Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
Verse 24. Save only that which the lads have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me; Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, let them take their portion. "Save only that which the lads have eaten," signifies the good spirits; "and the portion of the men who went with me," signifies the angels; "Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre," signifies the things that appertained to them; "let them take their portion," signifies that they have been given into their power [potestas].1752.
Save only that which the lads have eaten. That this signifies the good spirits, is evident from what precedes, and from what follows. It is evident from what precedes, for Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner are mentioned above (verse 13) as being allies of the covenant of Abram, by whom was signified the state of the Lord's rational man as to His external man, in respect to the quality of its goods and truths; and thus it is evident that by them were signified the angels who were with the Lord when He was combating, as is plain from the explication there given. The same is evident from what follows, as will presently appear. Those who went with Abram are here called "the lads" or "children," by whom no others are meant than good spirits; but by "the men," who are spoken of immediately afterwards, are meant angels. That there were angels with the Lord when He fought against the hells, is evident from the Word; as also from the consideration that when He was in the combats of temptations, it could not be otherwise than that angels should be present, to whom the Lord from His own power gave strength, and as it were power, to fight together with Him, for all the power that the angels have is from the Lord.  That angels fight against the evil, may be seen from what has occasionally been said before concerning the angels with man-that they protect man, and avert the evils which are threatened by infernal spirits (see above, n. 50, 227, 228, 697, 968) but all their power is from the Lord. The good spirits also are angels, but lower ones, for they are in the first heaven; the angelic spirits are in the second; and the angels, properly so called, are in the third (see n. 459, 684). Such is the form of government in the other life that the good spirits are subordinate to the angelic spirits, and the angelic spirits to the real angels; so that they constitute one angelic society. The good spirits and the angelic spirits are those who are here called "the lads;" but the real angels, "the men."1753.
And the portion of the men who went with me. That this signifies the angels, is evident from what has just been said; and also from the fact that angels, when they have appeared to men, are in the Word called "men."1754.
Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. That these signify the things appertaining to them, is evident from what is said above in this chapter (at verse 13) concerning the same, namely, that by their names are signified the goods and truths from which the combat was waged, and not so much the angels themselves, for the angels are meant by "the lads," and "the men," as has been said. For the angels never have any name given them, but are distinguished in respect to their quality by goods and truths; and on this account nothing else is signified in the Word by a name but the essence and its quality (as before shown, n. 144, 145, 340). This may be seen also in Isaiah, where the Lord is spoken of: His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of eternity, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), where by the "name" is meant of what quality He is, that is, that He is Wonderful, Counselor, God, a Hero, Father of eternity, Prince of Peace.  In Jeremiah, where also the Lord is spoken of: This is His name whereby they shall call Him, Jehovah our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5, 6) where it is plainly evident that the name is "Righteousness." So too in Moses, where likewise the Lord is spoken of: He will not bear your transgression, for My name is in the midst of Him (Exod. 23:21), where also the "name" denotes the essence, as being Divine. So also in many other passages of the Word, where it is said that "they called on the name of Jehovah;" that "they should not take the name of Jehovah in vain;" and in the Lord's Prayer, "Hallowed be Thy name." The case is similar with the names of angels; and is so here with the names of Eshcol, Aner, and Mamre, who represent angels, in that these names signify the things appertaining to the angels.1755.
Let them take their portion. That this signifies that they had been given into their power, is evident from what was said above (at verses 21-33), namely, that it was the Lord's will to receive nothing from them, because He derived no strength from any such thing. That they had been given into the power of the angels stands thus: It is the angels who rule over evil and infernal spirits, as has been made evident to me from much experience. But the Lord foresees and sees all things in both general and particular, and provides and disposes for them; but some things from permission, some from sufferance, some from leave, some from good pleasure, some from will. The desire to rule is itself something of man's own which differs from anything that the angels receive from the Lord; but still all their dominion is of love and mercy, apart from any desire to rule. But these things, being deeper arcana, cannot be stated to the understanding in a few words. It is sufficient to know that the evil and infernal spirits have been delivered into the power [potestas] of the angels, and that the Lord governs all things, both in general and in particular, down to the veriest singulars, concerning which, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter, where Providence and Permissions are treated of.1756.
