Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 4680

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4680. 'That their father loved him more than all his brothers' means that [the Lord's Divine Spiritual or Divine Truth] was joined to the Divine Natural - in the proximate sense, to the Ancient Church meant by 'father'. This is clear from the explanations given above in 4675, where similar words occur. The reason why in the proximate sense the meaning is that [the Lord's Divine Spiritual or Divine Truth] was joined to the Ancient Church, and why in that sense 'father' is used to mean that Church, is that in the proximate sense, as stated immediately above in 4679, the descendants of Jacob and therefore the Church that was represented among them are meant by 'Joseph's brothers'. This whole matter has been discussed several times already, but in view of the train of thought that occurs in what follows the main points will be restated briefly here.

[2] The Ancient Church established by the Lord after the Flood was a representative Church. It was the kind of Church in which the external features of its worship, every single one, represented the celestial and spiritual things belonging to the Lord's kingdom, and in the highest sense represented those Divine things which are the Lord's own. Every single internal aspect of its worship however had to do with charity. This Church was widespread in much of the Asiatic world and in many kingdoms there. And although differences existed among them so far as teachings about matters of faith were concerned, there was nevertheless one Church because all people everywhere made charity the essential element of the Church. People at that time who separated faith from charity and made faith the essential element of the Church were called Ham. But in process of time this Church turned aside to idolatrous practices, and in Egypt, Babylon, and other places to magical ones; for they began to worship external things devoid of anything internal. So because they departed from charity, heaven departed from them, and in its place spirits from hell came and led them.

[3] Once this Church had been laid in ruins a new Church originating in Eber came into being, which was called the Hebrew Church. This existed in Syria and Mesopotamia, and also among other nations in the land of Canaan. But it differed from the Ancient Church in that it made sacrifices the essential requirement of external worship. It did, it is true, acknowledge charity as the inner substance of worship, but not so much with the heart as the Ancient Church had done. This Church too became idolatrous.

[4] At length the Lord was pleased to establish a new type of Church among Abraham's descendants through Jacob and to introduce among that nation the external features of the worship of the Ancient Church. But that nation was the kind that could not accept anything internal constituting the Church because their hearts were utterly opposed to charity. For this reason no more than what was representative of the Church was set up among that nation. From this it is now clear that 'Jacob's sons' or 'Joseph's brothers' in the proximate sense means that kind of Church, and that 'Jacob their father' means the Ancient Church. Furthermore, in many other places in the Word, especially the prophetical part, 'Jacob' is used to mean the Ancient Church, in addition to which this Church - the Ancient - is frequently called 'father' or 'mother', 'father' to refer to its good and 'mother' to its truth. From this it is now evident that 'their father loved Joseph more than all his brothers' means that the Lord's Divine Truth was joined to the Ancient Church.

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