1838. A deep sleep fell upon Abram. That this signifies that the church was then in darkness, is evident from the signification of "a deep sleep." A "deep sleep," relatively to one of wakefulness, denotes a dark state; and this state is here attributed to the Lord, who is represented by Abram; not that there was ever with Him a deep sleep or a state of darkness, but that there was with the church. The case herein is the same as it is in the other life, where the Lord is always the Sun, and Light, itself; but where before the evil He appears as darkness; for the Lord appears according to the state of each person. So here this is said of the church when it is in a state of darkness.
 Also take as an example, vastation, punishment, and condemnation, which are attributed to the Lord in many passages of the Word; when nevertheless they belong to the man of the church, who vastates, punishes, and condemns himself. It appears before man as if the Lord vastated, punished, and condemned; and because it appears so, it is so expressed according to the appearances; for if man were not instructed by appearances, he would not suffer himself to be instructed at all. What is contrary to the appearance he does not believe or comprehend, except at a later period, when he possesses judgment and has been gifted with the faith of charity.
 So with the church; when it is in a state of darkness, the Lord is then obscured before its people, so that He does not appear, that is, is not acknowledged; although the Lord is not at all obscured, but man, in whom and with whom the Lord should be; but still the obscuration is predicated of the Lord. So is it here with the "deep sleep," by which there is signified a dark state of the church.