(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 3419

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3419. And Isaac returned, and digged again the wells of waters which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father. That this signifies that the Lord opened those truths which were with the ancients, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Lord as to the Divine rational, concerning which above; from the signification of "returning and digging again," as being to open again; from the signification of "wells of waters," as being the truths of knowledges (that "wells" are truths may be seen above, n. 2702, 3096; and that "waters" are knowledges, n. 28, 2702, 3058); and from the signification of "the days of Abraham his father," as being a previous time and state as to truths, which truths are signified by the wells which they digged at that time, thus the truths which were with the ancients. (That "days" signify time and states may be seen above, n. 23, 487-488, 493, 893.) When "days" signify states, then by Abraham the father is represented the Lord's Divine Itself before He adjoined to it the Human (n. 2833, 2836, 3251); when they signify time, then by Abraham the father are signified the goods and truths which were from the Lord's Divine before He adjoined to it the Human, thus the goods and truths which were with the ancients.
[2] The truths which were with the ancients are at this day wholly obliterated, insomuch that scarcely anyone knows that they ever existed, and that they could be any other than what are taught at this day, when yet they were totally different. The ancients had Representatives and Significatives of the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom, thus of the Lord Himself; and they who understood such representatives and significatives were called the wise; and they were wise, for thereby they were able to speak with spirits and angels. For when angelic speech (which is incomprehensible to man because spiritual and celestial) descends to man, who is in a natural sphere, it falls into representatives and significatives such as are in the Word, and hence it is that the Word is a holy writing; for in order to be a full correspondence that which is Divine cannot be presented in any other way before the natural man.
[3] And as the ancients were in representatives and significatives of the Lord's kingdom, in which there is nothing but celestial and spiritual love, they had also doctrinal things that treated solely of love to God and of charity toward the neighbor; and by virtue of these doctrinal things they were called the wise. From these doctrinal things they knew that the Lord would come into the world, and that Jehovah would be in Him, and that He would make the human in Himself Divine, and would thus save the human race. From these doctrinal things they also knew what charity is, namely, the affection of being of service to others without any end of recompense; and also what is the neighbor toward whom there should be charity, namely, all in the universe, but still each with discrimination. At this day these doctrinal things are utterly lost, and in place of them there are doctrinal things of faith, which the ancients accounted as relatively nothing.
At the present day the doctrinal things of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor are rejected, in part by those who in the Word are called "Babylonians and Chaldeans," and in part by those who are called "Philistines" and also "Egyptians"; and thus are so completely lost that there remains scarcely any trace of them. For who at the present day knows what that charity is which is devoid of all regard for self, and which is averse to everything that is for the sake of self? And who knows that the neighbor is everyone, with discrimination according to the kind and amount of good in him, thus that he is good itself, consequently in the supreme sense the Lord Himself, because He is in good, and good is from Him, and the good which is not from Him is not good, however much it may appear to be so? And because it is not known what charity is, and what the neighbor, it is not known who they are that in the Word are signified by the "poor," the "miserable," the "needy," the "sick," the "hungry" and "thirsty," the "oppressed," "widows," "orphans," "captives," the "naked," "sojourners," the "blind," the "deaf," the "halt," "maimed," and others when yet the doctrinal things of the ancients taught who these were, and to what class of the neighbor, and thus of charity, each belonged. The whole of the Word in the sense of the letter is written in accordance with these doctrinal things, so that he who has no knowledge of them cannot possibly know any interior sense of the Word.
[4] As in Isaiah:
Is it not to break bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the afflicted that are cast out to thy house; when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the dawn, and thy healing shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of Jehovah shall gather thee (Isa. 58:7-8).
He who lays stress on the sense of the letter believes that if he merely gives bread to the hungry, takes into his house the poor outcasts or wanderers, and covers the naked, he will on this account come into the glory of Jehovah, or into heaven; when yet these are mere outward acts, and even the wicked may do them for the sake of self-merit; but by the "hungry," the "afflicted," and the "naked" are signified those who are spiritually such, thus different states of misery in which the man may be who is the neighbor, and toward whom charity is to be exercised.
[5] In David:
He that executeth judgment for the oppressed; that giveth bread to the hungry; Jehovah looseth the prisoners; Jehovah openeth the eyes of the blind; Jehovah raiseth up them that are bowed down; Jehovah loveth the righteous; Jehovah guardeth the sojourners; he upholdeth the fatherless and widow (Ps. 146:7-9);
where by the "oppressed," the "hungry," the "prisoners," the "blind;" the "bowed down," the "sojourners," the "fatherless" and "widow," are not meant those who are commonly so called, but those who are such in respect to spiritual things, that is, in respect to their souls. Who these were, and in what state and degree they were neighbors, thus what charity was to be exercised toward them, was taught by the doctrinal things of the ancients. It is the same everywhere else in the Old Testament; for when the Divine descends into what is natural with man, it descends into such things as are works of charity, with discrimination according to genera and species.
[6] The Lord also spoke in like manner, because He spoke from the Divine Itself, as in Matthew:
Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you; for I was hungry, and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me to drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me (Matt. 25:34-36).
By the works here recounted are signified the universal genera of charity; and in what degree are the goods or the good men who are the neighbors toward whom charity is to be exercised; and that in the supreme sense the Lord is the neighbor, for He says:
Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me (Matt. 25:40).
From these few examples it may be seen what is meant by the truths with the ancients. But that these truths are altogether obliterated by those who are in the doctrinal things of faith, and not in the life of charity, that is, by those who in the Word are called "Philistines," is signified by the Philistines stopping up the wells after the death of Abraham, which is the subject next treated of.


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