(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 6587

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6587. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die. That this signifies a prediction that the internal of the church will cease, is evident from the representation of Joseph, as being the internal (see n. 6499), here the internal of the church, because in what precedes the subject treated of has been the church set up again by the internal, that is, through the internal by the Lord; and from the signification of "dying," as being to cease to be such (n. 494); thus to cease. (That "dying" denotes the last time of the church, may be seen above, n. 2908, 2912, 2917, 2923.) Prediction concerning this time is signified by "Joseph said unto his brethren;" for in what now follows, even to the end, the subject treated of is the further state of the church. Hence it is plain that by "Joseph said unto his brethren, I die," is signified that the internal of the church will cease.
[2] The case herein is this. A church in order to exist must be internal and external, for there are those who are in the internal of the church, and those who are in its external; the former are few, but the latter are very numerous. Nevertheless with those with whom is the internal church, the external must be also, for the internal of the church cannot be separated from its external; and also with those with whom is the external church, the internal must be also, but with these the internal is in obscurity.
[3] The internal of the church consists in willing good from the heart, and in being affected with good; and its external consists in doing it, and this according to the truth of faith which the man knows from good; but the external of the church consists in the devout performance of rituals, and in doing works of charity, according to the precepts of the church. From this it is evident that the internal of the church is the good of charity in the will. Therefore when this ceases, the church itself also ceases, for the good of charity is its essential. External worship indeed remains afterward, as before, but then it is not worship, but a rite, which is preserved because it has been so appointed; but this rite, which appears like worship, is like a shell without a kernel, for it is an external which remains wherein is no internal. When such is the state of the church it is at its end.


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