Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1919

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1919. That 'Abram said to Sarai' means perception is clear from what has been stated above in 1898. The perception which the Lord had was represented and is here meant by 'Abram said to Sarai', but thought which sprang from that perception is meant by 'Sarai said to Abram' - perception being the source of thought. The thought possessed by those who have perception comes from no other source. Yet perception is not the same as thought. To see that it is not the same, let conscience serve to 'illustrate this consideration.

[2] Conscience is a kind of general and thus obscure dictate which presents those things that flow in from the Lord by way of the heavens. Those things that flow in manifest themselves in the interior rational man where they are enveloped so to speak in cloud. This cloud is the product of appearances and illusions concerning the goods and truths of faith. Thought is, in truth, distinct and separate from conscience; yet it flows from conscience, for people who have conscience think and speak according to it. Indeed thought is scarcely anything more than a loosening of the various strands that make up conscience, and a converting of these into separate ideas which pass into words. Hence it is that the Lord holds those who have conscience in good thoughts regarding the neighbour and withholds them from evil thoughts. For this reason conscience can never exist except with people who love the neighbour as themselves and have good thoughts regarding the truths of faith. These considerations brought forward here show how conscience differs from thought, and from this one may recognize how perception differs from thought.

[3] The Lord's perception came directly from Jehovah, and so from Divine Good, whereas His thought came from intellectual truth and the affection for it, as stated above in 1904,1914. No idea, not even an angelic one, is adequate as a means to apprehend the Lord's Divine perception, and thus this lies beyond description. The perception which angels have - described in 1384 and following paragraphs, 1394, 1395 - adds up to scarcely anything at all when contrasted with the perception that was the Lord's. Because the Lord's perception was Divine, it was a perception of everything in heaven; and being a perception of everything in heaven it was also a perception of everything on earth. For such is the order, interconnection, and influx that anyone who has a perception of heavenly things has a perception of earthly as well.

[4] But after the Lord's Human Essence had become united to His Divine Essence, and had become at the same time Jehovah, the Lord was then above what is called perception, for He was above the order which exists in the heavens and from there upon earth. It is Jehovah who is the source of order, and therefore one may say that Jehovah is Order itself, for from Himself He governs order, not merely, as is supposed, in the universal but also in its most specific singulars, for it is these singulars that make up the universal. To speak of the universal and then separate such singulars from it would be no different from speaking of a whole that has no parts within it and so no different from speaking of something consisting of nothing. Thus it is sheer falsity - a figment of the imagination, as it is called - to speak of the Lord's Providence as belonging to the universal but not to its specific singulars; for to provide and govern universally but not specifically is to provide and govern absolutely nothing. This is true philosophically, yet, strange to say, philosophers themselves, including the more eminent, understand this matter in a different way and think in a different way.

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