but the internal sense, in which are the truths themselves, it was undelightful.
It is to be known that the understanding of the Word perishes in the church by degrees, as the man of the church from internal becomes external; and from internal he becomes external as he falls away from charity, consequently as he falls away from the life of faith.
When the man of the church is such he may, indeed, take delight in reading the Word, but yet he takes no delight in the truth itself, which belongs to the interior sense of the Word; for it is the life itself of faith, which is charity, that produces the affection of interior truth and makes it delightful. Therefore the Word as to the sense of the letter may be loved, but for the reason that it can be drawn over to confirm the falsities arising from the love of self and of the world, for such is the Word in the letter.
From this it comes that in the end of the church there is scarcely any understanding of truth. Truths from the Word are indeed then spoken with the mouth, but yet there is no idea of truth. It has been granted me to test whether this is so in the case of many in the spiritual world, and it was found that although, so far as they had spoken from the Word they had spoken truths, yet they had no understanding of them; thus they were like empty vessels and like tinkling bells, speaking only from such things as they drew forth from the memory, and not at all from any perception of the understanding. When man is such he cannot inwardly possess anything celestial or spiritual, but only what is natural, from the body and the world, and when this is separated from what is celestial and spiritual it is infernal. From this it can be seen what is meant … by the little book given to John to eat being in his mouth sweet as honey, but that his belly was made bitter from.