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Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at

Arcana Coelestia


I am being gathered unto my people. That this signifies that he would be in the goods and truths of the natural which are from him, is evident from the representation of the sons of Israel and of the tribes named from them, which are here "his people," as being goods and truths in the natural (see n. 3858, 3926, 3939, 5414, 5879, 5951, 6335, 6337), and that these are from him is evident; and from the signification of "being gathered to that people," as being to be in these things. As the subject treated of here and in what follows is the gathering or coming forth of spiritual good, which is "Israel," in the goods and truths of the natural, which are his "sons" or the tribes named after them, it must be told how this is to be understood. [2] In man there is what is inmost, there are interior things under the inmost, and there are exterior things. All these are most exactly distinct; they succeed in order, thus from the inmost down to the outermost; according to the order in which they succeed, they also flow in; hence it is that life flows through the inmost into the interiors, and through the interiors into the exteriors, thus according to the order in which they succeed; and it does not rest except in the ultimate of order, where it stops. And as the interior things flow in according to order down to the ultimate, and there stop, it is evident that the interior things are together in the ultimate, but in this order: the inmost, which has flowed in, holds the center; the interior things which are under the inmost encompass the center; and the exterior things make the circumference; and this not only in general, but also in every detail. The former order is called "successive order," and the latter "simultaneous order;" and this latter order originates from the former; for in every case the simultaneous has its origin in the successive, and when it has thus originated it exists so. [3] As all the interiors are together in the ultimate, therefore the appearance is as if life were in the ultimate, that is, in the body; when yet it is in the interiors, nor yet there, but in the highest, that is, in the Lord, from whom is the all of life. Hence also it is that life in the exteriors is obscure compared with life in the interiors; for in the exteriors the life is general, coming forth from the influx of many, nay, of innumerable things from the interiors, which appear together and in general. Thus now it is in some measure plain how it is to be understood that spiritual good which is "Israel" must be in the goods and truths of the natural, which are his sons or tribes; for spiritual good which is "Israel" is in the interior of the natural, and the goods and truths which are his sons are in its exterior. That spiritual good must be in these is signified by "I am being gathered unto my people."


Bury me unto my fathers. That this signifies that therein also are interior things and what is inmost, is evident from the representation of Abraham and Isaac, who here are his "fathers," as being interior things and what is inmost, Abraham being what is inmost, and Isaac the interior which is under the inmost (see n. 3245, 6098, 6185, 6276, 6434). (Moreover that the inmost and the interiors are together in the exterior, thus in goods and truths in the natural, which are the sons and tribes of Israel, may be seen above n. 6451.)


Unto the cave. That this signifies where is obscurity, is evident from the signification of a "cave," as being what is obscure (see n. 2935). Moreover that there is obscurity in the exterior natural where the truths and goods are which are represented by the sons and tribes of Israel, because therein is what is general, may be seen above n. 6451e.


That is in the field of Ephron the Hittite. That this signifies which nevertheless can become clear, is evident from the signification of a "field," as being the church (see n. 2971, 3766); and from the representation of Ephron the Hittite, as being those with whom truth and good can be received (n. 2933, 2940, 2969), thus those with whom the obscurity of faith can become clear. The case herein is this. Whatever is in the natural, and especially what is in the exterior natural, is obscure in comparison with what is in the interior natural, and still more so in comparison with what is in the rational (n. 6451, 6453). But this obscurity becomes clear in two ways; first, if the exteriors are brought into compliance with the interiors, and thus into correspondence; secondly, if the man can be elevated from the exterior to the interior things, and thus to see the exterior things from what is interior. This latter way is possible with those who are in the internal of the church, and the former with those who are in its external; but neither the one nor the other is obtained except through regeneration from the Lord. From this it is plain what is meant by the obscurity being capable of becoming clear.


In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah. That this signifies in this obscurity, is evident from the signification of a "cave," and also of "Machpelah," as being what is obscure. (That a "cave" denotes what is obscure may be seen above, n. 2935, 6453; and also "Machpelah," n. 2935; but "Machpelah" signifies the quality of the obscurity.)


Which is upon the faces of Mamre. That this signifies the quantity and quality thereof, is evident from the signification of "Mamre," as being the quantity and quality of that to which it is adjoined (see n. 2970, 4613).


In the land of Canaan. That this signifies where the church is, is evident from the signification of the "land of Canaan," as being the church (see n. 3686, 3705, 4447, 5136).


