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

Spiritual Diary


CONCERNING THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE [communi] WHICH GOVERNS MAN'S THOUGHTS. There is a certain general something [quoddam commune] which governs mans thoughts, which holds those thoughts within certain limits which they cannot transgress, nay, which governs the singular and most singular things of thought. What is the nature of this general principle cannot be so well expressed, because men have no knowledge of it. It was represented to me by a waving sphere, which I perceived and felt, containing within itself thoughts, and holding them within limits, as already remarked.


This is sufficiently manifest that there can never be given any particular without a general, and that the particular is governed by the general; so also the singular, and the most singular by its own universal, which not only assigns limits to thought, but even to the singulars of thought. Thus it is the common sphere which affects and which persuades. Neither can man speak, or bring forth his sensations, unless there be a certain universal sphere of thought which governs and limits all and singulars, so that each word or idea shall flow fitly and spontaneously as derived from that sphere, and yet in such a way that man shall not know whence their source. Unless such a sphere governed, man could by no means think or speak distinctly according to the state of the sphere.


In natural things thence originating there is nothing given without a general sphere which governs singulars; not in the atmospheric world, where are sounds, sights, and the like; neither in musical matters, unless there be a co-sounding and equably accordant body; nor in the kingdoms of nature, as the vegetable and animal, yea, in all the organs of the body. But those general spheres are not so well known, because they are little reflected upon.


But whence are derived the spheres that govern the thoughts, and whence the things mentioned above, may appear if it be admitted that there are spheres of persuasions of the false, and of affections of evil, and that they are derived from the general operation of evil spirits, to wit, from their thoughts and cupidities.


But the spheres of persuasions of the true; and of affections of the good, are all from the Lord, as their appropriate and genuine origin.


There are given, moreover, indefinite varieties of general spheres, which cannot be defined except by being referred to genera and species, according, for instance, as the spheres of angels and spirits are present. Whatever are the appropriate spheres of angels and spirits, they are not commingled with the spheres of the Lord, but are tempered and are in themselves most distinct.


The spheres governing the thoughts of the man who is in faith are of the Lord, and peculiar to Him, so much as they have in them of the true and the good; as to the others combined with them, they pertain to angels and spirits who are ruled and ordered by the Lord with reference to uses and ends. - 1748, May 20. See concerning thought in what follows.


By means of an almost similar general sphere, others are otherwise governed, everyone according to his nature and genius, but yet within his proper limits, beyond which he cannot roam, for the general prescribes limits. These things were observed by a various experience in regard to spirits, some of whom were at the time, as it were, pained, saying that they seemed to themselves to be in bonds, because the facts were reflected upon, which reflection produced a general sphere that they were unable to sustain, inasmuch as the reflection disclosed their faults. - 1748, May 20.


CONCERNING THE THOUGHT OF MAN - HOW SLOW AND OBSCURE. It is known that man can think in a minute of time what he is unable to express by speech or writing in the space of an hour; for when he thinks he concludes all things within the compass of a general idea which governs, and everything accordant flows consistently from his memory, and from parts of his general idea; yet this general is of such a quality that he sees the series of consequences, though obscurely, still he sees them and connects them, because he draws a conclusion. From this it may be seen what is the nature of that general principle which governs singulars.


But this general, which appears to men so quick and momentaneous, is yet in itself so slow, that the angels of the interior heaven can think more rapidly and distinctly in one moment than man can within many hours, during which he will still think obscurely. This was said to spirits, who were highly indignant thereupon, although, as it was confirmed, it must stand for truth. - 1748, May 20. There is, however, a very considerable difference among men as to thoughts. With those in whom memory predominates, while there is otherwise a certain closure of the mind, there is less of thought; while with those in whom the mind is open, and more of the interior memory prevails, there is so much more of thought, because there are more things inserted into it by the Lord, according to His good pleasure. - 1748, May 20.


HOW THE PASSIONS OF MEN ARE BENT SO THAT THEY MAY NOT BE BROKEN. What it is to bend without breaking a man's affections, in which consists his life, everyone may know from experience, since friends and wives, when companions become incensed, study to appease them by various blandishments and compliances, until the enraged party is turned or bent from his passion, which anyone may confirm by a multiplied experience.


