758. Verse 3. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the anger of her whoredom, and the kings of the earth committed whoredom with her, signifies that they have put forth wicked dogmas, which are adulterations and profanations of the good and truth of the Word, and have imbued with them all that have been born and educated in the kingdoms under their domination. That this is signified by these words may be evident from the explanations above (n. 631, 632, and 720, 721); where are like things, to which there is no need of adding more; only that similar things are said of Babel in Jeremiah:
A cup of gold is Babel in the hand of Jehovah making the whole earth drunken, the nations have drunk of her wine, therefore they are insane (Jer. 51:7).
Let Babel be a hissing, when they have grown warm, I will make their banquets, and I will make them drunken, that they may exult, and may sleep the sleep of an age, and not awake (Jer. 51:37, 39).
By "the wine" which they drink, and by which they are made drunk, their dogmas are signified; and how wicked these are, may be seen above (n. 754). Among them also is this wicked one, that the works which they do according to their doctrinals make merits, by transcribing into them, and thus into themselves, the Lord's merit and justice; when yet all of charity and all of faith, or all good and truth, are from the Lord; and what is from the Lord remains the Lord's with the recipients. For what is from the Lord is Divine, which can never become man's own. The Divine can be with a man, but not in his proprium, for man's proprium is nothing but evil; wherefore he who attributes to himself what is Divine as his own, not only defiles it, but also profanes it. The Divine from the Lord is exquisitely separated from man's proprium and is elevated above it, and is never immersed in it. But because they have transferred to themselves all the Divine of the Lord and thus have appropriated it to themselves, it flows like bituminous water, when it rains, from a spring which is bitumen. It is similar with that dogma, that justification is real sanctification; and that their saints are holy in themselves, when yet the Lord alone is holy (Rev. 15:4). More may be seen concerning merit in the work concerning The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, published at London in the year 1758 (n. 150-158).