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Arcana Coelestia #7038

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7038. 'And let him serve Me' means being raised into heaven to perform useful services from there. This is clear from the meaning of 'serving Jehovah (or the Lord)' as performing useful services; and being raised into heaven, to perform useful services from there is meant by 'they shall serve Me' for the following reason: Those who belong to the spiritual Church and have been saved by the Lord's Coming are the subject, in particular those who were on the lower earth before the Lord's Coming but were later raised into heaven, 6854, 6914, and therefore came into a state in which they performed useful services. The reason why performing useful services is meant by 'serving the Lord' is that true worship consists in the performance of such services, thus in the exercise of charity. Anyone who thinks that serving the Lord consists solely in going to church regularly, listening to the preaching there, and saying his prayers, and that that is sufficient, is much mistaken. True worship of the Lord consists in performing useful services; and such services during a person's life in the world lie in a proper fulfillment of his function by each person, whatever his own position, that is, in serving his country, its communities, and his neighbour with all his heart. They also lie in honest dealings with fellow human beings and in the diligent discharge of duties, with full regard for each person's character. These useful deeds are the principal ways of exercising charity and the principal means of worshipping the Lord. Going to church regularly, listening to sermons, and saying one's prayers are also necessary; but without the useful deeds they have no value at all, for they do not constitute a person's life but teach what that life ought to be like. The angels in heaven get nothing but happiness out of being useful; and they receive it in proportion to their usefulness. So true is this that to them usefulness is what makes heaven.

[2] It is in keeping with Divine order that usefulness should determine the measure of happiness, as may be recognized from the different aspects of a person and the things they correspond to in the Grand Man, such as the external senses - sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch - which, as shown at the ends of quite a number of chapters, correspond in that way. Associated with these senses therefore are delights, which are determined completely by the functions they perform. The greatest is the sensory delight associated with conjugial love, because of the very great use it performs, for it leads to the propagation of the human race, which populates heaven. After this comes the delight linked with taste, which possesses so great a delight because it helps to nourish the body and keep it healthy, on which healthy mental activity depends. The delight linked with smell is a lesser delight because it serves merely to reinvigorate and so also help to keep a person healthy. The delight associated with hearing and that associated with sight come in last place because they only receive impressions which will be of future usefulness, and because they serve the understanding part of the mind but not so much the will part.

[3] From these and other considerations like them it becomes evident that useful services are the determining factor in the happiness imparted by the Lord in heaven, and that those services are the chief way in which the Lord is worshipped. This goes to explain why John reclined at table on the Lord's breast, and why the Lord loved him more than the rest. It was not on account of John himself, but because he represented times when charity is exercised, that is, useful services are performed. Regarding John's representation of those things, see the Prefaces to Chapters 18, 22 of Genesis, and 3974.

7038a 'And [if] you refuse to send him away' means obstinacy right to the last. This is clear from the meaning of 'refusing to send him away' as a failing to set free owing to obstinate determination, as above in 7032.

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

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Arcana Coelestia #3974

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3974. 'Give me my womenfolk' means that the affections for truth belonged to that natural, 'and my children' means as did the truths born from those affections. This is clear from the meaning of 'womenfolk' or 'wives' as affections for truth - his wife 'Leah' meaning the affection for external truth, and 'Rachel' the affection for internal truth, both dealt with often above; and from the meaning of 'children' as truths born from those affections. For 'sons' means truths, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 3373, and the children born of the womenfolk truths that spring from those affections.

It was a regulation among the Ancients that women given to slaves belonged to the master with whom they served, and so did the children born from them, as may be seen in Moses,

If you buy a Hebrew slave he shall serve for six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If his master has given him a wife and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out by himself. 1 Exodus 21:2, 4.

It was because this was also a regulation in the Ancient Church and was therefore well known to Laban that he laid claim to Jacob's wives and children, as is evident in the next chapter,

Laban said to Jacob, The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the flock is my flock, and all that you see belongs to me. Genesis 31:43.

And because Jacob knows this he says to Laban, 'Give me my womenfolk and my children'. But this regulation as stated in Moses in the verses quoted above represented the right of the internal or rational man to the goods and truths of the external or natural man which the latter has obtained for itself. For a slave represented the truth of the natural man as that truth exists at first before genuine truths are instilled. The truth which is present at first is not truth but the outward appearance of it. Nevertheless it serves as the means by which genuine truths and goods are introduced, as has been shown already. For this reason once goods and truths have been instilled through that truth present at first, that is, through the service it renders, it is dispensed with, but the genuine truths obtained in that way are retained. It was for the sake of this representation that this law about slaves was laid down.

[2] But as for Jacob, he was not a slave who had been purchased, but a man from a more distinguished family than Laban. He himself - that is to say, Jacob - purchased Laban's daughters, and so also the children by them, through the service he rendered; for they were his instead of wages. Consequently Laban's assumptions concerning them were not correct. Furthermore 'a Hebrew slave' means the truth which serves to introduce genuine goods and truths, and his wife the affection for natural good. But Jacob's position was different from that of a slave. He represented the good of natural truth, and his wives the affections for truth. Nor does Laban have the same representation as the master in the law that has been quoted relating to a Hebrew slave. That is to say, he does not represent the rational, but a parallel good, 3612, 3665, 3778, which is such that it is not genuine good but the outward appearance of the genuine, serving to introduce truths, 3665, 3690, which were accordingly 'Jacob's'.

[3] These details which have been presented are indeed such as fall within the mental grasp of none but a very few, for most people do not know what the truth and good of the natural are, and that these are different from the truth and good of the rational. Still less do they know that goods and truths which are not genuine but only so to external appearance serve to introduce genuine truths and goods, especially at the outset of regeneration. All the same, as these details are contained in the internal sense of these words, and also in the internal sense of those that follow concerning Laban's flock from which Jacob obtained a flock for himself, they ought not to be passed over in silence. There will perhaps be some who grasp them. Any who have a strong desire to know such things, that is, who are stirred by an affection for spiritual good and truth, receive enlightenment in such matters.

Footnotes:

1. literally, with his own body

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