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Arcana Coelestia #2568

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2568. It was stated above in this chapter that doctrine would be brought to ruin if the rational were consulted, 2516, 2538, and that it was not consulted, 2519, 2531; but here it is said that the doctrine of faith was enriched with both rational and natural goods and truths. At first glance these statements seem to express two conflicting and contrary ideas, but they do not in fact do so. It has been told how it was with the Lord, now it must be told how it is with man.

[2] With man it is one thing for him to regard the doctrine of faith from rational ideas but quite another to regard rational ideas from the doctrine of faith. Regarding the doctrine of faith from rational ideas occurs when someone does not believe in the Word, that is, in doctrine drawn from it, until he is persuaded on rational grounds that the thing is so. But regarding rational ideas from the doctrine of faith occurs when someone first of all believes in the Word or doctrine drawn from it and then confirms the same by rational ideas. The first approach is an inversion of order and leads to belief in nothing, whereas the second is genuine order and leads to greater belief. It is the first that is expressed by 'you will die on account of the woman', meaning that the doctrine of faith would be brought to ruin if the rational were consulted, 2516, 2538, but the second by 'Abimelech gave flocks and herds, and men servants and women servants', meaning that the doctrine of faith was enriched with rational and natural goods and truths.

[3] These matters receive considerable treatment in the Word in its internal sense, especially when Asshur and Egypt are referred to, the reason being that when the doctrine of faith is regarded from rational ideas, that is, when someone does not believe until he is persuaded on rational grounds that the thing is so, it is not only in that case brought to ruin but also whatever is contained within it is denied. But when rational ideas are regarded from the doctrine of faith, that is, when he believes the Word and after that confirms the same things by means of rational ideas, doctrine is in that case living and whatever is contained within it is regarded affirmatively.

[4] There are therefore two basic attitudes of mind, the first leading to utter stupidity and insanity, the second to perfect intelligence and wisdom. The first occurs when someone denies everything, that is, says in his heart that he is unable to believe those things until he is convinced by things which he can grasp in his mind and perceive with his senses. This is an attitude which leads to utter stupidity and insanity and must be termed the negative attitude. The second occurs when someone regards affirmatively the things which comprise doctrine drawn from the Word, that is, when he thinks within himself and believes that those things are true because the Lord has spoken them. This is an attitude that leads to perfect intelligence and wisdom, and must be termed the affirmative attitude.

[5] The more those who think from the negative attitude consult rational ideas and the more they consult factual knowledge and the more they consult philosophical concepts, the more they pitch themselves headlong into darkness, till at length they deny everything. The reasons for this are that nobody is able from things that are lower to grasp with his mind those that are higher, that is, from those that are lower to grasp those that are spiritual and celestial, still less those that are Divine, since these go above and beyond his entire understanding. And what is more, when this is the case everything is regarded from a basically negative attitude of mind. On the other hand, however, people who think from the affirmative attitude are able to confirm themselves by whatever rational ideas, and by whatever factual knowledge, indeed by any philosophical concepts, which they are able in any way to make use of, for to them all these matters are confirmatory and enable them to have a fuller idea of the matter.

[6] In addition there are those who are in doubt before they deny, and there are those who are in doubt before they accept affirmatively. Those in doubt before denying are people who are disposed towards a life of evil; and when carried away by that life, then insofar as they think about those matters they deny them. Those however in doubt before accepting affirmatively are people who are disposed towards a life of good; and when they allow themselves to be turned to that life by the Lord, then insofar as they think about those matters they accept them affirmatively. Since this subject is taken further in the verses that follow this, let them in the Lord's Divine mercy be illustrated more fully at that point; see 2588.

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

Nga veprat e Swedenborg

 

Arcana Coelestia #2531

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2531. 'Therefore I did not allow you to touch her' means that the rational was not consulted at all. This is clear from the meaning of 'allowing to touch' as consulting - as is also the meaning of 'coming near her', verse 4 above, in 2519 - and from the meaning of 'Sarah as a sister', to whom the pronoun 'her' refers here, as the rational, dealt with in 1495, 2508

[2] So that more may be known about the nature of the doctrine of faith, that it is spiritual from a celestial origin, it should be recognized that such doctrine is Divine truth from Divine good, and so is wholly Divine. That which is Divine is beyond comprehension since it surpasses all understanding, even that of angels. Nevertheless this Divine, which in itself is beyond comprehension, is able to flow in by way of the Lord's Divine Human into man's rational. And when it flows into his rational, the way it is received there is determined by the truths that are there. Thus it is received in varying ways, differently from one person to another. To the extent therefore that the truths residing with a person are more genuine, the Divine flowing in is also received more perfectly, and the understanding part of his mind is enlightened.

[3] Present within the Word of the Lord there are truths themselves, but in its literal sense there are truths which have been adapted to the mental grasp of those whose worship is external, while in its internal sense there are truths adapted to those who are internal people, that is, who as regards doctrine and at the same time as regards life are like angels. Their rational is as a result enlightened to such an extent that this enlightenment is compared to the brightness of the stars and of the sun, in Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43. This shows how important it is to know and receive interior truths. People can indeed know these truths, but none can possibly receive them except those who are governed by love to the Lord or by faith in Him. For as the Lord is Divine Good, so He is Divine Truth, and therefore doctrine itself, for everything included in the doctrine of true faith has regard to the Lord. It also has regard to the heavenly kingdom and the Church, and to the things that constitute the heavenly kingdom and the Church. But all these are His and are the intermediate ends by means of which the final end, that is, the Lord, is regarded.

[4] That the Lord is doctrine itself as regards truth and good, thus that it is He alone who is regarded in doctrine, He Himself teaches in John,

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6-7.

Here 'the way' means doctrine, 'the truth' everything that constitutes doctrine, 'the life' good itself which is the life of truth. And that love to Him or faith in Him is that which receives, He also teaches in John,

His own did not receive him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to be sons of God, to those believing in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13.

'The born of God' are those in whom love and, from this, faith are present.

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