575. And the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority, signifies that this heresy prevails and reigns in consequence of its reception by the laity. By "the dragon" is signified that heretical doctrine (concerning which see n. 537); by "this beast" the laity are signified (n. 567), who do not speak from themselves, but from their teachers; and as they are the people themselves, it is manifest that from reception by them that heresy prevails and reigns. This therefore it is, which is signified by "the power, throne, and great authority," which the dragon gave to this beast, and by these words following, "And they adored the dragon who gave authority to the beast" (verse 4). The dragon prevails and reigns through them, especially through this dogma of their religion: That the understanding is to be kept under obedience to faith; and that it is a faith which is not understood; and that, in spiritual things, faith in a thing which is understood is intellectual faith, which is not justifying. When these prevail with the laity, the clergy have authority, veneration, and a species of adoration, on account of the divine things which they believe they know, and which are to be received from their mouths. By "power" is signified prevalence; by "throne," government; and by "great authority," dominion.