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Spiritual Diary, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758], tr. by Bush, Smithson and Buss [1883-9] at

Spiritual Diary


Another [a male] was represented lying in a bed, and deeming himself innocent; wherefore he was supplicating with his body naked. - 1748, April 8.


THAT SPIRITS KNOW NO OTHERWISE THAN THAT THEY ARE MAN. Apart from numerous other proofs, the truth of the above proposition may be evinced beyond doubt from the fact that a spirit who spoke with me positively affirmed that he did not know otherwise than that he was I myself, especially when he did not reflect upon the subject; but my own reflections were that spirits did know themselves to be spirits separate from men. In a word, without reflection they know nothing else, nor is reflection given except with those who converse with them and give responses, and then converse with others also. Reflection is indeed given without the speech of man with spirits, but this is effected by the Lord. - 1748, April 6.


THAT SPIRITS FROM EXTERNALS ARE PERSUADED CONCERNING INTERNALS. Whatever there is in the phantasy of man comes also into the phantasy of spirits, and, they are persuaded that the fact is so and so; as now I have learned by experience, namely, when I only supposed that I had a fur cap upon my head (:en luden mossa pa hufwudet:) 1853-1 by which they were prevented from seeing the interiors of the brain, or its thoughts. They immediately said that there was nothing apparent, thus that their vision was impeded. Presently after, however, good spirits, from thinking that they were shut in between the fur hat and the head, and that they then grew warm, said that they did, as it were, perceive [what was within], but still saying that phantasy thus bore sway; so also in very many other things; whence they were persuaded from external concerning internal things.


(((((Similar is the case of certain spirits who were induced to believe that Aaron and his sons, however really defiled, were holy when they washed their feet and hands, and were clothed with the priestly robes. The idea of sanctity in this case was a mere persuasion concerning internals drawn from externals. Indeed, everything [in that dispensation] was thus externally instituted that spirits might [if they would] be persuaded by them. - 1748, April 6. There was in everything which was done, whether in respect to the garments or other things, a representation of the Lord.)))))


CONCERNING THE HEAT OF SPIRITS AND ANGELS. I have before spoken of the chills of evil spirits, which I have often experienced to the life. It was also given me, by a living sense, to experience the heat of good spirits and angels.


((((Spirits who in their lifetime took delight in the Word of the Lord, and who had a somewhat vivid perception of that delight, enjoy in the other life a certain celestial and pleasant heat, which it was given me to perceive by the essential approximation of kindred spirits. The heat of spirits is indeed external, but still radiating from internals not very clearly perceived. It warmed me very much, after the manner of summer heat, beginning from the region of the lips, and diffusing itself round to the cheeks, even to the ears, and ascending thence to the eyes. Below it spread itself downward over the breast, to the mid-region of the body. The higher parts of the head, and the lower parts of the body, had thence some degree of heat, but not so sensible; wherefore the true province of the heat is from the mouth upwards to just below the eyes, and downwards to the middle of the body.


As to those who are delighted with the interior things of the Word, it was given to perceive their heat also, and it was interior, beginning from the breast, and proceeding upwards towards the chin, and downwards toward the loins; but it was still interior, and perceived as such.


Those, again, who are delighted with the inmost things of the Word, their heat is yet more interior, or inmost, which it was given me indeed to perceive, but very slightly, inasmuch as my sense, in relation to these things, is too obtuse to allow of their being perceived as they are; for it was said that if I should perceive that heat, I could not subsist in the body, as it takes possession of the inmosts of the marrow, and because such is its quality I perceived rather a slight degree of cold externally, but within I had at the same time some kind of idea of heat. Its region is from the loins, or from the middle of the body between the loins, and thence extending upwards towards the breast and the left arm to the hand, and downwards into the left foot.


When it was given me to perceive these heats, which I did to the life, angels meanwhile spoke with me through spirits, and they instructed me as to the true state of the case, saying that it was their approach which insinuated these heats, because they had it in them, though they were no more conscious of it than is one who does not possess it.))))


Hence it may appear that man is an organ, for he is affected by heat as to his interiors and inmosts while yet it flows from love, as here from the love of the Divine Word, and this love which produces such heats in organic substances is virtually a principle of life, and thus from the Lord alone.


((((It was moreover given me to perceive also the heat of those who are delighted in the Word of the Lord, but care little about understanding it; it was perceived only in the left arm.


