Spiritual Meaning of

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That the eye signifies the understanding is because the sight of the body corresponds to the sight of its spirit, which is the understanding; and because it corresponds, in the Word the understanding is signified by the eye in almost every place where it is mentioned, even where it is believed to be otherwise; as where the Lord says in Matthew:--

The light of the body is the eye if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness; if therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness (Matthew 6:22, 23; Luke 11:34).

Here the eye is the understanding, the spiritual of which is faith, as also is evident from the explication:--if therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness. So too in the same:--

If thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee (Matthew 5:29; 18:9).

The left eye is the intellectual, but the right eye is its affection: that the right eye is to be plucked out means that the affection is to be subdued if it causes stumbling.

[3] In the same:--

Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear (Matthew 13:16);

and in Luke:--

Jesus said to the disciples, Blessed are the eyes which see the thing which ye see (Luke 10:23).

Here by the eyes which see, intelligence and faith are signified; for their seeing the Lord, and also His miracles and works, did not make them blessed; but comprehending them with the understanding and having faith, which is seeing with the eyes; and obeying, which is hearing with the ears. That to see with the eyes is to understand, and also to have faith, may be seen above (AC 897, 2325) for the understanding is the spiritual of the sight, and faith is the spiritual of the understanding. The sight of the eye is from the light of the world, but the sight of faith is from the light of heaven. Hence it is common to speak of seeing with the understanding, and of seeing by faith. That to hear with the ear is to obey, see (AC 2542).

[4] Also in Mark:--

Jesus said to the disciples, Do ye not yet perceive, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? having eyes see ye not? and having ears hear ye not? (Mark 8:17, 18);

where it is manifest that not to be willing to understand and not to believe, is to have eyes and not see. In Luke:--

Jesus said of the city, If thou hadst known the things that belong unto thy peace; but now it is hid from thine eyes (Luke 19:41, 42).

And in Mark:--

This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Mark 12:11);

where to be hid from the eyes, and to be marvelous in the eyes, means to be so to the understanding, as is known to every one from the signification of the eye even in the common use of language.

from AC 2701

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info