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

Spiritual Diary


Such then are the deceitful who persuade to compassion, and who have acquired this persuasion in the life of the body. They possess themselves of a place under the occiput, both because they wish to rule in heaven and earth, and because they desire to act covertly, for they were accustomed during life to act in such a manner that men should not detect their stratagems. They speak piously and mercifully with the men whom they deceive, wickedly and deceitfully with each other and within themselves, and live flagitiously. - 1748, October 17.


THAT OBJECTIONS ARE NOT TO BE URGED AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGES OF FAITH. I spoke with spirits concerning those who form objections to the knowledges of faith [remarking] that this is a sign that they will doubt and deny. Wherefore no objections [of this kind] ought to be formed, because they are doubts and denials; for a thousand books may be filled with objections. Consequently confirmations ought to be assumed, which are insinuated. Such are those in heaven, that they love only confirming things, and reject objections. Another reason for this is, that [objections] are innumerable, and scarcely anything can be clearly known, not even in the lowest departments of nature. - 1748, October 17.


CONCERNING FAITH. There are those in the other life, as I have long perceived with myself, who say that faith alone is saving, and who yet do not know what faith is. They suppose it to be a certain looking to the Lord; this is their only idea; thus it is an indeterminate and universal something, which signifies nothing; wherefore no [distinct] idea of it can be had. But faith signifies the universal knowledges and truths of faith, and thus involves the things to be believed, concerning which you may see elsewhere. 3603-1 Without these [knowledges] there is no faith, but the knowledges of faith are faith, because faith is to be had in them, or [in other words] they are to be believed; ideas thus become determinate.


CONCERNING ANGER. I sometimes wondered that when a tumult was heard in the streets, it should suddenly have ceased. But I was instructed, that whenever a tumult occurs, a sphere of anger predominates in the world of spirits, and when it ceases, that that sphere ceases, for everything suddenly becomes tranquil. Hence it was given me to know, that when I was in a state of [surrounding] anger, it was suddenly taken away by the Lord, and immediately there was nothing tumultuous heard in the world, but all things appeared calm. - 1748, October 17.


CONCERNING THE IDEA OF PLACE. I observed that whenever I heard anything, though without seeing it, I still formed an idea of place, as of what kind of place it was; but this was imaginary, because the place was not such, upon which I had no reflection before this was recalled into memory and idea, thus acknowledging that I had fictitiously formed to myself the idea of place. It was also observed that when I had been for some time in one chamber it became familiar to me so that I could then better command my ideas than when in another chamber or place. Thus for example, yesterday, having removed from the chamber where I was sitting to another adjoining room, in which I was accustomed to write, a kind of tranquillity ensued among the [attendant] spirits, though ignorant, as it were, of where I was, at which I wondered. I am now speaking of the fact, that spirits wish to have their ideas connected with place, as unless [the place is] at the same time in their idea, things have a kind of foreign air to them, and they know not, as it were, where they are, so that the idea is not determinate unless it be connected with place. It was moreover observed that one place has a preference [in their esteem] over another, especially from the vicinity of spirits who seem to themselves to be conversant there, as might be abundantly confirmed by facts, besides that the same effect is produced by the presence of men who are near, and in the house; so that in fact such things exist [with us here] as [do] in the world of spirits; upon which, [however], because they become of such every day and familiar occurrence, man does not reflect; yet he derives [all] his causes from the world of spirits. -l748, October 17. The ground of all this is, that the idea is not finited [or fixed] without space, or which is the same thing, without structure [or form]. They drew back the foot when thinking of places, a kind of sign that places and material things served as fulcra on which [their thoughts] stand.


