End of a Church


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Church, consummation (end) of a" (search under Outer Life/Religions, Ways)": source "Apocalypse Explained, vol.5": detail "Section 879"
But concerning the devastation of the church these things must be stated. Every church in its beginning is in the love of doing goods, and in the love of knowing truths; but in process of time it is devastated as to goods and as to truths, because good and truth exist no longer in the church. It is devastated, first, by the love of ruling, by means of holy things, successively over men’s souls, and at length over heaven and over the Lord Himself. And this is described in the Apocalypse by “Babylon”, and by the whore sitting upon the scarlet beast. It is devastated, secondly, by faith separated from charity, thus from the goods of life; and at length by faith alone, in which there is nothing of truth. This is described in the Apocalypse by the dragon and by his two beasts. These are the two things into which the primitive loves of the church, which were the love of doing goods and the love of knowing truths, decline; and when this comes to pass, the church is devastated. The love of doing goods is successively changed into the love of doing evils, which are then called goods; and the love of knowing truths into the love of knowing falsities, which are then called truths. In the case of those who are described by Babylon, every good of the church is adulterated, and hence, also, every truth thereof, the one being a result of the other. But with those who are described by the dragon, every truth of the church is falsified, and hence, too, every good thereof, the one being a result of the other. And this happens among the Reformed, who have adopted faith alone as the essential of the church; but the former occurs among the Papists, who have made dominion over the holy things of heaven the essential of the church.