There were spirits also who would fain counterfeit such a heat, and there was a certain degree of it above the eyes, but I could not perceive it, for it was given me to know that they were able by their art to feign or pretend something of the kind, as they had done in former instances in regard to delights, but it was merely an external sensation, having no origin in internals; and such a heat, because simulated, is noxious, and is a mere tepid something which causes vomiting. It was given me to say, that in such a heat, as in spurious delight, worms are engendered, for it becomes putrid. - 1748, April 7.))))


CONCERNING THOSE WHO IN THEIR LIFETIME TREACHEROUSLY SLAY MEN. (((((There are those who, living their earthly life without conscience, are guilty during the life in the body of murdering their fellow-men, as with daggers or ether deadly weapons, and that, too, by attacking them from behind.)))))


((((((One of this class came to me, clothed like a nobleman, though I could not see his face. At his first approach he insinuated, by suggestions and simulated faces, that he had many things which he wished to communicate to me, and inquiring whether I was a Christian. Upon my reply that I was, which he said he knew, he asked if he could be alone with me, for he had something to impart to me which he did not wish others to hear. But when I answered him that in the other life there was no such thing as one's being alone [with another], as one man may be with another on earth, and that one could not speak without many spirits being present to hear, he approached nearer, and entered under the occiput behind, whence it could be perceived, as in fact it was said, that he was an assassin. While he was there I perceived, as it were, a stroke through the heart, and then afterwards in the brain also, such as would cause speedy death to any man living. By what art he effected his purpose I know not, as I only perceived something deadly. He supposed I was dead; but as such was not the case, he said he had just come from a man whom he had killed in that manner, that is, by a poignard from behind, saying that he was skilled in the art [of taking life in such a way] that a man should not know that anything had hurt him before he fell down dead, and that he should be reputed no otherwise than as innocent, nay, that not even a wound should appear. But inasmuch as I was safe, being preserved by the Lord from all such assaults, I feared nothing [from his malice].))))))


((((I afterwards inquired of those who spoke with me what kind of punishments such persons underwent in the other life; for I am now able to know that the individual in question had recently departed from life, and soon after having perpetrated such a deed, which was indicated by the fact of his saying that he had come from the man he had killed, in consequence of which something of a murderous taint still adhered to him, which it was proper should be divulged. Of this the other spirits had a perception, wherefore there was some delay before they were willing to admit him to me, they withholding him in the meantime. But as to the punishments, it was said that such wandered about in deserts and forests, like the homicides before mentioned, and that it was not permitted them to be with others.))))


((((((What they eventually become was shown me, namely, that their faces become loathsome, not having, in fact, the appearance of faces, but of something emaciated, of hideous hue, resembling woody fiber, having scarcely any sign of a face, and so exceedingly monstrous, that they could never be recognized as having been the faces of a man. Around the cheeks was a kind of woolly appendage (:mase hwit:). 1866-1 They at length assume, it was said, such a face that everyone is horror-struck who beholds them; for such as they are in society, or towards their fellow-creatures, such they are in themselves, so that they do deadly violence to themselves, or to their own interiors.))))))


Indeed, it may be set down as a rule, that such as a man is in his life among his associates, such he is in himself; whence vices and atrocities carry their own punishments with them. - 1748, April 7.


CONCERNING THE IMPUTATION OF JUSTICE [OR RIGHTEOUSNESS] BY FAITH. Since such is the condition of all in the heavens and the earth that they live in society, and there is no life without associates, that is to say, everyone lives from the life of all in general and from that of his associates in particular, it thence follows that the life of everyone is by others, which in fact is so manifest in the heavens that no one will deny it. Only spirits not yet made angels, especially evil ones, deny it, attributing their life to themselves, a point concerning which I have often disputed with them, and the truth has been shown them to the life; for while they doubt and deny, their associates sometimes confessed that it was they who spoke through them, and so in other cases.


Since such is the condition of life both with spirits and with men, it follows that to those who are in faith towards the Lord evil is not imputed, because such an one is held by the Lord in the faith that evil is excited by evil spirits, which is most true, and thus he is in the verity of faith. Whatever, therefore, enters, does not defile the man. In like manner, though a particular act is sometimes excited by the evil, yet it is not imputed for the same reason. But this is a case of very rare occurrence, owing to causes which, by the Divine permission, I shall treat of elsewhere.


