346. And he cried with a great voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, (verse 3) saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, signifies the preventing and withholding by the Lord of a nearer and stronger influx into the lower parts. That this is the signification of these words is evident from the explanation above (n. 343). In the sense of the letter it was the four angels that withheld influx, but, in the spiritual sense, it was the Lord. "Not to hurt the earth, the sea, nor the trees," signifies that they should not operate by a vehement, but by a moderate, influx. For the Lord, by various degrees of influx into the heavens, disposes, regulates, tempers, and moderates all things there and in the hells, and, through the heavens and the hells, all things in the world.