What Influx Is, and What Its Effects

Excerpts from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.  But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.  Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.   Isa 49:13-16

The ultimate state is such as is the successive order from which it is formed and exists, is a canon which in the learned world should be acknowledged, because of its truth; for thus it is discovered what influx is, and what its effects.

By influx is meant all that precedes and composes what follows, and through the things following in order, the ultimate — as all that precedes with man and constitutes his wisdom  — or all that precedes with a politician and constitutes his prudence — or all that precedes with a theologian and constitutes his learning — in like manner all that proceeds from infancy and makes the man — so also what proceeds from the seed and the shrub and makes the tree, and afterwards from the blossom and makes the fruit. … This is meant by influx.

That all things which precede in minds form series, and that the series bind themselves together, one beside the other and one after another, and that these together compose the ultimate…. For by this it is discovered what the influx effects, and what is the quality of the ultimate, wherein the series just spoken of successively formed coexist. …

A different state, from a different order, is formed with the spiritual from that with the natural, because the spiritual proceed in right order, and the natural in a wrong order; for the spiritual look to the Lord, and the Lord provides and leads the order; but the natural look to themselves and thence proceed in inverted order. …

…there is successive order and simultaneous order; the latter is from the former and according to it. This is adduced as a cause confirmative of the preceding. That there is what is successive, and that there is what is simultaneous, is known; but that simultaneous order is from the successive and according to it is not known.

And yet how things successive insert themselves into the simultaneous, and the kind of order they form there, is extremely difficult to present to the perception, since there is not yet with the learned any idea that will serve for the elucidation of it; and as a first notion of this arcanum cannot be given in few words … it may serve sufficiently for illustration to quote what is briefly said respecting these two orders, the successive and the simultaneous, and of the influx of the former into the latter, in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scriptures, where are these words:

“There is, in heaven and in the world, successive order and simultaneous order. In successive order one thing follows after another, from the highest even to the lowest; in simultaneous order, however, one thing is beside the other, from the inmost to the outermost.

Successive order is as a column with steps from the highest to the lowest; simultaneous order is as a work cohering from the center to the circumference.

Successive order becomes simultaneous in the ultimate, in this manner: The highest things of successive order become the inmost of simultaneous order; and the lowest things of successive order become the outermost of simultaneous order. It is comparatively as if a column of steps by subsiding becomes a cohering body in a plane. Thus what is simultaneous is formed from things successive, and this is so in all things and in every thing of the spiritual world, and in all and every thing of the natural world.”

[See n. 38, 65, in that work; and very much more on the subject in Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, n. 205-229.]

… He who knows the influx of successive into simultaneous order can comprehend how the angels can see in a man’s hand all the thoughts and intentions of his mind … The reason is that the hands are the ultimates of man, into which the deliberations and conclusions of his mind are determined, and there make what is simultaneous. And therefore it is said in the Word that it is “written upon the hands.” (Is. 49:16; Rev. 13:16; 20:4)

(Conjugial Love 333,334)
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The Good of Faith is Not Possible Without Works

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The good of faith produces works, because the good of faith is not possible without works, just as thinking good and willing good are not possible without doing good. The one is the internal, and the other the corresponding external. Furthermore, in regard to works, unless they correspond to the good of faith they are neither works of charity nor works of faith; for they do not come from their internal, but are dead works, in which there is neither good nor truth; but when they correspond, they are then works either of charity or of faith.

Works of charity are those which flow from charity as from their soul; but works of faith are those which flow from faith.

Works of charity exist with the regenerate man; and works of faith with him who has not yet been regenerated, but is being regenerated; the case being the same as it is with the affections of good and of truth; for the regenerate man does good from the affection of it, thus from willing good; but the man who is to be regenerated does good from the affection of truth, thus from knowing good. The nature of the difference has already been repeatedly shown. From this it is manifest what works are.

Moreover, in regard to works the good of faith is comparatively as are man’s will and the derivative thought to his face, which is well known to be an image of his mind, that is, of his will and the derivative thought. If the will and thought are not presented in the face as in their image, what is seen there is not the will and thought, but hypocrisy or deceit; because the man presents a face different from that which he wills and thinks. The case is the same with every act of the body in respect to the interiors which are of the thought and will. Man’s internal lives in his external by act or by acting. If the act or acting is not according to his internal, it is a proof either that it is not his internal that is producing the act, but an impulse recurring from custom and habit; or else that it is something feigned, as in hypocrisy and deceit. From this it is again manifest what works are; and from this it follows that he who makes profession of faith, and still more he who makes profession of the good of faith, and denies works, and still more if he rejects them, is devoid of faith, and yet more of charity.

