Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5470

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5470. 'Whose anguish of soul we saw' means the state of the internal in regard to good,a once it was alienated. This is clear from the meaning of 'anguish of soul' as the state which the soul passes through when it is alienated from the external. The nature of this state is as follows: The Lord comes to a person constantly, bringing good to him, and also truth within that good; but the person either accepts this or does not accept it. If he accepts it, all is well with him; but if he does not, all is ill. If, while not accepting it, he feels worried, described here as 'anguish of soul', the hope exists that he can be reformed; but if he has no such feeling, the hope disappears. For with every person two spirits from hell are present and two angels from heaven. These are present because a person is born in sins and cannot by any means live unless he is on one hand in communication with hell and on the other in communication with heaven. His entire life depends on having these on either hand. When a person is growing up he begins to be his own master, that is, it seems to him that his will and actions spring from his own power of judgement, and in matters of faith his thought and deductions are the result of his own power of understanding. If during this time he inclines to evils, the two spirits from hell draw closer to him and the two angels from heaven move a small distance away. But if he inclines to good the two angels from heaven draw nearer and the two spirits from hell are withdrawn.

[2] If therefore a person when he inclines to evils - as most people do in adolescence - feels at all disturbed when he reflects on an evil deed he has committed, this is a sign that he will nevertheless accept what flows into him from heaven through the angels. It is also a sign that subsequently he will allow himself to be reformed. But if he does not feel in any way disturbed when he reflects on an evil deed he has committed, this is a sign that he no longer wishes to accept what flows into him from heaven through the angels; and it is a sign too that subsequently he will not allow himself to be reformed. Here therefore, where the subject is the truths known to the external Church, which are represented by 'the ten sons of Jacob', reference is made to 'the anguish of soul' which Joseph experienced once he was alienated from his brothers, and then to the fact that Reuben had warned them against doing what they did. By this is meant the consideration that once that state was under way reformation was to follow; that is, the internal came to be joined to the external, that joining together being the subject in what follows. For with people who feel disturbed during this state, an internal recognition of evil is present; and when the Lord calls that recognition to mind, it becomes confession and finally penitence.


a Reading in bono (in regard to good) for interea (in the meantime); cp above in 5467, where in his rough draft Sw. amends interea to in bono.

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