Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1258

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1258. That 'from these the nations on the earth were spread abroad' means that in these all the forms of that Church's worship took rise, all forms that entailed goods and those that entailed evils, and that these goods or evils are meant by 'the nations', is clear from the meaning of 'nations'. As stated already, nation is used to mean a number of families grouped together, for a number of families that recognized the same father made up one nation in the Most Ancient and Ancient Churches. But with regard to 'nations' in the internal sense meaning forms of the Church's worship, and in particular as to the goods or the evils entering into that worship, the situation is that when angels contemplate families and nations they never envisage a nation, but only the worship existing with it. For they contemplate all from the point of view of essential character, that is, what kind of people they are. The essential character or quality of a person from which heaven contemplates him is charity and faith. This any person may easily grasp if he considers that when he contemplates any individual, or any family, or any nation, he is thinking mainly of their character, each person doing so from that which rules in him at the time. A mental image of their character instantly comes to mind, and it is from this image that he considers them. This applies even more to the Lord, and from Him to the angels, who are incapable of contemplating a person, family, or nation except from the point of view of their character as regards charity and faith. This is why in the internal sense 'nations' means nothing other than the Church's worship, and indeed as regards the essential character of that worship, which is good stemming from charity and the truth of faith from this. When the expression 'nations' occurs in the Word, angels never dwell on the idea of a nation in accordance with the historical sense of the letter, but on the idea of the good and truth present with the nation that is mentioned.

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