4588. That the midwife said unto her, Fear not. That this signifies perception from the natural, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historicals of the Word as being perception (see n. 1791, 1815, 1819, 1822, 1898, 1919, 2080, 2619, 2862, 3395, 3509); and from the signification of a "midwife," as being the natural. The reason why "midwife" here denotes the natural is that when interior temptations are being undergone, that is, when the interior man is undergoing temptations, the natural is then like a midwife; for unless the natural affords aid, it is impossible for any birth of interior truth to take place; for when interior truths are born, it is the natural which receives them into its bosom, because it affords the opportunity for them to work their way out. It is always the case with the things of spiritual birth, that their reception must be wholly in the natural; and this is the reason why when a man is being regenerated, the natural is first prepared to receive; and insofar as this is made receptive, so far interior truths and goods can be brought forth and multiplied. This is also the reason why if during the bodily life the natural man has not been prepared to receive the truths and goods of faith, he cannot receive them in the other life, consequently cannot be saved. This is what is meant by the common saying that as the tree falls, so it lies; or as man dies, such he will be. For man has with him in the other life all his natural memory, or that of his external man (although not there permitted to use it, n. 2469-2494), so that it is there as a foundation plane, into which interior truths and goods fall; and if this plane is not a receptacle of the goods and truths which flow in from within, these interior goods and truths are either extinguished, or perverted, or rejected. From all this it is evident that the natural is like a midwife.
 That insofar as the natural is a recipient when the interior man brings forth, it is like a midwife, may be seen also from the internal sense of the things related of the midwives who contrary to the command of Pharaoh saved alive the sons of the Hebrew women, of which we read in Moses:
The king of Egypt said to the midwives of the Hebrew women, and he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools, if it be a son, then ye shall kill him, but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt spoke to them, but saved the male children alive. And the king of Egypt called the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this word, and have saved the male children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women, for they are lively, and have brought forth ere the midwife come unto them. And God did well to the midwives, and the people were multiplied, and became very numerous. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that He made them houses (Exod. 1:15-21);
by the daughters and sons the Hebrew women brought forth, are represented the goods and truths of a new church; by the midwives, the natural insofar as it is a recipient of goods and truths; by the king of Egypt, memory-knowledge in general (see n. 1164, 1165, 1186), which extinguishes truths when it enters into the things of faith by an inverted way, believing nothing except what the senses and memory-knowledge dictate. That the "midwives" here are receptions of truth in the natural, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be confirmed when the contents of that chapter come to be unfolded.