CONCERNING THE INTERIORS OF THE WORD, [AND] HOW THEY ARE TO BE EXPLAINED. There was a representation made to me in sleep by means of a number of sacks of money, in which was contained a vast quantity of silver, that was buried, some in a lower and some in a higher place, so exposed that anyone could plunder the treasure, as the sacks were not tied. The place was then explored where [the sacks] were concealed, which was a manger in a stable, by which was signified the human intellectual. But that was an unsuitable place, signifying that the human intellect ought not to have a part in explaining the interior things of the Word. I then went into a small arched room [or saloon] where it seemed at first that it would have been pleasant for me to dwell. There were modest virgins there, with a modest wife, signifying that these things were not to be expounded, as is usually done by preachers, with a view to excite the affections, for thus not much [besides the declamation] remains. Afterwards I was in a place of ample extent, where were two little children with which I wished to sport, signifying that it was proper to engage myself with them, but not to sport in an infantile manner. There then came out of the saloon a most dissolute maiden among the fairer ones, who would fain have prevailed upon me by force; and when I was in the act of flying, I awoke, and saw the carcass of a horse, signifying that human eloquence was not to be cultivated, which appears as a beautiful virgin but because she was a harlot breaking out from such a saloon, she appeared to me to be such as was the black carcass of the horse. These things were represented by spirits, and therefore not as a pastime. I recollect also that I was in a place where were sacks of silver, and two persons sitting upon them, of whom one was obscure, and very plainly dressed, signifying that such is the sense of the letter, while its interior things are stored away in the sacks. - 1748, October l8. But these things were represented by spirits, and with a view to favor them on account of their worthy aim, they are here inserted. 3605-1 CONCERNING THE QUALITY OF THE PHANTASIES OF THE DECEITFUL GENII. 3605-2 A deceitful genius was with me behind for the space, I think of a whole day, -the same who had moved others to compassion in his behalf when yet he regarded himself alone. His phantasies, when he came into another sphere, were represented by serpents.


IN WHAT MANNER FILTHY IDEAS PUNISH THOSE WHO ENTERTAIN THEM. Filthy ideas which were represented by spirits, and appeared representatively, while not flowing from any special effort on their part to render them such, are not here treated of; but there were other obscene spirits who dwell intently on these things with the express purpose of imprinting [on their minds] the idea of something foul and filthy. It then appeared to me that that idea, because it was [the fruit of] their filthy phantasy [proceeding] from themselves, though at first somewhat separate, yet because flowing from themselves, was [actually] in them, and thus by consequence [was formed] according to them and according to their defiled conception. They therefore appeared to themselves to be of the same quality [with their idea], for an idea is the image of him who produces it. Thus they appeared to themselves such as they were; and in that manner were punished from themselves for being what they were; wherefore a foul idea from phantasy carries with it the punishment of a representation like himself to him who forms it. - 1748, October 18.


THAT THE CELESTIAL GYRES CAN NEVER BE UNDERSTOOD. Spirits who are prompted to inquire into the nature of the celestial gyres, if they do not succeed in comprehending it, are prone to doubt and deny, as they are accustomed to do in regard to every subject which they do not understand. That the celestial gyres are never intelligible, as how [for instance] the thoughts, endeavors, and forces flow, was shown by the courses [fluctiones] of the fibers in our bodies, which it is impossible to trace, as in what manner they proceed [or flow] from their principles or cortical substances, how they attach themselves to the cerebrum, which has the appearance of a mass of jelly, and upon inspection resemble a series of knots, how they are intertwined with the fibers of the medulla oblongata, how with the fibers of the cerebellum, how they are united in the medulla spinalis, and then fill themselves with its fibers; how they afterwards arrange themselves in knots or ganglia, how they thence issue forth united or separate, how they anatomize with each other, and thus unite or separate, how they come into pluriform junctions, and thence flow into the viscera, and how they act in each of the viscera themselves; - since no one can understand how the fact is in regard to these matters, in things corporeal and of a gross nature, how [can the truth be grasped] as to those which exist in the world of spirits, [considered] as to the forms, influxes and effluxes, of thoughts and endeavors? The fibers represent spiritual things, the principles of the fibers, which lie under the cortical substances, represent things celestial, in which there are forms still more indefinite [or numerous]. Wherefore it is to be confessed, that since scarcely anything can be known, upon investigation, on these subjects, there is very little reason why anyone, from mere ignorance, should doubt respecting the things that are of faith. - 1748, October 18.


THAT THE IDEAS OF SPIRITS ARE BOUND TO PLACE AND THE THINGS OF PLACE. Upon my conveying myself into an adjoining chamber, from whence I was to pass back into the former, it immediately seemed to me as if a solitude had been created, and the spirits had withdrawn from me, when yet they were present in the adjacent room, where were my books and other things, which they had seen. Hence it may be inferred that such things are in the ideas of spirits; in those of some, the things pertaining to books, in those of others, the things pertaining to utensils, in those of others the things of light, fire, and other matters connected with these, so that when they were left, and were not seen in the other chamber, they seemed themselves to have disappeared; for they are present according to their ideas, to which, if such objects are wanting, they seem themselves to withdraw.


The case was the same when I put on a garment different from that which I had worn for several months; I then seemed to them so much like another person, that they scarcely knew me. Hence an inference may be drawn respecting the ideas and genius of spirits. - 1748, October 18.


