5413. For he said, Peradventure mischief may befall him. That this signifies that without the celestial of the spiritual which is "Joseph," it would perish, is evident from the signification of "mischief befalling," as here being to perish. This was said by the father because he loved him, and feared lest he should perish among his brethren, like Joseph; but these same words were adduced and received in the Word on account of the internal sense, which is, that with its externals only, without the internal, the intermediate would perish; for the intermediate is "Benjamin," the externals are the "sons of Jacob," and the internal is "Joseph." Every intermediate perishes when it has only the external things without the internal, because it comes into existence from the internal, and hence also subsists from it; for it comes into existence by the internal's looking into the external from the affection and end of associating the external with itself. Thus the intermediate is conjoined with the internal, and from the internal with the external, but not with the external without the internal. From this it is plain that the intermediate would perish if it were with the external alone without the internal. Moreover, it is a general law, as well of the things of the spiritual world as of those of the natural world, that a thing can subsist with its prior, but not without this with its posterior, and that it would perish if it were with this alone. The reason is that everything without connection with what is prior to itself is without connection with the First, from whom is all coming into existence, and subsistence.