Such being the nature of the works of charity and faith, and as man is never in charity and faith unless he is in works, for this reason “works” are so frequently mentioned in the Word; as may appear from the following passages:
Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of man, to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works (Jer. 32:19).
Be ye converted everyone from his evil way, and make your works good (Jer. 35:15).
I will render to them according to their work, and according to the work of their hands (Jer. 25:14).

In Hosea:
I will visit upon him his ways, and render to him his works (Hos. 4:9).

In Micah:
The land shall be a desolation because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their works (Micah 7:13).

In Zechariah:
Thus said Jehovah Zebaoth: Be ye converted from your evil ways, and from your evil works. As Jehovah Zebaoth thought to do unto us according to our ways, and according to our works, so hath He done to us (Zech. 1:4, 6).

In John:
• Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works follow with them (Rev. 14:13).

In the same:
• I saw the dead small and great stand before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of the things that were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and hell gave up the dead that were in them; and they were judged everyone according to their works (Rev. 20:12-13).
Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his works (Rev. 22:12).

In John the Evangelist:
• This is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their works were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved; but he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they have been wrought in God (John 3:19-21).
The world cannot hate you, but Me it hateth, because I testify of it that its works are evil (John 7:7).
Jesus said to the Jews, If ye were Abraham’s sons ye would do the works of Abraham. Ye do the works of your father (John 8:39, 41).
If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them (John 13:17).

In Matthew:
• Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works. Whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:16, 19).
• Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens; but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in the heavens. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name have cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from Me ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23).

In Luke:
• The master of the house shall answer and say to them, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We did eat and drink in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets; but he shall say, I tell you I know you not whence ye are, depart from me all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:25-27).

In Matthew:
• Everyone that heareth My words, and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man; but everyone that heareth My words, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man (Matt. 7:24, 26).
• The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then shall He render to every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27).

From these passages it is evident that works are what save man, and what condemn man; that is to say, that good works save, and evil works condemn; for in his works is man’s will. He who wills good, does good; but he who does not do good, however he may say that he wills good, still does not will it when he does not do it. This is as if he should say, I will it, but I do not will it. And because the will itself is in works, and charity is of the will, and faith is of charity, it is manifest what of the will, or what of charity and faith, there is in a man, when he does not do good works; and especially when he does the contrary, or evil works.

Moreover be it known that the Lord’s kingdom commences in a man from the life which is of works, for he is then in the beginning of regeneration; but when the Lord’s kingdom is in a man, it terminates in works, and then the man is regenerate. For his internal man is then within his external man in correspondence therewith; and his works are of his external man, while charity and the derivative faith are of his internal man; and therefore in this case his works are charity. As the life of the internal man thus comes forth in the works of the external man, therefore the Lord in speaking of the Last Judgment (Matt. 25:32-46), recounts nothing but works, and says that those who have done good works shall enter into life eternal, and those who have done evil works into damnation. From what has been said it is also evident what is signified by that which we read of John-that he lay at the breast and on the bosom of Jesus, and that Jesus loved him more than the rest (John 13:23, 25; 21:20); for by John were represented good works.

(Arcana Cœlestia 3934)
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The Word Even in its Letter is Divine

From Arcana Cœelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

… in the supreme sense — all things in the Word in both general and particular have relation to the Lord; and the Lord is doctrine itself, that is, the Word, not only as to the supreme sense therein, but also as to the internal sense, and even as to the literal sense, for this sense is representative and significative of the internal sense, and the internal sense is representative and significative of the supreme sense; and that which in the Word is representative and significative is in its essence that which is represented and signified, thus it is the Divine of the Lord; for a representative is nothing but an image of him who is represented; and is in an image the Lord Himself presented to view. This may be seen from man’s speech, and also from his gesture, these being merely images of the things which come forth within the man, in his thought and will; so that the speech and gesture are the thought and will in form; for if you take away from them the thought and will, that which is left is a mere inanimate affair, thus nothing human. This shows how the case is with the Word, even in the letter, namely, that it is Divine.