Which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite. That this signifies redemption, is evident from the signification of "buying," as being to make one's own (see n. 5374, 5397, 5410, 5426); thus also to redeem, for that which is redeemed is made one's own; from the representation of Abraham, as being in the supreme sense the Lord (n. 1965, 1989, 2011, 3245, 3251, 3305, 3703, 4615, 6098, 6185, 6276); from the signification of a "field," as being the church (n. 2971, 3766); and from the representation of Ephron the Hittite, as being those with whom good and truth can be received (n. 2933, 2940, 2969). Hence is evident what the sense of these words is, namely, that there is redemption by the Lord of those in the church with whom good and truth can be received.


For a possession of a sepulcher. That this signifies regeneration, is evident from the signification of a "sepulcher," as being regeneration (see n. 2916, 2917, 5551).


There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. That this signifies that all the interior things are in order in the good and truth in the natural, is evident from what has been unfolded above (n. 6451, 6452).


The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the sons of Heth. That this signifies the redemption of those who receive truth, and through truth good, is evident from the signification of a "purchase," as being redemption (see n. 6458); from the signification of a "field," as being the church (n. 2971, 3766), thus the man of the church, for he is a church; from the signification of a "cave," as being what is obscure (n. 2935, 6453); and from the representation of the sons of Heth, as being the spiritual church which was from the Ancient Church (n. 2913, 2986); and because the "sons of Heth" denote the spiritual church from the Ancient Church, they denote those who receive truth and through truth good, for from this is the spiritual church. From all this it is evident that by the "purchase of the field and of the cave which is in it was from the sons of Heth," is signified the redemption of those who, being in the church and as yet in obscurity, receive truth and through truth good.


And Jacob finished commanding his sons. That this signifies the effect of the insinuation, is evident from the signification of "commanding sons and saying unto them," as being insinuation (see n. 6450); thus "to finish commanding them" denotes the effect of the insinuation.


And he gathered up his feet unto the bed. That this signifies as to his lower things in which were things interior, unto the good and truth of the lower natural, is evident from the signification of "gathering up the feet," as being to betake themselves to lower things (that "to gather" is to betake themselves, when the "feet" denote lower things, is plain; and that the "feet" denote the things of the natural may be seen above, n. 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952, thus things that are lower, n. 6436), that lower things in which are interior ones are meant, is evident from what was said above (n. 6451); and from the signification of a "bed," as being the natural (n. 6188, 6226), thus the good and truth of the natural, for these make the natural with man. That it is the good and truth of the lower natural, is because this natural is that to which interior things betake themselves (according to the things unfolded above, n. 6451, 6452); that the natural is lower and higher, or interior and exterior, see n. 3293, 3294, 5118, 5126, 5497, 5649. As by Israel is represented spiritual good from the natural, and by Jacob spiritual truth in the natural, and by his sons goods and truths in the natural distinguished into genera, therefore mention is made of a "bed," because by it is signified the natural (n. 6188, 6226), as here, when he had finished speaking to his sons, that "he gathered up his feet unto the bed;" and also when Joseph came to him, it is said that "Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed" (see n. 6226); and likewise after he had spoken with Joseph about burying him in the sepulcher of his fathers, it is said that "Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head" (n. 6188). And in this connection it is a remarkable fact that when Jacob is thought of, there appears in the world of spirits a bed with a man lying in it; this appears at a distance above the head, toward the front to the right. This appearance originates in the fact that in heaven the idea of thought about Jacob is turned into the idea of thought about the natural; for in heaven there is not perceived what Jacob is, but what is represented by him, namely, the natural, which also is signified by a bed.


And expired. That this signifies new life there, namely, in the goods and truths of the lower natural, which are represented by his sons and the tribes, is evident from the signification of "expiring," or "dying," as being new life (see n. 3498, 3505, 4618, 4621, 6036).


And was gathered unto his peoples. That this signifies that he was in the goods and truths of the natural which are from him, is evident from what was said above (n. 6451), where are like words (see what was there adduced concerning the coming forth and life of spiritual good, which is "Israel," in the goods and truths of the lower natural, which are his sons and the twelve tribes). With respect to the coming forth of interior things in exterior, be it further known that all things, not only with man, but also in universal nature, come forth by successive formations, thus posterior things by formations from prior ones. Hence it is that each formation comes forth separate from the others, but still the posterior depends upon the prior, insomuch that it cannot subsist without it; for the posterior is kept in its connection and form by the prior. From this it is also plain that in the posterior are all the prior things in their order; and the case is similar with the modes and forces which proceed from the prior things as from substances. This is the case with the interior and exterior things pertaining to man, and also with those which are of his life. [2] He who does not conceive the interior and exterior things in man according to such formations, cannot possibly have any idea of the external and the internal man, and of the influx of the one into the other; still less of the coming forth and life of the interior man or spirit, and of its quality when the external, which is bodily, is separated by death. He who conceives of exterior and interior things as being continually more and more pure, and thus cohering by continuity, thus without distinction by formations of posterior things from prior ones, cannot apprehend otherwise than that when the external dies, the internal dies also; for he thinks that they cohere, and by reason of their coherence and continuity, when the one dies the other dies, because the one draws the other with it. These things have been said in order that it may be known that the internal and the external are distinct from each other; and that interior and exterior things succeed in order; and also that all interior things are together in exterior things, or what is the same, all prior things in posterior ones, which subject has been treated of in these verses in the internal sense.


