35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
As regards the Word being opened to the churches, and being afterwards closed, the case is this: in the beginning of the setting up of any church, the Word is at first closed to the men of it, and is afterwards opened, the Lord so providing; and thus they learn that all doctrine is founded on the two commandments – that the Lord is to be loved above all things, and the neighbor as themselves. When these two commandments are regarded as the end, the Word is opened; for all the Law and the Prophets, that is, the whole Word, so depend on these commandments that all things are derived from them and therefore all have reference to them. And whereas the men of the church are then in the principles of truth and good, they are enlightened in everything they see in the Word; for the Lord is then present with them by means of angels, and teaches them (although they are unaware of this), and also leads them into the life of truth and good.
This may be seen also from the case of all churches, in that they were such in their infancy, and worshiped the Lord from love, and loved the neighbor from the heart. But in process of time churches withdraw from these two commandments, and turn aside from the good of love and charity to the so-called things of faith, thus from life to doctrine; and insofar as they do this, so far the Word is closed.