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Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758], tr. by John C. Ager [1900] at

Heaven and Hell


Something more must be said about the spirits that are joined with man. An entire society can have communication with another society, or with an individual wherever he is; by means of a spirit sent forth from the society; this spirit is called the subject of the many. The same is true of man's conjunction with societies in heaven, and with societies in hell, by means of spirits from the world of spirits that are joined with man. (On this subject see also the Arcana Coelestia in the passages referred to below.)


Finally something must be said respecting man's intuition in regard to his life after death which is derived from the influx of heaven into man. There were some of the simple common people who had lived in the world in the good of faith who were brought back into a state like that in which they had been in the world, which can be done with any one when the Lord grants it; and it was then shown what opinion they had held about the state of man after death. They said that some intelligent persons had asked them in the world what they thought about their soul after the life on earth; and they replied that they did not know what the soul is. They were then asked what they believed about their state after death; and they said that they believed that they would live as spirits. Again they were asked what belief they had respecting a spirit; and they said that he is a man. They were asked how they knew this; and they said that they knew it because it is so. Those intelligent men were surprised that the simple had such a faith, which they themselves did not have. This is a proof that in every man who is in conjunction with heaven there is an intuition respecting his life after death. This intuition is from no other source than an influx out of heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord by means of spirits from the world of spirits who are joined with man. This intuition those have who have not extinguished their freedom of thinking by notions previously adopted and confirmed by various arguments respecting the soul of man, which is held to be either pure thought, or some vital principle the seat of which is sought for in the body; and yet the soul is nothing but the life of man, while the spirit is the man himself; and the earthly body which he carries about with him in the world is merely an agent whereby the spirit, which is the man himself, is enabled to act fitly in the natural world.


