pent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numb, xxiii. 19).
But it is said of the Lord that He repents and grieves at heart because such feeling is sure to be in all human mercy, and the expression here, as in many other places in the Word, is according to the appearance. What the mercy of the Lord is no one can know, because it infinitely transcends all understanding of man. But man knows what the mercy of man is,—that it is to repent and grieve; and unless he forms an idea of (Divine) mercy from another affection the quality of which he knows, he could never think anything about it, and therefore could not be instructed. This is the reason why human properties are often predicated of the attributes of Jehovah, or the Lord; as that Jehovah or the Lord punishes, leads into temptation, destroys, and is angry; when yet He never punishes any one, never leads any into temptation, never destroys any, and is never angry. (A. C. n. 586-588.)
By the flood (Gen. vi.) is signified an inundation of evil and falsity. This is evident from what was said above respecting the posterity of the Most Ancient Church: That they were possessed with filthy lusts; had immersed the doctrinal truths of faith in them; and therefore were infected with false persuasions, which extinguished all truth and good, and at the same time so closed up the way against remains that they could not operate; and therefore it could not but be that they destroyed themselves. When the way is closed against remains man is no longer man, because he can no longer be protected by the angels, but is entirely possessed by evil spirits, who seek and desire nothing else than to extinguish man. Hence the death of the antediluvians, which is described by a flood or total inundation. The influx of fantasies and lusts from evil spirits indeed is not unlike a kind of flood, and therefore it is called a flood or inundation in various parts of the Word.
To "destroy all flesh wherein is the breath of lives from under the heavens," signifies that the whole posterity of the Most Ancient Church would destroy themselves. This appears from the description of them already given,—that they successively derived from their parents such an hereditary genius that they beyond others were imbued with so dreadful persuasions; especially for the reason that they immersed the doctrinal truths of faith in their filthy lusts. They who have no doctrinals of faith, but live entirely in ignorance, cannot do so, and therefore cannot profane holy things, and so close the way against remains, and