340. VII. THAT FOR THE ISRAELITISH NATION IT WAS PERMITTED TO MARRY MORE WIVES THAN ONE BECAUSE WITH THAT NATION THERE WAS NO CHRISTIAN CHURCH, AND HENCE NO POSSIBILITY OF LOVE TRULY CONJUGIAL. At this day there are men who entertain ambiguous thoughts respecting the institution of monogamous marriages, that is, of the marriage of one man with one wife, debating within themselves concerning the reason, and opining that because polygamous marriages were openly permitted to the Israelitish nation and its kings, and to David and Solomon, they would in themselves be permissible to Christians also. But such men have no distinct knowledge concerning the Israelitish nation and the Christian; concerning the external and internal things of the Church; or concerning the change of the Church from an external Church to an internal which was made by the Lord. Consequently, they know nothing from interior judgment concerning marriages. In general it must be borne in mind, that man is born natural in order that he may become spiritual; that so long as he remains natural he is as though in night and in sleep respecting things spiritual; and that he then does not know even the distinction between the external natural man and the internal spiritual.
 That the Christian Church did not exist with the Israelitish nation is known from the Word; for they awaited a Messiah who was to exalt them above all nations and peoples in the world --and they are still awaiting. Therefore, had it been said to them, and were it now said, that the Messiah's kingdom is over the heavens and therefore over all nations, they would have set it down as among idle tales. It was because of this that when Christ, or the Messiah our Lord, came into the world, not only did they not acknowledge Him, but they cruelly put Him out of the world. From this it is evident that the Christian Church did not exist with that nation, as it does not at this day; and they with whom the Christian Church does not exist are natural men, both internally and externally. With such men polygamy, being inscribed on the natural man, is not hurtful; for, as regards love in marriage, the natural man perceives only such things as pertain to lust. This is what is meant by the words spoken by the Lord, that Moses for the hardness of their heart permitted them to put away their wives, but that from the beginning it was not so (Matt. 19:8). He says that Moses permitted, in order that it may be known that it was not the Lord.  Moreover, that the Lord taught the internal spiritual man, is known from His precepts; from His abrogation of the rituals which served only for the use of the natural man; from His precepts concerning washing, that it is the purification of the internal man (Matt. 15:1, 17-20; 23:25, 26; Mark 7:14-23), concerning adultery, that it is a lust of the will (Matt. 5:28), concerning the putting away of wives, that it is not lawful, and concerning polygamy, that it is not in agreement with Divine law (Matt. 19:3-9). The Lord taught these and many other precepts which pertain to the internal and spiritual man because He alone opens the internal things of human minds and, making them spiritual, implants them in things natural, that these also may receive a spiritual essence. This they do receive if man approaches Him and lives according to His precepts. In brief, these precepts are: To believe in Him and to shun evils because they are of the devil and from the devil; also to do goods because they are of the Lord and from the Lord; and to do both as of one's self, believing at the same time that they are done by the Lord through him.  The veriest reason why it is the Lord alone who opens the internal spiritual man and implants it in the external natural man, is because every man thinks naturally and acts naturally; therefore, he could not perceive anything spiritual and receive it into his natural unless God had assumed a Natural Human and made this also Divine. From the above, the truth is now evident that for the Israelitish nation it was permitted to take more wives than one because with them there was no Christian Church.