677. Verse 2. And the first went and poured out his vial upon the earth, signifies influx into those who are in the interiors of the church of the Reformed and study the doctrine of justification by faith alone, who are called the clergy. By "pouring out his vial" is signified influx, as above (n. 676). By "the earth" is signified the church (n. 285), here those therein who are in its interiors who are such as study the doctrine of justification by faith alone. These also say that they know its interior things; but these interior things are only confirmations of this single position, that faith alone justifies without the works of the Law. Other interior things they do not know; and as these are chiefly priests, professors of theology, and lecturers in colleges, in short doctors and pastors, therefore this first influx was into them, who are called the clergy. The reason why they are meant, is because it is said that the first angel poured out his vial into "the earth" and the second angel into "the sea," and then by "the earth," is meant the church with those who are in its internals, and by "the sea" is meant the church with those who are in its externals, as above (n. 398, 403, 420, 470); that these are meant, is also evident from its being said that there came "a sore" upon them.