Continuation about influx, and about the interaction of the soul and the body. At the end of the preceding chapters it was shown that each life with man, namely, the life of his thought and the life of his will, flows in from heaven, and this through the angels and spirits who are with him; but by flowing in from heaven is meant that it flows in through heaven from the Lord, for the all of life with the angels is from the Lord, which they themselves unanimously confess, being also in the perception that it is so. And as the all of life with the angels is from the Lord, the all of life with man is also from the Lord, for man is directed by means of angels and spirits in particular, and by means of heaven in general by the Lord.


From this it is evident that no man has life from himself, and therefore neither can he think and will from himself, for the life of man consists in thinking and willing. For there is one only life, namely, that of the Lord, which flows into all, but is variously received, and this according to the quality which a man has induced on his soul by his life in the world. Hence with the evil, goods and truths are turned into evils and falsities; but with the good, goods are received as goods, and truths as truths. This may be compared to the light which flows into objects from the sun, which is diversely modified and variegated in the objects in accordance with the form of their parts, and hence is turned into colors either sorrowful or gladsome, thus in accordance with the quality. In like manner while a man lives in this world he induces on the purest substances that belong to his interior a quality, according to which the Lord's life is received. Be it known that the life from the Lord is the life of love toward the universal human race.


Spirits fresh from the world, before they have been instructed by angels, believe no otherwise than that the all of life is in the man himself, and that nothing flows in; because they know nothing in particular about heaven, thus neither about influx thence. Neither are spirits who are not good willing to be instructed in these things, for they desire to live from themselves; and they have said that I had no life, because they had heard me say that I do not live from myself, and that I know this by continual experience; but to this they were unwilling to attend. It was further given to say, that everyone has life in accordance with the form of the interiors which he has acquired by willing and acting, thinking and speaking. [2] I afterward spoke with good spirits about the influx of life from the Lord, that it flows into all, and that this is evident from heaven, in that heaven resembles a man, and is therefore called the Grand Man (of which, and of the correspondence therewith of all things in man, I have already treated at the end of a number of chapters), and that this could not possibly be unless life from the Lord flowed into heaven in general, and into each one there in particular. [3] It was further said that this is evident from the fact that the universal heaven has reference to the Lord, and that the Lord is there the center of all the looks, they who are in heaven looking upward to Him, and they who are in hell looking downward from Him. For the Lord appears to those who are in the heavens as a sun above them. It was further said that it is evident that the all of life is from the Lord from this fact also, that the soul of man can in the womb so wonderfully form a body, and its manifold members and organs in such a connection, and its interiors according to the image of heaven: this could not possibly be done unless all life were from the Lord, and unless heaven were such as has been described.


It has also been given me to perceive by influx the sweetness which the Angels perceive from the fact that they do not think and will from themselves, but from the Lord; hence they have tranquillity, peace, and happiness. And when angels have inflowed so that I perceived it, the presence of the Lord has been plainly observed, a sign that they are in the Lord's life; this it has been given to know from much experience. Once also when I was thinking of the influx of life from the Lord, and was revolving some doubts, it flowed in from heaven that no attention should be paid to thousands of objections and reasonings from fallacies.


That all life is from the Lord, it has also been given to know from the fact that no spirit thinks and speaks from himself, but from others, and these others from yet others, and so on. This has been frequently shown to those who believed that life was in them and did not flow in; and from this it has been given to conclude that because no one thinks and speaks from himself, but from others, therefore in the last resort all think and speak from One, thus from the Lord; and that unless all did so from One, it would be impossible for any order of lives to come forth in heaven, in which nevertheless the order is such that heaven is most distinctly arranged into societies according to the quality of the good. It would be altogether otherwise if everyone acted from his own life.


