564. Verse 16. And the earth helped the woman; and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of her mouth, signifies that reasonings from falsities in abundance, which the dragonists produce, fall to nothing before the spiritual truths rationally understood, which the Michaels, of whom the New Church consists, bring forward. By "the earth," which helped the woman, is signified the church as to doctrine (n. 285); and because the reasonings from falsities, which the dragonists produce, are treated of, they are truths from the Word, by which "the earth," that is, the church, "helps the woman;" by "opening her mouth," is signified to adduce those truths; by "the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth," are signified reasonings from falsities in abundance (n. 563); by "swallowing up" is signified to make them fall to nothing; by the Michaels are meant the men of the New Church; by "Michael," the wise therein; and by "his angels," the rest.
 Since in the New Church this dogma is rejected, that the understanding is to be held captive under obedience to faith, and in the place of it, this is received, that the truth of the church should be seen, in order that it may be believed (n. 224); and since truth cannot be seen otherwise than rationally, therefore, it is said, from truths rationally understood. How can any man be led by the Lord, and conjoined with heaven, who shuts up his understanding in such things as relate to salvation and eternal life? Is it not the understanding which will be enlightened and taught? And what is the understanding closed by religion, but thick darkness, and such thick darkness as rejects from itself the illuminating light? Again, who can acknowledge any truth and retain it, unless he sees it? What is truth not seen but a voice not understood, which, with sensual corporeal men, is usually retained in the memory, but cannot be with the wise? The wise, indeed, cast out empty or unmeaning words from the memory, that is, such as have not entered from the understanding; as that one God consists of three Persons, also that the Lord, born from eternity, is not one and the same with the Lord born in time, that is, that one Lord is God and not the other; and again, that the life of charity, which consists in good works, and likewise in repentance from evil works, effects nothing to salvation; a wise man does not understand such things; therefore from his rationality he says, religion does not effect anything. Is not religion to shun evil and do good? Must not the doctrine of the church teach this, as also what a man should believe, that he may do the good works of religion from God?