794. And the waters were strengthened very exceedingly upon the earth. That this signifies that persuasions of falsity thus increased, is evident from what has been said and shown just above about "waters" namely, that the waters of a flood, or inundations, signify falsities. Here, because falsities or persuasions of what was false were still more increased, it is said that the "waters were strengthened very exceedingly" which in the original language is the superlative. Falsities are principles and persuasions of what is false, and that these had increased immensely among the antediluvians, is evident from all that has been said before concerning them. Persuasions immensely increase when men mingle truths with cupidities, or make them favor the loves of self and of the world; for then in a thousand ways they pervert them and force them into agreement. For who that has imbibed or framed for himself a false principle does not confirm it by much that he has learned; and even from the Word? Is there any heresy that does not thus lay hold of things to confirm it? and even force, and in diverse ways explain and distort, things that are not in agreement, so that they may not disagree?
 For example, he who adopts the principle that faith alone is saving, without the goods of charity; can he not weave a whole system of doctrine out of the Word? and this without in the least caring for, or considering, or even seeing, what the Lord says, that "the tree is known by its fruit" and that "every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire"? (Matt. 3:10, 7:16-20, 12:33). What is more pleasing than to live after the flesh, and yet be saved if only one knows what is true, though he does nothing of good? Every cupidity that a man favors forms the life of his will, and every principle or persuasion of falsity forms the life of his understanding. These lives make one when the truths or doctrinals of faith are immersed in cupidities. Every man thus forms for himself as it were a soul, and such after death does his life become. Nothing therefore is of more importance to a man than to know what is true. When he knows what is true, and knows it so well that it cannot be perverted, then it cannot be so much immersed in cupidities and have such deadly effect. What should a man have more at heart than his life to eternity? If in the life of the body he destroys his soul, does he not destroy it to eternity?