It hence appears that the ideas of spirits are terminated in material things, the ultimates of order, upon the removal of which they know not where they are, and disappear before they have fixed their ideas in other material objects. Thus also in regard to the Word of the Lord, and this in like manner with the angels [acting] through spirits.


THE QUALITY OF THOSE GIVEN TO REASONING. They who are addicted to reasoning are those who doubt and deny. It was perceived that they are persons of levity, suffering themselves to be led one way and another. They were thus represented in a nocturnal half-waking vision, and appeared as women wandering about through outer regions, concerning whom it is usually believed that such are distinguished for levity [leves sunt], as also that they are adulterous, or easily ensnared into adultery, of which [some] complained [respecting them]. But it was said to them that if they did not actually commit adultery or lewdness, yet they were prone to it upon suitable occasions, and when external bonds did not restrain. They were resembled in the first instance to oyster shells, containing nothing inside, being mere shells; but an oyster soft and fat within signifies things that are natural, by which spiritual and celestial things are well confirmed.


Such moreover strike a pain into the left side of my head, forming there, as it were, hard knots; thus they are those also who incrust the brain. When it was given me by the Lord not to regard such objections or to admit them, then I perceived a pain in the nerves of the left [side of the] neck, so that I could scarcely turn my head, by reason of the pain [arising from] the hardness of the nerve. The cause of this was, that the reasoners were unwilling to be present, but began to recede, as they also said. - 1748, October 18.


THAT THINGS MORE OBSCURE THAN FORMERLY PREVAIL IN CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES. Various obscenities were represented to me by many spirits that were above me, and it was said that they were from countries where Christians dwell, signifying, that they are obscene as to sexual matters, and that such are multiplied at this day in those countries more than formerly; for as vice increases [on earth], it is manifestly perceived in the other life, whither all come [after death]. There are obscenities of thought, of discourse, and of life causing matrimonies to grow vile, though they are yet kept up for the sake of the propagation of the human race. It was then said that the lower parts of the earth [i. e. the lower orders of men] abound at this day with such evils. - 1748, October 19.


THOSE WHO DO NOT ADMIT OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGES OF FAITH ARE KEPT SECURE FROM EVIL SPIRITS. [Certain] spirits complained that they could no longer be present, because as long as anyone remained [firm] in the knowledges of faith, he was not allowed to admit objections. They said therefore that they had no means of leading them, affirming also that it was through this medium that they seduced them; that by the force of a single objection all confirming truths, however numerous, were rendered of no effect; for man is so borne on by his cupidities, which produce phantasies, that they willingly admit objections, of which a single one then becomes stronger with them than a thousand confirmations. Wherefore that a man be true, or in true faith, he ought to be in the opposite state, so that one truth may prevail over a thousand or ten thousand objections; thus evil spirits will flee, for they cannot live in such a sphere. - 1748, October 19.


WHAT ACTUAL EVIL IS. I was informed, that actual evil is not only that which a man has acquired to himself by acts, but also by thoughts without acts; for if external bonds had not prevented, he would, from cupidity confirmed by reasonings, and in reasoning from cupidity, have voluntarily, and without conscience, rushed into evil. An interior bond which restrains man from actual evil, is that which induces him to think, that if he commits evil he shall lose the happiness of eternal life, which he expects and the desire to be chief in heaven is also a bond which restrains him; but this bond is not to be confounded with conscience, which, when it is true, cannot be given without love towards the neighbor, so that a man prefers his neighbor's interests to his own, and this love cannot exist without faith in the Lord. Genuine conscience is given by the Lord through the knowledges of a true faith, thus from genuine faith. This [is said] in the presence of angelic spirits. - 1748, October 19.


CONCERNING THE INTERNAL MAN. When writing, concerning spirits who were ignorant that an internal man is given, I was intellectually informed, and it was afterwards said in conversing with spirits that it was wonderful that man did not know that there is an internal man, when every day he might, upon reflection, experimentally know that he bears himself differently in gesture, look, and word, from what he inwardly thinks, thus that he separates his exteriors from his interiors, and thus appears double, especially when his interiors are deceitful, consequently that he is one interiorly and another exteriorly, on account of this separation. Hence it may appear that an interior man is given, separate from the external or corporeal, which, if one thinks it to be thought only, could not be separated from the external or corporeal, which, if one thinks it to be thought only, could not be separated from the external, unless it were something real. But because they do not reflect, but abide in externals, they do not know [the truth], and are less deceitful compared with others. Moreover, they could observe that good separates itself from evil; that one, for instance, thinks that a certain thing is not to be done, thus that good in this way extinguishes the evil of thought, consequently that there is something still more interior which fights with the thought. - 1748, October 19.