The foregoing are the things that are in general involved in the internal sense of this chapter; but the series or connection itself of the things, and its beauty, cannot appear when each separate thing is explained in detail according to the signification of the words, as they would if they were embraced in a single idea, for when they are all apprehended under a single idea the things that had been scattered appear beautifully coherent and connected. The case herein is like that of one who hears another speaking, and gives his attention to the words; in which case he does not so well apprehend the idea of the speaker as he would if he paid no attention to the words or their signification. For the internal sense of the Word holds nearly the same relation to the external or literal sense as speech does to its words when these are scarcely heard, still less attended to, and when the mind is kept exclusively in the sense of the things signified by the words of the speaker.  The most ancient mode of writing represented subjects by using persons and words which were understood as meaning things that were quite different. Profane writers then composed their historicals in this way, even those matters which pertained to civic and moral life; and in fact so that nothing was exactly the same as it was written in the letter, but under this something else was meant; they even presented affections of every kind as gods and goddesses, to whom the heathen afterwards instituted Divine worship, as may be known to every man of letters, for such ancient books are still extant. They derived this mode of writing from the most ancient people who existed before the flood, who represented heavenly and Divine things to themselves by such as were visible on the earth and in the world, and so filled their minds and souls with joys and delights while beholding the objects of the universe, especially such as were beautiful in their form and order; and therefore all the books of the church of those times were written in this way. Such is the book of Job; and, in imitation of those books, such is Solomon's Song of Songs. Such were the two books mentioned by Moses in Num. 21:14, 27; besides many that have perished.  At a later period this style of writing was venerated on account of its antiquity, both among the Gentiles and the posterity of Jacob, to such a degree that whatever was not written in this style they did not venerate as Divine, and therefore when they were moved by the prophetic Spirit, they spoke in a similar manner; and this for many hidden reasons. This was the case with Jacob (Gen. 49:3-17); with Moses (Exod. 15:1-21; Deut. 33:2-29); with Balaam, who was of the sons of the East, from Syria where the Ancient Church still existed (Num. 23:7-10, 19-24; 24:5-9, 17-24); with Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:2-31); with Hannah (1 Sam. 2:2-10); and with many others. And though very few understood or knew that their words signified the heavenly things of the Lord's kingdom and church, still, being touched and penetrated with the awe of admiration, they felt that what was Divine and holy was in them.  But that the historicals of the Word are similar-that is, that in respect to every name and every word they are representative and significative of the celestial and the spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom-has not yet become known to the learned world, except in that the Word is inspired as to the smallest iota, and that there are heavenly arcana in all things of it in both general and particular.1757.
CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE SPEECH OF SPIRITS, AND ITS DIVERSITIES. The speech of spirits with man, as before said, is effected by words; but the speech of spirits among themselves, by ideas-the origins of words-such as are the ideas of thought; these however are not so obscure as are man's ideas while he lives in the body, but are distinct, like those of speech. Human thought, after the decease of the body, becomes more distinct and clear; and the ideas of thought become discrete, so as to serve for distinct forms of speech; for obscurity has been dissipated together with the body; and so the thought-being liberated from the shackles in which it was as it were entangled, and consequently from the shade in which it was involved-becomes more instantaneous; and hence the mental view, perception, and utterance of each thing is more prompt.1758.
The speech of spirits is diverse: each society or family of spirits, and even every spirit, can be distinguished from others by their speech (much as is the case with men), not only by the affections which make the life of the speech and which fill or give impulse to the words, and by the accents, but also by the tones, and by other characteristics not so easily described.1759.
The speech of celestial spirits cannot easily flow into the articulate sounds or words that appertain to man; for it cannot be suited to a word in which there is anything that sounds harshly, or in which there is a rough doubling of consonants, or in which there is an idea that is derived from memory-knowledge; on which account they rarely flow into the speech otherwise than by affections which, like a flowing stream or a gentle breeze, soften the words. The speech of spirits who are intermediate between the celestial and the spiritual is sweet, flowing like the gentlest atmosphere, soothing the recipient organs, and softening the words themselves; it is also rapid and sure. The flow and the pleasantness of the speech come from the fact that the celestial good in their ideas is of this character, and there is nothing in the speech that dissents from the thought. All the sweet harmoniousness in the other life comes from goodness and charity. The speech of the spiritual also is flowing, but is not so soft and gentle. It is chiefly these who speak.1760.
There is also a flowing speech of evil genii; yet it is so only to the outward hearing; but inwardly it is grating, because from a pretense of good, and no affection of it. There is also a speech of these genii that is devoid of the flowing character, in which the dissent of the thoughts is perceived as something that silently creeps along.1761.
There are spirits who do not inflow in a stream-like manner, but by vibrations and movements to and fro, as it were in lines, and more or less sharp. The same inflow not only with the speech, but also with the reply. They are those who from many causes reject the interior things of the Word; looking upon man as their tool, and as of little account; and caring for themselves alone.1762.
There are spirits who do not speak, but who have expressed the sentiments of their mind by changes induced on my face, and have presented their ideas so vividly that their thought was thus made manifest as it were in a form. This was done by changes about the region of the lips, passing thence to the face; also about the eyes, while they were communicating the interior sentiments of their mind; around the left eye when they were communicating truth and affections of truth, and around the right eye when communicating good and affections of good.1763.
I have also heard a simultaneous speech of many spirits speaking together, that undulated like a roll, and flowed into the brain in varying directions. Also a speech of certain spirits that terminated in a quadruple movement, as if to the tone and sound of men threshing. These spirits are separated from others. They induce a pain in the head, as if from the suction of an air-pump. Some have been heard who spoke with a sonorous voice, but as if within, in themselves but still it came to the hearing as speech.  Others who spake by a belching forth of the words as from the belly; these are such as wish to give no attention to the sense of a thing, but are forced to speak by others. I have heard some who spoke with a rough or cracked sound; these apply themselves to the left side, under the elbow; also to the left external ear. Some I heard who could not speak aloud, but as if they had a cold; these belong to the class of those who by insinuations into the delights of others worm out their secrets for the purpose of doing harm.  There are spirits of low stature, who, although few, speak like a great multitude, with a sound like thunder; they were heard above the head, and I thought that there was a multitude; but one of them came to me at the left side beneath the arm, and spoke in the same way with a thundering voice; he also moved away, and did the same. Whence such spirits come, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be told elsewhere. But these kinds of speech are comparatively rare. It is a remarkable fact that what is said in these various ways is heard as loudly and sonorously by one whose interior organs of hearing are opened, and also by spirits, as are sounds and the speech of men on earth; but they are not heard at all by one in whom these organs are not opened.1764.
