Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 3310

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3310. 'A man of the field' means the good of life that has its origin in matters of doctrine. This is clear from the meaning of 'the field'. In the Word reference is made in many places to the earth (or the land), the ground, and the field. When used in a good sense 'the earth' means the Lord's kingdom in heaven and on earth, and so the Church, which is the Lord's kingdom on earth. 'The ground' is used in a similar though more limited sense, 566, 662, 1066-1068, 1262, 1413, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2928; and the same things are also meant by 'the field', though in a more limited sense still, 368, 2971. And since the Church is not the Church by virtue of matters of doctrine except insofar as these have the good of life as the end in view, or what amounts to the same, unless matters of doctrine are joined to the good of life, 'the field' therefore means primarily the good of life. But in order that such good may be that of the Church, matters of doctrine from the Word which have been implanted within that good must be present. In the absence of matters of doctrine the good of life does indeed exist, but it is not as yet that of the Church, and so not as yet truly spiritual, except in the sense that it has the potentiality to become so, like the good of life as this exists with gentiles who do not possess the Word and therefore do not know the Lord.

[2] That 'the field' is the good of life in which the things of faith, that is, spiritual truths existing with the Church, are implanted, becomes quite clear from the Lord's parable about the sower in Matthew,

A sower went out to sow, And as he sowed some fell on the pathway, and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on rocky ground where they did not have much soil,a and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soilb, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them But some fell on good soilb and yielded fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has an ear to hear let him hear. Matt 13:4-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:5-8.

This describes four types of land or ground within the field, that is, within the Church. The fact that here 'the seed' is the Lord's Word, and so the truth which is called the truth of faith, and that 'the good soil' is the good which is called the good of charity is evident to anyone, for it is the good in man that receives the Word. 'The pathway' is falsity, 'rocky ground' is truth which is not rooted in good, 'thorns' are evils.

[3] With regard to the good of life which has its origin in matters of doctrine being meant by 'a man of the field', the position is that those who are being regenerated first of all do good as matters of doctrine direct them, for they do not of themselves know what good is. They learn to do good from matters of doctrine concerning love and charity; from these they know who the Lord is, who the neighbour is, what love is, and what charity is, and so what good is. Those who have come into this stage are stirred by the affection for truth and are called 'men (vir) of the field'. But after that, once they have been regenerated they do good not from matters of doctrine but from love and charity, for the good itself which they have learned about through matters of doctrine exists with them, and they are in that case called 'men (homo) of the field'. It is like someone who is by nature inclined to commit adultery, steal, and murder but who learns from the Ten Commandments that such practices belong to hell and so refrains from them. In this state he is influenced by the Commandments, for he fears hell and learns from those Commandments and similarly from much else in the Word how he ought to conduct his life. In his case when he does what is good he does it from the Commandments. But when good exists with him he starts to loathe adultery, theft, and murder to which he was previously inclined. In this state he no longer does what is good from the Commandments but from the good which by now resides with him. In the first state the truth he learns directs him to good, but in the second state good is the source of truth taught by him.

[4] The same also applies to spiritual truths which are called doctrinal and are more interior Commandments still. For matters of doctrine are interior truths which the natural man possesses, the first truths there being sensory ones, the second truths being factual, and interior truths matters of doctrine. The latter are based on factual truths inasmuch as a person can have and retain no idea, notion, or concept of them except from factual truths. But the foundations on which factual truths are based are sensory truths, for without sensory truths nobody is able to possess factual ones. Such truths, that is to say, factual and sensory, are meant by 'a man skilled in hunting', but matters of doctrine are meant by 'a man of the field'. Such is the order in which those kinds of truths stand in relation to one another in man. Until a person has become adult therefore, and through sensory and factual truths possesses matters of doctrine, he is incapable of being regenerated, for he cannot be confirmed in the truths contained in matters of doctrine except through ideas based on factual and sensory truths - for nothing is ever present in a person's thought, not even the deepest arcanum of faith there, which does not involve some natural or sensory idea, though generally a person is not aware of the essential nature of such ideas. But in the next life the nature of them is revealed before his understanding, if he so desires, and also a visual representation before his sight, if he wants it; for in the next life such things can be presented before one's eyes in a visual form. This seems unbelievable but it is nevertheless what happens there.


alit. ground
b lit. earth or land

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