THAT THERE ARE FRUITS OF FAITH IN THE OTHER LIFE. When writing concerning good works, that good works are not necessary to salvation, according to the declarations of some, and that faith without works saves - a position contrary to the Lord's Word, who said that a tree is to be known by its fruit - those who were in the persuasion, that faith alone, without good works or the fruits of faith, saved, drew a number of inferences, especially that in the other life good works or the fruits of faith are not given, inasmuch as they are then in eternal felicity. But it was shown them that in the other life good works or the fruits of faith pre-eminently exist; that, for instance, there could be no felicity in simple repose; in being in societies, and having mutual love, and thence deriving their felicity, so that each should have the felicity of others set over to his own account. Such a life would be without use or end, and therefore not an active life, which is a life of love; but they there pre-eminently show forth good works or the fruits of faith, as they perceive nothing more blessed than to gather spirits from the life of the body, to inform and teach them, nay to revive those who are at the point of death, concerning whom before; then that they may minister to men and control the spirits that are with them, and prevent their going beyond proper bounds, and also that they may inspire good into men; lastly that they may resuscitate the dead. In these things [good spirits] have their highest felicity from the Lord, thus also heaven and the angels, so that they love the neighbor better than themselves. - 1748, October 19: thus they are images of the Lord.


CONCERNING IMPURE AND FILTHY WATER. A certain spirit, in the life of the body, had contracted the persuasion, that after death, he should have a sweet sleep - even to the day of judgment. Hence, also, in the other life, from that persuasion he had contracted an external genius of such a nature, that he could induce upon any body a sweet sleep, - for a persuasion contracted in the life of the body has this peculiarity, - that a man can act from his persuasion, and the means of so doing are immediately present with him, although he is not aware whence the means come. He then so dexterously induced a sleep upon the spirits, who were about me, that they fell, one after another, into sleep; he also tried the same thing with me, from which I could perceive whence the soporiferous power came. He said that he had done no evil, because, as he stated, he only wished to induce upon others a sweet sleep; but, because it was from artifice, he was told, that it was not permitted. Nevertheless he continued to do so, for he perceived a kind of self-glory, hence arising, because he was enabled to act in this manner to other spirits. Although he said, that he did nothing but good to them, but because he did it for the sake of his own glory, and thus appeared to have dominion over other spirits, and as he afterwards exercised the same artifice from habit, there appeared to me filthy water, to which such a state of self-glory, and hence, of dominion over others, is compared [or corresponds].


When I was in a state of sleep, and also in a middle state, between sleeping and waking, a certain spirit wished that I should observe and write down those things which were in my mind, and it appeared pleasing to him, that they should be written; but it was also perceived, on account of his own self glory; wherefore filthy water was also seen to flow out of a certain canal, whence it was perceived that foul and filthy water corresponds to that state in which a person is when he acts on account of his own glory and renown. - 1748, October 20.


HOW MUCH OF CUPIDITY SOME RECEIVE FROM COMBATS. Beholding some boys engaged in fighting and blows, I perceived a very high degree of delight flowing in from certain spirits, from which it was apparent how much they love the enmities of one towards another; for the quality of spirits it is given me immediately to perceive by certain [peculiar] modes, and that influences flow from them which it is not given to others to perceive who think everything is of their own motion, and not excited by spirits.


Thence also it was apparent, how boys are forthwith trained to such hatreds as to become incapable of looking at each other with a pleasant countenance. Thus too it is evident of what quality such boys, even very young ones, will be in the other life, where mutual love reigns. - 1748, October 20.


THAT THE EVIL CANNOT SEE WHAT EVIL IS, OR WHAT GOOD IS. It was permitted to inquire of deceitful and evil spirits, if they knew what evil is, to which they were not able to reply; for it was perceived, that they do not think the evil which is in them to be evil, but good, because they prefer themselves to all, and place all good in the love of self and the love of the world, and do not consider it as evil; wherefore they cannot see evil, thinking that whatever is in them is good. They were asked whether they knew what good is; nor could they reply to this, for they think, that what is truly good is evil, wherefore they persecute good. It was perceived that good cannot be seen from evil; but that from good, because from the Lord, may be seen both what is good and what is evil. Hence it was concluded, that although such spirits think themselves wiser than others, they, nevertheless, know nothing. - 1748, October 20.


