Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 10500

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10500. 'Perhaps I shall make expiation for your sin' means the possibility owing to the Lord's Divine Power for this to come about among those who have so turned themselves away. This is clear from the meaning of 'expiating' as causing no attention to be paid any longer to this, thus causing their worship to be nevertheless received and heard, for 'expiation' may also mean the hearing and acceptance of all the things composing worship, see 9506, at this point therefore the possibility for this to be brought about among those who have so turned themselves away; and from the meaning of 'sin' as a total turning away from the Divine, as above in 10498. The reason why all this is meant by those words is that the subject in the whole of the present chapter is the turning away of the Israelite nation from the Divine and the possibility in spite of this for contact to be established with heaven through the external things in which alone they were interested.

[2] For any knowledge to exist of the real nature of these things a little more must be stated. The Church on earth is established solely to the end that the world, that is, the human race, may be in contact with heaven, that is, with the Lord through heaven; for without the Church there is no contact, and without such contact the human race would perish, 10452. But human contact with heaven is achieved by means of spiritual and celestial things that reside with a person, not by means of worldly and bodily things without these. Or what amounts to the same thing, it is achieved by means of internal things, not by means of external ones without them. Since therefore the Israelite nation's interest lay in external things and not in internal ones, and yet something of a Church was to be established among them, the Lord made provision nevertheless for contact with heaven to be accomplished by means of representatives, which were the external forms of worship among that nation. But such contact was accomplished in a wondrous manner; regarding this contact, see in the places introduced above in 10499.

[3] But two things were necessary before this could be accomplished. One was that the internal with them should be completely shut off, and the other that an outward holiness should exist when they engaged in worship. For when the internal has been completely shut off, the internal side of the Church and of worship is neither repudiated nor acknowledged; it is as though none exists. In these circumstances an outward holiness can exist and also be raised up, since no obstacle stands in the way. Therefore also that nation was completely ignorant of the inward things connected with love to the Lord and belief in Him, and with eternal life attained through these. But as soon as the Lord came into the world and revealed Himself, and He taught that people should love and believe in Him, that nation on hearing these things began to repudiate them, and so they could no longer be maintained in the kind of ignorance they had been in before. Therefore they were then driven out of the land of Canaan, to prevent them from defiling internal things and rendering them profane by their renunciation of them in that land, where since most ancient times all locations had been made representative of such things as have to do with heaven and the Church, see 1585, 3686, 4447, 5136, 6516.

[3] For these reasons, to the extent at the present day that they have a knowledge of internal things and set their minds firmly against them and repudiate them, they can no longer possess an outward holiness, because a negative attitude of mind not only shuts off the internal but also takes away any holiness from the external, and so any contact with heaven. The situation is similar with Christians who have a knowledge, derived from the Word or from the teachings of the Church, of internal things and yet in their heart repudiate them, as is the case when they lead an evil life and have evil thoughts, no matter how outwardly devout and holy they may seem to be when they take part in worship.

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