Once also spirits conversed with me simply by representatives shown before the sight, by representing flames of various colors; lights clouds rising and falling;, small houses and platforms for speaking of different kinds; vessels; persons variously dressed, and many other things, which were all significative; and merely from these it could be known what they desired to convey.1767.
CHAPTER 15 CONCERNING THE HOLY SCRIPTURE OR WORD, IN WHICH ARE STORED UP DIVINE THINGS, WHICH ARE OPEN BEFORE GOOD SPIRITS AND ANGELS When the Word of the Lord is being read by a man who loves the Word and lives in charity, or by a man who from simplicity of heart believes what is written and has not formed principles contrary to the truth of faith which is in the internal sense, it is presented by the Lord before the angels in such beauty and in such pleasantness, with representatives also, and this with inexpressible variety in accordance with all their state at the time, that every particular is perceived as if it had life, which life is that which is in the Word, and from which the Word had birth when it was sent down from heaven. From this cause the Word of the Lord is such, that although in the letter it appears crude, there are stored up in it spiritual and celestial things which lie open before good spirits, and before angels, when the Word is being read by man.1768.
That the Word of the Lord is so presented before good spirits and before angels, it has been given me to hear and to see; and I am therefore permitted to relate the experiences themselves.1769.
A certain spirit came to me not long after his departure from the body, as I was able to infer from the fact that he did not yet know that he was in the other life, but supposed that he was living in the world. It was perceived that he had been devoted to studies, concerning which I spoke with him. But he was suddenly taken up on high; and, surprised at this, I imagined that he was one of those who aspire to high things, for such are wont to be taken up on high; or else that he placed heaven at a great height, for such likewise are often carried up on high, that they may know from experience that heaven is not in what is high, but in what is internal.  But I soon perceived that he was taken up to the angelic spirits, who were in front, a little to the right, at the entrance to heaven. He then spoke with me from thence, saying that he saw things more sublime than human minds could at all comprehend. While this was taking place, I was reading the first chapter of Deuteronomy, about the Jewish people, in that men were sent to explore the land of Canaan and what was in it. While I was reading this, he said that he perceived nothing of the sense of the letter, but the things in the spiritual sense, and that these were wonders which he could not describe. This was in the first entrance to the heaven of angelic spirits; what wonders then would be perceived in that heaven itself! and what in the angelic heaven!  Certain spirits who were with me, and who before had not believed that the Word of the Lord is of such a nature, then began to repent of their unbelief; they said, in that state, that they believed because they heard the spirit say that he heard, saw, and perceived that it was so.  But other spirits still persisted in their unbelief, and said that it was not so, but that these things were fancies; and therefore they too were suddenly taken up, and spoke with me from thence; and they confessed that it was anything but fancy, because they really perceived that it was so; and by a more exquisite perception indeed than can ever be given to any sense during the life of the body.  Soon others also were taken up into the same heaven, and among them one whom I had known in the life of the body, who testified to the same effect, saying also, among other things, that he was too much amazed to be able to describe the glory of the Word in its internal sense. Then, speaking from a kind of pity, he said that it was strange that men knew nothing at all of such things. He said further that from where he then was he could look most deeply into my thoughts and my affections, and perceived in them more things than he could tell; such as causes, influxes, whence they came, and from whom; the ideas, and how they were mixed with earthly things, and that these were to be wholly separated; besides other things.1770.
On two occasions afterwards I saw others taken up into the second heaven, among the angelic spirits; and they spoke with me thence while I was reading the third chapter of Deuteronomy from beginning to end. They said that they were solely in the interior sense of the Word; at the same time asserting that there was not a tittle in which there was not a spiritual sense that coheres most beautifully with all the rest, and further that the names signify real things. Thus they too were confirmed; because they had not believed before that each and all things in the Word have been inspired by the Lord; and this they wished to confirm before others by an oath, but it was not permitted.1771.
Certain spirits also were in unbelief concerning the Word of the Lord, as to there being such things stored up in its bosom, or within it; for in the other life spirits are in unbelief like that in which they had been in the life of the body; and this is not dissipated except by means provided by the Lord, and by living experiences. On this account, while I was reading some of the Psalms of David, the deeper insight or mind of these spirits was opened. These were not taken up among angelic spirits. They then perceived the interior things of the Word in those Psalms; and being amazed at them said that they had never believed such things.  The same portion of the Word was then heard by many other spirits; but they all apprehended it in different ways. With some it filled the ideas of their thought with many pleasant and delightful things, thus with a kind of life in accordance with the capacity of each one, and at the same time with an efficacy that penetrated to their inmosts, and this to such a degree with some that they seemed to be uplifted toward the interiors of heaven, and nearer and nearer to the Lord, according to the degree in which they were affected by the truths and the goods therewith injoined.  The Word was then at the same time brought to some who had no apprehension of its internal sense, but only of the external or literal sense; and to them the letter appeared to have no life. From all this it was manifest what the Word is when the Lord fills it with life-that it is of such efficacy that it penetrates to the inmosts; also what it is when He does not fill it with life-that it is then the letter only, with scarcely any life.1772.
Of the Lord's Divine mercy I too have been permitted in the same way to see the Lord's Word in its beauty in the internal sense, and this many times; not as it is while the words are being explained as to the internal sense in detail, but with all things both in general and particular brought together into a single series or connection, which may be said to be the seeing of a heavenly paradise from an earthly one.1773.