A certain spirit (not of the evil, but from those who supposed that they possessed the knowledges of faith more than others, and who had instructed some others even in the fact that all good and truth are from the Lord, and that man cannot think or will what is good from himself), was brought into such a state that he did not think and will from himself; for in the other life it is possible to be brought into such states. When he was in this state he said that he could not live in such a way; but that life was grievous to him. He was then told that he did not love to live in the truth which he had taught, and that the angels are in that state, and are in happiness when they perceive that they do not live from themselves; but this was of no avail. Hence it was evident how difficult it is to live a life of faith unless the man lives in the good of charity.


How the case is with the influx of each life, namely, of the life of the thought and the life of the will from the Lord, has been given to know by revelation; namely, that the Lord inflows in two ways: through heaven mediately, and from Himself immediately; and that from Himself He flows both into man's rational things, which are his interior things, and into his natural things, which are his exterior ones. That which flows in from the Lord is the good of love and the truth of faith, for that which proceeds from the Lord is the Divine truth in which is the Divine good; but these are variously received with man, namely, in accordance with his quality. [2] The Lord does not compel man to receive what flows in from Himself; but leads in freedom, and so far as man allows, through freedom leads to good. Thus the Lord leads man according to his delights, and also according to fallacies and the principles received therefrom; but gradually He leads him out from these; and this appears to the man as if it were from himself. Thus the Lord does not break these things, for this would be to do violence to freedom, which however must needs exist, in order that the man may be reformed (see n. 1937, 1947, 2875, 2876, 2881, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031). That the Lord flows in with man in this manner, namely, not only mediately through heaven, but also immediately from Himself, both into the interior and the exterior things in the man, is a secret hitherto unknown.


That the Lord rules the last things of man equally as his first, can be seen from the fact that the order from the Lord is successive from first things to last, and in the order itself there is nothing but what is Divine; and this being so, the presence of the Lord must needs be in the last things equally as in the first, for the one follows from the other according to the tenor of order.


It was shown me by experience during the space of an hour, how all the thoughts are ruled by the Lord. There was an influx like a most gentle and almost imperceptible stream, the current of which does not appear, but still leads and draws. This, which flowed in from the Lord, led in this manner all the series of my thoughts into the consequent things, and although gently, powerfully, so that I could not possibly wander into other thoughts, which also I was allowed to attempt, but in vain.


I have heard it said to certain evil spirits, who were in the world of spirits and who were continually thinking against the Lord (in regard to the spirits who are from hell, when in the world of spirits, see n. 5852), that they should produce someone who said with truth about any angel of heaven (or, if they could, should show one single person in heaven) who does not acknowledge the Lord, and that He is the life of all, and that all have what they have from Him; but they were silent, because they could not do it. Some of the evil spirits, who believed that there are heavens where the Lord is not acknowledged, wandered about and made inquiry, but after trying in vain, they returned. It was said to them further that all in hell think against the Lord, nor do they attribute anything to Him which is above what is human; and yet most say that they acknowledge a Supreme Being, by which they mean the Father, and nevertheless live in hatred and revenge, and continually desire to be exalted over others, and to be worshiped as gods, and in this way they make hell for themselves. It is very different with those who acknowledge the Lord, and believe in Him from the heart. From this also it is evident that the Lord flows into all, both generally through heaven, and singularly and also universally from Himself; and that where the good of charity is, there He is; and also where the contrary is, there also He is, but in no other way than to give them life, and to withdraw them from evil insofar as this can be done.


Whenever I have been reading the Lord's prayer, I have plainly perceived an elevation toward the Lord which was like an attraction, and at the same time my ideas were open, and from this there was effected a communication with some societies in heaven; and I noticed that there was an influx from the Lord into every detail of the prayer, thus into every idea of my thought that was from the meaning of the things in the prayer. The influx was effected with inexpressible variety, that is, not the same at one time as another; hence also it was made evident how infinite are the things contained in the prayer, and that the Lord is present in every one of them.


For many years I have observed the general sphere of the influxes around me. It consisted on the one hand of a perpetual endeavor by the hells to do evil, and on the other of a continual endeavor by the Lord to do good; by these endeavors opposite to each other I have been constantly kept in equilibrium. Such endeavors and consequent equilibrium are with everyone; from this all have freedom to turn whithersoever they please; but the equilibrium varies in accordance with the good or evil that reigns with the man. From this also it could be seen that the Lord flows in universally, and therefore also singularly. And I have been informed that the opposite endeavor, which is from hell, is nothing but the perversion into evil of the good that proceeds from the Lord.


When an angel does good to anyone, he also communicates to him his own good, good fortune, and bliss, and this with the desire to give the other everything, and to retain nothing. When he is in such communication, then good flows in unto him together with good fortune and bliss much more than he gives, and this with continual increase. But as soon as the thought occurs that he desires to communicate what he has for the sake of obtaining in himself this influx of good fortune and bliss, the influx is dissipated; and still more so if any thought comes in of recompense from him to whom he communicates his good. This it has been given me to know from much experience; and from this also it may be seen that the Lord is in every single thing, for the Lord is such that He wills to give Himself to all, and hence good fortune and bliss are increased with those who are images and likenesses of Him.


