Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/421

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
325
THE CHURCH.

quality as it is at the present day,—by which there is no conjunction. The reason why the church in the heavens cannot subsist unless there is a church on earth, in conjunction with it, is that heaven where the angels are and the church where men are act as one, like the internal and external in man. And the internal in man cannot subsist in its state unless an external is conjoined with it; for the internal without the external is as a house without a foundation; or as seed upon the ground and not in the ground; and so like anything without a foothold; in a word as a cause without an effect in which it may exist. From these considerations it may appear how absolutely necessary it is that there should be a church somewhere in the world, where the Word is, and by means of it the Lord is known. (A. R n. 533.)

 

When a Church is near its End a new Church is raised up.

When the end of a church is at hand, it is provided by the Lord that a new church shall succeed; because without a church in which the Word is, and in which the Lord is known, the world cannot subsist. For without the Word, and the knowledge and acknowledgment therefrom of the Lord, heaven cannot be conjoined to the human race; nor therefore can Divine truth proceeding from the Lord flow in with new life; and without conjunction with heaven, and thereby with the Lord, man would not be man, but a beast. Hence it is that a new church is always provided by the Lord when an old church comes to its end. (A. E. n. 665.)[1]

 

There have been in general four Churches on the Earth.

That there have been four churches in general on this earth since its creation, one succeeding another, can be seen both from the historical and prophetical Word; especially in Daniel, where these four churches are described by the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in a dream (chap, ii.), and afterwards by the four beasts coming up out of the sea (chap. vii.). The first church, which is to be called the Most Ancient, existed before the flood; the consummation or end of this is described by the flood. The second church, which is to be called the Ancient, was in Asia, and in part in Africa; this was consummated and destroyed by idolatries. The third church was the Israelitish, which began with the promulgation of the decalogue upon Mount Sinai, and continued through the Word written by Moses and the prophets, and was consummated or ended by the profanation of the Word; the fulness of which profanation was at the time when the Lord

  1. The church cannot be raised up anew in any nation until it is entirely vastated. (See page 745.)