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   Chapter 16 Influx and Correspondence

Spiritual Life and the Word of God By Emanuel Swedenborg Characters: 7913

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


It has been said that there is a Word in each heaven and that these Words are in our Word in their order, and that they thus make one by influx and consequent correspondences. Here, therefore, it shall be told what correspondence is and what influx is; otherwise what the Word is inwardly in its bosom, thus in respect to its life from the Lord, which is its soul, cannot be understood.

But what correspondence is and what influx is shall be illustrated by examples. The changes of the face that are called expressions correspond to the affections of the mind; consequently the face changes in respect to its expressions just as the affections of the mind change in respect to their states. These changes in the face are correspondences, as consequently the face itself is; and the action of the mind into it, that the correspondences may be exhibited, is called influx. The sight of man's thought, which is called the understanding, corresponds to the sight of his eyes; and consequently the quality of the thought from the understanding is made evident by the light and flame of the eyes. The sight of the eye is a correspondence, as consequently the eye itself is; the action of the understanding into the eye, by which the correspondence is exhibited, is influx. Active thought, which belongs to the understanding, corresponding to speech, which belongs to the mouth. The speech is a correspondence, likewise the mouth and everything belonging to it, and the action of thought into speech and into the organs of speech is influx. The perception of the mind corresponds to the smell of the nostrils. The smell and the nostrils are correspondences, and the action is influx. For this reason a man who has interior perception is said to have a keen nose, and perceiving a thing is called scenting it out. Hearkening, which means obedience, corresponds to the hearing of the ears; consequently both the hearing and the ears are correspondences, and the action of obedience into the hearing, that a man may raise his ears and attend, is influx; therefore hearkening and hearing are both significative, hearkening and giving ear to anyone meaning to obey, and hearkening and hearing anyone meaning to hear with the ears. The action of the body corresponds to the will, the action of the heart corresponds to the life of the love, the action of the lungs, which is called respiration, corresponds to the life of the faith, and the whole body in respect to all its members, viscera, and organs, corresponds to the soul in respect to all the functions and powers of its life.

From these few examples it can be seen what correspondence is and what influx is; and that when the spiritual, which belongs to the life of man's understanding and will, flows into the acts which belong to his body, it exhibits itself in a natural effigy, and there is correspondence; also that thus the spiritual and the natural act as one by correspondences, like interior and exterior, or like prior and posterior, or like the effecting cause and the effect, or like the principal cause which belongs to man's thought and will, and the instrumental cause which belongs to his speech and action. There is such a correspondence of natural things and spiritual not only in each and every thing of man, but also in each every thing of the world; and the correspondences are produced by an influx of the spiritual world and all things of it into the natural world and all things of it. From all this it can be seen in some measure how our Word, as to the sense of the letter, which is natural, makes one by influx and correspondences with the Words in the heavens, the senses of which are spiritual. (A.E., n. 1080.)

What the Word is in respect to influx and correspondences can now be shown. It is said in John:

"He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and should turn themselves and I shoul

d heal them" (xii. 40).

The "eyes" that are blinded signify the understanding of truth and belief in it; the "heart" that is hardened signifies the will and love of good; and "to be healed" signifies to be reformed. They were not permitted "to turn themselves and be healed" lest they should commit profanation; for a wicked man who is healed and who returns to his evil and falsity commits profanation; and so it would have been with the Jewish nation. In Matthew:

"Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear" (xiii. 16).

Here, too, the "eyes" signify the understanding of truth and belief in it; so "to see" signifies to understand and believe, and the "ears" signify obedience, thus a life according to the truths of faith, and "to hear" signifies to obey and live. For one is blessed not because he sees and hears, but because he understands, believes, obeys, and lives. In the same,

"The lamp of the body is the eye; if the eye be sound the whole body is light, if the eye be evil the whole body is darkened. If, therefore, the light . . . be darkness, how great is the darkness" (vi. 22, 23).

Here, again, the "eye" signifies the understanding of truth and belief in it, which is called a lamp from the light of truth that man has from understanding and belief. And because a man becomes wise from understanding and believing in truth, it is said "if the eye be sound the whole body is light." The "body" means the man, and "to be light" means to be wise. But it is the reverse with the "evil eye," that is, understanding and believing in falsity. "Darkness" means falsities, "if the light be darkness" signifies if the truth be false or falsified, and because truth falsified is worse than any other falsity, it is said, "If the light be darkness, how great is the darkness."

These few examples make clear what correspondence is and what influx is, namely, that the eye is a correspondence of the understanding and faith, the heart a correspondence of the will and love, the ears a correspondence of obedience, the lamp and light correspondences of truth, and darkness a correspondence of falsity, and so on; and as the one is spiritual and the other is natural, and the spiritual acts into the natural and forms it to a likeness of itself that it may appear before the eyes or before the world, so that action is influx. Such is the Word in each and every particular. (A.E., n. 1081.)

The spiritual by influx presents what is correspondent to itself in the natural, in order that the end may become a cause, and the cause become an effect, and thus the end through the cause may present itself in the effect as visible and sensible. This trine, namely, end, cause, and effect, exists from creation in every heaven. The end is good of love, the cause is truth from that good, and the effect is use. The producing force is love, and the product therefrom is of love from good by means of truth. The final products, which are in our world, are various, as numerous as the objects are in its three kingdoms of nature, animal, vegetable, and mineral. All products are correspondences. As this trine, namely, end, cause, and effect, exists in each heaven, there must be in each heaven products that are correspondences, and that are like in form and aspect the objects in the three kingdoms of our earth; from which it is clear that each heaven is like our earth in outward appearance, differing only in excellence and beauty according to degrees. Now in order that the Word may be full, that is, may consist of effects in which are a cause and an end, or may consist of uses in which truth is the cause and good is the end and love is the producing force, it must needs consist of correspondences; and from this it follows that the Word in each heaven is like the Word in our world, differing only in excellence and beauty according to degrees. What this difference is shall be told elsewhere. (A.E., n. 1082.)

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