Spirits who had found delight and joy in the Word of the Lord during their life in the body, have in the other life a kind of joyous heavenly warmth which it has also been permitted me to feel. The warmth of those who had some measure of this delight was communicated to me. It was like a vernal heat, beginning in the region of the lips, and diffusing itself about the cheeks, and thence as far as the ears, ascending also to the eyes, and descending toward the middle region of the breast.  The warmth of those who had been still more affected by delight in the Word of the Lord, and by the interior things of it which the Lord Himself had taught, was also communicated to me; beginning at the breast it ascended thence toward the chin, and descended toward the loins. The warmth of those who had been even more delighted and affected, was still more interiorly joyous and vernal, extending indeed from the loins upward toward the breast, and thence through the left arm to the hands. I was instructed by the angels that this is really the case, and that the approach of those spirits brings such warmths, although they themselves do not feel them, because they are in them, just as infants, children, and youths are not commonly sensible of their own warmth which they have in greater measure than adults and old people, because they are in it.  I was also made sensible of the warmth of some, who had indeed been delighted with the Word, but had not been solicitous about the understanding of it; their warmth was felt in the right arm only. As regards the warmth: evil spirits also can by their artifices produce a warmth which counterfeits delight, and can communicate it to others; but it is only an external warmth, without an origin from internals. Such warmth is that which putrefies and converts food into excrement, like the heat of adulterers, and that of those who have been immersed in filthy pleasures.1774.
There are spirits who do not desire to hear anything about the interior things of the Word; and even should they understand them, they are still unwilling. They are chiefly those who have placed merit in works, and who therefore have done goods from the love of self and of the world, or for the sake of the rank or wealth to be gained for themselves, and the consequent reputation, thus not for the sake of the Lord's kingdom. In the other life such desire more than others to enter heaven; but they remain outside of it; for they are unwilling to be imbued with the knowledges of truth, and thereby to be affected with good. They interpret the meaning of the Word from the letter according to their fancies, and by advancing whatever favors their cupidities with its approval. Such were represented by an old woman who had a face not comely, but of even snowy paleness, with irregular features [cui inerant inordinata], which made her ugly. But those who admit and love the interior things of the Word, were represented by a girl in early maidenhood, or in the flower of youth, handsomely dressed, and adorned with garlands and heavenly ornaments.1775.
I have conversed with certain spirits concerning the Word, saying that it has been necessary that of the Lord's Divine Providence some revelation should come into existence, for a revelation or Word is the general recipient vessel of spiritual and celestial things, thus conjoining heaven and earth; and that without it they would have been disjoined, and the human race would have perished. And besides it is necessary that there should be heavenly truths somewhere, by which man may be instructed, because he was born for heavenly things, and, after the life of the body, ought to come among those who are heavenly; for the truths of faith are the laws of order in the kingdom in which he is to live forever.1776.
It may seem a paradox, but still it is most true, that the angels understand the internal sense of the Word better and more fully when little boys and girls are reading it, than when it is read by adult persons who are not in the faith of charity. The cause has been told me, and is that little boys and girls are in a state of mutual love and innocence, and thus their most tender vessels are almost heavenly, and are simply capacities for receiving, which therefore can be disposed by the Lord; although this does not come to their perception, except by a certain delight suited to their genius. It was said by the angels that the Word of the Lord is a dead letter; but that in him that reads it is vivified by the Lord according to the capacity of each one; and that it becomes living according to the life of his charity and his state of innocence, and this with inexpressible variety.1777.
A continuation follows at the end of this chapter. GENESIS 15 1. After these words, the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram; I am a shield to thee, thy exceeding great reward. 2. And Abram said, Lord Jehovih, what wilt Thou give me, and I am walking childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer the Damascene? 3. And Abram said, Lo to me Thou hast not given seed, and behold a son of my house is mine heir. 4. And behold the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This one shall not be thine heir; but he that shall go forth out of thy bowels shall be thine heir. 5. And He led him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them; and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6. And he believed in Jehovah, and He imputed it to him for righteousness. 7. And He said unto him, I am Jehovah who led thee forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land, to inherit it. 8. And he said, Lord Jehovih, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9. And He said unto him, Take thee a heifer of three years, and a she-goat of three years, and a ram of three years, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10. And he took unto him all these and divided them in the midst, and laid each part over against the other; and the birds he did not divide. 11. And the fowls came down upon the bodies, and Abram drove them away. 12. And it came to pass when the sun was going down that a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold a terror of great darkness falling upon him. 13. And He said unto Abram, Knowing thou shalt know that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. 14. And also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge; and after that shall they go out with great substance. 15. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16. And in the fourth generation they shall return hither, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet consummated. 17. And it came to pass that the sun went down, and there was thick darkness; and behold a furnace of smoke, and a torch of fire that passed between those pieces. 18. In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19. The Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite; 20. And the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim; 21. And the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.1778.
THE CONTENTS Here in the internal sense are continued the things concerning the Lord after He had endured in childhood the most severe combats of temptations, which were directed against the love which He cherished toward the whole human race, and in particular toward the church; and therefore being anxious concerning their future state a promise was made Him; but it was shown at the same time what the state of the church would become toward its end when it would begin to expire; but that still a new church should revive, which would take the place of the former, and the heavenly kingdom would be immensely increased.1779.
The Lord's consolation after the combats of temptations described in the foregoing chapter (verse 1).1780.
