(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 9409

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9409. And unto the sons of Israel who were set apart. That this signifies those who are in the external sense alone separate from the internal, is evident from the representation of the sons of Israel who were apart or separated from Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and from the seventy elders, and of whom it is said (verse 2) that they "should not go up," as being those who are in the external sense of the Word separate from the internal (of which above, n. 9380). It shall be briefly stated here who they are, and of what nature, who are in the external sense of the Word separate from the internal. They are those who draw from the Word no doctrine of charity and faith, but remain solely in the sense of the letter of the Word. The doctrine of charity and faith is the internal of the Word, and the sense of the letter is its external. They who are in the external sense of the Word apart from the internal, are also in external worship apart from internal, worshiping external things as holy and Divine, and also believing that these things are in themselves holy and Divine, when yet they are holy and Divine only from internal things. (That such were the sons of Jacob, see n. 3479, 4281, 4293, 4307, 4429, 4433, 4680, 4844, 4847, 4865, 4868, 4874, 4899, 4903, 4911, 4913, 6304, 8588, 8788, 8806, 8871.)
[2] For example - they believed that they were pure from all sin and from all guilt when they offered sacrifices and ate of the sacrifices; supposing that in their external form apart from the internal, the sacrifices were the most holy things of worship; and that the oxen, bullocks, lambs, she-goats, sheep, rams, and he-goats were then holy; and that the altar was the most holy of all; in like manner the bread of the meat-offerings, and the wine of the drink-offerings. They also believed that when they washed their garments and their bodies, they were clean; in like manner that the perpetual fire of the altar and the fires of the lamp were holy of themselves, likewise the showbreads and also the oil of anointing, besides all the other things. The reason why they so believed was that they had rejected everything internal, insomuch that they were not willing even to hear anything about internal things; such as that they should love Jehovah for His own sake, and not for the sake of themselves, that they might be exalted to dignities and to wealth above all the nations and peoples in the world. For the same reason they did not wish to hear that the Messiah was to come for their salvation and eternal happiness; but merely in order that they might be pre-eminent to all in the world. Nor did they wish to hear anything about mutual love and charity toward the neighbor, for the sake of the neighbor and his good; but only for the sake of themselves insofar as he favored them. To entertain a hostile disposition, to bear hatred, to revenge, to be cruel, provided they had the least cause for it, they accounted of no moment.
[3] Very differently would they have believed and done if they had been willing to receive the doctrine of love and faith in the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor. They would then have known and believed that the burnt-offerings, sacrifices, meat-offerings, drink-offerings, and eating of the sacrifices, did not purify them from any guilt and sin; but that they were purified by the worship of God, and by repentance from the heart (Deut. 33:19; Jer. 7:21-23; Micah 6:6-8; Hosea 6:6; Ps. 40:6, 8; 51:17-19; 1 Sam. 15:22); in like manner that the washings of garments and of the body do not make anyone clean, but purifications of the heart; in like manner also that the fire of the altar, and the fires of the lamp, and also the showbreads, and likewise the oil of anointing, were not holy of themselves, but by virtue of the internal things which they signified; and that when they were in holy internal things, they were then holy, not from themselves, but from the Lord, from whom is everything holy. The sons of Israel would have known these internal things if they had received the doctrine of love and charity, because this teaches what the external things infold. From this doctrine also the internal sense of the Word is known, because the internal sense of the Word is the very doctrine itself of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, which also the Lord teaches, saying that "on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22:37-40).
[4] The case is nearly the same at this day in the Christian world, in which, as there is no doctrine of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, it is scarcely known what celestial love is, and what spiritual love, which is charity. Therefore they are in external things apart from anything internal; for the good of celestial and spiritual love, and the derivative truth of faith, make the internal of man. Hence it is that at the present day also the external sense of the Word, without doctrine as a rule and guide, may be bent wherever one pleases. For the doctrine of faith, apart from the doctrine of love and charity, is like the shade of night; but the doctrine of faith, from the doctrine of love and charity, is like the light of day; because the good which is of love and charity is like flame, and the truth of faith is like the light from it.
[5] Seeing that at the present day the people of the Christian world are of this character - namely, in externals apart from any internal - therefore scarcely any are affected by truth for the sake of truth. From this also it is that they do not even know what good is, what charity is, and what the neighbor; nor what the internal of man is; neither do they know what heaven and hell are, nor that everyone possesses life immediately after death. Such of them as remain in the doctrines of their own church do not care whether they are false or true. They learn them and confirm them, not for the sake of practicing the good of charity from the heart, nor for the sake of the salvation of their souls and their eternal happiness; but for the sake of prosperity in the world, that is, in order that they may gain reputation, honors, and wealth. Hence it is that they have no enlightenment when they read the Word, and that they will utterly deny that there is anything internal in the Word, beyond that which stands forth in the letter. But of the Lord's Divine mercy more shall be said on this subject elsewhere, from experience.


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