2553. Because I said, Surely there is no fear of God in this place. That this signifies the thought thence derived: that they would have no respect for spiritual truth in that state in which they were, is evident from the signification of the expression "fear of God," as being respect for Divine or spiritual truth; and from the signification of "place," as being state (see n. 1273-1275, 1377). The case herein is this: Man cannot apprehend any doctrine that is purely spiritual and celestial, that is, Divine, because it infinitely transcends his apprehension, and thus also his belief. All man's thoughts are terminated in the natural things which are connected with his senses. Whatever is not said from and according to these natural things is not comprehended, but perishes, like sight that has no bound in some ocean or universe; and therefore if doctrinal matters were set forth before a man in any other manner, they would not be at all received, and thus no respect would be entertained for them; as may be sufficiently evident from everything in the Word, where for this very reason purely Divine things themselves are set forth naturally, nay, sensuously; as that Jehovah has ears, eyes, and a face; and that He has feelings like a man, such as anger, and so forth.
 This need was still greater at the time when the Lord came into the world, for then men did not know even what the celestial and the spiritual was, nor even that there was anything internal. Things merely earthly and worldly, and thus external, had full possession of their minds, as was the case with the apostles themselves, who imagined that the Lord's kingdom would be like a kingdom of this world, and therefore asked that one might sit on His right hand and another on His left, and who long thought that they should sit upon twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel; not as yet being aware that in the other life they would not have ability to judge even the smallest thing of one man (n. 2129, at the end). His looking into this state of the human race was the reason of the Lord's thinking at first whether the rational was to be consulted in the doctrine of faith; and this from His love, which was that the salvation of all might be provided for, and that the Word might not perish.