(Arcana Cœlestia 3393)
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God Must Be Always Kept Before The Eyes

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.       (Genesis 45:17-20) KJV

Because the good of the whole land of Egypt, this is for you. That this signifies that they have what is primary in the natural mind, is evident from the signification of the “land of Egypt,” as being the natural mind: by the “good of the whole of this land” is signified what is primary. By these words is also meant that if essential and not instrumental things are cared for, they shall have instrumental things in abundance.

For example: if truths are cared for, they shall have memory-knowledges in abundance, which are the “good of the land of Egypt.”  In like manner if good is cared for, they shall have truths in abundance.  Memory-knowledges, and also truths, must be cared for, but men must regard good as the end.  If the eye is upon good as in the end, the man is then in full view of the consequent things, or in the perception of such as are derived from it, which perception is never possible unless good is the end, that is, unless it reigns universally in each and all things.

The case herein is like the body and its soul.  A man must by all means care for his body, as that it may be nourished, and clothed, and may enjoy the delights of the world; but all these not for the sake of the body, but for the sake of the soul, namely, that the soul may act in a sound body correspondently and rightly, and may have the body as an organ entirely compliant to it.  Thus the soul must be the end.  Yet neither must the soul be the end, but only a mediate end, for which the man must care, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the uses which it must perform in both worlds; and when a man has uses as the end, he has the Lord as the end, for the Lord makes disposition for uses, and disposes the uses themselves.

As few know what it is to have as the end, this also shall be told. To have as the end is to love above all other things, for what a man loves, this he has as the end. That which a man has as the end is plainly discerned, for it reigns universally in him; and thus is continually present even at those times when he seems to himself not to be thinking at all about it, for it is seated within and makes his interior life, and thus secretly rules each and all things.  As for example, with him who from the heart honors his parents, this honor is present in each and all things that he does in their presence and that he thinks in their absence, and it is also perceived from his gestures and speech.  So with him who from the heart fears and honors God, this fear and honor are present in everything that he thinks, and speaks, and does, because it is in him even when it does not seem to be present, as when he is engaged in business that seems to be far from it; for it reigns universally; thus in every detail. That which reigns in man is plainly perceived in the other life, for the sphere of his whole life which exhales from him is thence derived.

From all this it is evident how it is to be understood that God must be always kept before the eyes; not that He must be constantly thought about, but that the fear or the love of Him must reign universally, in which case God is kept before the eyes in every detail.  When this is the case the man does not think, speak, or do what is against Him and displeasing to Him; or if he does, that which universally reigns, and lies hidden within, manifests itself and admonishes him.

(Arcana Cœlestia 5949)
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That Which is Loved is Regarded as The End

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Matt 6:19-21 KJV)

… the affection of spiritual truth is an internal affection, or is in the interior man; whereas the affection of truth from natural delight is in the external man.

The internal affection which is of the spiritual man is constantly conjoined with the external affection which is of the natural man, but still in such a way that the internal affection of truth is the ruling affection, and the external affection is subservient; for it is according to Divine order that the spiritual man should rule over the natural. Moreover when the spiritual man rules, the man looks upward, which is represented by having the head in heaven; but when the natural man rules, the man looks downward, which is represented by having the head in hell.


To throw more light on this subject something further shall be said. Most men by the truths which they learn, and the goods which they do, do indeed think of a consequent advantage, or of honor in their country; but if these things are regarded as the end, the natural man rules and the spiritual serves; if however they are not regarded as the end, but only as means to the end, the spiritual man rules and the natural man serves, according to what has been already said (in the previous article entitled, When Good and Truth are Regarded as ‘The Means’). For when gain or honor is regarded as a means to an end, and not as the end, the gain or honor is not regarded, but the end, which is use. As for example he who desires and procures for himself riches for the sake of use, which he loves above all things, is not in this case delighted with riches for the sake of riches, but for the sake of uses. Moreover the very uses make the spiritual life with men, and riches merely serve as means. From this it can be seen what must be the quality of the natural man in order that it may be conjoined with the spiritual, namely, that it must regard gains and honors, thus riches and dignities, as means, and not as the end; for

that which is regarded by a man as the end makes his veriest life, because he loves it above all things, for that which is loved is regarded as the end.