What has been said in this work about heaven, the world of spirits, and hell, will be obscure to those who have no interest in learning about spiritual truths, but will be clear to those who have such an interest, and especially to those who have an affection for truth for the sake of truth, that is, who love truth because it is truth; for whatever is then loved enters with light into the mind's thought, especially truth that is loved, because all truth is in light. EXTRACTS FROM THE ARCANA COELESTIA RESPECTING THE FREEDOM OF MAN, INFLUX, AND THE SPIRITS THROUGH WHOM COMMUNICATIONS ARE EFFECTED. FREEDOM. All freedom pertains to love or affection, since whatever a man loves he does freely (n. 2870, 3158, 8987, 8990, 9585, 9591). Since freedom pertains to love it is the life of everyone (n. 2873). Nothing appears to be man's own except what is from freedom (n. 2880). There is heavenly freedom and infernal freedom (n. 2870, 2873, 2874, 9589, 9590). [2] Heavenly freedom pertains to heavenly love, or the love of good and truth (n. 1947, 2870, 2872). And as the love of good and truth is from the Lord freedom itself consists in being led by the Lord (n. 892, 905, 2872, 2886, 2890-2892, 9096, 9586, 9587, 9589-9591). Man is led into heavenly freedom by the Lord through regeneration (n. 2874, 2875, 2882, 2892). Man must have freedom in order to be regenerated (n. 1937, 1947, 2876, 2881, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031, 8700). In no other way can the love of good and truth be implanted in man, and appropriated by him seemingly as his own (n. 2877, 2879, 2880, 2888). Nothing is conjoined to man in a state of compulsion (n. 2875, 8700). If man could be reformed by compulsion all would be saved (n. 2881). In reformation compulsion is harmful (n. 4031). All worship from freedom is worship, but worship from compulsion is not worship (n. 1947, 2880, 7349, 10097). Repentance must be effected in a free state, and repentance effected in a state of compulsion is of no avail (n. 8392). States of compulsion, what they are (n. 8392). [3] It is granted to man to act from the freedom of reason, to the end that good may be provided for him, and this is why man has the freedom to think and will even what is evil, and to do it so far as the laws do not forbid (n. 10777). Man is kept by the Lord between heaven and hell, and thus in equilibrium, that he may be in freedom for the sake of reformation (n. 5982, 6477, 8209, 8987). What is implanted in freedom endures, but not what is implanted under compulsion (n. 9588). For this reason no one is ever deprived of his freedom (n. 2876, 2881). The Lord compels no one (n. 1937, 1947). Compelling one's self is from freedom, but not being compelled (n. 1937, 1947). A man ought to compel himself to resist evil (n. 1937, 1947, 7914). Also to do good as if from himself, and yet to acknowledge that it is from the Lord (n. 2883, 2891, 2892, 7914). Man has a stronger freedom in the temptation combats in which he conquers, since he then compels himself more interiorly to resist, although it appears otherwise (n. 1937, 1947, 2881). [4] Infernal freedom consists in being led by the loves of self and of the world and their lusts (n. 2870, 2873). Those who are in hell know no other freedom (n. 2871). Heavenly freedom is as far removed from infernal freedom as heaven is from hell (n. 2873, 2874). Infernal freedom, which consists in being led by the loves of self and of the world, is not freedom but servitude (n. 2884, 2890). For servitude is in being led by hell (n. 9586, 9589-9591) INFLUX. [5] All things that man thinks and wills flow into him from experience (n. 904, 2886-2888, 4151, 4319, 4320, 5846, 5848, 6189, 6191, 6194, 6197-6199, 6213, 7147, 10219). Man's capacity to give attention to subjects, to think, and to draw conclusions analytically, is from influx (n. 4319, 4320, 5288). Man could not live a single moment if influx from the spiritual world were taken away from him; from experience (n. 2887, 5849, 5854, 6321). The life that flows in from the Lord varies in accordance with the state of man and in accordance with reception (n. 2069, 5986, 6472, 7343). With those who are evil the good that flows in from the Lord is changed into evil, and the truth into falsity; from experience (n. 3642, 4632). The good and truth that continually flow in from the Lord are received just to the extent that they are not hindered by evil and falsity (n. 2411, 3142, 3147, 5828). [6] All good flows in from the Lord, and all evil from hell (n. 904, 4151). At the present day man believes that all things are in himself and are from himself, when in fact they flow in; and this he might know from the doctrine of the church, which teaches that all good is from God, and all evil from the devil (n. 4249, 6193, 6206). But if man's belief were in accord with this doctrine he would not appropriate evil to himself nor would he make good to be his own (n. 6206, 6324, 6325). How happy man's state would be if he believed that all good flows in from the Lord and all evil from hell. (n. 6325). Those who deny heaven or who know nothing about it do not know that there is any influx from heaven (n. 4322, 5649, 6193, 6479). What influx is, illustrated by comparisons (n. 6128, 6190, 9407). [7] Everything of life flows in from the first fountain of life, because that is the source of it; and it continually flows in thus everything of life is from the Lord (n. 3001, 3318, 3337, 3338, 3344, 3484, 3619, 3741-3743, 4318-4320, 4417, 4524, 4882, 5847, 5986, 6325, 6468-6470, 6479, 9276, 10196). Influx is spiritual and not physical, that is, influx is from the spiritual world into the natural, and not from the natural into the spiritual (n. 3219, 5119, 5259, 5427, 5428, 5477, 6322, 9110). Influx is through the internal man into the external, or through the spirit into the body, and not the reverse, because the spirit of man is in the spiritual world, and his body in the natural (n. 1702, 1707, 1940, 1954, 5119, 5259, 5779, 6322, 9380). The internal man is in the spiritual world and the external in the natural world (n. 978, 1015, 3628, 4459, 4523, 4524, 6057, 6309, 9701-9709, 10156, 10472). There is an appearance that there is an influx from the externals of man into internals, but this is a fallacy (n. 3721). With man there is influx into things rational, and through these into knowledges, and not the reverse (n. 1495, 1707, 1940). What the order of influx is (n. 775, 880, 1096, 1495, 7270). There is direct influx from the Lord, and likewise mediate influx through the spiritual world or heaven (n. 6063, 6307, 6472, 9682, 9683). The Lord's influx is into the good in man, and through good into truth, and not the reverse (n. 5482, 5649, 6027, 8685, 8701, 10153). Good gives the capacity to receive influx from the Lord, but truth without good does not (n. 8321). Nothing that flows into the thought is harmful, but only what flows into the will, since this is what is appropriated to man (n. 6308). [8] There is a general influx (n. 5850). This is a continual effort to act in accordance with order (n. 6211). This influx is into the lives of animals (n. 5850). Also into the subjects of the vegetable kingdom (n. 3648). It is in accord with this general influx that thought falls into speech with man, and will into acts and movements (n. 5862, 5990, 6192, 6211). SUBJECT SPIRITS. [9] Spirits sent forth from societies of spirits to other societies and to other spirits, are called "subjects" (n. 4403, 5856). Communications in the other life are effected by means of such emissary spirits (n. 4403, 5856, 5983). A spirit sent forth to serve as a subject does not think from himself, but thinks from those by whom he is sent forth (n. 5985-5987). Many particulars relating to such spirits (n. 5988, 5989). ??