This is still better known among spirits, inasmuch as communications are made by spiritual methods, so that affections and their effects may be [more fully] understood. This is done by means of their intuitions, and at the same time of their perceptions; and of the same character are their spiritual ideas. Certain spirits were indignant when their anger was suddenly snatched from them in a spiritual way; still the indignation excited by the act remained, though they could not be enraged. There was then insinuated something that flattered their self-love, as of praise, administered in a spiritual way, when their resentment was bent into concord, so that the anger would recede. Hence conclusions may be drawn as to other things as, for instance, how it is that the Lord bends without breaking the cupidities of men; as also, that man is sometimes permitted to be led by his concupiscences, while yet they are bent in a wonderful manner to good.-1748, May 20.


THAT EVIL IS ATTRIBUTED TO THE LORD. Nothing is more common in the Word than the ascribing of evil, wrath, vengeance, and the like to Jehovah, when yet nothing is farther from being the case. The reason is, that as man does not know more than that the Lord rules the universe, so he is of course ignorant how it is that He permits evils, and indefinite things of a like kind; wherefore, from this simple, most general, and most obscure idea, the obvious result is the idea that the Lord does evil, as is read in a multitude of places in the Word.


The cause, however, with the wicked is, that they derive all evils from themselves, and yet cast the blame upon Jehovah, which is their constant wont. To this we may add that some do not know otherwise, inasmuch as they cherished this persuasion in their lifetime and, moreover, they are not such as penetrate much beyond the surface, and thus do not grasp the nature and origin of permissions. Some again do it out of mere malice, which it has been given me to know by much experience, as oftentimes when anything of evil has occurred, they have laid the blame upon the Lord, and what their thoughts were on the subject was communicated to me. 1748, May 20.


THAT THERE IS A VARIETY OF ALL THINGS. Very many persons, indeed nearly all, are persuaded that hell is the same to everyone, and likewise heaven; thus they have respecting them only a most general and obscure idea; consequently, they close to themselves the way to a knowledge of what hell is and what heaven is, when, in fact, the varieties both in hell and in heaven are so indefinite, that if souls should be multiplied to eternity, there would never be one that should have precisely the same hell or the same heaven with another, but there would still exist an indefinite variety, nay, an indefinite variation of varieties to all eternity.


((((((((Thus there can never by any means be one soul precisely similar to another, which it was given to me to know by the fact that when I thought, in a spiritual idea, that if any two [souls] were one, they could not be conscious to themselves of a distinct existence, but would seem to be one; when, I say, I barely thought of a plurality being one, then the world of spirits and the angelic were so abhorrent to the idea that it was evident it was contrary to the truth of things. - 1748, May 20.))))))))


((((((But everyone [unum] is formed from the harmony of many; and the one is such as the harmony is; nor can there ever be an absolute one, but only a harmonic one. - 1748, May 20.))))))


CONCERNING THE DRAGON. He has been already described, I think, as being able to convert himself into a variety of forms, so as to appear as a good angel, to weep, and, as it were, to repent with a great semblance of sincerity, to speak to others, as to me, with apparent indifference, and at the same time to contrive deceits with others, but that was gathered from the indifference of his speech, in which there was infused an air of absence, and other like things.


But that he is tolerated, and not forcibly thrust down, which could be effected in a moment, as has often been done, one reason is, that those who worship him in the world are, after the life of the body, or rather after the death of the body, similar to themselves in the other life, nor do they know otherwise than that they are living in the body, so that they are struck with astonishment when otherwise informed. Such, therefore, having in their minds a veneration for him as for an idol, they are permitted at first to approach him; for cupidities and falsities are not taken away in a moment. Inasmuch, then, as souls are in such a state that they would be broken [by a sudden and violent change], therefore the process is gradual, and toleration and permission is allowed, till at length they are step by step drawn out and led forth to other places. The case, indeed, is not unlike that of the Gentiles, who also resort to their idols, but according to their states of life in the world they are called away from them as soon as their peculiar corporeal principle is somewhat worn out. - 1748, May 20.


It is a matter of most familiar habit with him, as also with evil spirits, continually to persecute the faithful, or continually to accuse, blaspheme, and injure them, as far as it is permitted, while the faithful on the other hand never injure him. He often makes complaint, as he has just now, that he is so infested by those who are in true faith; but it is answered that they never infest him, but that, on the contrary, he infests and impugns them every moment; upon which he ruminates, not knowing what to say, as he acknowledges the fact. Thus he is the self-procuring cause of his own harm. - 1748, May 20.