Spirits not so well disposed, who were for some time with me, continually injected doubts from the fallacies of the senses against the possibility of all things flowing from one fountain, and thus from the Lord. But they were told that so many doubts cannot be removed within a short time, on account of the fallacies of the senses, which must first be dispelled, and on account of the numberless unknown things which must first be known; nay, that with those who are in what is negative, that is, those with whom what is negative universally reigns, doubts cannot possibly be removed; for with them one scruple has more weight than a thousand confirmations. For one scruple is like a grain of sand placed close before the pupil of the eye, which, although single and small, yet takes away all the sight. But they who are in what is affirmative, that is, those with whom what is affirmative universally reigns, reject the scruples from fallacies which are contrary to truths, and if there are any things which they do not apprehend, these they cast to the sides, and say that they do not as yet understand them, and nevertheless they remain in the belief of the truth. But the above-mentioned spirits attended little to these things, because they were in what is negative.


As the subject here treated of is the Lord's influx mediately through heaven and immediately from Himself, and this is more fitly called Providence (for the Lord flows not only into the will and thought of man, but also at the same time into many things that befall him), therefore in what now follows it will be called Providence.


Spirits coming into the other life bring with them the opinion that the Divine Providence is universal, but not in the singulars. The cause of this opinion had been that they had seen the evil exalted to honors, and become rich, and crowned with success, which such persons ascribe to their own sagacity; not knowing that the Divine Providence has for its end the eternal salvation of man, thus not his good fortune in this world, namely, his opulence and eminence, wherein most persons during the life of the body make happiness itself consist; when yet the fact is not so, for eminence usually begets the love of self, and opulence the love of the world, thus what is contrary to love to God and to charity toward the neighbor. Therefore such things are given to the evil, and also to the good if they are not unsuitable and do not withdraw them from heaven. Moreover the Lord provides for His ends through the evil equally as through the good; for the Lord moves the evil through their very loves to do what is good to the neighbor, to their country, and the church; for the evil desire to be in eminence, they desire their own advantage, and for the sake of these things they desire to seem upright and zealous, and from this desire, as from a fire, they are more strongly moved to do such things than are the well-disposed. It is also permitted the evil to believe that all things are of their own sagacity, and that there is no Divine Providence, or only one that is universal. As they are not willing to perceive otherwise, and in order that they may perform such things as are conducive to the public good, successes are also given them in accordance with their projects, which successes are greater incitements to them from the fact that they ascribe them to themselves.


I have spoken with spirits about the universal government of the Lord-that what is universal is impossible without its singulars, and that without these what is universal is nothing; for it is called universal because its singulars taken together are so called, just as particulars when taken together are called a general; and therefore to say that there is Providence in the universal and not in the singulars, is to say nothing. If anyone by Providence in the universal understands the preservation of the whole according to an order impressed on universal nature at its first creation, he does not consider that nothing can subsist unless it perpetually comes into existence; for, as is known in the learned world, subsistence is a perpetual coming into existence, thus preservation is perpetual creation; consequently providence is constantly in the details. Some confirm themselves in the persuasion that what is universal may exist without what is particular, from the case of a king, who rules only universally, and not in every detail; but they do not consider that the royalty is not only with the king himself, but also with his ministers, who are his vice-regents in things where he himself is not able to act; it is in this way that the universal which is of the king is in all the details. But with the Lord there is no need of this; for whatever is in Him is infinite, because Divine. The reason why the angels are His ministers is in order that they may be in active life, and thence in happiness; nevertheless the ministries which they discharge are not from them, but from influx from the Lord, as also the angels unanimously confess.


From what has now been said it may also be seen that a universal is precisely in accordance with its singulars; if these are less singular the universal also is less elevated, but if they are more singular, the universal is thereby more elevated; for the singulars cause the universal to be and to be called universal. From this may be known the nature of the Divine universal, that it is in the veriest singulars of all things; for it is the most elevated above all, because it is Divine and infinite.


