(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 4459

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4459. And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father in fraud. That this signifies an evil opinion and intention concerning the truth and good of the Church among the Ancients, is evident from the representation of Shechem, as being the truth among the ancients, or what is the same, truth from the ancient Divine stock (see n. 4399, 4454); from the representation of Hamor, as being the good from which came this truth (n. 4399, 4431, 4447, 4454); and from the signification of "fraud,"' as being an evil opinion and intention, for in a general sense "fraud" implies evil against another, and against what he speaks and what he does, because he who is in fraud thinks and intends that which is contrary to another, as is also evident from the effect described in this chapter. Hence it is evident that by the "sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father in fraud," is signified an evil opinion and intention concerning the truth and good of the Church among the Ancients.
[2] The sons or descendants of Jacob could have no other than an evil opinion and intention concerning the truth and good of the internal man, because they were in externals without internals (see n. 4281, 4293, 4307, 4429, 4433); and they also made internal things of no account, and therefore utterly despised them. Such also is that nation at this day, and such are all who are in external things alone. They who are in external things alone do not even know what it is to be in internal things, for they do not know what that which is internal is. If anyone in their presence mentions what is internal they either affirm it to be so because they know it from doctrine (yet making this affirmation in fraud), or else they deny it with both heart and lips, for they go no further than the sensuous things of the external man. Consequently they do not believe in any life after death, nor that any resurrection is possible unless they are to rise with their bodies, and therefore they are permitted to have such an opinion of the resurrection, because otherwise they would have none at all, for they vest all life in the body, not knowing that the life of the body is from the life of the spirit which lives after death. They who are in externals alone can have no other belief; for with them external things extinguish all thought about internal things, and consequently all faith in them.
[3] At the present day this kind of ignorance reigns supreme, and therefore it is necessary to state what it is to be in external things apart from internal things. All those who are devoid of conscience are in external things alone, for the internal man manifests itself by conscience; and all those have no conscience who think and do what is true and good not for the sake of what is true and good, but for the sake of self by reason of their own honor and gain, and also merely on account of the fear of the law and of fear for their life, for if their reputation, honor, gain, or life were not endangered, they would rush without conscience into all kinds of wickedness. In the other life this is very evident from those who have been of this character in the life of the body, for there, where the interiors are open, they are in the perpetual endeavor to destroy others, and therefore they are in hell, where they are kept bound in a spiritual manner.
[4] That it may be further known what it is to be in external things, and what to be in internal things, and that they who are in external things alone cannot conceive what internal things are, and therefore cannot be affected by them (for no one is affected by things of which he has no conception), let us take as an example that in heaven to be least is to be greatest, and that to be humble is to be exalted; and also that to be poor and needy is to be rich and in abundance. They who are in external things alone cannot apprehend these things, for they think that the least cannot possibly be the greatest, nor the humble be exalted, the poor rich, or the needy in abundance, although in heaven this is precisely how the matter stands. And because they cannot apprehend these things they cannot be affected by them, and when from the bodily and worldly things in which they are, they reflect upon them, they feel an aversion for them. That such things exist in heaven they know not at all, and so long as they are in external things alone they do not desire to know them, nay, they cannot know them. Nevertheless in heaven the man who knows, acknowledges, and believes from the heart-that is, from affection-that he has no power from himself, but that all the power he has is from the Lord, is said to be the least, and yet is the greatest, because he has power from the Lord. The case is the same with the man who is humble, in that he is exalted; for he who is humble, acknowledging and believing from affection that he has no power of himself, no intelligence and wisdom of himself, and no good and truth of himself, is preeminently endowed by the Lord with power, with the intelligence of truth, and with the wisdom of good. It is the same with the poor and needy in respect to their being rich and in abundance; for he is said to be poor and needy who believes from his heart and from affection that he possesses nothing of himself, that he knows nothing and is wise in nothing of himself, and has no power of himself. In heaven such a man is rich and has abundance, for the Lord gives him all wealth, insomuch that he is wiser than all others and richer than all others, and dwells in the most magnificent palaces (n. 1116, 1626, 1627), and in the stores of all the riches of heaven.
[5] Take also as an example that one who is in external things alone cannot possibly comprehend that heavenly joy is to love his neighbor more than himself and the Lord above all things, and that happiness is according to the quantity and quality of this love; for the man who is in external things alone loves himself more than his neighbor; and if he loves others it is because they favor him, so that he loves them for the sake of himself, thus himself in them, and them in himself. A man of this character cannot know what it is to love others more than himself, and indeed he neither will nor can know it, and therefore when he is told that heaven consists in such love (n. 548) he feels an aversion for it. Hence it is that they who during their bodily life have been of this character cannot approach any heavenly society, for when they do so, in their aversion they cast themselves headlong into hell.
[6] As there are few at this day who know what it is to be in external things, and what to be in internal things, and as most people believe that they who are in internal things cannot be in external things, and the converse, I may for the sake of illustration adduce one more example. Take the nourishment of the body and the nourishment of the soul: one who is in merely external pleasures, makes much of himself, indulges his stomach, loves to live sumptuously, and makes the height of pleasure to consist in eatables and drinkables. One who is in internal things also finds pleasure in these things, but his ruling affection is to nourish his body with food pleasurably for the sake of its health, to the end that he may have a sound mind in a sound body, thus chiefly for the sake of the health of the mind, to which the health of the body serves as a means. One who is a spiritual man does not rest here, but regards the health of the mind or soul as a means for the acquisition of intelligence and wisdom - not for the sake of reputation, honors, and gain, but for the sake of the life after death. One who is spiritual in a more interior degree regards intelligence and wisdom as a mediate end having for its object that he may serve as a useful member in the Lord's kingdom; and one who is a celestial man, that he may serve the Lord. To such a one bodily food is a means for the enjoyment of spiritual food, and spiritual food is a means for the enjoyment of celestial food; and as they ought to serve in this manner, these foods also correspond, and are therefore called foods. Hence it is evident what it is to be in external things alone, and what it is to be in internal things. The Jewish and Israelitish nation, treated of in the internal historical sense of this chapter, is (with the exception of those who die in infancy) for the most part of the character that has been indicated, for being in avarice they, more than all others, are in external things. They who love gains and profits merely for the sake of the gold and silver, in the possession of which consists the sole delight of their life, are in outermost or lowest things, for the objects of their love are merely earthly; whereas they who love gold and silver for the sake of some use, lift themselves above earthly things according to the use. The very use that a man loves determines his life and distinguishes it from others; an evil use makes the man infernal, and a good use makes him heavenly-not indeed the use itself, but the love of the use, for everyone's life is in his love.


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