Whatever of good is done by the man who is in faith, as he does not believe it to be his own, inasmuch as everything true and good is of the Lord, so neither does he believe that the genuine good which he thinks and does is imputed to him simply from his doing the good, because he does not recognize it as his own, but as of the Lord's mercy, consequently that he is no otherwise saved than from pure mercy. For the Lord has need of no one; He possesses all things; and if it should please Him to create anew innumerable heavens and stock them anew with countless hosts of angels, what should hinder Him, seeing He is omnipotent? Wherefore all is of mercy alone. - 1748, April 7.


There are three things which constitute the principal heads of faith, to wit, that the Lord rules the universe; that the Lord is the life of the universe; and that all salvation is of mercy.


These three contain within themselves indefinite particulars; this is the faith of the heavens.


A fourth is, that it is acknowledged in the universal heaven that in man, spirit, and angel the proprium - what is especially his own - is nothing but evil, while whatever is good with all, that is, all of the Lord alone.


Evil spirits deny all these things; some do not know the truth; and some who do know it are unwilling to acknowledge it. Good spirits believe all these things with an intellectual faith; angels perceive them, and with a more manifest perception the more interior they themselves are.


The principal intellectual point which it is given to the angels to understand is, that the universal heaven forms a Grand Man, with all its parts, to which angels, spirits, and men correspond, and of which the Lord is the only life.


THAT SPIRITS CONVERSE AMONG THEMSELVES. Certain spirits confessed that they conversed together as men do with each other, but with the difference, that it is permitted to no one to speak in any other than his true character, as otherwise he has to undergo a penalty. - 1748, April 8.


CONCERNING THE WORD OF THE LORD. ((((The Word of the Lord is in itself dead, as it is bare letter, but in reading it becomes vivified by the Lord according to the faculty of intelligence and perception granted to each one by the Lord; thus it lives according to the life of the man who reads, on which account it is marked by an endless variety. This is written in the presence of angels. - 1748, April 9.))))


CONCERNING LIBERATION FROM EVIL. The Lord is never the cause of evil, consequently He never expels evil by evil, but does away evil by good. This law, which is acknowledged in heaven, is difficult of comprehension to those who are not celestial. This was given to me while engaged this day in praying the Lord's Prayer. - 1748, April 8.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO LIVE ONLY IN EXTERNALS. It was vividly represented to me in sleep that I was in some other place, to wit, in Sweden, when yet I knew that I was at Amsterdam, which caused me much wonder that I could be in both places at once, and could appear before the eyes of others as being there when I was here. This fact, however, I detected in sleep.


There appeared as if at Upsal a theater formed consisting of statues of brown color, which were placed around in the fashion of a theater having a somewhat handsome appearance. While looking upon the scene, one or two of them, as if they had been brown colored skeletons, moved themselves, and made a beginning as if they would have instituted a theatrical play, and I wondered whether all the statues would be made thus movable and enter upon the play.


While I was there in a somewhat elevated position, where the statues stood in front, and being about to witness the performance, I seemed to myself to be ordered to go out, which I did, and awoke.


Being awakened, I spoke with the spirits respecting the dream then so vividly impressed upon me that evening seemed as if it happened in a waking state, nor could I believe otherwise. At this the spirits marveled, because they in like manner supposed that they had been in a wakeful state, and some of them acknowledged the parts which they had acted. It was then said that such spirits appear [thus] at times to the eyes of certain ones, both those who are of a pretty good life, and those who have lived in external things as in theatricals. They supposed also that those who are devoted to the theater, and love that kind of life. and those who are of a kindred spirit with them, inasmuch as there is very little in man's externals, and consequently the case is the same with them after death. - 1748, April 9.


CONCERNING THE PUNISHMENT OF CERTAIN ONES WHO ARE PLUNGED, AS IT WERE, INTO DEEP CLOUDS. I beheld the punishment of one who said he was tempted as to whether he could, by means of evils, obtain power for himself so that by evil doing he might strike a terror into others, and thus rule, as such is the opinion of many, to wit, that it is the best way to rule among fellows and over subjects by fear, and not by love. Inasmuch as this one was of such a quality, he began to perpetrate evil, which was represented by an axe wherewith he would strike a beam, but his intention was to strike men, the beam being substitute. While engaged in this atrocity he was suddenly let down into a cloud, as a kind of cloudy sea without a bottom. Such, it was said, was the punishment of this kind of offenders when possessed of but a feeble degree of life. - 1748, April 9.