He who does not know that the end, or what is the same, the love, makes the spiritual life of a man, consequently that a man is where his love is —in heaven if the love is heavenly — in hell if the love is infernal — cannot comprehend how the case is in regard to this. He may suppose that the delight of natural loves, which are the love of self and the love of the world, cannot agree with spiritual truth and good; for he does not know that in the course of regeneration a man must be wholly inverted, and that when he has been inverted he has his head in heaven, but that before he has been inverted he has his head in hell. He has his head in hell when he regards the delights of the love of self or of the love of the world as the end; but he has his head in heaven when these delights are as means to the end.

For the end, which is the love, is the only thing with man that is alive; the means to the end are of themselves not alive, but they receive life from the end.

Consequently the means from the ultimate end are called mediate ends; and these, insofar as they regard the ultimate end which is the principal end, are so far alive.

From this it is that when a man has been regenerated, consequently when he has as the end to love the neighbor and to love the Lord, he then has as means the loving of himself and the world. When man is of this character, then when he looks to the Lord he accounts himself as nothing, and also the world; and if he regards himself as anything, it is that he may be able to serve the Lord. But previously the contrary had been the case; for when he looked to himself, he had accounted the Lord as nothing, or if as anything, it was that thereby he might have gain and honor.

(Arcana Cœlestia 8995:2-4)
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When Good and Truth are Regarded as ‘The Means’

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Man has been so created that he can look upward, or above himself; and can also look downward, or below himself. To look above himself is to look to his neighbor, to his country, to the church, to heaven, especially to the Lord; but to look below himself is to look to the earth, to the world, and especially to himself.

That to look to his neighbor, to his country, and to the church, is to look above himself, is because this is to look to the Lord; for the Lord is in charity, and it is of charity to look to the neighbor, to one’s country, and to the church, that is, to will well to them. But they look below themselves who turn themselves away from these, and will well only to themselves.


To look above oneself is to be uplifted by the Lord; for no one can look above himself, unless he is uplifted by Him who is above. But to look below himself is of man, because then he does not suffer himself to be uplifted.


They who are in the good of charity and of faith look above themselves, because they are uplifted by the Lord; but they who are not in the good of charity and of faith look below themselves, because they are not uplifted by the Lord.

Man looks below himself when he turns the influx of truth and good from the Lord to himself. He who turns to himself the good and truth flowing in from the Lord, sees himself and the world before him, and does not see the Lord with His good and truth, because they are behind him, and therefore come into such obscurity to him that he cares nothing for them, and at last he denies them.

By looking above self and below self, is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things. Thus by looking above self is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things, what is of the Lord and heaven; and by looking below self is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things, what is of self and the world. The interiors of man also actually turn themselves to where the love turns itself.

The man who is in the good of charity and faith loves also himself and the world, but no otherwise than as the means to an end are loved. The love of self with him looks to the love of the Lord, for he loves himself as a means to the end that he may serve the Lord; and the love of the world with him looks to the love of the neighbor, for he loves the world as a means for the sake of the end that he may be of service to the neighbor. When therefore the means is loved for the sake of the end, it is not the means that is loved, but the end.


From this it can be seen that they who are in worldly glory, that is, in eminence and opulence above others, can look above themselves to the Lord equally as can those who are not in eminence and opulence; for they look above themselves when they regard eminence and opulence as means, and not as the end.


To look above self is proper to man, but to look below self is proper to beasts. From this it follows that insofar as a man looks below himself or downward, so far he is a beast, and also so far is an image of hell; and that insofar as he looks above himself or upward, so far he is a man, and also so far is an image of the Lord.

(Arcana Cœlestia 7814 – 7821)
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The Lord Rules Both the Good and the Evil

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Word is a medium uniting man with the Lord; and unless there were such a ‘uniting medium,’ heaven could not inflow with man; for without a medium there would be no unition, but heaven would remove itself away from man; and if this were removed, no one could any longer be led to good, not even to corporeal and worldly good; but all bonds whatever, even those which are external, would be broken. For the Lord rules the man who is in good by means of internal bonds, which are of conscience; but one who is in evil by external bonds alone; and if these should be broken, every such man would become insane; even as is the man who is without fear of the law, without fear for his life, and without fear of the loss of honor and gain, and thus of reputation — for these are the external bonds — and so the human race would perish. From all this it may be seen why the Word exists, and what the character of the Word is.

(Arcana Cœlestia 4217:3)
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