THE DIFFERENT STATES OF MEN AND SPIRITS IN GENERAL. There are many differences between the states of spirits as spirits and those that distinguished them as men, concerning which I have treated fully elsewhere; this only is to be observed here, that men have various external objects which move, modify, and bend their internal senses; but with spirits it is not so: that men live in such societies as they can, from various causes, associate with, even when their associates are dissimilar to themselves; it is otherwise with spirits, who associate only with their like. Men are distinguished by the possession of a corporeal memory, by means of which their acquisitions are made; but not so with spirits. Men also from the past conjecture the future, but not so with spirits, who have no memory of the past, except when it is excited for certain ends. Men have comparatively little penetration, spirits much more; they see the thoughts of others, but with a difference [from the perceptions of men], in that they see in others the things that flow from them. The thoughts of men are bound, as it were, to corporeal things, like their organic substances; but not so with spirits. - 1748, May 20.


THAT THE LORD RULES ALL AND SINGLE THINGS. While speaking with evil spirits, who would fain arrogate to themselves the rule of all and singular things, I perceived around me innumerable spirits, who all contributed somewhat to the train of thoughts, which, as usual, were connected in a series. I then perceived that while there were such vast numbers all concurring to the train and connected series of thoughts, it could not be otherwise than that one should govern all, and dispose them into series, and that others, who continually dissented and opposed, ought to agree, so that so many repugnances may not exist to create impediments; so that, unless there were one [supreme ruler], who is the Lord, because the great object of faith, nothing whatever could be thought; but from so many, and even countless diversities, nothing but utter confusion and chaos would exist; and this they could not do otherwise than acknowledge, because it was given them to perceive it by a spiritual idea. Hence it may be known that the Lord rules all things, both general and most special, and that without His control the whole system would collapse. Those who arrogated to themselves the rule, inasmuch as one was opposed to another, [were challenged on this score,] but they retorted that they were competent to do it. It was replied [by asking] who could rule them, consisting, as they did, of legions of legions, and mutually contrary to each, inasmuch as hatred rules all, for the love of self is predominant. - 1748 May 21.


THAT THE LORD CAN ENABLE ANYONE, BY A SPIRITUAL IDEA, TO PERCEIVE INTERIOR THINGS. Certain spirits supposed that I only was in such a state as to be capable, by a spiritual idea, of perceiving interior things, and of being as a spirit, from whence, as usual, they drew some kind of sinister inference; but it was said to them that all could be such if the Lord pleased, even the most stupid, and I was then reminded of a certain stupid individual whom I had known many years before. This man was accustomed at certain times to make public addresses, and he could then recollect a multitude of things which he could not possibly at any other time recall to mind. It was then, moreover, shown to me by experience that upon the withdrawal of such a spiritual idea, I was altogether like any other person in thought, which was a matter of wonder to spirits, and that, according to the Lord's good pleasure, not only was this faculty opened with me, but also with all spirits, to whom the Lord should see fit to grant it. By experience, moreover, I had previously learned that spirits, when reduced into a similar state, would communicate to me such things as pertained to them, that I knew no otherwise than that I myself had once known them, and thus recollected them, when yet, afterwards, I knew that it was owing to the operation of spirits upon me, similar to the operation of man upon spirits, who suppose that they know what the man knows, the effect being thus reciprocal. From these and many other facts, it may be concluded that, with whomsoever the Lord pleases the mind may be opened, so that by a spiritual idea things may be intuitively perceived - in an orderly manner with those who are in faith, and in an extraordinary and miraculous manner with those who are not in faith.


Additional confirmation was afforded by the fact of the prophetic spirit in the representative church, which spirit was given to whomsoever it seemed good to the lord, thus to the seventy elders by the spirit of Moses who prophesied, as did also Saul; which prophetic spirit was no other than an influence prompting them to speak and act by words and ways that were unknown to them, the things [said and done] being external, but signifying what was internal. So, if it pleased the Lord, a similar spirit could now be given, and one intuitively penetrating interior things, inasmuch as at this day men are more in knowledges, and in the faith of verities, only there are certain corporeal things by which spiritual actings are embarrassed and hindered, upon the death or separation of which the remains of spiritual things may be excited. 1748, May 21.