The Lord's complaint respecting the church, that it was in externals only (verses 2, 3). A promise concerning an internal church (verse 4). Concerning its multiplication (verse 5). That the Lord is righteousness (verse 6). And unto Him alone belongs the kingdom in the heavens and on earth (verse 7).1781.
And as He desired to be assured that the human race would be saved (verse 8), it was shown Him how the case is with the church, in general, specifically, and in particular (verses 9 to 17).1782.
The "heifer," "she-goat," and "ram," are the representatives of the celestial things of the church; the "turtledove" and the "young pigeon" are the representatives of its spiritual things (verse 9). The church was on one side, and the Lord on the other (verse 10). The Lord would dissipate evils and falsities (verse 11). But the falsities would still infest it (verses 12, 13). From these there should be deliverance (verse 14). Thus the Lord received consolation (verse 15). But that evils would take possession (verse 16). And at last nothing but falsities and cupidities would reign (verse 17). Then would come the Lord's kingdom, and a new church, the extension of which is described (verse 18). The falsities and evils to be expelled from it are the nations named (verses 19-21).1783.
THE INTERNAL SENSE The things which are here contained, are as before said true historicals, namely, that Jehovah spoke thus with Abram, and that the land of Canaan was promised him as an inheritance; that he was commanded so to place the heifer, the she-goat, ram, turtledove, and young pigeon; that the fowls came down upon the bodies; that a deep sleep fell upon him, and in the sleep a terror of darkness; and that when the sun had set, there was seen by him as it were a furnace of smoke with a torch of fire between the parts; besides the other historicals. These are true historicals, but still each and all of them, even to the least of what was done, are representative; and the words themselves by which they are described, are, as to the smallest iota, significative. That is to say, in each and all of these things there is an internal sense; for each and all of the things contained in the Word are inspired, and being inspired they cannot but be from a heavenly origin; that is, they must necessarily store up within them celestial and spiritual things, for otherwise it could not possibly be the Word of the Lord.  These are the things contained in the internal sense; and when this sense lies open, the sense of the letter is obliterated, as if there were none; and on the other hand, when attention is given solely to the historical sense or that of the letter, the internal sense is obliterated, as if there were none. These two are related as is heavenly light to the light of the world; and, conversely, as is the light of the world to heavenly light. When heavenly light appears, then the light of the world is as thick darkness; as has been made known to me by experience; but when anyone is in the light of the world, then heavenly light, if it appeared, would be as thick darkness; the same as with human minds: to him who places everything in human wisdom, or in memory-knowledges, heavenly wisdom appears as an obscure nothing; but to him who is in heavenly wisdom, human wisdom is as a kind of obscure general affair, which, if there were not heavenly rays in it, would be as thick darkness.1784.
Verse 1. After these words, the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am a shield to thee, thy exceeding great reward. "After these words, the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision," signifies that after the combats in childhood there was revelation; "a vision" denotes inmost revelation, which is that of perception; "Fear not, Abram, I am a shield to thee," signifies protection against evils and falsities, which is to be trusted; "thy great reward," signifies the end or purpose of the victories.1785.
After these words, the word of Jehovah came to Abram in a vision. That this signifies that after the combats in childhood there was revelation, is evident from the signification of "words," also of "the word of Jehovah to Abram," and also from the signification of "a vision." By "words," in the Hebrew language, are signified actual things; here the things accomplished, which are the Lord's combats of temptations, treated of in the preceding chapter. "The word of Jehovah to Abram" is nothing else than the Lord's word with Himself but in childhood, and in the combats of temptations, when the Essences were not yet united as a one, it could not appear otherwise than as a revelation. What is internal, when it acts into what is external, in a state and at moments when this is far away, is presented in no other manner. This is the state which is called the Lord's state of humiliation.1786.
That "a vision" denotes inmost revelation, which is that of perception, may be seen from the nature of visions, which take place in accordance with the man's state. To those whose interiors are closed, a vision is very different from what it is to those whose interiors are open. For example: when the Lord appeared to the whole congregation in Mount Sinai, the appearing was a vision that was different to the people from what it was to Aaron, and that was different to Aaron from what it was to Moses; and again, visions were different to the prophets from what they were to Moses. There are many kinds of visions, concerning which, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. The more interior the visions, the more perfect they are. With the Lord they were the most perfect of all; because He then had perception of all things in the world of spirits and in the heavens, and also had immediate communication with Jehovah. This communication is represented, and in the internal sense is signified, by the vision in which Jehovah appeared to Abram.1787.
