2682. And she cast the child under one of the shrubs. That this signifies despair that nothing of truth and good was perceived, is evident from the signification of the "child," as being spiritual truth (see n. 2669, 2677); and from the signification of a "shrub" or "bush," as being perception, but so little as to be scarcely anything; on which account it is also said "under one of the shrubs" having the same signification as trees, but in a less degree; and that "trees" signify perceptions may be seen above (n. 103, 2163): also from the feeling there was in the act, which was one of despair; all which shows that by her casting the child under one of the shrubs is signified despair that nothing of truth and good was perceived. That being "cast under one of the shrubs" denotes to be desolated as to truth and good even to despair, is manifest in Job:
Alone in want and famine; they flee to the drought, yesternight desolation and wasteness; they pluck mallows upon the shrub; to dwell in the cleft of the valleys, in holes of the dust and of the rocks; among the shrubs they were groaning, under the thistle they were joined together (Job 30:3-4, 6-7);
where the desolation of truth is treated of, which is described by forms of expression in common use in the Ancient Church (for the book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church), such as to be alone, in want and in famine, to flee to the drought, yesternight desolation and wasteness; to dwell in the clefts of the valleys and of the rocks; also to pluck mallows upon the shrub, and to groan among the shrubs. So too in Isaiah:
They shall come and shall rest all of them in the rivers of desolations, in the clefts of the rocks, and in all shrubs, and in all water courses (Isa. 7:19);
where also desolation is treated of, which is described by similar forms of expression, that is to say, by resting in the rivers of desolations, in the clefts of the rocks, and in the shrubs.
 In this verse the second state of those who are being reformed is treated of, which is that they are reduced to ignorance till they know nothing of truth, and this even to despair. The cause of their being reduced to such ignorance is that persuasive light may be extinguished, which is of such a nature as to illuminate falsities equally as well as truths, and to induce a belief in falsity by means of truths, and a belief in truth by means of falsities, and at the same time trust in themselves; also that they may be led by experience itself to a knowledge of the fact that nothing of good and nothing of truth is of self or of man's own, but from the Lord. They who are being reformed are reduced into ignorance even to despair, and then they have comfort and enlightenment, as is evident from what follows; for the light of truth from the Lord cannot flow into the persuasive which is from man's own; for this is of such a nature as to extinguish that light. In the other life that which is persuasive appears like the light of winter; but at the approach of the light of heaven, instead of that light there comes darkness, in which there is ignorance of all truth. With those who are being reformed this state is called the state of desolation of truth, and this also is much treated of in the internal sense of the Word.
 But of this state few have any knowledge, because few at this day are being regenerated. To those who are not being regenerated it makes no difference whether they know the truth, or do not; nor whether what they do know be truth or not, provided they can palm a thing off for truth. But they who are being regenerated think much about doctrine and life, because they think much about eternal salvation; and therefore if truth be deficient with them, as it is the subject of their thought and affection, they grieve at heart. The state of the one and of the other may be seen from this: While a man is in the body he is living as to his spirit in heaven, and as to his body in the world; for he is born into both, and has been so created that as to his spirit he can be actually with the angels, and at the same time with men by means of what is of the body. But as there are few who believe that they have a spirit which is to live after death, there are few who are being regenerated. To those who believe it, the other life is the whole of their thought and affection, and the world is nothing in comparison; but to those who do not believe it, the world is the whole of their thought and affection, and the other life is in comparison nothing. The former are they who can be regenerated, but the latter are they who cannot.