857. And the waters were going and failing. That this signifies that falsities began to disappear, is evident from the words themselves, as well as from what was shown above (verse 3), where it is said that "the waters receded, going and returning." Here however it is said that "the waters were going and failing" and by this, as by the former phrase, are signified fluctuations between what is true and what is false, but here that these fluctuations were decreasing. The case with fluctuations after temptation (as before said) is that the man does not know what truth is, but that as by degrees the fluctuations cease, so the light of truth appears. The reason of this is that so long as the man is in such a state, the internal man, that is, the Lord through the internal man, cannot operate upon the external. In the internal man are remains, which are affections of what is good and true, as before described; in the external are cupidities and their derivative falsities; and so long as these latter are not subdued and extinguished, the way is not open for goods and truths from the internal, that is, through the internal from the Lord.
 Temptations, therefore, have for their end that the externals of man may be subdued and thus be rendered obedient to his internals, as may be evident to everyone from the fact that as soon as man's loves are assaulted and broken (as during misfortunes, sickness, and grief of mind), his cupidities begin to subside, and he at the same time begins to talk piously; but as soon as he returns to his former state, the external man prevails and he scarcely thinks of such things. The like happens at the hour of death, when corporeal things begin to be extinguished; and hence everyone may see what the internal man is, and what the external; and also what remains are, and how cupidities and pleasures, which are of the external man, hinder the Lord's operation through the internal man. From this it is also plain to everyone what temptations, or the internal pains called the stings of conscience, effect, namely, that the external man is made obedient to the internal. The obedience of the external man is nothing else than this: that the affections of what is good and true are not hindered, resisted, and suffocated by cupidities and their derivative falsities. The ceasing of the cupidities and falsities is here described by "the waters which were going and failing."