Fear not, Abram, I am a shield to thee. That this signifies protection against evils and falsities, which is to be trusted, is evident from the signification of "a shield," to be explained presently. These words, namely, that Jehovah is a shield, and that He is an exceeding great reward, are words of consolation after temptations. Every temptation is attended with some kind of despair (otherwise it is not a temptation), and therefore consolation follows. He who is tempted is brought into anxieties, which induce a state of despair as to what the end is to be. The very combat of temptation is nothing else. He who is sure of victory is not in anxiety, and therefore is not in temptation.  The Lord also, as He endured the most dire and cruel temptations of all, could not but be driven into states of despair, and these He dispelled and overcame by His own power; as may be clearly seen from His temptation in Gethsemane, thus recorded in Luke: When Jesus was at the place, He said unto the disciples, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. But He was parted from them about a stone's cast; and kneeling down He prayed, saying, Father, if Thou be willing let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done. And there appeared unto Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him; and being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became as drops of blood falling down upon the ground (Luke 22:40-45). In Matthew: He began to be sorrowful and sore troubled. Then saith He unto the disciples, My whole soul is sorrowful even unto death. And going forward a little, He fell on His face, praying, and saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. Again a second time He went away, and prayed, saying, My Father, if this cup cannot pass except I drink it, Thy will be done. And He prayed a third time, saying the same word (Matt. 26:37-44). In Mark: He began to be terrified, and sore troubled, and said to the disciples, My soul is encompassed with sorrow even unto death. He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from Him. He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; remove this cup from Me; howbeit, not as I will, but as Thou wilt: and He spake thus a second time and a third (Mark 14:33-41).  From these passages we may see what was the nature of the Lord's temptations-that they were the most terrible of all; and that He felt anguish from the very inmosts, even to the sweating of blood; and that He was then in a state of despair concerning the end and the event; and also that He had consolations. The words now under consideration, "I, Jehovah, am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward," involve in like manner consolation after the combats of temptations treated of in the foregoing chapter.1788.
That a "shield" means protection against evils and falsities, which is trusted in, is evident without explication; for from common usage the expression has become familiar that Jehovah is a shield and a buckler. But what is specifically signified by "a shield," may be seen from the Word, in that as regards the Lord it signifies protection, and as regards man, trust in the Lord's protection. As "war" signifies temptations (as before shown, n. 1664), so all the weapons of war signify some specific thing belonging to temptation, and to defend against evils and falsities, that is, against the diabolical crew that induce the temptation, and that tempt. Therefore a "shield" signifies one thing, a "buckler" signifies another, and a "target" another, a "helmet" another, a "spear" and a "lance" another, a "sword" another, a "bow and arrows" another, a "coat of mail" another; concerning each of which of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter.  The reason why a "shield" in relation to the Lord signifies protection against evils and falsities, and in relation to man trust in the Lord; is that it was a protection to the breast; and by the breast good and truth are signified-good because the heart is there, and truth because the lungs are there. That this is the signification of a "shield," is evident in David: Blessed be Jehovah my rock, who teacheth my hands combat, my fingers war; my mercy and my fortress, my fortified citadel and my deliverer, my shield, and He in whom I trust (Ps. 144:1-2), where the "combat" and "war" are those of temptations, and in the internal sense, the Lord's temptations; the "shield," with reference to Jehovah, is protection; and with reference to man is trust, as is plainly evident.  In the same: O Israel, trust thou in Jehovah; He is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust ye in Jehovah; He is their help and their shield. Ye that fear Jehovah, trust in Jehovah; He is their help and their shield (Ps. 115:9-11), where the meaning is similar. Again: Jehovah is my fortress, my God in whom I trust. He shall cover thee with His wing; and under His wings shalt thou trust; His truth is a shield and a buckler (Ps. 91:2, 4), where "a shield" and "a buckler" denote protection against falsities.  Again: Jehovah is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my strong rock in whom I trust, my shield, and the horn of my salvation. Jehovah is a shield unto all that trust in Him (Ps. 18:2, 30), where the meaning is similar. Again: Thou that provest the hearts and reins, a just God; my shield is upon God who saveth the upright in heart (Ps. 7:9-10), meaning trust. Again: Thou hast given me the shield of Thy salvation, and Thy right hand will hold me up (Ps. 18:35), also signifying trust. Again: The shields of the earth belong unto God; He is greatly exalted (Ps. 47:9), where trust is again meant.  Again: Jehovah God is a sun and a shield; Jehovah will give grace and glory; good shall not be withheld from them that walk in integrity (Ps. 84:11), signifying protection. In Moses: Thy blessings, O Israel; who is like unto thee, a people saved in Jehovah, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency, and thine enemies shall be mistaken in regard to thee (Deut. 33:29); "the shield" denoting protection.  As weapons of war are spoken of with reference to those who are in the combats of temptations, so also the same weapons of war are attributed to the enemies who assail and tempt, and then they signify the contrary things; thus a "shield" signifies the evils and falsities from which they fight, and which they defend, and in which they trust. As in Jeremiah: Make ye ready the shield and buckler, and draw near to battle. Harness the horses, and go up, ye horsemen, and stand forth in helmets, furbish the lances, put on the coats of mail (Jer. 46:3-4). Besides many other passages.1789.
Thy great reward. That this signifies the end and purpose of the victories, is evident from the signification of "reward," as being the prize after the combats of temptations; here the end and purpose of the victories, because the Lord never looked for any prize of victory for Himself. His prize of victories was the salvation of the whole human race; and it was from love toward the entire human race that He fought. He who fights from this love demands for himself no prize, because this love is such that it wills to give and transfer all its own to others, and to have nothing for itself; so that it is the salvation of the whole human race that is here signified by the "reward."1790.
Verse 2. And Abram said, Lord Jehovih, what wilt Thou give me, and I am walking childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer the Damascene? "Abram said, Lord Jehovih," signifies the Lord's perception; "Abram" is the interior man; the "Lord Jehovih" is the internal man relatively to the interior; "what wilt Thou give me, and I am walking childless?" signifies that there was no internal church; "and the steward of my house," signifies an external church; "is this Eliezer the Damascene" denotes the external church.1791.