THAT DELIGHTS AND PLEASURES ARE BY NO MEANS DENIED TO MAN. Some think, that they who are in the faith, should remove from themselves all the delights of life, and all the pleasures of the body: but this I can assert, that delights and pleasures have never been denied to me; for I have been permitted to enjoy not only the pleasures of the body and the senses, like those who live [in the world], but I have also been permitted to enjoy such delights and felicities of life, as, I believe, no persons in the whole world ever before enjoyed, which were greater and more exquisite than any person could imagine and believe. - 1748, October 20.


REFLECTIONS OF THOUGHT. It is well known that by means of reflections we may learn the things pertaining to the body, as how the eye sees, the ear hears, the nose smells, the tongue tastes, and the touch perceives the diversities of body, for without reflection nothing is perceived, as is the case with those in a state of abstraction, whose body is almost as insensible as in sleep. But reflections of thoughts are given, which have very often been observed by me, but have not been described, because it was not thus given previously to reflect upon them. There are various objects of thoughts, in which, while a man is held, or his reflection is kept fixed upon them by spirits, they occasion much disturbance, as experience abundantly teaches respecting those things which are at present his own, or which may happen hereafter. As often as it was given me to think of my garden, of him who had the care of it, of my being called home, of money matters, of the state of the minds of those that were known to me, of the state or character of those in my house, of the things that I was to write, especially how they would be received by others, and the probability that they would not be understood, of new garments that were to be obtained, and various other things of this kind whenever I was held for some time in this kind of reflection, spirits would immediately throw in inconvenient, troublesome, and evil suggestions, together with confirmations and cupidities; and it was observed that when I had not been in the thought of such things for months or years, I had no care about them still less did they give trouble. These are the reflections of thought, in which whoever is detained he is the more infested by evil spirits the longer the reflection is continued.


Hence arises the melancholy of many persons, hence debilitated minds, hence the deliriums of many men, hence too insanities and phantasies; for those who are engrossed in thought concerning spiritual things, concerning the life after death, concerning misfortunes, into such persons spirits, from their own proprium, infuse many things which are of memory, and hold them a long time presented, even till they occasion insanities and phantasies. Wherefore those who affect a solitary kind of life are especially prone to fall into such things, for they are dispelled by varieties, and thus by [mingling with] societies. Still more does this arise from the solicitude of self-love, and more yet from the love of gain, and a pondering upon the future, and especially if any signal misfortune comes into the account, so much the more are they driven into phantasies, and at length into insanities.


Some persons are led by spirits to that degree, that they cannot return to what is true, but their phantasies have become so deeply rooted, that as often as they fall into those thoughts, they are so completely absorbed in them that they cannot be dispelled by change of circumstances, but they remain in the persuasion that things are as they imagine, and themselves also. When cases of this kind are obvious to the world, they are called open insanities, for from such insanity or phantasy they do not suffer themselves to be recovered, though apparently sane on all other subjects, as many insane persons are. It is a particular species of insanity, like that of a couple of men at Helm, one of whom carries about written papers, the other supposed himself to be a bird; though there are many of this character who are not generally regarded as such. All phantasies respecting spiritual things derive their origin from this source, and which prevail so far as they have induced persuasions.


There are spirits of such a quality - which is remarkable - that while a man thinks himself in another city, and to be walking there, while he deems himself to be out of himself, and his image is thus represented; while he thinks, or, as it were, dreams of a fact of this kind, then the spirits, who are still more without reflection, think the fact to be altogether so and that they are in the city; yea, they have closely followed my image, not knowing but that it was I myself. Thus too in other things which in like manner enter a man's thoughts, they, from being but little in reflection, imbibe the phantasy that things are really so [as one imagines], as in the case of the insane man of Helm, who is like a spirit when in phantasy, thinking himself to be a son-in-law of the king; for spirits do not know otherwise than that he is, being of themselves to such a degree insane; but so far as reflection is given them, they may be restrained from their insanity; but not so with man; he can think such things, but still he knows the fact not to be so, as, for instance, [he knows] that he is not walking in another city; and so of many other things.


Therefore the Lord alone makes provision that man may not come into such insanities, and thence into innumerable phantasies; and in order to prevent this, He commands that we shall have no care for the morrow, for this is what is signified by having care for the morrow. Those, therefore, who are in such conceits, and strongly inclined to them, can by no means be drawn out of them, except by faith in the Lord. Those who are in faith are liberated by the Lord, however infested by spirits, and this by innumerable methods, both external and internal. - 1748, October 21.


