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IV. Influx and Correspondence
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.
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 should 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"
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
if the eye be evil the whole body is darkened.
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.)
Links to Additional Media for Spiritual Life and the Word of God by Emanuel Swedenborg such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.