 2024-1 HOW THE PASSIONS OF SPIRITS ARE MODERATED. A certain spirit was in the cupidity of having something; indeed, he burnt, as it were, with the desire, but his state did not penetrate to my perception, as I experienced at other times; but it was exhibited to the internal sight. There appeared, as it were, a sphere somewhat inflamed, which was the sphere of the cupidity wherein he was held; nor did he then appear to me otherwise than as a very diminutive something, floating about, as it were, in that sphere, the sphere of cupidities being circumfused around him. He in that state lamented, saying that he was in extreme pain from not obtaining what he longed for. It seemed to me that he would perish; but just at that time another more subtle sphere entered from the Lord, which was a sphere of uses, whereupon his pain was mitigated, which he confessed, [saying] that he could receive consolation, and that in the degree in which the rays of the sphere of use extend. He was thus instructed that nothing should be covetously desired except from use, and that use ought to excite affection.


Moreover, the cupidities prevailing with some of possessing without regard to use, which they afterwards defend by feigning uses, are also communicated, a common case with women, respecting which I spoke with them. 1748, May 20.


THAT MEN ARE WORSE THAN WILD BEASTS. I conversed today, as I have done before, with spirits respecting the human race, that they are worse than wild beasts, because that men live according to inverted order, and wild beasts according to true order; for men are prompted to extirpate all society for the sake of self, whereas with beasts it is not so, unless in the case of certain species when urged, under the goadings of hunger, their nature being such that, according to order, one species should feed on another. In a word, it may be demonstrated by many proofs that the human race, viewed in itself, and when left to itself divested of restraint, is worse than fierce wild beasts of the forest.


That fierce wild beasts do also live according to the order impressed upon them, and not contrary to it, may appear from the fact that such as their soul is, such is the nature thence derived, wherefore they live according to order; but as to man, his soul, in his interior and inmost, is such that he loves his neighbor as himself, but his exterior or his natural mind, and his corporeal promptings, are altogether contrary; he does not love, but desires rather to destroy all those who can be termed near to him, and the nearer they are the more intensely does he feel opposed to them; wherefore he does not live according to the order of his soul, but against it, and in a way altogether contrary to that of the wild beasts; on which account, as I said to the spirits, if the natural mind of man resembled the wild beasts, it would be much better for him, but now he is much the worse of the two; to which the spirits listened, but made no reply. - 1748, May 21.


Certain species of beasts and fishes eat beasts and fishes of the same genus and species, but that is when they are pressed by hunger, in which case they are furnished from this source with food, thus preventing a too rapid multiplication; but when they are satisfied, they betake themselves to repose. Man, the more blood he sheds, the more he filches of his neighbor's goods, the more he desires, being never satisfied; his cupidity grows and increases till he comes to aspire at the possession of heaven itself, which desire is in fact involved in the least spark of self-love. - 1748, May 21.


Hence it may appear that all who have been and are men tend backward, or, what is the same, tend downward, consequently to hell; unless the Lord were to raise them from hell, all would fall headlong hither, which, when it was said to the spirits, they remained silent. - 1748, May 21.


CONCERNING A CERTAIN ONE LATELY DECEASED. A certain spirit came to me at evening, and spoke with me, and from certain indications it appeared that he was recently from the earth; and as spirits are covetous of knowing everything, they were variously desirous of exploring his quality, and if they found anything discordant, then they were disposed forthwith to infest him, but were as often withheld from so doing, so that he was continually defended, and more especially from the fact that he was a stranger, to whom it is commanded that good shall always be done. He was therefore shielded from assault by good spirits, by angels, and by the Lord, although the spirits sought by various methods to associate him to themselves, and thus to do him harm, as usual; indeed, they had recourse to their peculiar arts, but in vain. He was at first above the head, afterwards under the cerebellum, so that they were unable to ascertain his quality.


He knew not at first where he was, supposing himself to be in the world altogether as if living in the body, for of this impression are all souls recent from the life of the body, inasmuch as they are not then gifted with reflection upon place,


time, the objects of the senses, and the like, of which I have spoken elsewhere, and which would enable them to know that they are in another life, only that they live as it were in the body, and think accordingly.


((When it was afterwards given him to know that he was in the other life, and that he had nothing [of his former possessions], such as house, riches, and the like, but that he was, as it were, in another region, where he was deprived of all that he had in his earthly life, he then began to be affected with a certain anxiety, not knowing whither he should betake himself, where he should dwell, etc., when it was said to him that the Lord alone provided such things for him and for all.


