9334. Lest perchance the land be desolate. That this signifies a deficiency in that case, and but little spiritual life-namely, if the removal should be hasty-is evident from the signification of "the land," as being the church in general and also in particular. The church in particular is the man who becomes a church; for the church is in man, and is the regenerated man. (That "the land" denotes the church in general, see n. 9325; and that it denotes the church in particular, or the regenerated man, n. 82, 620, 636, 913, 1411, 1733, 2117, 2118e, 2571, 3368, 3379.) A regenerate man is called "a land" also in Malachi:
All nations shall proclaim you blessed, for ye shall be a well-pleasing land (Mal. 3:12).
And from the signification of "desolate," as being a deficiency and but little of spiritual life; for by "desolate," when said of the church in man, is signified a lack of truth and of good, thus also a lack of spiritual life; for spiritual life is thence derived.
 In regard to there being a deficiency and but little of spiritual life if falsities and evils were hastily removed, the case is this. When a man is being regenerated, which is effected by the implanting of spiritual truth and good, and by the removal at the same time of falsity and evil, he is not regenerated hastily, but slowly. The reason is that all things the man, from his infancy, has thought, intended, and done, have added themselves to his life, and have made it, and likewise have formed such a connection among themselves that no one thing can be taken away unless all are taken away at the same time. For an evil man is an image of hell, and a good man is an image of heaven; and the evils and falsities with an evil man have such a connection among themselves as there is among the infernal societies, of which he is a part; and the goods and truths with a good man have such a connection among themselves as there is among the heavenly societies, of which he is a part. From this it is evident that the evils and falsities with an evil man cannot be removed from their place suddenly; but only in proportion as goods and truths are implanted in their order, and interiorly; for heaven in a man removes hell from him. If this were done suddenly, the man would fail; for each and all things that are in connection and form would be disturbed, and would take away his life.
 (That regeneration, or the implanting of the life of heaven in man, begins from his infancy and continues even to the last of his life in the world, and that after his life in the world it is perfected to eternity, see n. 2679, 3203, 3584, 3665, 3690, 3701, 4377, 4551, 4552, 5126, 6751, 9103, 9296, 9297; especially n. 5122, 5398, 5912, 9258.) Moreover-and this is a secret-man's regeneration in the world is only a plane for the perfecting of his life to eternity. (That a man who has lived in good is perfected in the other life, may be seen from what has been shown concerning infants, n. 2289-2309; and concerning the state and lot of the Gentiles in that life, n. 2589-2604.)