CONCERNING A FLAMY APPEARANCE BEFORE THE EYES. There suddenly fell a large flaming something before my eye, which it dazzled in a manner that cannot be described. It was so resplendent as not only to dazzle the [outward] eye, but the interior sight also, which I now clearly perceive, for I fell at once into a state of wonder whence such a brightness could proceed. Presently there was perceived something obscure, like an obscure cloud, but in which there was something terrene. I perceived that this came from the Lord, through heaven, in order that it might appear how great is the wisdom of angels compared with the intelligence of inferior spirits, which are respectively as this intense celestial flame and that [terrene] obscurity to each other. Wherefore the difference is such as cannot be described. Thus are all and each of the things of the angelic heaven, not the wisdom only [in general], but each particular of the wisdom, so also the speech, the felicity, and everything else. This was several times perceived before by the influx into me of the interior angels, of which I was only sensible by [feeling] something approaching to cold.


How curious spirits are may also hence appear, for many societies of spirits sent subjects to me, and very solicitously inquired what was signified by that flaming celestial appearance. They were not content when informed that it signified what I have just said; for there was then a vast number of societies around me, so that I perceived myself in fellowship with a multitude who observed that something flaming of this kind had been conveyed to me. -l748, October 21.


THAT THE SPEECH OF INTERIOR SPIRITS COULD NOT BE COMMUNICATED TO ME WITHOUT SUBJECTS. It was shown in a variety of ways that the speech and thought of interior spirits could not reach me without subjects, for they conversed with me both with subjects and without. When without subjects, there was a kind of undulation wafted to my ears, as of a number speaking, but of what they said not a word was understood, though I was informed that they were in manifest speech and thought, and that on their part they were entirely distinct, nor was theirs a perception in common for I attended closely to observe whether the influx was one of common [thoughts and words]; but by means of intermediate subjects I perceived and heard what they said and thought.


The nature of subjects is such, that when many design to speak through one, a subject is immediately made, - which it was given to know from this, that when I said to a subject that others spoke through him, and my regard was directed towards them, then one of them was immediately constituted a subject of others, who was indignant that he was thus let down into a lower sphere, and that the whole society should now speak through him. Subjects are thus made among interior spirits, and whenever others concentrate their thoughts upon one of their number, he comes into the world of inferior spirits.


Whoever is a subject, inasmuch as he supposes that he speaks from himself supposes also that those who speak through him are nothing - that they do not even think - while they that speak through him, or the interior [spirits], suppose him also, through whom they speak, to be nothing; which was evinced to me by the case of one who was a subject, and who said that they were nothing. In reflecting upon this it was said and perceived, and perhaps also made a topic of conversation, that the interior [spirits] thought in like manner of the subject himself, that he was nothing. Hence it appears how it should happen that every spirit imagines that he lives and thinks, and thus is the man [in whom he acts] while he knows so little of the man that he is not even aware that he is anything distinct from himself. Thus men walk about as machines; they are nothing in the eyes of spirits; and if they know one to be a man, and also a spirit, they would still look upon him as an inanimate machine, while the man all the time supposes himself to be living and thinking, and the spirit to be nothing.


Wherefore, unless the Lord saw the man to be something, the whole world of spirits would see him as nothing, and even if something, yet still as something inanimate, as they have often thought concerning me. - 1748, October 21.


THAT THE OBJECTS OF SIGHT AND HELPING ARE THE VARIATIONS OF VESSELS. As the life of the Lord flows into heaven and into the world of spirits, thus into the thoughts of man, and yet it appears, notwithstanding, that the objects of sight and hearing flow into the thoughts, and thus external things [in general], in order that I might be made acquainted with the actual fact in the matter, and [be convinced] that this flowing in of external things into the thoughts is a fallacy, it was given me to perceive, that the objects of sight, and also of hearing, produce no other effect than variously to dispose the interior vessels which are of the lower thought; as according to the quality of these vessels such is the reception of the ideas of spirits which flow in, for the vessels receive influx according to their forms, and therefore according as they are disposed by objects, even when it so happens that ideas are turned into what is contrary. Thence it is that those who are in a common idea, apply to themselves all the particulars, and thus draw themselves away from the common idea, and apparently lead the particulars to that point. This is evident from innumerable testimonies; and that it might be still more palpable, a spirit spoke with me, in order to my more fully apprehending the truth. It was then given obscurely to apperceive it, but inasmuch as a fallacy of the senses prevails from the [apparent] flowing of objects into the thoughts, I could gain no more distinct knowledge on the point than is stated above. I perceived that spirits who are in that fallacy persist in it. -l748, October 21.


