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Arcana Coelestia #3797

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3797. 'And the flock of Laban his mother's brother' means the Church and doctrine from that origin. This is clear from the meaning of 'the flock' as the Church and doctrine, dealt with in 3767, 3768, 3783. The reason why Laban is also called 'his mother's brother' here is that this phrase again means acknowledgement of the origin, as in the previous paragraph.

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #3768

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3768. 'For out of that well they watered the droves' means knowledge obtained from there, that is to say, from the Word. This is clear from the meaning of 'a well' as the Word, dealt with just above in 3765, from the meaning of 'watering', or giving a drink, as receiving instruction, dealt with in 3069, and from the meaning of 'droves' as knowledge of matters of doctrine, also dealt with just above, in 3767. From these meanings it is evident that 'out of the well they watered the droves' means that from the Word knowledge of matters of doctrine concerning what is good and true was obtained. In all that appears below regarding Jacob the subject in the highest sense is the Lord - how He made Divine His Natural, this chapter dealing with the inception of this process. And in the internal representative sense the subject is those who are being regenerated - how the Lord renews their natural man, this chapter dealing with the inception of that process. Here therefore the subject is the Word and doctrine obtained from it, for it is by means of doctrine drawn from the Word that the process is begun and regeneration takes place. And it is because these are meant by 'a well' and by 'three droves of a flock' that these historical details are mentioned at all. Unless they had that meaning they would be too trivial to be mentioned in the Divine Word. What they embody is clear, namely that all knowledge and doctrine concerning what is good and true is derived from the Word.

[2] The natural man, it is true, can know and also perceive what good and truth are, but only the natural and social variety of good and truth. Spiritual good and truth he cannot know or perceive. Knowledge of these has to come from revelation, and so from the Word. For example, from the rational present in everyone a person may know that he ought to love his neighbour and to worship God; but how he ought to love his neighbour and worship God, and so what constitutes spiritual good and truth, he cannot know except from the Word. Except from the Word he cannot know that good itself is the neighbour, and that consequently those governed by good are the neighbour and in the measure that it governs them. Nor can he know that good is therefore the neighbour because the Lord is present in good, and that accordingly when good is loved the Lord is loved.

[3] In the same way those who do not possess the Word cannot know that all good comes from the Lord, and that it flows in with man and forms his affection for good, and that that affection is called charity. Those who do not possess the Word cannot know who is the God of the universe. The truth that He is the Lord is hidden from them, yet the inmost part of affection or charity, and therefore the inmost part of good must have Him in view. From this one may see what spiritual good is and that there can be no knowledge of it except from the Word. As regards gentiles, as long as they are in this world they do not indeed know that good. Yet when they lead charitable lives one with another they thereby have an ability to learn such things in the next life, and also do receive them and adopt them without difficulty, see 2589-2604.

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