(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 4167

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4167. Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, and let them judge between us two. That this signifies that there be judgment from what is just and equitable, is evident from the signification of "brethren," as being goods (see n. 2360, 3803, 3815, 4121). It follows that "my brethren and thy brethren" denote what is just and equitable, and it is manifest that "let them judge between us two" denotes judgment. That "my brethren and thy brethren" denote what is just and equitable, is because the subject here treated of is the natural; for in the natural that is properly called what is just and fair which in the spiritual is called what is good and true. There are in man two planes upon which are founded the celestial and spiritual things which are from the Lord. The one plane is interior, and the other exterior. The planes themselves are nothing else than conscience. Without these planes (that is, without conscience) nothing celestial and spiritual from the Lord can possibly be fixed, for it would flow through like water through a sieve. For this reason they who are without such a plane (that is, without conscience) do not know what conscience is; nay, they do not believe that there is anything spiritual and celestial.
[2] The interior plane or interior conscience is where are good and truth in the genuine sense; for the good and truth that inflow from the Lord actuate this conscience. But the exterior plane is the exterior conscience, and is where there is what is just and equitable in the proper sense; for that which is just and equitable of both a moral and a civil kind, which likewise flows in, actuates it. There is also an outermost plane, which likewise appears as conscience, but is not conscience, namely, the doing of what is just and equitable for the sake of self and the world, that is, for the sake of one's own honor or fame, and for the sake of the world's wealth and possessions, and also for fear of the law. These three planes are what rule man, that is, they are the means through which the Lord rules him. By means of the interior plane (that is, by means of a conscience of spiritual good and truth) the Lord rules those who have been regenerated. By means of the exterior plane (or by means of a conscience of what is just and equitable, that is to say, by means of a conscience of what is good and true of both a moral and a civic kind) the Lord rules those who have not yet been regenerated, but who can be regenerated, and also are being regenerated; if not in the life of the body, yet in the other life. But by means of the outermost plane, which appears like conscience, and yet is not conscience, the Lord rules all the rest, even the evil; for without this government these would rush into all wicked and insane things, and do so rush when they are without the restraints of this plane. All those who do not suffer themselves to be ruled by means of these planes are either insane, or are punished according to the laws.
[3] With the regenerate these three planes act as a one; for the one flows into the other, and an interior one disposes an exterior one. The first plane, or conscience of spiritual good and truth, is in man's rational; but the second plane, or conscience of moral and civic good and truth (that is, of what is just and equitable) is in man's natural. From this it is now manifest what the justice and equity are which are signified by the "brethren," namely, justice by "my brethren," and equity by "thy brethren;" for they are called justice and equity because the subject is the natural man, of which these are properly predicated.


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