He was then left to his own reflections that he might think, as in the body, what he should do, being now deprived of all things essential to life; and inasmuch as he was now in the society of good spirits and angels, his thoughts were so directed that he should entertain no idea of evil, from which evil spirits could derive a cause of infesting him, and in this state he remained for a very considerable time. Hence it was observed that souls think altogether as they are accustomed to do in the body, and by means of these agencies an exploration was effected, going to show that the spirit in question could be in the society of the good, and that he had been a man who was in faith towards the Lord.))


Then, although evil spirits were disposed continually to infest him, and to draw him into their societies, aiming by their arts to pluck him from the fellowship of the good, yet he was still protected; and it was permitted to these evil spirits to persist in their machinations even to the point of producing in him a certain degree of fear and anguish, as is wont to happen to those who are in faith, that they may think that it is the Lord alone who protects them; for without such a fear and anxiety they would scarcely acknowledge that fact, etc.


He was afterwards transferred to another place, even to the province of the heart, and their good spirits and angels defended and screened him with much solicitous care from the evil, that they might not know where he was. This was committed to angels who were then especially in that solicitude, aiming by every method to defend him, and for that purpose forming, according to spiritual ideas, a kind of guardian circle around him. From the same solicitous care they performed a great many other kind offices in his behalf, from whence it was given to know how the angels defend good souls, and they in like manner are formed to the exercise of a similar compassion.


They also rendered to him every assistance, and whatever he was prompted to wish and long for in his thoughts, that they gave to him, thus everything that entered into the range of his thoughts and desires, for they can give whatever is desired, inasmuch as such things can be represented, and thus can be made to appear to the person altogether as if he possessed them in the world, for the possession of goods in the world is nothing else than imaginary, and when the imagination enjoys them to the full and has them in its eye, then it possesses them as in the world, and is delighted with them.


((Being afterwards left to his own cogitations, he began to reflect how he could be sufficiently grateful for such favors, from which the conclusion was easily drawn that that soul had been led by the Lord, and that almost immediately after death he would come among the celestials. 1748, May 22.))


From the Lord's Prayer which he prayed with me, I perceived that hitherto he had not advanced beyond the literal sense, thus that he prayed in simplicity and faith, and that still his interiors might be immediately opened in the other life. - 1748, May 22.


THAT CRITICS KNOW NOTHING IN COMPARISON WITH OTHERS WHO ARE NOT CRITICS. It has often been shown me that critics, or those most skilled in languages, as the Hebrew, for instance, yea, even those who have constructed lexicons, and been translators of Moses and the prophets, were much less intelligent than those who were not critics; for the weighing of words has the effect of distracting the mind by the various senses assigned, causing it to adhere in bare words; and when such critics have seized upon any particular signification of a word, they hold on to it wholly regardless of the genuine sense, which they impel hither and thither, and urge with violence, in order to make it coincide [with their views]; which, when once the signification of a word is assumed, they are enabled to do in a thousand ways. All this was shown me by a living experience. - 1748, May 22.


It hence results that not only are they less intelligent in regard to spiritual things from their inhering in material ideas or words, but some may even be led astray in dealing with the Word of the Lord, which from the bare words alone they gather some other than the true sense, and defend and distort it from the love of self; for when the signification of a word is assumed, they then torture the sense into accordance with it, which can be done [as before remarked] in a thousand ways. Hence the spiritual ideas that are falsified by being mixed with material ideas, and which in the other life occasion them impediment and detriment, inasmuch as falsities inhere in material ideas, are to be dispersed. - 1748, May 22.


CONCERNING SOULS [PRINCIPLED] IN FAITH, THAT IN THE OTHER LIFE THEY CAN BE AT ONCE PRESENT WITH THE CELESTIALS. The reader may refer to what was said concerning the recent soul above mentioned. He was now among celestial spirits, and could, without delay, make one in the general stream of their discourse, nor was there perceived aught to hinder his advance from anything false inhering in his ideas, nor anything repugnant from the love of self; for there are falsities and selfish and worldly loves which hinder the introduction of souls into celestial associations, as into these no one can be admitted except as he is in certain states, that is, before falsities and cupidities are vastated, and, as it were, worn away; these may be compared to sharp angles which prevent the easy volubility of the gyre in the unanimous discourse of numbers. - 1748, May 22.