Abram said, Lord Jehovih. That this signifies the Lord's perception, may be seen from the fact that the Lord had the most interior and perfect perception of all things. This perception, as before said, was a perceptive sensation and knowledge of all things that were taking place in heaven, and was a continual communication and internal conversation with Jehovah, which the Lord alone had. This is meant in the internal sense by the words "Abram said to Jehovah;" this was represented by Abram when he spoke with Jehovah; and the like is signified in what follows wherever the expression "Abram said to Jehovah" occurs.1792.
That "Abram" denotes the interior man, or that Abram represented the Lord's interior or rational man, has been stated before. What the Lord's interior man is, was shown in the foregoing chapter.1793.
That the "Lord Jehovih" is the internal man relatively to the interior, is evident from what has been said concerning the Lord's internal man, namely, that it was Jehovah Himself, from whom He was conceived, and whose only Son He was, and to whom the Lord's Human became united after He had by the combats of temptation purified the maternal human, that is, that which He derived from the mother. The appellation "Lord Jehovih" occurs very often in the Word; indeed, as often as Jehovah is called "Lord" He is not called "Lord Jehovah," but "Lord Jehovih," and this especially where temptations are treated of.  As in Isaiah: Behold, the Lord Jehovih cometh in strength, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd, He shall gather the lambs in His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall lead those that give suck (Isa. 40:10-11), where "the Lord Jehovih cometh in strength," relates to His victory in the combats of temptations; "His arm shall rule for Him," means that it is from His own power. What the reward is that is mentioned in the first verse of this chapter is here declared, namely, that it is the salvation of the whole human race, that is to say, "He feeds His flock like a shepherd, gathers the lambs in His arm, carries them in His bosom, and leads those that give suck;" all of which things pertain to inmost or Divine love.  Again in the same Prophet: The Lord Jehovih hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious; I have not turned away backward. I gave My body to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not My face from shame and spitting; and the Lord Jehovih will help Me; behold the Lord Jehovih will help Me (Isa. 50:5-7, 9), where temptations are manifestly treated of. Besides other passages.1794.
What wilt Thou give me, and I am walking childless? That this signifies that there is no internal church, may be seen from the signification of "walking childless." To "walk," in the internal sense, is to live (as before shown, n. 519); but one who is childless is one who has no seed, or no posterity of his own. This is treated of in the following verses (3-5), where it is explained what is meant by one who is childless, or one who has no seed.1795.
And the steward of my house. That this signifies an external church, is evident from the signification of the "steward of a house," in the internal sense, that is, in respect to the church. The external church is called "the steward of a house," when the internal church itself is the house, and the father of the family is the Lord. The external church is circumstanced no otherwise, for all stewardship belongs to the external of the church; as the administration of rituals, and of many things that pertain to the place of worship and to the church itself, that is, to the House of Jehovah or of the Lord.  The externals of the church without the internals are things of naught; they have their being from the internals, and are such as the internals are. The case herein is the same as it is with man: his external or corporeal is in itself a thing of no account unless there is an internal which gives it soul and life. Such therefore as is the internal, such is the external; or such as is the mind [animus et mens], such is the worth of all things which come forth by means of the external or corporeal. The things which are of the heart make the man; not those which are of the mouth and the gestures; and such is the case with the internals of the church. But still the externals of the church are like the externals of a man, in that they take charge of and administer; or what is the same, the external or corporeal man may in like manner be called the steward or administrator of the house, when the house means the interiors. From this it is evident what "childless" means, namely, the state in which there is no internal of the church, but only an external; as was the case at the time of which the Lord complained.1796.
Is this Eliezer the Damascene. From what has just been said it is now evident that these words denote the external church; and the same appears from the signification of a "Damascene." Damascus was the principal city of Syria, where there were remains of the worship of the Ancient Church, and whence came Eber, or the Hebrew nation, with which there was nothing but the external of the church (as before said, n. 1238, 1241), thus nothing but the stewardship of the house. That there is in these words something of despair, and consequently of the Lord's temptation, is evident from the words themselves, and also from the consolation that follows respecting the internal church.1797.
Verse 3. And Abram said, Lo to me Thou hast not given seed, and behold a son of my house is mine heir. "Abram said, Lo to me Thou hast not given seed," signifies that there was no internal of the church, which is love and faith; "behold a son of my house is mine heir," signifies that there would be in the Lord's kingdom only what is external.1798.
