Arcana Coelestia #1495

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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1495. 'Why did you say, She is my sister?' means that He knew no other at that time than that He possessed intellectual truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'a sister' as intellectual truth, and also from the fact that Abram had said so, as is clear from verse 13, which was done to the end that what was celestial should suffer no violence but should be saved. From this it was evident that when the Lord as a boy absorbed facts. He first of all knew no otherwise than that facts existed solely for the sake of the intellectual man, that is, that they existed so that from them He might come to know truths. But later on it was disclosed that they had existed so that He might attain to celestial things. This took place so that celestial things should suffer no violence but be saved. When a person is being instructed the progression is from facts to rational truths, then on to intellectual truths, and finally to celestial truths, which are meant here by 'a wife'. If that progression passes from facts and rational truths straight to celestial truths and not by means of intellectual truths, then that which is celestial suffers violence; for no connection is then possible, linking rational truths, based on facts, with celestial truths, except through intellectual truths, which are means. What celestial truths are, and what intellectual truths are, will be seen in what follows shortly

[2] To enable people to know what is implied in all this, something must be said about order. Order consists in the celestial flowing into the spiritual and adapting this to be of service to itself; the spiritual in the same way flowing into the rational and adapting this to itself; the rational in the same way into factual knowledge and adapting this to itself. But when a person is receiving instruction during earliest childhood, the same order in fact exists, but it appears to be otherwise; that is to say, he appears to progress from facts to rational things, from these to spiritual, and so at length to celestial things. The reason why his instruction appears to follow such a course is that a way must thereby be opened to celestial things, which are inmost. All instruction is simply the opening of a way; and as the way is opened - or what amounts to the same, as vessels are opened - an ordered influx accordingly takes place, as has been stated, of rational things derived from celestial-spiritual things with celestial-spiritual things flowing into rational, and celestial things into celestial-spiritual. Such celestial things are presenting themselves uninterruptedly, and are also preparing for themselves and forming the vessels which are being opened. This is also made clear by the fact that in themselves factual knowledge and rational conception are dead, but that they give the appearance of being alive because of the interior life flowing into them. This may become plain to anyone from the powers of thought and of forming judgements.

[3] Hidden within those powers lie all the secrets of analytical art and science, which are so many that not one ten-thousandth part of them can ever be explored; and these secrets lie hidden not only with the adult person but also with children. All their thought and everything they speak from it is full of such things - though not one, not even the most learned, is aware of this; yet this could not be unless celestial and spiritual things within had been presenting themselves, flowing in, and bringing forth all these thoughts and utterances.

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