(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 3913

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3913. And she said, Behold my maidservant Bilhah. That this signifies the affirming means which there is between natural truth and interior truth, is evident from the signification of a "maidservant" and also of a "handmaid" as being the affection of the knowledges that belong to the exterior man (n. 1895, 2567, 3835, 3849); and because this affection is the means for conjoining interior truths with natural or external truths, by "handmaid" is here signified the affirming means between them: and from the representation of Bilhah, as being the quality of this means. By the handmaids given to Jacob by Rachel and Leah for women to the intent that they might bring forth offspring, nothing else was represented and signified in the internal sense, than such a thing as is of service; here, for a means of the conjunction of interior truth with external truth; for by Rachel is represented interior truth, and by Leah external truth (n. 3793, 3819). For by the twelve sons of Jacob are here described the twelve general or cardinal things by means of which while being regenerated or made a church, man is initiated into what is spiritual and celestial. For when a man is being regenerated, or made a church (that is, when from a dead man he is becoming alive, or from corporeal heavenly), he is led by the Lord through many states. These general states are what are designated by the "twelve sons," and afterwards by the "twelve tribes;" for which reason the "twelve tribes" signify all things of faith and love, as may be seen above (n. 3858); for generals involve all the particulars and singulars, and these latter bear relation to the former.
[2] When a man is being regenerated, the internal man is to be conjoined with the external, consequently the goods and truths of the internal man with the goods and truths of the external; for from truths and goods man is man. These cannot be conjoined without means. Means are such things as derive something from the one side, and something from the other, and which are attended with the effect that insofar as the man accedes to the one, the other becomes subordinate. These means are what are signified by the "handmaids," the means on the part of the internal man by the handmaids of Rachel; and the means on the part of the external man by the handmaids of Leah.
[3] That there must be means of conjunction may be seen from the fact that of itself the natural man does not in the least agree with the spiritual man, but disagrees so far as to be altogether opposite. For the natural man regards and loves himself and the world; but the spiritual man does not regard himself and the world, except insofar as is conducive to the promotion of uses in the spiritual world; and thus regards its service and loves it from the use and end. The natural man seems to himself to have life when he is elevated to dignities, and thus to supereminence over others; but the spiritual man seems to himself to have life in humility, and in being the least.
Nor does he disregard dignities, provided that by them as means he can be of service to his neighbor, to the community, and to the church. Yet he does not reflect for the sake of himself upon the dignities to which he is elevated, but for the sake of the uses which he regards as the ends. The natural man is in his bliss when he is richer than others, and possesses the world's wealth; but the spiritual man is in his bliss when he is in the knowledges of truth and good, which are his riches; and still more when he is in the practice of good according to truths; and yet he does not despise riches, because by means of them he can be in that practice, and in the world.
[4] From these few considerations it is evident that the state of the natural man and that of the spiritual man are opposed to each other by their ends; but that nevertheless they can be conjoined, which takes place when the things of the external man are made subordinate and subservient to the ends of the internal man. In order therefore that a man may become spiritual, it is necessary for the things of the external man to be reduced to compliance; thus that the ends in favor of self and the world be put off; and ends in favor of the neighbor and the Lord's kingdom be put on. The former can by no means be put off and the latter put on, and thus the two be conjoined, except through means. These means are what are signified by the "handmaids," and in particular by the "four sons" born of the handmaids.
[5] The first means is one that affirms or is affirmative of internal truth-that it is so. When this affirmative comes, the man is in the beginning of regeneration; good is being worked by the internal, and causes the affirmation. This good cannot inflow into what is negative, nor even into what is full of doubt, until this becomes affirmative. But afterwards it manifests itself by affection, that is, by the man's being affected with truth, or beginning to be delighted with it; first in knowing it, and then in acting according to it. Take, for example, the truth that the Lord is the salvation for the human race. Unless this is made affirmative by the man, all the things he has learned from the Word or in the church concerning the Lord, and that are in his natural memory among the memory- knowledges, cannot be conjoined with his internal man, that is, with what can be there of faith. Thus neither can affection flow in, not even into the generals of that truth which are conducive to man's salvation. But when it becomes affirmative, innumerable things are added, and are filled with the good that flows in; for good continually flows in from the Lord, but where there is no affirmative, it is not received. An affirmative is therefore the first means, and is as it were the first abode of the good that flows in from the Lord. The same is the case with all the other truths that are called truths of faith.


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