4680. That their father loved him more than all his brethren. That this signifies that it was conjoined with the Divine natural, and in the proximate sense with the Ancient Church, which is the "father," is evident from what was explained above (n. 4675), where similar words occur. That in the proximate sense this signifies that it was conjoined with the Ancient Church, and that this church is what is meant by "father," is because in this sense, as before said (n. 4679), by Joseph's "brethren" are signified the posterity of Jacob, and consequently the church which was represented among them. How these things are to be understood has already been repeatedly stated, but shall be repeated again in a few words for the sake of the series in what follows.
 The Ancient Church which was set up by the Lord after the flood was a representative church, and was of such a nature that all and each of its externals of worship represented the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom, and in the supreme sense the Divine things themselves of the Lord; but all and each of its internals of worship bore relation to charity. This church was spread over a large part of the Asiatic world, and through many kingdoms there; and although there were differences among them as to doctrinal things of faith, still the church was one, because all in every part of it made charity the essential of the church. Those who at that time separated faith from charity, and made faith the essential of the church were called "Ham." But in course of time this church turned away to idolatry, and in Egypt, Babylon, and other places, to magic; for they began to worship external things without the internal; and as they thus receded from charity, heaven also receded from them, and in its place came spirits from hell who led them.
 When this church was desolated, a kind of new church began from Heber, which was called the Hebrew Church. This church existed in Syria and Mesopotamia, and also among some nations in the land of Canaan; but this new church differed from the Ancient, in that it made the essential of external worship to consist in sacrifices. It did indeed acknowledge the internal of worship to be charity, but not so much from the heart as did the Ancient Church; but this church also became idolatrous.
 At last it pleased the Lord to set up among the posterity of Abraham from Jacob a new kind of church, and to introduce among that nation the externals of worship of the Ancient Church. But such was the nature of this nation that they could not receive any internal of the church, because their hearts were altogether opposed to charity; and therefore only a representative of a church was instituted among them. This then is the reason why the sons of Jacob, or Joseph's brethren, signify in the proximate sense such a church, and why Jacob their father signifies the Ancient Church. In many other places in the Word, especially the prophetic, the Ancient Church is meant by "Jacob;" and sometimes also that Ancient Church is called "father and mother", "father" as to its good, and "mother" as to its truth. From this it is now evident that by their father's loving Joseph more than all his brethren is signified that the Divine truth of the Lord was conjoined with the Ancient Church.