426. Verse 4. And it was said to them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing; nor any tree; but only the men who had not the seal of God in their foreheads, signifies the Divine providence of the Lord, that they should not be able to take away any truth and good of faith, nor affection and perception of them, from any others than such as are not in charity and thence not in faith. By "it was said to them," is signified the Lord's Divine providence, because it was said from heaven; by "not hurting the grass of the earth nor any green thing," is signified not to be able to take away any truth and good of faith; for by "grass" is signified the truth of faith, which is what first springs up in man (n. 401); and, by "green thing," is signified the living principle of faith, which is from good (n. 401); by "not hurting any tree," is signified not to be able to take away the affection and perception of truth and good; for by "a tree" is signified man as to these (n. 400); by "those who had not the seal of God in their foreheads" are signified those who are not in charity, and thence in faith; for "the forehead" signifies love and charity (n. 347); and "to have the seal," signifies to know and distinguish them from others (n. 345).
 The reason why they who have confirmed faith alone, to the very arcana of justification and salvation by it, cannot take away any truth and good of faith, nor the affection and perception of them, from any but those who are not in the faith of charity, is, because they are scarcely comprehended by anyone but the prelate who teaches and preaches them. The layman hears them, but they enter in at one ear and go out at the other; which the mystery-teaching priest himself, who utters those arcana, may know of a certainty from this circumstance, that he himself spent the whole force of his genius in acquiring a knowledge of them in his youth, and afterwards in retaining them in the following age, likewise from his considering himself as a man of extraordinary learning on account of them. What then must be the case with a layman, who simply thinks of faith from charity, when he hears these mysteries? From what has been said, it may be seen that faith alone justifying is the faith of the clergy, and not of the laity, except of those who live unconcernedly, who imbibe no more from their arcana than that faith alone saves; that they cannot do good from themselves, nor fulfil the law, that Christ suffered for them; besides some other universals of a similar nature.