Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 2196

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2196. 'And this was behind him' means close to the good which existed with the rational at that time, and separated from it insofar as anything of the human was in it. This is clear from what is said regarding the door where Sarah stood - that it was 'behind him'. 'Being behind him' means not joined together but behind his back. That which is separated from someone is represented by that which has been cast so to speak behind the back, as may become clear from the representatives in the next life described from experience in 1393, 1875. This separation is expressed here by its being said that the door where Sarah stood was behind him.

[2] The situation so far as merely human rational truth - which resided with the Lord at that time and was separated from Him when He joined Himself to the Divine - is that human rational truth has no grasp of Divine things because these are above its range of understanding. Such truth does indeed communicate with the facts which are present in the natural man; but insofar as it looks from those facts at the things that exist above itself it does not acknowledge these things. For such truth is immersed in appearances of which it cannot rid itself; and appearances are born from the evidence of the senses - which leads one to believe as though Divine things themselves are also of a similar nature, when in fact they are free of all appearances. When such Divine things are stated this rational truth cannot possibly believe them because it cannot have any grasp of them. Let some examples be given.

[3] If it is stated that a person has no life except that which he receives from the Lord, the rational, seeing from appearances, imagines in that case that he is not able to live as if from himself, when in fact he is for the first time truly living when he perceives that he does so from the Lord.

[4] Seeing from appearances the rational imagines that the good which a person does springs from himself, when in fact nothing good at all springs from self, but from the Lord.

[5] Seeing from appearances the rational imagines that a person merits salvation when he does what is good, when in fact of himself a person can merit nothing - all merit being the Lord's.

[6] Seeing from appearances a person imagines that when he is being withheld from evil and maintained in good by the Lord, nothing but good, righteousness, and indeed holiness are present with him, when in fact present in man there is nothing except evil, unrighteousness, and profanity.

[7] Seeing from appearances a person imagines that when he does what is good from charity his will is the source of his actions, when in fact it is not his will that is the source but his understanding in which charity has been implanted.

[8] Seeing from appearances a person imagines that no glory can exist without the glory of the world, when in fact the glory of heaven does not have one trace of the world's glory within it.

[9] Seeing from appearances a person imagines that nobody can love the neighbour more than he loves himself, but that all love begins from self, when in fact heavenly love has no self-love at all within it.

[10] Seeing from appearances a person imagines that no light can exist apart from that which flows from the light of this world, when in fact not a ray of the world's light shines in heaven, though the light there is a thousand times brighter than the midday light of the world.

[11] Seeing from appearances a person imagines that the Lord cannot possibly shine before the whole of heaven as a sun, when in fact the entire light of heaven comes from Him.

[12] Seeing from appearances no one can grasp the idea that developments take place in the next life, when in fact those there seem to themselves to be making developments - as anyone does on earth - in for example, their homes, courtyards, and gardens. Still less can man grasp it if he is told that these are changes of state which manifest themselves outwardly in such developments.

[13] Seeing from appearances a person cannot grasp that it is because they are not visible before his eyes that spirits and angels are not able to be seen; nor can he grasp that they are able to talk to-man, when in fact they are seen more clearly before internal sight, or the sight of the spirit, than man sees man on earth. And their utterances are also in like manner clearly audible.

Besides these there are thousands upon thousands of things such as these which man's rational, seeing from its own light, which is born from the evidence of the senses and consequently is darkened, cannot possibly believe. Indeed even in natural things the rational is blinded. It is unable to grasp, for example, how those living on the opposite side of the world can stand erect and walk, or to grasp very many other natural phenomena. How blind must the rational be then in spiritual and celestial things which are far above those that are natural.

[14] Such being the nature of the human rational, it is here spoken of as being separated when the Lord, while possessing Divine Perception, was united to the Divine. This is meant by the statement that Sarah, who here is such rational truth, 'stood at the tent door, and this was behind him'.

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