Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 4904

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4904. 'And also, behold, she is pregnant owing to acts of whoredom' means, or to say anything can be brought forth from this. This is clear from the meaning of carrying in the womb or 'being pregnant' as bringing something forth (for 'seed' means the truth of faith and 'conception' the reception of it, and therefore carrying in the womb or 'being pregnant' means bringing forth); and from the meaning of 'whoredom' as falsity, that is to say, from their semblance of religion, as above in 4903. From this it is evident that 'saying, Tamar your daughter-in-law has committed whoredom, and also, behold, she is pregnant owing to acts of whoredom' means the perception that it is a falsity to say that anything of marriage exists between them, or that anything can be brought forth from it. In reference to the Church, 'being brought forth' is used to describe the good which is brought forth by means of truth, that good being actually brought forth when truth passes by way of the understanding into the will, and from the will into action. For as stated above, 'seed' means the truth of faith, and 'conception' the reception of it; and reception takes place when truth present in the understanding passes into good present in the will - that is, when truth that is the truth of faith passes into good that is the good of charity When present in the will good is in its own womb and is first brought forth; but when it is present in a person's action - that is, when the will, and so delight and freedom, lead him to bring forth good - that good leaves the womb and is born. The expressions 'being born again' and 'being regenerated' are also used with the same meaning. All this shows what is meant in the internal sense by 'being pregnant', though here the contrary is meant - that no good at all could be brought forth since no truth at all, only falsity, existed among that nation which is the subject here, because no internal aspect of the Church existed among them.

[2] That nation had no knowledge at all of rebirth or regeneration, that is, of becoming an internal man, and as a consequence saw this as 'a harlot'. Such ignorance may be seen from Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, in John 3:1-13, for he said,

How can a person be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? John 3:4.

It is well known that the Lord revealed the internal truths of His kingdom and of His Church. Even so, those truths had been known to the ancients, such as the truth that a person needed to be born again, so that he could enter into life; the truth that in this case he needed to cast aside the old man, that is, self-love and love of the world together with their lusts, and to put on the new man, that is, love towards the neighbour and towards God; and the truth that heaven needed to exist within the regenerate person; and many more truths that were internal ones. Those who belonged to the Ancient Church knew these truths, but they were led to know them through external representatives. However, because among the Jewish nation such truths had become completely lost the Lord presented those same truths in His teaching. Actual representatives were done away with by Him since the majority of them had regard to Himself; for the image must pass away when the actual likeness presents itself.

[3] The Lord therefore established a new Church which was not to be led to know internal truths, as that former Church had been led, by means of representatives but was to know them without the help of representatives. In place of these representatives He ordained certain external forms, baptism and the Holy Supper. Baptism was ordained so that it might enable people to call regeneration to mind, and the Holy Supper so that it might enable them to bring to mind the Lord and His love towards the entire human race, and man's reciprocation of His love. These matters have been mentioned so that it may be recognized that the internal truths of the Church which the Lord taught had been known to the ancients but that among the Jewish nation they had become completely lost, so completely that they were regarded to be nothing else than falsities.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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