There was a certain one who had confirmed himself in the notion that nothing is of the Divine Providence, but that each and all things are of sagacity, and are also from fortune and chance. He granted that there is fortune, but knew not what it is. He was one of the subtle evil spirits, because he had been more given to thought than to speech and conversation. When he came into the other life he continued there his former life, as all do; he sought out and learned all things-even magical arts-that he supposed might be of service to him, and by means of which he might take such care of himself as to be fortunate from himself. I conversed with him, and he said that he was in his heaven when this was the case, and that there could not possibly be any other heaven than that which he made for himself. But it was given to answer that his heaven is turned into hell as soon as the real heaven flows into it. He was then in the world of spirits, and when spirits are there they are in the delights of the loves in which they had been in the world (see n. 5852). But it then came to pass that heaven flowed into his delight, and he then suddenly felt hell, and said with horror that he had never believed this. I was told by good spirits that he was worse than the others because there was a more subtle influx from him than from the others. Afterward the same spirit was reduced into the state of his infancy, and the Lord showed the angels what his quality had been at that time, and also what was the then foreseen quality of his future life, and that every detail of his life had been led by the Lord, and that he would have plunged into the most atrocious hell if there had been even the least cessation of the continual providence of the Lord. This can be presented to view before the angels. He was also asked whether he had ever thought about eternal life. He said that he had not believed in it, and that he had rejected everything of the kind, because he saw so much confusion, the righteous suffering, and the wicked glorying, with other such things; also because he saw that brute animals have similar senses and life, also discernment and sagacity; thus he had believed that he should die as they do. He said that he had been in the utmost amazement when he perceived that he lived after death.


I have conversed with good spirits about the Divine Providence and about man's own sagacity, and by means of a representation familiar among them they showed me about this matter, namely, by dust scattered and rare in the atmosphere. They said that relatively to the Divine Providence man's own sagacity is like that speck of dust in comparison with the universal atmosphere, and which is relatively nothing and falls to the ground. They added that those who attribute all things to their own sagacity are like those who wander in dark forests, not knowing the way out, and if they find it they attribute it either to their own sagacity or to fortune. The angels said further that all accidents are of Providence, and that for many reasons Providence acts silently and secretly; and that if it acted openly, man could not possibly be reformed.


I have heard angels talking together about the Lord's Providence; but of what they said, though I understood it, little can be described, because their speech was continually joined to heavenly representatives, but little of which can be expressed. They spoke wisely, saying that the Lord's Providence is in the veriest singulars of all things, but not according to such an order as man proposes to himself, because things to come are both foreseen and provided; and that the case is like that of a person building a palace, who first collects materials of every kind, and lays them together in heaps, where they lie without order, while the kind of palace to be formed from them exists solely in the understanding of the architect.


When I was talking with the angels about the Divine Providence of the Lord, there were spirits also present, who had impressed on themselves some notion about fate or absolute necessity. They supposed the Lord to act from this necessity, because He cannot proceed otherwise than according to the most essential things, thus according to the things that belong to the most perfect order. But they were shown that man has freedom, and that if he acts from freedom, it is not from necessity. This was illustrated by the case of houses which are to be built, in that the bricks, mortar, sand, stones serving for foundations and columns, also timbers and beams, and the like, are brought together not in that order in which the house is to be constructed, but at pleasure; and that the Lord alone knows what kind of a house may be built with these materials. All the things which are from the Lord are most essential; but they do not follow in order from necessity, but in a manner that is applicable to the freedom of man.


There was discourse about predestination, and many of the spirits, from principles adopted in the world, were of the opinion that some have been predestined to heaven, and some to hell; but I heard an answer from heaven, that no one has ever been predestined to hell, but that all have been predestined to eternal life.


The Providence of the Lord has been conjoined with foresight, and the one is impossible without the other; for evils are foreseen, and goods are provided. And the evils which are foreseen, are by the provident disposition of the Lord continually bent to good, for the Divine end of good reigns universally. Hence nothing is permitted except for the end that some good may come out of it; but as man has freedom, in order that he may be reformed, he is bent from evil to good so far as he suffers himself to be bent in freedom, and (if he cannot be led to heaven) continually from the most atrocious hell, into which he makes every effort to plunge, into a milder one.


Unless the Lord's Providence was in the veriest singulars, it would be impossible for man to be saved, or indeed to live, for life is from the Lord, and all the moments of life have a series of consequences to eternity. I was once given plainly to perceive the sphere of ends which is of Providence from the Lord.


That the Lord's Providence is infinite, and regards what is eternal, may be seen from the formation of embryos in the womb, where lineaments are continually projected toward those which are to come, so that one lineament is always a plane for another, and this without any error, until the embryo is formed; and after it has been born, one thing is prepared successively toward another and for another, in order that a perfect man may come forth, and at last such a man as to be capable of receiving heaven. If all the details are thus provided during man's conception, birth, and growth, how much more must this be the case with regard to the spiritual life.


