Arcana Coelestia #6574

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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6574. 'To bestow life on a great people' means that life is thereby imparted to those governed by the truths of good. This is clear from the meaning of 'bestowing life' as spiritual life, dealt with in 5890, 6032; and from the meaning of 'people' as truth, dealt with in 1259, 1260, 3295, 3581, 4619, here the truth of good since the expression 'a great people' is used; for truth that is derived from good is greater than truth giving rise to good. The former kind of truth - that which is derived from good - is in essence good because it is formed from good, and so is good in its own form.

[2] The words which Joseph spoke now to his brothers - You thought evil against me; God thought [to turn] it into good, in order to do what is in accord with this day, to bestow life on a great people - are words that contain an arcanum of heaven. The arcanum they contain is this: The Lord allows the hells in the next life to lead the good into temptation, consequently to introduce falsities and evils. They also put all they have into doing this, for when they are doing it, they are in their element and are enjoying it. But at that time the Lord Himself is present directly - and by means of angels indirectly - with those undergoing temptation and is offering resistance by refuting the falsities of the spirits from hell and dispersing their evil. From this come renewal, hope, and victory. In this way the truths of faith and forms of the good of charity present with those who are governed by the truths of good are implanted more deeply and strengthened more firmly.

[3] From this one may see what is meant in the internal sense by the words in this verse, namely this: Those who have become alienated from truth and good, as the spirits who bring about temptations have, intend nothing but evil. But the Divine turns that evil into good, in accord with order existing from eternity; and life is thereby imparted to those governed by the truths of good. For it should be recognized that the spirits from hell who are allowed to attack the good in that way intend nothing but evil. They wish with all their might to drag them down from heaven and cast them into hell; for to destroy anyone's soul, thus to destroy him forever, is the sheer delight of their life. But they are not allowed by the Lord to do anything at all except for the sake of the end that good may come out of it, that is to say, so that truth and good may be made firmer and stronger with those who undergo temptation. In the entire spiritual world there reigns the end in view, emanating from the Lord, that nothing whatever should take place, not even the smallest thing, except in order that good may come out of it. This is why the Lord's kingdom is called a kingdom of ends and useful purposes.

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