303. A man acquires a life by all the things he is persuaded of, that is, which he acknowledges and believes. That of which he is not persuaded, or does not acknowledge and believe, does not affect his mind. And therefore no one can profane holy things unless he has been so persuaded of them that he acknowledges them, and yet denies them. Those who do not acknowledge may know, but are as if they did not know, and are like those who know things that have no existence. Such were the Jews about the time of the Lord's advent, and therefore they are said in the Word to be "vastated" or "laid waste" that is, to have no longer any faith. Under these circumstances it does men no injury to have the interior contents of the Word opened to them, for they are as persons seeing, and yet not seeing; hearing, and yet not hearing; whose hearts are stopped up; of whom the Lord says in Isaiah:
Go and tell this people, Hearing hear ye, but understand not, and seeing see ye, but know not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and smear their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, so that they be healed (Isa. 6:9-10).
That the mysteries of faith are not revealed until men are in such a state, that is, are so vastated that they no longer believe (in order, as before said, that they may not be able to profane them), the Lord also plainly declares in the subsequent verses of the same Prophet:
Then said I, Lord, how long? And He said, Even until the cities are desolated, so that there be no inhabitant; and the houses, so that there be no man, and the ground be utterly desolated, and Jehovah have removed man (Isa. 6:12).
He is called a "man" who is wise, or who acknowledges and believes. The Jews were thus vastated, as already said, at the time of the Lord's advent; and for the same reason they are still kept in such vastation by their cupidities, and especially by their avarice, that although they hear of the Lord a thousand times, and that the representatives of their church are significative of Him in every particular, yet they acknowledge and believe nothing. This then was the reason why the antediluvians were cast out of the garden of Eden, and vastated even until they were no longer capable of acknowledging any truth.