Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 3913

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3913. 'She said, Behold, my maidservant Bilhah' means the affirming means, which has its place between natural truth and interior truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'a maidservant', and also of 'a servant-girl' as the affection for the cognitions which belong to the exterior man, dealt with in 1895, 2567, 3835, 3849, and in this particular case since that affection is the means by which interior truths become joined to natural or external truths, 'a maidservant' therefore describes the affirming means that has its place between these; and from the representation of 'Bilhah' as the nature of that means. The two servant-girls which Rachel and Leah gave to Jacob as wives for producing offspring represented and meant in the internal sense nothing else than something which is of service, in this case something serving as the means by which those two things are joined together, namely interior truth with external truth, for 'Rachel' represents interior truth, 'Leah' external, 3793, 3819. Indeed by means of the twelve sons of Jacob twelve general or principal requisites are described here by which a person is introduced into spiritual and celestial things while he is being regenerated or becoming the Church.

[2] Actually when a person is being regenerated or becoming the Church, that is, when from being a dead man he is becoming a living one, or from being a bodily- minded man is becoming a heavenly-minded one, he is led by the Lord through many states. These general states are specified by those twelve sons, and later by the twelve tribes, so that the twelve tribes mean all aspects of faith and love - see what has been shown in 3858. For any general whole includes every particular and individual detail, and each detail exists in relation to the general whole. When a person is being regenerated the internal man is to be joined to the external man, and therefore the goods and truths which belong to the internal man are to be joined to those which belong to the external man, for it is truths and goods that make a person a human being. These cannot be joined together without means. These means consist in such things as take something from one side and something from the other, and act in such a way that insofar as a person moves closer to one the other plays a subordinate role. These means are meant by the servant-girls - Rachel's servant-girls being the means available from the internal man, Leah's the means available from the external man.

[3] The necessity for means by which the joining together is effected may be recognized from the consideration that of himself the natural man does not agree at all with the spiritual but disagrees so much as to be utterly opposed to the spiritual. For the natural man regards and loves self and the world, whereas the spiritual man does not, except insofar as to do so leads to the rendering of services in the spiritual world, and so he regards service to it and loves this service because of the use that is served and the end in view. The natural man seems to himself to have life when he is promoted to high positions and so to pre-eminence over others, but the spiritual man seems to himself to have life in self-abasement and in being the least. Not that he despises high positions, provided they are means by which he is enabled to serve the neighbour, society as a whole, and the Church. Neither does the spiritual man view the important positions to which he is promoted in any selfish way but on account of the services rendered which are his ends in view. Bliss for the natural man consists in his being wealthier than others and in his possessing worldly riches, whereas bliss for the spiritual man consists in his having cognitions of truth and good which are the riches he possesses, and even more so in the practice of good in accordance with truths. Not however that he despises riches, because these enable him to render a service in the world.

[4] These few considerations show that on account of their different ends in view the state of the natural man and the state of the spiritual are the reverse of each other, but that the two can be joined one to the other. That conjunction is effected when things which belong to the external man become subordinate and are subservient to the ends which the internal man has in view. In order that a person may become spiritual therefore it is necessary for the things belonging to the external man to be brought into a position of subservience, and so for ends that have self and the world in view to be cast aside and those that have the neighbour and the Lord's kingdom to be adopted. The former cannot possibly be cast aside or the latter adopted, and so the two cannot be joined, except through means. It is these means that are meant by the servant-girls, and specifically by the four sons born to the servant-girls.

[5] The first means is one that affirms, or is affirmative towards, internal truth; that is to say, it affirms that it really is internal truth. Once this affirmative attitude is present, a person is in the first stage of regeneration, good from within being at work and leading to that spirit of affirmation. That good cannot pass into a negative attitude, nor even into one of doubt, until this becomes affirmative. After this, that good manifests itself in affection; that is to say, it causes the person to feel an affection for, and delight in, truth - first through his coming to know this truth, then through his acting in accordance with it. Take for example the truth that the Lord is the human race's salvation. If the person does not develop an affirmative attitude towards this truth, none of the things which he has learned about the Lord from the Word or in the Church and which are included among the facts in his natural memory can be joined to his internal man, that is, to the truths that are able to be truths of faith there. Nor can affection accordingly enter in, not even into the general aspects of this truth which contribute to the person's salvation. But once he develops an affirmative attitude countless things are added and are filled with the good that is flowing in. For good is flowing in constantly from the Lord, but where no affirmative attitude exists it is not accepted. An affirmative attitude is therefore the first means and so to speak first dwelling-place of the good flowing in from the Lord. And the same is so with all other truths called the truths of faith.

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