346. 'And he cried with a great voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to harm the land and the sea, [verse 3] saying, Do no harm to land, or sea, or trees' signifies the restraining and holding back by the Lord of the nearer and stronger influx into the lower regions. That these things are signified is plain on account of the things that have been expounded above (n. 343). Out of the sense of the letter is [the thought] that the four angels held back the influx; but out of the spiritual sense, it is the Lord. That they should 'do no harm to land, sea and trees' signifies that it is not by a violent but by a moderate influx; for the Lord by varying degrees of influx into the heavens disposes, arranges in order, tempers and moderates all things there and in the hells and, by means of the heavens and the hells, all things in the world.