WHAT IS SIGNIFIED BY BEING NOTHING. Spirits who did not understand what is implied in its being said that we are to undergo a process of annihilation, or becoming nothing, inasmuch as they supposed that by losing those things which were most peculiarly their own, they would be left so entirely destitute that neither man nor spirit would be intelligently master of himself, but be like a machine, devoid of all sense and reflection - such spirits often said to me that I should be nothing, should become nothing, but in a jesting way, as they did not understand what was implied in being nothing. But it was given me to reply to them that this was what I desired, to wit, to be nothing, yea, absolutely nothing, for then I should first begin to be something.


They were afterwards instructed that by nothing [in this case] was meant that a man should lose all that was his own, that is, his cupidities, and so his iniquities, and thus that he should come to exist as another person, and that they could never be anything until they had lost that which was theirs, and that in proportion as they experienced that loss, or was reduced to nothing, they would begin to be something; and that then they would have whatever they desired or thought, like the soul above mentioned, for it is given to him by the Lord to desire such things as are suitable, and those also he obtains in abundance, enjoying them with delight, and without cessation, so long and so far as he is nothing to himself. On this ground he has indefinite favors granted him, which he enjoys with inmost joy and delight, and with a perception vastly fuller than that of which other men are conscious in the possession of their delights, to say nothing of the boundless variety which attends them. The sensation and perception, which they thought would be extinguished, are infinitely heightened when self-love ceases to be the ruling principle of their delights. Thus instructed, the spirits began to reflect and to desire; and although they were not good, yet they were in a certain species of sleep [in which their evils were in abeyance.] - 1748, May 22.


But when they came into a state of wakefulness, they began to return again to their nature, which was given to the contrivance of subtle deceits, wherefore it was said to me that they could be of such a quality in a state of sleep, but not so well in a state of waking, in which the perceptions and sensations are also awake, and of greater vividness, for they are observant of everything, and are vivid according to the common state of wakefulness and light. - 1748, May 22.


It is remarkable that it can be manifestly known what state they are in from the hearing of their voice when they speak, as, for instance, whether they are more or less in a state of sleep; so, also, whether they are deceitful, ((((which is manifested in the speech itself, although otherwise no deceits are perceived; and this according to the diversities of the ill intent, so that all the affections may, through the loving-kindness of the Lord, be known by the angels from the speech alone, and apart from any special explanation. The speech of the deceitful is tacit, there being in every tone an image of deceit, which is recognized by those to whom the Lord gives to perceive it;)))) and in other things. - 1748, May 22.


((((It may also be known if one spirit who is deceitful prompts another to speak, and whether the deceit belongs properly to him that speaks, or to the other, as nothing is more common among spirits than for one class to speak through another, the latter being made the subject-speakers of the former. These things, and what I have previously said respecting speech, it was given me today to know by lively experience. I had indeed the opportunity of knowing the same things before, but am not aware that I bestowed upon it the same degree of reflection. - 1748, May 22.


In their minutest actions their genius discloses itself, for their most singular things are effigies of themselves. - 1748, May 22.


CONCERNING A SPIRIT WHO WAS DISQUIETED FROM ARDENTLY DESIRING HEAVEN. A spirit like-minded to the one before spoken of, and capable of quite a subtle perception, addressed me on the right side, under the arm, saying that there was nothing he so much longed for as heaven; that he had often desired [the enjoyment of] heaven, but that they were unwilling to admit him; and begging that if I knew by what means he could gain entrance thither, I would inform him. It was given me to say in reply that he could not come into heaven till he had laid aside the cupidity of entering it; for such an engrossing desire, even if he was in the height of felicity, would hinder his perceiving it; and thus he could not enter heaven till he had got rid of that cupidity; and all the more because he did not know what heaven really was, as to which being interrogated, he said that it was a joy and felicity greater than could be expressed; he resembling in this respect the mass of men who have no other than a most general idea of heaven, as being a state of joy; but in what it consists, and what is its nature, they are utterly ignorant. 1748, May 22.


As long as such a cupidity inheres [in man they] can never come into heaven, for if they were even in celestial joy, they would not have a sense and perception of it, by reason of that cupidity; and therefore they would never be content. - 1748, May 22.


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