In a dream my father appeared to me, and I spoke with him, saying that after a son becomes his own master he ought not to acknowledge his father as father, as before; for the reason why the father is to be acknowledged during the bringing up of the son, is that the father is then in the Lord's stead, nor does a son know at that time what he ought to do except by the direction of his father. But when a son becomes his own master, and competent to think for himself, and seems to himself to be able to direct himself from himself, then the Lord must be his Father, whose vice-regent his natural father had been. These things I spoke in my dream. When I awoke, there seemed to descend from heaven a long roll fastened to rods, and tied by most beautiful woven knots of an azure color; the beauty of this object was indescribable. It was said that the angels make such presents to one another.


I have often spoken with spirits about fortune, which in the world appears like chance, because men know not whence it is; and because they do not know this, some deny that there is such a thing. When something happened to me which seemed to be by chance, I was told by the angels that it had happened because spirits of that kind were present; and that when it was a mischance, the sphere of spirits of a corresponding kind had prevailed. Moreover evil spirits have found out how to produce by their arts a sphere giving rise to misfortunes, which appeared exactly as if of chance. And it was further said that all things, nay, the leasts of all things, down to the leasts of the leasts, are directed by the Providence of the Lord, even as to the very steps; and when such a sphere prevails as is contrary thereto, misfortunes happen. They also confirmed the fact that there is no such thing as chance, and that apparent accident, or fortune, is Providence in the ultimate of order, in which all things are comparatively inconstant.


For a number of years I have carefully observed whether fortune is anything, and I have found that it is, and that sagacity then availed nothing. Moreover all who have long reflected on this subject, know and confess this, but they do not know whence it is: scarcely anyone knows that it is from the spiritual world, when yet this is the source of it. I once played in company a common game of chance with dice, and the spirits who were with me spoke to me about fortune in games, and said that what is fortunate was represented to them by a bright cloud, and what is unfortunate by a dusky cloud; and that when a dusky cloud appeared with me, it was impossible for me to win; moreover by this sign they predicted to me the turns of fortune in that game. From this it was given me to know that what is attributed to fortune, even in games, is from the spiritual world; much more that which befalls man in relation to the vicissitudes in the course of his life; and that what is called fortune is from the influx of Providence in the ultimates of order, where it so comes forth; thus that Providence is in the veriest singulars of all things, according to the Lord's words, that not even a hair falls from the head without the will of God.


From all that has been adduced it may be seen that the influx from the Lord is immediate, and also mediate through heaven; but the influx which is from the Lord is the good of heavenly love, thus of love toward the neighbor. In this love the Lord is present, for He loves the universal human race, and desires to eternally save every member of it; and as the good of this love is from Himself, He Himself is in it; thus He is present with the man who is in the good of this love. But when a man suffers himself to come into such a state as to receive influx from hell, he then feels the life of the love of self and of the world to be delightful, and the life of the love of the neighbor (unless it is in favor of himself) to be undelightful. And because a man who is in this state desires nothing but evils, and thinks nothing but falsities about the spiritual life, therefore to prevent his acting as he desires, and speaking as he thinks, he is kept in bonds by his loves themselves, whose loss he fears, thus by the fear of the loss of honor, gain, reputation, and life. Into these bonds which constitute the lowest plane, the Lord then flows, and through them rules the man; and hence he appears moral and civil in act, sometimes like an angel, and does no harm to society and his neighbor; and if he does harm, there are civil laws to punish him. But in the other life this plane is nonexistent; there man is in the spiritual world, consequently in the sphere of his interiors; thus such as he had been inwardly, such he is there, and not such as he had appeared in externals; for externals are taken away from him, and when these are taken away, his quality in the world, whether that of a devil or that of an angel, is manifest.


