Arcana Coelestia #3570

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3570. 'And he brought it to him, and he ate' means first of all a conjunction of good, 'and he brought him wine, and he drank' means followed by a conjunction of truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'eating' as being joined and being made one's own as regards good, dealt with just above in 3568; from the meaning of 'wine' as truth deriving from good, dealt with in 1071, 1798; and from the meaning of 'drinking' as being joined and being made one's own as regards truth, 3168. The implications of this - that the good of the rational, represented by Isaac, first of all joins good to itself, then it joins truth to itself, which it does through the natural, represented by Jacob - are as follows: While the natural dwells in that state when good occupies the external position and truth the internal one, dealt with above in 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, many things are allowed to come in which are not good but which are nevertheless useful - such things as serve as means towards good in their own order. But the good of the rational does not join to itself and make its own anything from that source apart from that which is suited to its own good, for it receives no other kind of good. Whatever is unsuited it rejects. All else in the natural it leaves behind to serve as the means for allowing in and introducing further things suited to itself.

[2] It is the rational that exists within the internal man. What goes on there is unknown to the natural since it is above its range of discernment. Consequently anyone who leads a merely natural life cannot know anything whatever about those things that are going on with him in his internal man, that is, in his rational. The Lord re-arranges those things without a person's being at all conscious of it. Consequently he knows nothing at all about how he is regenerated; indeed he is scarcely aware of his being regenerated. If he does wish to know however let him merely pay attention to his ultimate intentions, which are rarely disclosed to anyone. If those intentions are directed towards good, that is to say, if he considers the neighbour and the Lord more than he does himself he is in a state of regeneration. But if his intentions are directed towards evil, that is to say, if he considers himself more than he does the neighbour and the Lord, let him realize that he is not in any state of regeneration.

[3] A person's ultimate aims and intentions in life determine where he is in the next life, aims which look towards what is good placing him among angels in heaven, aims which look towards what is evil placing him among devils in hell. A person's ultimate intentions are nothing else than his loves; for what a person loves he has as his end in view. And being his loves, his ultimate aims and intentions constitute his inmost life, see 1317, 1568, 1571, 1645, 1909, 3425, 3562, 3565. Aims present in a person which look towards what is good reside in his rational, and are called the rational as regards good or the good of the rational. Through those aims residing there, that is, by means of the good there, the Lord re-arranges all things that are in the natural; for the end in view is like the soul, and the natural like the body belonging to that soul. The nature of the soul determines that of the body which surrounds it, as does the nature of the rational as regards good determine that of the natural clothing it.

[4] It is well known that a person's soul begins in the mother's ovum, and is after that developed in her womb, and is there surrounded with a tiny body, which indeed is such that by means of it the soul is able to function properly in the world into which it is born. A similar situation exists when a person is born again, that is, when he is regenerated. The new soul which he acquires at that time is an end which has good in view. This end in view has its beginnings in the rational, where first of all it is so to speak in the ovum, and is after that developed so to speak in the womb. The tiny body with which that soul is surrounded is the natural, and the good there comes to be of such a nature that it acts in obedience to the soul's ends in view. The truths there are like fibres in the body, for it is from good that truths take shape, 3470. From this it is clear that a person's reformation is imaged by the formation of him in the womb. And if you are willing to believe it, it is also celestial good and spiritual truth from the Lord that are shaping him and at that time endowing him with power that enables him to receive that good and that truth gradually - and indeed in the manner and to the extent that he looks as a human being towards ends that are of heaven and not as an animal towards those that are of the world.

[5] The matter of the rational as regards good first of all joining the good, then the truth, to itself by means of the natural - meant by Jacob's bringing savoury food and bread to Isaac and his eating it, and bringing him wine and his drinking it - may also be illustrated by means of the duties the body performs for its soul. It is the soul that enables the body to desire food and it is also the soul that enables the body to savour it. Different kinds of food are introduced through the delight that goes with appetite and the delight that goes with taste, thus through external good; but not all of these pass into the life of the body. Rather, some kinds of food serve as solvents to digest food, some as neutralizers, some as openers of and others as introducers into vessels. But good types of food are selected and introduced into the bloodstream, and then become blood. And from the latter the soul joins to itself such things as are of use to it.

[6] A similar situation exists with the rational and the natural. Corresponding to the desire for food and to taste are the desire and the affection for knowing truth; and corresponding to different kinds of food are facts and cognitions, 1480. And because they so correspond a similar situation exists with them. The soul which is the good of the rational provides the desire for those things and is moved by them, so that the things which belong to knowledge and doctrine are introduced through the delight that belongs to desire, and through the good that belongs to affection. But not everything that is introduced is such that it becomes the good which nourishes life; instead some things serve as the means so to speak to digest and neutralize, some to open up and introduce. But goods which nourish life are applied by the soul, and so joined by the soul, to itself, and from these it forms truths for itself. From this it is evident how the rational re-arranges the natural so that the rational as the soul may be served by it, or what amounts to the same, so that the natural may serve the end in view, which is the soul, in developing itself so that it may be of use in the Lord's kingdom.

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