(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 5351

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5351. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. That this signifies a new will in the natural, and its quality, is evident from the representation of Manasseh in the Word, as being spiritual good in the natural, and thus a new will (of which below): this name also involves the very quality of this good, or of this new will. That the "name" involves this quality may be seen from the names given to others also, the quality of which is at the same time indicated, as is the name "Manasseh" in the words, "for God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house;" for in this way is described the quality signified by "Manasseh." Moreover when it is said "he called the name," there is also signified that the name itself contains the quality; for the "name" and "calling the name" signifies the quality (see n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 2724, 3006, 3421).
[2] The reason why the firstborn, who is named Manasseh, signifies spiritual good in the natural, or the new will therein, is that good is actually the firstborn in the church, or in the man who becomes a church; whereas truth is not the firstborn, and yet it appears as if it were (n. 352, 367, 2435, 3325, 3494, 4925, 4926, 4928, 4930), as may also be seen from the fact that in man the will precedes; for man's willing is the first of his life, and his understanding comes after, and applies itself in accordance with his willing. What proceeds from the will is called "good" in those who by regeneration have received from the Lord a new will, but "evil" in those who have not desired to receive it; and what proceeds from the understanding is called "truth" in the regenerate, but "falsity" in the unregenerate. Yet as man's will does not appear to the sense except through the understanding (for the understanding is the will in form, or the will formed to the sense), it is therefore supposed that the truth which proceeds from the understanding is the firstborn, and yet it is not, except in appearance, for the reason given.
[3] Hence the old controversy as to whether the truth which is of faith, or the good which is of charity, is the firstborn of the church. They who decided from the appearance, said that truth is the firstborn, but they who did not decide from the appearance, acknowledged that good is the firstborn. Hence also it is that at the present day faith is made the first and very essential of the church, and charity is made secondary and not essential; but men have gone into error much further than the ancients, by declaring that faith alone saves. In the church by "faith" is meant all the truth of doctrine, and by "charity" all the good of life. They indeed call charity and its works the "fruits of faith;" but who believes that fruits do anything for salvation when it is believed that a man may be saved by faith at the last hour of his life, whatever his previous life has been, and when in their teaching they even separate works, which are of charity, from faith, saying that faith alone saves without good works, or that works, which are of the life, do nothing toward salvation? Oh, what a faith! And oh, what a church! They adore dead faith, and reject living faith; and yet faith without charity is as a body without a soul, and we know that a body without a soul is removed from sight and cast forth, because of its stench: so is it with faith without charity in the other life. All those who have been in faith so called without charity are in hell, while all who have been in charity are in heaven; for everyone's life remains, but not his doctrine except insofar as it is derived from his life.
[4] That by "Manasseh" is signified the new will in the natural, or what is the same, spiritual good there, cannot be so well shown from other passages of the Word as that by "Ephraim" is signified the new understanding in the natural, or spiritual truth therein. Nevertheless the signification of "Manasseh" can be inferred from that of "Ephraim;" for in the Word where two are thus mentioned, by the one is signified good, and by the other truth; and therefore that by "Manasseh" is signified spiritual good in the natural, which good is of the new will, will be seen in what presently follows about "Ephraim."


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