The Ruler’s Daughter Raised
While he spoke these things to them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshiped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come, and lay your hand upon her, and she shall live, etc.
Q. WHAT do you here understand by a certain ruler and his daughter?
A. According to the sense of the letter, by a certain ruler is to be understood a person, who was in authority amongst the Jews; and by his daughter is to be understood his daughter according to the flesh; but agreeable to the spiritual sense of this miracle, by a certain ruler is to be understood the church, or the members of the church, principled in heavenly truths, from which comes all spiritual rule or dominion; and by his daughter, in agreement with the same sense, is to be understood the affection derived from that truth, for such, in the language of inspiration, is the signification of the term daughter, and therefore so frequent mention is made of the daughter of Zion, the daughter of Jerusalem, and the daughter of the uncircumcised, denoting the affection of good, the affection of truth, and the opposite affections of evil and of error.
Q. What then do you understand by this ruler’s daughter being dead, according to this spiritual signification of the term?
A. By being dead, according to the sense of the letter, is to be understood natural death, or the separation of the soul from the body, but by being dead, according to the spiritual sense, is to be understood spiritual death, or the separation of the soul from the life of the love of god, and its consequent immersion in the unclean loves of self and of the world. When therefore it is said by the ruler, My daughter is even now dead, it is to be understood that the affection of truth was thus separated from heavenly love, and thereby immersed in unclean loves.
Q. But it is added concerning the ruler, that he said to Jesus, Come, and lay your hand upon her, and she shall live — what do you conceive to be implied in these words?
A. They are words expressive of a strong faith in the divinity of the great saviour, and are therefore recorded for the instruction and benefit of the church in all succeeding ages. For when the ruler says, Come, in application to the great saviour, he manifestly intended to supplicate His divine presence, mercy, and benediction; and when he added, lay your hand upon her, he meant further to supplicate a communication with the Divine Omnipotence; and lastly, when he concludes, she shall live, he expresses a strong confidence in the effect of such communication, by restoring a dead affection to the newness of heavenly life, vigour and enjoyment.
Q. And what do you understand by the words which follow, where it is written, that Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did His disciples?
A. According to the sense of the letter, by these words is to be understood, that Jesus and His disciples rose up, and followed the ruler to his house, but according to the spiritual sense, by Jesus arising, is to be understood the elevation of His humanity to a closer and fuller union with His divinity, agreeable to the process by which He gradually made His humanity divine, by uniting it fully with the eternal father in Himself. This divine process was called His glorification, agreeable to His own words, where He says, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in another place, Father, glorify Your name. And by His following the ruler, is to be understood, according to the same sense, the intenseness of His love to fulfill the desire which He had before implanted in the ruler’s mind. It is added, and so did His disciples, to denote that Jesus and His disciples are always united, because His disciples are all those who admit into their wills’ and understandings His divine love and wisdom.
Q. But it is written, that when Jesus cams into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said to them, Give place; for the maid is not dead, but sleeps: and they laughed Him to scorn — what do you understand by these words?
A. These words, like the foregoing, have their spiritual as well as their literal meaning, and according to their spiritual interpretation, by Jesus coming into the ruler’s house, is signified His divine influx into the minds of those who are represented by the ruler, namely. such as are principled in the knowledge of the eternal truth, but without that affection, which the truth is calculated to produce. And by His seeing the minstrels, and the people making a noise, is further signified, according to the same sense, His divine inspection of the disorderly state of their affections and thoughts; for by the minstrels are spiritually denoted the things relating to the will; and by the people, the things relating to the understanding; and by their making a noise, is signified the disorderly and. disturbed state of both. Again, by His saying to them, Give place; for the maid is not dead, but sleeps, is to be understood, His divine control over that disorder and disturbance, that so he might restore the affection of truth to its proper state of vigour and activity, inasmuch as it was not really dead, or voluntarily and deliberately immersed in evil love, but asleep; in other words, immersed for a time, and unintentionally, in mere natural appetites and affections. And by their laughing Him to scorn, is further to be understood, that they were incapable of apprehending this distinction between death and sleep, and therefore made light of it, as a distinction not worth attending to.
Q. It is lastly written, that when the people were put forth. He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land — how do you understand these words?
A. By the people being put forth, is to be understood the separation of disorderly thoughts; and by His going in, and taking her by the hand, is to be understood His divine influx into the affection of truth, and a communication thereby of divine power; and by the maid arising, is further to be understood the elevation of that affection out of the natural affections and appetites in which it had been immersed. Lastly, by the fame thereof going forth into all that land, is denoted the church’s acknowledgement of a divine supernatural agency, proceeding from the humanity of the incarnate god.
Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from this miracle?
A. I learn again to adore the divine omnipotence of my god and saviour, as exercised in the double kingdom of matter and of mind; of matter, by raising up to life a dead, body; and of mind, by elevating out of unclean loves a mental affection. I learn further, to distinguish in myself between an affection which is dead, and an affection which is asleep, and to see that the latter is capable of admitting divine influx and power, and thus of being raised out of sleep; in other words, of being elevated out of the natural state into which it was fallen, into a spiritual one of life and peace. Lastly, I learn, that before the blessed Jesus can operate to advantage either on body or on mind, the people must be put forth; in other words, the rabble of unruly and disorderly thoughts must be separated, that so the healing virtues of the divine mercy and omnipotence may be admitted. I am resolved, therefore, from now on, to apply to this my god and saviour, under all my spiritual infirmities, and especially under that sleep of good affections, which, if deliberately indulged in, may prove fatal to my everlasting happiness. And further I am resolved, in my application for divine aid, to endeavour to bring my mind into a state capable of receiving it, by expelling all those purposes, affections, and tumultuous thoughts, which have a tendency to banish the blessed Jesus from me, and to render ineffectual the divine power of His healing love and wisdom, amen.