A continuation will be found at the end of the following chapter. Genesis 50 1. And Joseph fell upon the faces of his father, and wept upon him, and kissed him. 2. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel. 3. And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of the embalmed; and the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. 4. And the days of weeping for him passed away, and Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If I pray I have found grace in your eyes, speak I pray in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5. My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my sepulcher which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. And now I pray let me go up, and bury my father, and I will return. 6. And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear. 7. And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8. And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: only their babes, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. 9. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and the army was exceeding great. 10. And they came to the threshing-floor Atad, which is in the passage of the Jordan, and they wailed there a very great and grievous wailing; and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11. And the inhabitant of the land, the Canaanite, saw the mourning in the threshing-floor Atad, and they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians; wherefore they called the name of it Abel-mizraim, which is in the passage of the Jordan. 12. And his sons did unto him as he had commanded them: 13. And his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a sepulcher, from Ephron the Hittite, upon the faces of Mamre. 14. And Joseph returned into Egypt, he and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. 15. And Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, and they said, Peradventure Joseph will hate us, and returning will return unto us all the evil that we requited to him. 16. And they commanded Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17. Thus shall ye say unto Joseph, I pray forgive I pray the transgression of thy brethren, and their sin, because they requited evil to thee; and now forgive I pray the transgression of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18. And his brethren also went and fell down before him; and they said, Behold we are thy servants. 19. And Joseph said unto them, Fear ye not; for am I in God's stead? 20. And you thought evil against me, but God thought it for good, in order to do as it is this day, to keep alive a great people. 21. And now fear ye not: I will sustain you, and your babes. And he comforted them, and spake upon their heart. 22. And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's house; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. 23. And Joseph saw Ephraim's sons of the third generation: the sons also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph's knees. 24. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die; and visiting God will visit you, and will make you go up out of this land unto the land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25. And Joseph took an oath of the sons of Israel, saying, Visiting God will visit you, and ye shall make my bones go up from hence. 26. And Joseph died, a son of a hundred and ten years; and they embalmed him, and he was put in an ark in Egypt.


The Contents After treating of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by whom in the supreme sense is represented the Lord, this last chapter of Genesis in the internal sense treats of the church-that after the celestial church had perished, a spiritual church was instituted by the Lord. The beginning and progress of this church are described in the internal sense, and at the close of the chapter, its end; and that in its stead the mere representative of a church was instituted among the descendants of Jacob.


The Internal Sense. Verses 1-3. And Joseph fell upon the faces of his father, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were fulfilled for him, for so are fulfilled the days of the embalmed; and the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. "And Joseph fell upon the faces of his father," signifies the influx of the internal into the affection of good; "and wept upon him," signifies sorrow; "and kissed him," signifies the first conjunction; "and Joseph commanded his servants the physicians," signifies preservation from the evils which hindered; "to embalm his father," signifies lest it should be infected with any contagion; "and the physicians embalmed Israel," signifies what was done for the preservation of the good which is from truth; "and forty days were fulfilled for him," signifies states of preparation by means of temptations; "for so are fulfilled the days of the embalmed," signifies that these are states of preservation; "and the Egyptians wept for him," signifies the sadness of the memory-knowledges of the church; "seventy days," signifies a full state.


And Joseph fell upon the faces of his father. That this signifies the influx of the internal into the affection of good, is evident from the signification of "falling upon the faces" of anyone, as being influx; from the representation of Joseph, as being the internal (see n. 5805, 5826, 5827, 5869, 5877, 6177, 6224); from the signification of the "face," as being affection (n. 4796, 4797, 5102); and from the representation of Israel, who is here the "father," as being spiritual good, or the good of truth (n. 3654, 4598, 5801, 5803, 5806, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833). Hence it is evident that by "Joseph fell upon the faces of his father" is signified the influx of the internal into the affection of spiritual good. That the influx of the internal into the affection of spiritual good is signified, is because in the internal sense the subject treated of is the spiritual church, that it was instituted by the Lord; for by "Israel" is signified the good of truth, or spiritual good, and this good makes the spiritual church, wherefore also by "Israel" this church is signified (n. 4286, 6426). In order that this good may come into existence, there must be influx from the internal celestial, which is represented by Joseph; for without influx from this, spiritual good is not good, because it is of no affection. In what follows in the internal sense the institution of this church is continued (n. 6497). That this church is described by Israel now dead and presently to be buried, is because in the internal sense by "death" is not signified death, nor by "burial" burial, but by "death" is signified new life (n. 3498, 3505, 4618, 4621, 6036), and by "burial" regeneration (n. 2916, 2917, 5551).


And wept upon him. That this signifies sorrow, is evident without explication. By the sorrow here signified by "weeping" is not meant in the internal sense sorrow for death as it is in the external, but for the good of the spiritual church, that it cannot be elevated above what is natural; for the Lord flowing in through the internal continually wills to perfect this good, and to draw it toward Himself, but still it cannot be elevated to the first degree of the good that belongs to the celestial church. For the man of the spiritual church is comparatively in obscurity, and reasons about truths as to whether they are truths, or confirms what is called doctrine, and this without perception whether what he confirms is true or not; and when he has confirmed it with himself, he fully believes that it is true, even though it is false; for there is nothing that cannot be confirmed, this being the work of ingenuity, not of intelligence, still less of wisdom; and what is false may be confirmed more readily than what is true, because it favors the cupidities, and agrees with the fallacies of the senses. Such being the nature of the man of the spiritual church, he cannot possibly be elevated above what is natural; and this is the source of the sorrow which is signified by "Joseph wept upon him."

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