Abram said, Lo to me Thou hast not given seed. That this signifies that there was no internal of the church, is evident from the signification of "seed," which is love and faith, spoken of above (n. 255, 256, 1025), and from the signification of an heir, as explained in what follows. That love and the faith derived from it are the internal of the church, has already been several times said and shown. No other faith is meant as being the internal of the church than that which is of love or charity, that is, which is from love or charity.  Faith, in a general sense, is all the doctrinal teaching of the church. But doctrine [doctrinale] separated from love or charity, by no means makes the internal of the church, for doctrine is only knowledge which is of the memory, and this exists also with the worst men, and even with infernals. But the doctrine that is from charity, or that is of charity, does make the internal of the church, for this is of the life. The life itself is the internal of all worship; and so is all doctrine that flows from the life of charity and it is this doctrine that is of faith which is here meant. That it is this faith which is the internal of the church, may be seen from this consideration alone, that he who has the life of charity is acquainted with all things of faith. If you will, just examine all doctrinal things, and see what and of what quality they are; do they not all pertain to charity, and consequently to the faith that is from charity?  Take only the Precepts of the Decalogue. The first of these is to worship the Lord God. He who has the life of love or of charity worships the Lord God, because this is his life. Another precept is to keep the Sabbath. He who is in the life of love, or in charity, keeps the Sabbath holy, for nothing is more sweet to him than to worship the Lord, and to glorify Him every day. The precept, "Thou shalt not kill," is altogether of charity. He who loves his neighbor as himself, shudders at doing anything that injures him, still more at killing him. So too the precept, "Thou shalt not steal;" for he who has the life of charity would rather give of his own to his neighbor, than take anything away from him. And so with the precept, "Thou shalt not commit adultery;" he who is in the life of charity the rather guards his neighbor's wife, lest anyone should offer her such injury, and regards adultery as a crime against conscience, and such as destroys conjugial love and its duties. To covet the things that are the neighbor's is also contrary to those who are in the life of charity; for it is of charity to desire good to others from one's self and one's own; such therefore by no means covet the things which are another's.  These are the precepts of the Decalogue which are more external doctrinal things of faith; and these are not only known in the memory by him who is in charity and its life, but are in his heart; and he has them inscribed upon himself, because they are in his charity, and thus in his very life; besides other things of a dogmatic nature which he in like manner knows from charity alone; for he lives according to a conscience of what is right. The right and the truth which he cannot thus understand and explore, he believes simply or from simplicity of heart to be so because the Lord has said so; and he who so believes does not do wrong, even though what he thus accepts is not true in itself, but apparent truth.  As for example, if anyone believes that the Lord is angry, punishes, tempts, and the like. Or if he holds that the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are significative, or that the flesh and blood are present in some way in which they explain it-it is of no consequence whether they say the one thing or the other, although there are few who think about this matter, or even if they do think about it, provided this is done from a simple heart, because they have been so instructed, and nevertheless live in charity: these, when they hear that the bread and wine in the internal sense signify the Lord's love toward the whole human race, and the things which are of this love, and man's reciprocal love to the Lord and the neighbor, they forthwith believe, and rejoice that it is so. Not so they who are in doctrinal things and not in charity; these contend about everything, and condemn all whoever they may be that do not say (they call it "believe") as they do. From all this everyone can see that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are the internal of the church.1799.
Behold a son of my house is mine heir. That this signifies that there would be only what is external in the Lord's kingdom, is evident from the signification in the internal sense of an "heir" and of "inheriting." To become an heir, or to inherit, signifies eternal life in the Lord's kingdom. All who are in the Lord's kingdom are heirs; for they live from the Lord's life, which is the life of mutual love; and from this they are called sons. The Lord's sons or heirs are all who are in His life, because their life is from Him, and they are born of Him, that is, are regenerate. They who are born of anyone are heirs; and so are all who are being regenerated by the Lord, for in this case they receive His life.  In the Lord's kingdom there are those who are external, those who are interior, and those who are internal. Good spirits, who are in the first heaven, are external; angelic spirits, who are in the second heaven, are interior; and angels, who are in the third, are internal. They who are external are not so closely related or so near to the Lord, as they who are interior; nor are these so closely related or so near to the Lord, as they who are internal. The Lord, from the Divine love or mercy, wills to have all near to Himself; so that they do not stand at the doors, that is, in the first heaven; but He wills that they should be in the third; and, if it were possible, not only with Himself, but in Himself. Such is the Divine love, or the Lord's love; and as the church was then only in externals, He in these words complained, saying, "Behold, a son of my house is mine heir," by which is signified that there would thus be only what is external in His kingdom. But consolation follows, and a promise concerning what is internal, in the verses that follow.  What the external of the church is, has been stated before (see n. 1083, 1098, 1100, 1151, 1153). What pertains to doctrine does not itself make the external, still less the internal, as before said; nor with the Lord does it distinguish churches from each other, but that which does this is a life according to doctrinals, all of which, provided they are true, look to charity as their fundamental. What is doctrine but that which teaches how a man must live?  In the Christian world it is doctrinal matters that distinguish churches; and from them men call themselves Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists, or the Reformed and the Evangelical, and by other names. It is from what is doctrinal alone that they are so called; which would never be if they would make love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor the principal of faith. Doctrinal matters would then be only varieties of opinion concerning the mysteries of faith, which truly Christian men would leave to everyone to hold in accordance with his conscience, and would say in their hearts that a man is truly a Christian when he lives as a Christian, that is, as the Lord teaches. Thus from all the differing churches there would be made one church; and all the dissensions that come forth from doctrine alone would vanish; yea, all hatreds of one against another would be dissipated in a moment, and the Lord's kingdom would come upon the earth.  The Ancient Church just after the flood, although spread through many kingdoms, was yet of this character, that is, men differed much among themselves as to doctrinal matters, but still made charity the principal; and they looked upon worship, not from doctrinal matters which pertain to faith, but from charity which pertains to life. This is meant where it is said (Gen. 11:1), that they all had one lip, and their words were one; concerning whom see above (n. 1285).1800.
Verse 4. And behold the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This one shall not be thine heir; but he that shall go forth out of thy bowels shall be thine heir. "Behold the word of Jehovah came unto him," signifies an answer: "saying, This one shall not be thine heir" signifies that what is external shall not be the heir of His kingdom; "but he that shall go forth out of thy bowels," signifies those who are in love to Him and in love toward the neighbor; "he shall be thine heir," signifies that they shall be made heirs.