Spiritual Sense and Science of Correspondences
“Hereafter the spiritual sense of the Word will be given only to such as are in genuine truths from the Lord. This is because the spiritual sense can be seen by no one except from the Lord alone, and unless he be in Divine truths from the Lord; for the spiritual sense of the Word treats of the Lord alone and His kingdom; and in that sense are His angels in heaven, for that sense is His Divine truth in heaven. That truth man can do violence to when he possesses a knowledge of correspondences, and by means of it seeks to explore the spiritual sense of the Word from his own intelligence; since by a few correspondences known to him he is able to pervert that sense, and wrest it to confirm even what is false; thus he would do violence to Divine truth, and also to heaven in which that truth resides. Therefore if anyone seeks to open that sense, not from the Lord but from himself, heaven is closed; and when heaven is closed man either sees nothing of truth or is spiritually insane. A further reason is that the Lord teaches everyone by means of the Word, and teaches from those knowledges that a man has, and does not pour in new knowledges directly. Unless, therefore, a man is in Divine truths, or if he is in a few truths only and at the same time in falsities, he may by these falsities falsify the truths, as is done by every heretic in respect to the sense of the letter of the Word. So, in order that no one may enter into the spiritual sense and pervert the genuine truth which belongs to that sense, guards are set by the Lord, which are meant in the Word by “cherubim.” (True Christian Religion 208)
“In the Church, in the past, it has been thought that the knowledge of correspondences is the means of the opening up of the internal sense of the Word, by which they mean the Old and New Testaments. That was seen apart from any order of the regeneration of the mind, whereby natural things with men were brought into correspondence with spiritual things. And, on the part of everybody, there is a certain tendency to want to use the knowledge of correspondences in a kind of magical way, an artificial way. Thus, sometimes a New Church artist will try to paint something according to’ the knowledge of correspondences, or a man will try to make.his environment correspondential, according to the correspondences that are spoken of in the Word of the Lord. This may be a very innocent endeavor on the part of man. Nevertheless you can see right.away that a man could surrond himself with all kinds of things that had lovely correspondences according to what is said in the Word, but that wouldn’t change him a bit.
And you can see what the essential things about correspondence are when you reflect on what it actually is that does change a man and make him receptive of Heaven. For example, a man might have sheep or lambs around him, but the lambs are not going to bring him into a sphere of innocence, no matter how much he reads in the Word that a lamb represents innocence.
He could be a perfect devil and have lambs around him. You can not use those things as a kind of magic. That is, of course, what the Egyptians and others did in the decline of those churches, but they were in those things more fully than we are, albeit they perverted them. They did use them for magic, and we have a tendency to want to do the same thing, that is, to use the knowledges of correspondences to create an environment around us, with our food or our clothing or what not, everything, with the hope that that is going to change us, that that will bring the sphere of Heaven. Whereas we know very well from the Third Testament that there is only one thing that is going to change any one of us, and that is going to open their mind to Heaven, so that they can be brought into correspondence with Heaven, and that is the life according to the sense of the letter of the Third Testament. Without this, nothing is going to have any effect whatsoever; we can surround ourselves with all manner of correspondences, but it means nothing unless there is that life according to the sense of the letter of the Word’, thus a life according to the precepts of the Decalogue, not just as they exist in the Old Testament but in the Third Testament and all things that are said about them. That is the only thing that is going to open the mind toward Heaven and bring about a correspondence between internal and external things.
Nothing else will.
For this reason you can see what the real force of all the teachings about correspondence is, namely, that the whole sense of the letter of the Word is correspondential, and when you live according to it, then you can have a vessel in your mind that can receive Heaven, or, Heaven can be formed in you by your consociation with the angels in that way. So your rational can be regenerated and afterwards, through the influxes through that rational the natural can be reborn and regenerated and then the things of Heaven have their ultimate in the things of the world and correspondence comes into its real power and meaning…
And, also, I want to warn against our natural inclination which is to want to work a kind of magic, to bring the sphere of Heaven outside of us without the cleansing of our own minds, or, apart from the cleansing of our own minds… ” (Rev. P.N.Odhner, doctrinal class on correspondences)