10219. That there be no plague in them in numbering them. That this signifies lest there be the penalty of evil in doing goods as from self, is evident from the signification of a "plague," as being the penalty of evil (of which below); and from the signification of "numbering the sons of Israel," as being to set in order and dispose the truths and goods of faith and love (of which above, n. 10217), thus to do them. It is said "as from self," because the goods which a man does he does as from himself, nor does he perceive otherwise until he is in faith from love. For goods flow in from the Lord and are received by man, and those which are received are at first felt no otherwise than as in himself and from himself; nor is it perceived that they are from the Lord until he comes into knowledge, and afterward into acknowledgment from faith. For before this he cannot reflect that anything flows in from the Divine; nor can he at all perceive this, that is, be sensible of it in himself, until he begins to will and to love that it be so.
 This is like the life itself in man, and his two interior faculties of life, which are the understanding and the will. Who before instruction does not believe that life is in himself, and thus that what he does from this life is of himself, and in like manner his understanding and will? although both his life in general, and his understanding and will, flow in; the truths of the understanding and the goods of the will out of heaven from the Lord, but the falsities of understanding and the evils of will from hell. For unless there are spirits and angels with man through whom this influx is effected, he cannot live a single moment, consequently neither can he think or will (as can be seen from manifold experience related at the close of several chapters, where influx was treated of; see the places cited in n. 9223, 9276, 9682).
 But so long as a man believes that he does all things of himself, both goods and evils, so long goods do not affect him, and evils adhere to him; but the moment that he acknowledges and believes that goods flow in from the Lord, and not from himself, and that evils are from hell, then goods affect him and evils do not adhere to him; and, moreover, insofar as goods affect him, so far evils are removed, thus he is purified and liberated from them. But so long as the state of man is such that he cannot perceive and be sensible of the influx of goods from the Lord, so long he does goods as from himself, and yet ought to acknowledge and believe that they are from the Lord. When this is the case, he also is liberated from evils; but in order that he may be liberated from evils this acknowledgment must be the confession of the heart itself, and not of the lips only.
 That a "plague" denotes the penalty of evil, is evident without explication. There are three plagues which follow those who attribute to themselves the truths and goods of faith and love, or who believe that they merit heaven by their works; for they who attribute these to themselves believe also that of themselves they merit heaven. These three penalties are: 1. That they cannot receive anything of the good of love and the truth of faith. 2. That evils and falsities continually pursue them. 3. And that the truths and goods received from infancy perish. These three penalties are signified by the three plagues which were proposed to David by the prophet Gad on account of numbering the people, which were: 1. Seven years of famine. 2. A fleeing of three months before their enemies. 3. And a pestilence of three days (2 Sam. 24:13).
 For by "famine" is signified a lack and scarcity of the goods and truths of faith and love, because these are signified by bread, food, wheat, barley, oil, and wine, which are lacking while the famine lasts. By "fleeing before enemies" in the internal sense is meant to be pursued by evils and falsities, for those who attribute goods and truths to themselves cannot fight against the evils and falsities which are from hell (n. 9978), and which in the spiritual sense are the enemies before whom is the fleeing, and by whom they are pursued. But by "pestilence" is signified the vastation and consumption of the goods and truths which have been received from infancy (n. 7505). That David chose the pestilence, and that seventy thousand died of it, signified that every truth and good of faith and love would perish with the Israelitish and Jewish nation, which also came to pass, for they did not acknowledge the Lord, from whom nevertheless are all goods and truths. "Three days" signified to the full, and the same was also signified by the "seventy thousand" men who died.