Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 2385

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2385. 'And these strove to find the door (janua)' means to the point at which they were unable to see any truth that would lead to good. This is clear from the meaning of 'a door' as something that introduces or affords access, and as truth itself since the latter leads the way to good, dealt with above in 2356. In this verse however 'the door' means cognitions which lead the way to truth, for 'the door (janua)', as stated above in 2356, was on the outside of the house, for it is said in verse 6 that 'Lot went out to the door (janua) and closed the door (ostia) behind him'. 'Striving to find the door' therefore means not seeing any truth that would lead to good.

[2] Such do those people become, especially in the last times, who by reasoning hatch matters of doctrine and believe nothing unless they grasp it mentally beforehand. In this case the life of evil is constantly flowing into the rational part of their mind, and an illusory kind of light obtained from the fire of affections for evil pours in and causes men to see falsities as truths, like people who are in the habit of seeing phantoms in the shades of night. Those same things are after that confirmed in a multitude of ways and made matters of doctrine, as is the case with those who assert that life, which constitutes one's affection, does not achieve anything, but only faith, which constitutes thought.

[3] Once any assumption is adopted, even if falsity itself, it can be confirmed in countless ways and so be presented to outward appearance as though it were the truth itself, as anyone may well know. This is how heresies arise from which there is no going back once they have been confirmed. But from a false assumption nothing other than falsities can flow; and even if truths are introduced among them, these nevertheless become falsified truths when that false assumption is confirmed by means of them, for they are polluted by the very nature of the falsity.

[4] It is altogether different if truth itself is the assumption that is taken, and this is confirmed; for example, that love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour are that on which the whole law hangs and about which all the prophets speak, and so are the essentials of all doctrine and worship. In this case the mind would be enlightened by countless things in the Word which would otherwise lie hidden within the obscurity of a false assumption. Indeed in that case heresies would be dispelled and one Church would result from many, no matter how differing the doctrinal teachings and also religious practices might be flowing from that Church or leading into it.

[5] Of such a character was the Ancient Church which was spread throughout many kingdoms throughout Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria, Ethiopia, Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Philistia up to Tyre and Sidon, and the land of Canaan on both sides of the Jordan. Among these peoples doctrinal teachings and religious practices differed from one to the next, but there was nevertheless one Church because with them charity was the essential thing. At that time the Lord's kingdom existed on earth as it is in heaven, for such is the character of heaven, see 684, 690. If the same situation existed now all would be governed by the Lord as though they were one person; for they would be like the members and organs of one body which, though dissimilar in form and function, still related to one heart on which every single thing, everywhere varied in form, depended. Everyone would then say of another, No matter what form his doctrine and his external worship take, this is my brother; I observe that he worships the Lord and is a good man.

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