(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 4837

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4837. And it came to pass, when he came to his brother's wife, and he destroyed it to the earth. That this signifies what is contrary to conjugial love, is evident from what now follows. By Er, Judah's firstborn, is described the falsity of evil in which the Jewish nation was at first; by Onan the second son is described the evil which is from the falsity of evil, in which that nation was afterwards; and by Shelah the third son is described the idolatry thence derived, in which they were thereafter continually (n. 4826). Evil from the falsity of evil is described by what Onan did, that he was not willing to give seed to his brother, but that he destroyed it to the earth. That by this is signified what is contrary to conjugial love, is because in the internal sense by the conjugial is meant what is of the church; for the church is the marriage of good and truth, and to this marriage, evil from the falsity of evil is altogether contrary, that is, those who are in such evil are contrary to this marriage.
[2] That this nation had not anything conjugial, whether understood in a spiritual or in a natural sense, is very evident from the fact that they were permitted to have more wives than one; for where there is the conjugial as understood in a spiritual sense, that is, where the good and truth of the church are, consequently where the church is, this is by no means permitted, for the genuine conjugial is never possible except among those with whom the church or kingdom of the Lord is, and not with these except between two (n. 1907, 2740, 3246). Marriage between two persons who are in genuine conjugial love corresponds to the heavenly marriage, that is, to the conjunction of good and truth, the husband corresponding to good, and the wife to the truth of this good; moreover, when they are in genuine conjugial love, they are in this heavenly marriage. Therefore wherever the church is, it is never permitted to have more wives than one; but because there was no church among the posterity of Jacob, but only a representative of a church, or the external of a church without its internal (n. 4311, 4500), it was therefore permitted among them. Further, the marriage of one husband with several wives would present in heaven an idea or image as if one good were conjoined with several truths which do not agree together, and thus as if there was no good; for a good from truths which do not agree together becomes none at all, since good has its quality from truths and their agreement.
[3] It would also present an image as if the church were not one, but several, and these distinct from one another according to the truths of faith, or according to doctrinals; when yet it is one when good is the essential in it and this is qualified and as it were modified by truths. The church is an image of heaven; for it is the kingdom of the Lord on earth. Heaven is distinguished into many general societies, and into lesser ones subordinate to these; but still they are one through good; for the truths of faith there are in agreement according to good; for they have regard to good, and are from it. If heaven were distinguished according to the truths of faith, and not according to good, there would be no heaven, for there would be no unanimity; for the angels could not have from the Lord a oneness of life, or one soul. This is possible only in good, that is in love to the Lord, and in love toward the neighbor. For love conjoins all; and when everyone has love for good and truth, they have a common life, which is from the Lord, and thus have the Lord, who conjoins all. The love of good and truth is what is called love toward the neighbor; for the neighbor is he who is in good and thence in truth, and in the abstract sense is good itself and its truth. From these things it may be seen why within the church marriage must be between one husband and one wife; and why it was permitted the descendants of Jacob to take a number of wives; and that the reason for this was that there was no church among them, and consequently a representative of a church could not be instituted among them by marriages, because they were in what is contrary to conjugial love.


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