(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 3849

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3849. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be to her for a handmaid. That this signifies the exterior affections, which are the bonds or subservient means, is evident from what was said above (n. 3835). The reason why by "Bilhah" the handmaid of Rachel are signified exterior affections; and by "Zilpah" the handmaid of Leah, external affections, is that by Rachel is represented the affection of internal truth, and by Leah the affection of external truth. Exterior affections are natural affections which are subservient to internal ones. The reason why these exterior affections are means serviceable to the conjunction of truth with good, is that nothing which is of doctrine, and indeed nothing which is of memory-knowledge, can enter into man, save by means of affections; for in affections there is life, but not in the truths of doctrine and of memory-knowledge without affections. That this is the case is very plain; for a man cannot even think, nor so much as utter a syllable, without affection. He who pays attention to the matter will perceive that a voice without affection is like the voice of an automaton, and thus is but a lifeless sound; and that in proportion to the amount and the quality of the affection therein, such is the amount and the quality of the life in it. This shows what truths are without good; and that the affection is in the truths from the good.
[2] He who pays attention may also know, from the nature of man's understanding, that it is no understanding unless the will is in it; the life of the understanding being from the will. This again shows what truths without good are, namely, that they are no truths at all; and that truths derive their life from good; for truths belong to man's intellectual part, and good to his will part. From all this anyone can judge what faith (which is of truth) is without charity, which is of good; and that the truths of faith without the good of charity are dead; for as before said the amount and the quality of the affection in truths, determine the amount and the quality of the life in them. But that truths nevertheless appear animated, even when there is no good of charity, is from the affections of the love of self and the love of the world, which have no life, except that which in the spiritual sense is called death, that is, infernal life. It is said affection, and thereby is meant that which is continuous of love.*
[3] From all this we can see that affections are means subservient to the conjunction of truth with good; and that affections are what introduce truths, and also dispose them into order-genuine affections, which are of love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor, into heavenly order; but evil affections, which are of the love of self and the love of the world, into infernal order; that is, into the opposite of heavenly order.
[4] The most external affections are those of the body, and are called appetites and pleasures; the next interior affections are those of the natural mind, and are called natural affections; but the internal affections are those of the rational mind, and are called spiritual affections. To these last-spiritual affections of the mind-doctrinal truths are introduced by means of exterior and most external, or natural and bodily affections. Hence these affections are subservient means, and are signified by the handmaids given by Laban to Rachel and to Leah. Their being called "Laban's" handmaids, signifies that they derived their origin from the good which is represented by Laban, which good has been described above. For the truths that are first learned cannot be at first insinuated by means of any other affections than these; genuine affections come in course of time, but not until the man acts from good.
* Amoris continuum.


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