (concerning which below); and from the signification of "a flock," as being good (n. 343, 2566). This shows that a state of use and of end is signified by "going to shear." The subject here treated of is the separation of the mediate good which is "Laban," from the good procured by it which is "Jacob;" but how the case is with this separation cannot be known except from the societies of the spirits who are in that good, and from whom it flows in with man, in regard to which I may state from experience the facts which follow.
 There are good spirits, there are spirits of a middle sort, and there are evil spirits, who are adjoined to man during his regeneration, to the end that by their means he may be introduced into genuine goods and truths, and this by the Lord by means of angels; but they are such spirits or societies of spirits as are not in agreement with the person to be regenerated, except for a time; and therefore, when they have performed their use, they are separated. Their separation is effected in various ways-that of the good spirits in one way, that of the spirits of a middle sort in another way, and that of the evil spirits in still another way. The separation of the good spirits is effected without their being aware of it, for they know that of the Lord's good pleasure it is well with them wherever they may be, or whithersoever they may be by Him transferred. But the separation of the spirits of a middle sort is effected by many means, even until they withdraw in freedom. For they are remitted into the state of their good, and therefore into a state of use and of the consequent end, in order that they may perceive therein their delight and their bliss. But inasmuch as they had found pleasure in their previous association with the regenerating man, they are by turns brought to it and sent away from it, until at last they feel discomfort in any further stay, and so withdraw in freedom. The evil spirits also are indeed removed in freedom, but in a freedom which only appears to them as freedom. They are adjoined for the purpose of introducing opposing ideas and feelings which are to be rejected, in order that the man may be the better confirmed in truths and goods; and when he begins to be confirmed in these, they perceive a discomfort in remaining, and a delight in separation, and in this manner they are separated in a freedom that comes of their delight. Such is the case with the separation of the spirits from a man when he is being regenerated, and consequently with the changes of his state as to good and truth.
 That "to shear a flock" denotes to perform use, is evident from the fact that in the internal sense the "shearing of a flock" is nothing else than use, for wool is obtained thereby. That "sheepshearing" denotes use, is also plain from these words in Moses:
Every firstling male which is born of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto Jehovah thy God; thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thine ox, nor shear the firstling of thy flock; but thou shalt eat it before Jehovah thy God year by year in the place which Jehovah shall choose (Deut. 15:19);
where "not to shear the firstling of the flock" denotes not to make a household use from it. As "sheep-shearing" signified use, it was in those days an office and function of distinction to shear the flock and to be present at the shearings, as may be seen from what is said of Judah, that "he sheared his flock" (Gen. 38:12, 13); and of the sons of David, in the second book of Samuel:
It came to pass after two years of days, that Absalom had sheep-shearers in Baalhazor, which is in Ephraim; and Absalom called all the king's sons; and Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now thy servant hath sheep-shearers; let the king, I pray thee, and his servants, go with thy servant (2 Sam. 13:23-24).