(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 4489

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4489. Will they not be ours? That this signifies that these were alike and of one form, is evident from the series, which is to the effect that the goods and truths of the Most Ancient Church still in part remaining among Hamor and Shechem and their families, would agree with the goods and truths of the Ancient Church among the descendants of Jacob; for the rituals instituted among the descendants of Jacob were merely external things that represented and signified the internal things of the Most Ancient Church. Hence by "will they not be ours," or belong to them, is signified that they were alike and of one form.
[2] To illustrate this by an example. The altar on which they sacrificed was the chief representative of the Lord (n. 921, 2777, 2811); and therefore it was a fundamental of worship in the Ancient Church called "Hebrew;" consequently all things in general and in particular of which the altar was constructed were representative-its dimensions, height, breadth, and length, its stones, its network of brass, its horns, also the fire that was to be kept perpetually burning on it, besides the sacrifices and burnt-offerings. What these represented were the truths and goods which are of the Lord and from the Lord, and these were the internal things of worship, which being represented in that external, were alike and of one form with the truths and goods of the Most Ancient Church. The dimensions, namely, the height, breadth, and length, signified in general good, truth, and the holy thence derived (see n. 650, 1613, 3433, 3434, 4482); the stones specifically signified lower truths (n. 1298, 3720); the brass of which the network around the altar was made signified natural good (n. 425, 1551); the horns signified the power of truth from good (n. 2832); the fire upon the altar signified love (n. 934); the sacrifices and burnt-offerings signified celestial and spiritual things according to their various species (n. 922, 1823, 2180, 2805, 2807, 2830, 3519). Hence it is evident that internal things were contained within these external ones, and that in respect to the internal things the two churches were alike; and the case is the same in regard to all the other rituals.
[3] But the men of the Most Ancient Church cared not for these external things, because they were internal men, and the Lord flowed in with them by an internal way, and taught them what is good. The varieties and differences of good were to them truths, and hence they knew what each and all things in the world represented in the Lord's kingdom; for the whole world, or universal nature, is a theater representative of the Lord's kingdom (n. 2758, 3483). But the men of the Ancient Church were not internal but external men; and therefore the Lord could not flow in with them by an internal, but by an external way, to teach them what is good, and this first by such things as were representative and significative (whence arose the representative church), and afterwards by the doctrinal things of good and truth which were represented and signified (whence arose the Christian Church). In respect to its internal form the Christian Church is essentially the same as the representative church; but the representatives and significatives of this church were abrogated after the Lord came into the world, because all and each of them represented Him and consequently the things of His kingdom, for these are from Him, and are so to speak Himself.
[4] But the difference between the Most Ancient Church and the Christian Church is like that between the light of the sun by day, and the light of the moon and stars by night; for to see goods by the internal or prior way is like seeing in the day by the light of the sun; but to see by the external or posterior way is like seeing in the night by the light of the moon or the stars. Nearly the same was the difference between the Most Ancient Church and the Ancient Church, except that the men of the Christian Church were able to be in fuller light if they would have acknowledged internal things, or would have believed and done the truths and goods which the Lord taught. The good itself is the same in both, but the difference consists in seeing it in clearness or in obscurity. They who see it in clearness, see innumerable arcana, almost as do the angels in heaven, and are also affected by what they see; but they who see it in obscurity, see scarcely anything free from doubt, and the things they see are mingled with the shades of night (that is, with falsities) and cannot inwardly affect anyone. Now as the good is the same in both churches, consequently also the truth, by the words, "will they not be ours" is signified that the goods and truths were alike and of one form; for as before said Hamor and Shechem were of the remains of the Most Ancient Church, and the posterity of Jacob was of the Ancient Church that was called "Hebrew," but only in its externals. But that Hamor and Shechem his son committed an enormous sin in receiving circumcision will be seen in what follows (n. 4493).


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