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The Vastation of the Church
The rejection of the Lord by the church
To the victor; a psalm of David.
Hear my voice, O God, in my contemplation;
Preserve my life from dread of the enemy.2
Hide me from the secret council of evildoers,
From the tumult of the workers of iniquity;3
Who sharpen their tongue as a sword;
They aim5 their arrow, a bitter word,4
To shoot in hiding places at the perfect one ;
Suddenly they shoot and fear not.5
They strengthen themselves in an evil word6.
They give an account to conceal snares.
They say, Who will see them?6
They search for perversities.
We have finished a searching search;
And the inward parts7 of a man◦, and the heart, are deep.7
But God will shoot at them with an arrow;
Sudden shall be their smitings.8
And they shall make him to stumble;
Their own tongue is against them.
All who see them shall flee away.9
And every man shall fear.
And they shall tell the work of God,
And shall have intelligence of His deeds.10
The just shall be glad in Jehovah, and shall have confidence in Him;
And all the upright of heart shall glory.
Who sharpen their tongue as a sword; They aim their arrow, a bitter word, To shoot in hiding places at the perfect one.
AE 357:14. Because “a sword” signifies falsity fighting against truth, it is said, “who sharpen their tongue like a sword;” and because “arrow” signifies the falsity of doctrine, it is said, “they aim their arrow with a bitter word.” “To shoot in secret places at the perfect” signifies... to deceive those who are in truths from good.
And the inward parts of a man◦, and the heart, are deep.
AE 313:3 ...[B]ecause “the midst” [or “inward parts”] signifies the inmost it also signifies the whole. This may be illustrated by comparison with... all who are of the church on earth.... The Lord’s church is spread through the whole world; but its inmost is where the Lord is known and acknowledged, and where the Word is. From that inmost, light and intelligence are propagated to all who are round about and are of the church, but this propagation of light and intelligence is effected in heaven....
AE 313:13. The “midst of man” means the intellectual where truth should be; and the “heart” the voluntary where good should be; here, both of these perverted, the latter into evil, and the former into falsity.
A church needs to be completely vastated (stripped) of belief in everything true and good before a new church can be raised up, so that people do not profane what is true and good.
AC 408. When a church has been so vastated that there is no longer any faith, then and not before, it begins anew, that is, new light shines forth, which in the Word is called the “morning.” The reason why the new light or “morning” does not shine forth until the church is vastated, is that the things of faith and of charity have been commingled with things profane. And as long as they remain in this state it is impossible for anything of light or charity to be insinuated, since the “tares” destroy all the “good seed.” But when there is no faith, faith can no longer be profaned, because men no longer believe what is declared to them; and those who do not acknowledge and believe, but only know, cannot profane....
AC 1008. ...[H]e profanes... who knows the truths of faith, and especially he who acknowledges them, bears them in his mouth, preaches them, and persuades others to adopt them, and yet lives in hatred, revenge, cruelty, robbery, and adultery, which he confirms in himself by many things that he extracts from the Word, perverting them and thus immersing them in these foul evils. He it is who profanes. And it is such profanity chiefly that brings death to a man....
5Literally, “tread” or “bend the bow with”
7As in AE 313:13; or “belly,” as in AE 622:9
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