Arcana Coelestia #9184

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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9184. 'He shall surely endow her to be his wife' means a token of consent on his side to a rightful joining together. This is clear from the meaning of 'a dowry' and 'endowing' as a token of consent, dealt with in 4456; and from the meaning of 'to be a wife' as to establish a rightful joining together, for taking a woman to be his wife means being rightfully joined to her. In the spiritual sense a wrongful joining together exists when truth is joined to an affection that springs from a delight in gain or from a delight in the attainment of important positions; this kind of affection is present in people if they learn the Church's truths for the sake of those delights. Yet that joining together does no harm to those who later on are regenerated by the Lord, since those affections remain with them, but become subordinate to and serve an affection for truth learned for the sake of the good that belongs to useful service and to life. Those earlier affections occupy the last place, though they were seen previously to occupy the first. For when a person is being regenerated the order of his life is turned around, and in this way a wrongful joining together is turned into a rightful one.

[2] The reason why this change in a person can come about is that the truths of faith enter by way of hearing, thus through the external man, and the external man has no taste for anything except things of the world and of self, that is, delights that arise from gain and important positions. But when the internal man has been opened through regeneration, good flows in from the Lord by way of the internal man, and that good adopts and joins to itself the truths of faith which have entered through the external man. The more they are joined together, the more order is turned around, that is, what has been occupying the first place is now put in the last. When this happens the Lord draws towards Himself all aspects of life within a person, so that they face upwards. Then those things that are the Lord's and heaven's are seen by the person as ends, and the Lord Himself as the end of all ends, while the former things, the delights that go with gain and important positions, are seen as means to that end. It is well known that the means have their life solely from the end in view, and without that end have no life. Thus when the delights that go with gain and important positions have become the means the life they have is the life that comes from heaven, that is, from the Lord by way of heaven, the end for the sake of which they exist being the Lord. When the order of life in a person is like this, gain and important positions are a blessing to him; but if that order is turned around they are a curse to him. The truth that all things are a blessing when heavenly order exists in a person is the Lord's teaching in Matthew,

Seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.