578. And the whole earth wondered after the beast, signifies that then that faith was received with joy, and became the doctrine of the whole church, because they thus would not be servants under the law, but free under faith. And "it wondered," signifies astonishment that the stroke of death was healed, and thence reception with joy. By "the whole earth" is signified the whole church of the Reformed, for the earth is the church (n. 285); therefore by "the whole earth wondered after the beast" is signified that this faith was received with joy, and became the doctrine of the whole church. It is received with joy because they thus are not bondmen under the law, but free under faith; not knowing that the very reverse is true, namely, that they who believe themselves to be free under faith, or from that faith, or through that faith, are slaves under sin, that is, under the devil, for sin and the devil are one and the same; for thus they believe that the law does not condemn, and therefore that to sin without the condemnation of the law is freedom, provided they have faith; when nevertheless this is slavery itself; but man when he shuns sin, that is, the devil, from being a slave becomes free.
 Here I will add this Relation: I spoke in the world of spirits with some doctors of the church, about what they meant by "works of the law," and what by "the law" under whose yoke, servitude, and condemnation, they say they are not. They said they meant the works of the law of the Decalogue. And I then said, "What are the things decreed in the Decalogue? Are they not these: "Thou shalt not kill;' "thou shalt not commit whoredom;' "thou shalt not steal;' "thou shalt not bear false witness'? Are these the works of the law, which you separate from faith, saying, that "faith alone, without the works of the law, justifies and saves,' and are these what Christ made satisfaction for?" And they replied, "They are." And then there was heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Who can be so insane?" And immediately their faces were turned towards some diabolical spirits, among whom was Machiavelli, and several from the order of Jesuits, who permit all these things provided they guard themselves from the laws of the world; and they would have associated themselves with these, had not a society interposed which separated them.
It is said that "all the earth wondered after the beast;" that "after" the beast means to follow and obey it, appears from these passages:
David hath kept My commandments, and hath walked after Me with the whole heart (1 Kings 14:8).
The sons of Jesse went after Saul to the war (1 Sam. 17:13).
Thou shalt not go after many to do evil. Thou shalt not answer in a cause after many, to pervert (Exod. 23:2).
Go not after other gods, whom ye know not (Jer. 7:9).
They went after other gods to serve them (Jer. 11:10; Deut. 8:19).
The men that went after Baalpeor Jehovah will destroy (Deut. 4:3).