Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 3428

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3428. 'And they dug another well and disputed over that also' means whether the internal sense of the Word even exists. This becomes clear from the meaning of 'another well' and of 'disputing', dealt with above, and so from the train of thought. For with people who deny the existence of something, such as those who deny the existence of the internal sense of the Word, any subsequent dispute or contention can only be about whether that thing exists. It is well known that most disagreements today never get beyond this point. But as long as men are locked in controversy about whether a thing even exists and whether it is so, they cannot possibly make any headway into wisdom at all. The thing itself about which they may be arguing includes countless facets which they cannot possibly see as long as they do not acknowledge the existence of that thing. For in that case every single aspect of it is unknown to them.

[2] Learning at the present day does not go much beyond these limits, that is to say, beyond discussion of whether a thing exists and is so, and this as a consequence precludes people from an intelligent understanding of truth. For example, anyone who does no more than contend whether the internal sense of the Word exists cannot possibly see the countless, indeed unlimited, details which the internal sense contains. Or, anyone who argues whether charity is anything in the Church, and whether all things that constitute it are matters of faith, cannot know the countless, indeed unlimited, things which exist within charity. Indeed he remains totally ignorant of what charity is.

[3] It is similar with life after death, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgement, and heaven and hell. Those who do no more than argue whether these exist remain outside the portals to wisdom. It is as though they merely knock but are not even able to see into the splendid palaces of wisdom. And what is remarkable, those who act in this way believe that they are wiser than all others, and that the wiser they are the better they are able to discern whether a thing is so, and more so to confirm that it is not. Yet simple persons in whom good is present, and whom the former despise, are able to discern in an instant that a thing exists, and the nature of it, without any disagreement, let alone learned argument. Such simple people have a common-sense discernment of truth, but the former annihilate such common-sense discernment by their wish to discuss first whether such things even exist. The Lord refers to these two groups when He says that things have been hidden from the wise and intelligent and have been revealed to infants, Matt 11:25; Luke 10:21.

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