CONCERNING A CERTAIN SPECIES OF PERCEPTION BY WHICH IT IS KNOWN HOW MUCH AND WHAT KIND OF LIFE PERTAINS TO ANY ONE. There is a certain kind of sensation, or sensitive perception, which cannot be described - for it is a something granted in a spiritual way by the Lord alone - by which it is perceived how much of life is present [to any one]. There is [with some] a certain non-vital principle, not unlike a mass of chalky substance, from which it is inferred that a similar kind of life inheres; thus when it seems good to the Lord He grants to the angels to know how much of life pertains to a spirit or a soul, and that with much variety. - 1748, April 10.


CONCERNING PROVIDENCE. Conversing with spirits concerning Providence some would have it that it was predestinated that they should live as they did in the world, and that afterwards they should undergo such punishments as they did, as also that some should be inferior to others. But the case is this, that nothing occurs but what is provided to happen just as it does, because man is of such a quality as he is, it being foreseen that if the case were otherwise he would perish; wherefore it is provided that that should be permitted, in order that the Lord might bend [everything] to a universal end, or to the greatest good. This also I have learned by lively experience. - 1748, April 10.


CONCERNING THE SPHERE OF HEARING. Certain angels and spirits who were within showed me experimentally the quality of the sphere of hearing: for when I spoke with spirits on a former occasion, I was heard both by those who were within and those who were without; it was evident to all who were around me; but I then perceived a certain one to be attracted in a more especial manner outwardly, which I was informed was done by a spirit above and around me, in order that such might perceive everything which I thought and spoke. Thus there was an open communication and a sensible attraction, and indeed at times with a sensation of pain; but on this occasion there was an attraction effected by angels and spirits towards me, thus inwardly but not outwardly, there be in no such relaxation as there was before, which it was given me distinctly to perceive, whence there was no hearing or perception as to what I said or what I thought on the part of the spirits above or without me. On this account they complained and confessed that now for the first time they perceived and heard nothing; they only knew that I spoke with those who were within. Hence it may be concluded how the case is with the sphere of hearing, as also that those who are without the Grand Man cannot perceive the things which are perceived by those who are within.


Their speech addressed to me was heard, but still as if absent, and not as when the communication is open. - 1748, April 10.


THE KINDS OF SPIRIT-SPEECH. There are very many species of the speech of spirits. The particular kinds are indefinite, as numerous as the spirits themselves. Every one, like men, may be recognized from his speech. The distinctive peculiarities of each one are in like manner multifarious, being changed according to spiritual states, and the states of the affections.


The kinds of spirit-speech in general, as well of the evil as of the good, as now observed, are these: 1. There is a common speech pertaining to spirits formed solely from ideas with little or no affection. 2. There is a kind almost entirely devoid of spiritual ideas, and thus of sonorous words, but tacit only, and of the affections; such is usually the speech of evil spirits, or genii, who rule the affections or cupidities of men, and pervert them in such a manner that a man is not aware how he is led, as they latently reflect or bend his good affections into evil ones. 3. The third kind is like a flowing stream, but occasionally varying itself into a sort of pulse or stroke, which is their interior, in which they can speak, and their speech exhibit itself in that kind of stream. 4. The fourth kind is a speech of ideas without the fluent quality, but which is yet perceived as something tacitly creeping, which is their thought. This did not come to the perception of my thought when they conversed with each other, neither did they wish me to be present; when I was present, the course of their thought was directed according to mine, otherwise according to their own. - 1748, April 12.


THAT SPIRITS PRESS ON TO OBTAIN DOMINION OVER MAN. There was a great dispute among the spirits growing out of the fact that they wished to rule me, for it is their aim to obtain the utmost stretch of power, and this was manifested so many times that I could scarcely number them. They burn to have man subjected to them, and that sometimes with such pertinacious eagerness that they can scarcely bring themselves to desist; yea, they had recourse to insidious wiles and were indignant towards certain others who approached, for the reason that they supposed they were designing to rob them of their dominion.


Such are their efforts in regard to men of all classes, but with this difference, that when they are intent upon their object and yet cannot effect it, they are driven away; but with me, inasmuch as they knew that they were spirits and not me, they could reflect upon the matter, wherefore there was a bursting forth into open indignations and hatreds; with others this open outbreak could not take place. - 1748, April 12. With good spirits this course of action is not allowed.


