421. And to him was given the key of the abyss, signifies the opening of their hell. By "a key" is signified the power of opening, and also the act of opening (n. 62, 174, 840). And by "the abyss" is signified the hell where they are who have confirmed themselves in justification and salvation by faith alone, who are all from the church of the Reformed; but in the present case, they who in their own eyes, and thence in the eyes of many others, appear as learned and erudite, when yet in the sight of the angels in heaven they appear destitute of understanding as to those things which pertain to heaven and the church; since they who confirm that faith even to its interiors, close the higher things of their understanding, till at length they are unable to see any spiritual truth in light. The reason is, because the confirmation of falsity is the denial of truth; therefore when they hear any spiritual truth, which is a truth of the Word serviceable to those who are of the church for doctrine and life, they keep their minds fixed in the falsities which they have confirmed, and then they either veil over the truth they have heard with falsities, or reject them as a mere sound, or yawn at it and avert themselves; and this in the degree in which they are in the pride of their own erudition; for pride glues falsities together, so that at last they cohere like the hardened foam of the sea.
 Therefore the Word is hidden from them as a book sealed with seven seals. What their quality is, and what their hell, shall also be told, because it has been granted me to see it, and to discourse with those who are therein, and also to see "the locusts" that went forth from it.
That pit, which is like the aperture of a furnace, appears in the southern quarter, and the abyss beneath is of large extent towards the east; there is light in it, but if light from heaven be admitted into it, it becomes darkness, wherefore the pit is closed above. Huts, arched as it were with brick, appear therein, divided into various little cells, in each of which there is a table, with paper and some books lying upon it. Everyone sits at his own table, who in the world had confirmed justification and salvation by faith alone, making charity a merely natural-moral act, and its works only works of civil life, whereby men may gain rewards in the world; but if they are done for the sake of salvation, they condemn them, and this severely, because human reason and will are in them. All who are in this abyss were learned and erudite in the world; and among them there are some metaphysicians and scholastics, who are esteemed there above the rest. When it was granted me to speak with them, I recognized some of them.
 But this is their lot: When they are first admitted, they sit in the foremost cells; but as they confirm faith by excluding works of charity; they leave their first habitations, and enter into cells nearer to the east, and so on successively till towards the end, where those are who confirm these dogmas from the Word; and as they then cannot but falsify the Word, their huts disappear, and they see themselves in a desert, whereupon what is described above (n. 153) happens to them. There is also an abyss beneath the one just mentioned, where they are who in like manner have confirmed justification and salvation by faith alone, but who by themselves in their spirit have denied God, and in their hearts have laughed at the holy things of the church. There they do nothing but quarrel, tear their garments, climb upon the tables, kick, and fight with each other with vituperations; and because no one is there permitted to do mischief to the body of another, they menace with their faces and fists. It is unclean and squalid there. But these are not treated of in this place.