CONCERNING THE RAINBOW. There appeared to me very beautiful rainbows, as on former occasions, but still more beautiful, with a light of the purest white, in the center of which was an obscure earthy something; but that most lucid snow-white appearance was beautifully varied by another lucidity, and was thus discriminated as also by little yellowish points like small stars, besides other beautiful variations, and, if I rightly recollect, with flowers of different colors round about, and entering into the most lucid part. This was exhibited before the left eye. On the right were exceedingly beautiful representations, distinguished by the blue and its various related colors, because the right eye represents affections, and they derive colors not from a white lucidity, but from that which is flamy. - 1748, October 21.


THAT A MAN CAN PERCEIVE FROM HIMSELF THE [NATURE AND] QUALITY OF SPIRITS. A man who reflects upon the common [or general] things of his thought, and who had not previously formed to himself ideas from corporeal things, may understand of what quality the world of spirits is; namely, [if he considers] that a speech of words is given, to which a man in speaking or hearing does not attend, but [only] to the sense of the words. His interior man is in this sphere; it is a sense of words, which obviously consists of ideas only, for in speaking he attends not at all to the words, but only to the sense of the words, which flow, as it were, spontaneously. This sense of words consists of ideas; without ideas no sense can be given. In this speech are the lower spirits among themselves, and then they know no otherwise than that they speak by words, when yet it is by ideas. Such man also becomes when he becomes a spirit, and such is then his speech. When man thinks, he himself knows not but that it is by words of speech, when yet it is by ideas, as everyone may be sensible if he reflects. Ideas afterwards flow of their own accord into whatever speech he is skilled in. That thought therefore is from ideas, which fall into the vocal speech of the man with whom they [spirits?] are, or with whom they speak. Wherefore the speech of spirits is universal, as is that of the thought of man unattended by vocal utterance.


That there is, moreover, this interior thought, a man may be still further convinced, upon reflection; for whatever he thinks and has in the sense of his speech, is from an end and for an end. Those who think have an end from which and on account of which [they think], and this end directs their thoughts, though with the evil it does not disclose itself in the speech of words. As therefore there is such a directing power over the thoughts, and this may be known to everyone, it may plainly appear that such thought is interior, and governs the inferior [i. e. the exterior]. The deceitful are pre-eminently in such thought, for they more manifestly think from ends and on account of ends, and rarely divulge their thought, for which reason it acquires more strength within, and is obviously augmented.


Now because man is ruled by the Lord through the world of spirits, and cannot live except in society with spirits since otherwise he could have no connection with the Grand Man, nor consequently could good and truth be communicated to him from the Lord, thus he could not think from heaven, nor be rational, or a man - hence it appears, that the world of spirits is such in the greatest form, as is the individual man in particular. - 1748, October 21.


The evil who are in an interior sphere, cannot be inspected by the angels, for they are thus turned into serpents, and various horrid insects [or reptiles], wherefore they have none but an external communication with heaven or with the Grand Man. They are ruled from the Lord by an influx of externals, which external is much the same as the intellectual of man, and that this is external we have already observed elsewhere; wherefore heaven is closed to them. Hence also it may appear that their ideas are such as I have sometimes noticed, both in a state of wakefulness and of sleep, that is, ideas bound, as it were, to various objects. Thus they are phantasies which cannot be described, for, without experience, they transcend the conception of man; and they are bound, indeed, to things filthy and obscene; thus they think like persons insane and raving, knowing nothing what they think, thus [enveloped] in darkness. Such are the principles of the thoughts of evil spirits of an inferior sphere; but yet, like those above the head, they are held in bonds, so that nothing may flow in from them, except what is permitted. From the deceitful, and still more from the extremely deceitful, they [being liable to their influence] are entirely removed, so that they may not be able to communicate except very remotely. - 1748, October 21.


It is otherwise with the angelic spirits. They, inasmuch as they are in the Grand Man, perceive and think from an interior ground, when heaven is opened to them; wherefore also their ideas are most beautiful and delightful representations, and [being conjoined] with wisdom and intelligence, they are in the [clearest] light. - 1748, October 21.