THAT NEITHER MAN NOR SPIRIT KNOW EVEN THE MOST GENERAL [communissima] THINGS WHICH ARE IN THE HEAVENS. It was shown me today by spiritual vision that we do not know even the most general of the things which are in heaven; as, for instance, that one single point of thought, which man esteems most subtle and complete, contains within itself, if I may so say, the universal heaven, for something enters into it from singular the things in heaven, which indeed appears wonderful, nevertheless it is so, just as in every the minutest part of the body there is a communication of singular the effects which are wrought in the [whole] body. - 1748, April 23.


In like manner that faith alone in the Lord saves, - that the Lord rules the universe, and the most singular things of the universe, - that the Lord is all in all, - besides other things which are most general and comprehend indefinite particulars within them. Those most general things in man are as nothing compared with the knowledge of their particulars; so also that which is called hell and that which is called heaven is most widely general, and as it were nothing compared with what they severally comprehend.


CONCERNING ANGELIC MODES OF SPEECH. It was given me today to examine very closely how the case is with angelic modes of speech, which are exceedingly difficult of comprehension to man in the body, so much so indeed that I should scarcely suppose them capable of being generally grasped by the human intellect, as they are virtually inexpressible. There are many knowledges with which the human mind ought to be imbued before it can perceive them even by a general idea. In order to convey somewhat of them I would observe, that in one simple idea of the human mind there are things indefinitely various which are apprehended by man as a kind of most general one or unit, the interiors of this idea being perceived by the interior angels, and the still more interior and inmost things by the more interior and inmost angels. Thus while the general of the idea appears to the interior angels, forming a scarcely appreciable element of their thought, this unfolds itself into indefinite particulars comprehensible by the still more interior angels, and so also by the inmost.


The case is similar in regard to spiritual and to celestial ideas, or those which are merely the ideas of things, and those which have relation to the affections, for they are distinct.


Thus, for instance, while the Lord's Prayer was being uttered, there was in each single idea, though understood simply by man and sometimes according to the terms as they conveyed a merely human sense, a sense perceived by the angels replete with interior, more interior, and inmost things.


Things corporeal and worldly serve the spirits for a subject or receptacle, as it were, of the idea; natural things, such as the significations of ideas or words, to the angels of the interior heavens; spiritual things to the angels of the more interior heaven; and celestial things to the angels of the inmost heaven. There is, therefore, an ascent through degrees, and through correspondences, such as I believe no mortal understands, on which account a great many things are to be previously learned before one can comprehend even a very general idea of the modes of angelic speech. - 1748, April 25.


Those most general or unitary things which are the least elements of ideas or the simple perceptions of every man, spirit, and angel, are the recipients or receptacles, as it were, in which indefinite varieties of higher ideas are comprehended; and these, as was observed, are in men and spirits corporeal or worldly things; in the angels of the interior heaven natural or spiritual, or lower celestial things; and in the angels of the inmost heaven, things spiritual, and so on.


An idea [on the subject] may also be gained from the objects of sight, whether of the animal or vegetable kingdom; in these it is only the very outmost things that come within the reach of the eye, while yet everything exterior originates from inmosts, and yet the eye has no access to these inmosts, except through various degrees.


CONCERNING THE SPHERES OF SPIRITS. I have formerly spoken, if I mistake not; of spheres, but only of their extension and power of action; much remains to be said of their nature and quality, but at present I remark simply that they possess very wonderful properties, and may be compared to other spheres [or atmospheres] which either agree or disagree, and, as it were, coalesce or clash with each other. Those spirits which are at variance with each other perceive in an instant what is opposed to them, and by their sphere, as it were, convert it into such things as agree; nay, this holds even in regard to the minuter things which enter into the composition of the spheres of others. Spheres of this kind appear in men, but of a somewhat gross quality. The spheres of malignant spirits pervert so insensibly good thoughts into evil ones, according to every variety of circumstance which is present to man's idea, that neither man nor spirit can by any means know that such is the fact; and unless it had been given to reflect upon the subject, and to array it distinctly before the mind, and to know who the spirit was and where he was, I could never have known that facts of this nature existed. Provided a man knows what is good and true, and what is appropriate to these principles, and they will turn all that according to their genius, so that whatever is in the memory of a man they will bend it [to suit their purposes]. - 1748, April 29.


1853-1 A Swedish expression rendered by the words immediately preceding.

1866-1 A Swedish phrase signifying white moss.

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