Extracts

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Representation

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Correspondence, between nature and spirit" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.4": detail "Section 3225"
‘Correspondence’ is between those things which are of the light of heaven, and those things which are of the light of the world, that is, between those things which are of the internal or spiritual man, and those which are of the external or natural man. And ‘representation’ is whatever exists in those things which are of the light of the world, that is, whatever exists in the external or natural man, relatively to those things which are of the light of heaven, that is, those things which are from the internal or spiritual man.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Correspondence, between nature and spirit" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.4": detail "Section 3485"
The representations which exist in the other life, are appearances, but living ones, because they are from the light of life. The light of life is the Divine Wisdom, which is from the Lord alone; hence all things which exist from that light are real, not like those things which exist from the light of this world. Wherefore they who are in the other life have occasionally said, that the things they see therein are real things, and the things which man sees are relatively not real, because the former things live, and thereby immediately affect their life, whereas the latter things do not live, consequently neither do they affect the life immediately, except in such a manner and such a degree as the things which are of this world’s light conjoin themselves adequately and correspondently with the things which are of the light of heaven. Hence then it may be evident what representations are, and what correspondences.

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Nature, as a reflection of spiritual world" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.1": detail "Section 251 - 252"
I was conversing with spirits and angels about the things that come to sight in nature, and which no one reflects upon as being like images of things heavenly and spiritual—for example, the way a plant or tree is born and grows from its seed. The life-giving sap of the plant or tree is drawn up through the bark and rind, to be distributed throughout its mid and central parts, just as spiritual elements must go back to heavenly ones. Then also, all and the least of its parts regard the fruit as their goal, that is, the renewal and thus perpetuation of life. Likewise, in every fruit, even those surrounded by hard crusts within which the kernels lie concealed, there are coverings or surfaces of various kinds one within another, through which the juice is conveyed to its inward and innermost parts until the fruit is ripe.
 These things depict similar processes in a person who is being regenerated. The coverings depict earthly elements, matters of knowledge and reason, as well as matters of the understanding which are spiritual elements; and, as from a general plane diverging into an infinite number of pathways, they can go back and be distributed to all and the least parts in the innermost recesses The resulting perpetuity in such things of nature corresponds to eternity in a human being's life. It is similar with all things down to the very least in the animate kingdom, in the human body, and in its smaller and least parts.
 It is also remarkable that mankind has not yet rightly observed that all things whatever which are manmade, or artificial, such as statues, pictures or countless other things, may be beautiful in outermost appearance and even regarded as very precious, when yet inwardly they are composed like clay and mud. It is only the surface that the sight of the eye admires.
 But those things which grow from seeds begin from within and grow up or advance toward the outside; these are not only beautiful to see, but even the more beautiful, the more inwardly they are viewed.
 It is similar in a person's life: those things which begin from the outside, or start with the human, are comparable to what is artificial, the outer surface of which people value and admire, while what is within is completely worthless; but things that are fashioned by God the Messiah from most deeply within are to be likened to those in nature that are beautiful from their innermost parts. This, then, is what God the Messiah says, that all of Solomon's magnificence cannot be compared to a tiny lily, which is nevertheless little valued.