THAT MEN ARE KEPT IN THE SOCIETY OF SPIRITS. All men whatever are kept, through the medium of subjects, in some society of spirits - apart from which one could not live - and that too in a society suited to the nature of each; so that if we suppose a thousand men at once, each one of them is kept in his own society. And as there are common principles [communia] of all things, so also of societies, of which a commune [communis] embraces a number [of single societies]. Between these there is a communication according to the Lord's disposal; thus each man [is placed] in a common society according to his nature, or according to the nature of that principle which there prevails; in others according to the varieties of his life. To these societies there exist opposites, for the equilibrium of all things is sustained by opposites, as experience has abundantly proved.


That the evil and deceitful communicate their ideas before they know who are there, and how many; and that all are kept to a certain end, and thus conjoined - for evil ends also conjoin, whereas if they should know in the other life their associates, and were not held to common ends, one would rush upon another, as everyone wishes to domineer over another, and to destroy another - [all] this was perceived. - 1748, October 21. 3642-1


In what manner many [spirits] thinking diversely from each other are made to think alike, was illustrated - as it was also said to spirits - from the case of one speaking, for instance, in great meetings and in churches, who would hold many in the thought of the things which he utters, and then everyone thinks similarly, and can discourse with others concerning the same topics. This [was said] solely for the sake of illustration, for thus the spirits perceived it better.


CONCERNING DISTANCE IN THE OTHER LIFE. Spirits began to doubt whether it were a fallacy or an appearance, that spirits seemed to be present about the body, at the right, the left, close by, within, c., thinking [but not being sure] that such was their real position. But it was by thought answered them, that it is thought which conjoins; for to thought there is neither place nor distance, as neither is there to sight, except from objects interposed. What effect thought produces in the other life may appear from ideas, which conjoin, whence arise societies of similars; and also from phantasies, since a phantasy can cause one to appear above when he is below, and below when he is above, and so on - what thought alone does not do - according to the quality of anyone, for places are allotted in the other life by the Divine disposition according to the nature and genius of each. Wherefore when thought is perverted, or is perverse, one appears to himself to be elsewhere [than where he is] which is then a fallacy; but when the place is constant to them, it is an appearance. - 1748, October 21.


THAT IN THE WORLD OF SPIRITS EVERYONE THINKS ANOTHER TO BE NOTHING. Whatever spirits speak by a subject, they each one of them think the subject to be nothing, but that it is he himself who speaks through him. The subject [on the other hand] thinks it to be himself who speaks, and those who speak through him to be nothing. In this light everyone in a society of evil spirits views another, because they are in a similar idea, each one considering it to be himself who thinks. Wherefore it was given to ask them, when they resented, as they usually do, the idea of being nothing, whether they now thought another to be nothing, and those that were questioned replied that they thought the subjects to be nothing; and when he who answered was himself made a subject, and others were interrogated respecting him, they said he was nothing, for they thought themselves to be everything. Thus it could be followed up from one to another, and everyone, while he deemed himself everything, was accounted as nothing by the others. Wherefore it was inquired of them why they were so indignant, when others said of them what they said of others, and when the whole multitude of evil spirits said of their companions that they were nothing, thus each of all the rest, that compared with themselves they were nothing? In view of all this, since the fallacy was such, were they not all nothing in comparison with the Lord, who alone is life? -l748, October 21.


CONCERNING A MOST RESPLENDENT WHITENESS. There appeared something resplendently white, resembling in a degree a flame of fire, but not such as is caused by a wood fire in a chimney, which comparatively obscure; and by it was signified the quality of the intelligence of the angels compared with that of the inferior spirits. The obscure of the chimney is comparatively the intelligence of the lower order of spirits, and according to the intelligence are all the things pertaining to intelligence. Such a lucid appearance darting forth like a flame of the purest white, signifies what is spiritual; when of the [reddish] flaming hue before described, that which is celestial. It was said also that the light with the angels is such, or that they live in such a light, and mutually behold each other in it as in the brightest day - a light in comparison with which the light of the earth from the sun is nothing; for as the light of a candle is extinguished by the intense light of the sun, and disappears, so the meridian light of the sun is eclipsed by this; wherefore the light of the sun is comparatively shade; and as it is with the light, so also with everything that is said of the light, that is, of their intelligence. - 1748, October 22.


CONCERNING HOLINESS [De Sanctitatibus]. There was a certain spirit among the deceitful or the sirens, elevated somewhat high above the head. That he was a novitiate was observed from the character of his deceit, which was greater and more intense than that of the rest, for he followed my thoughts and representations, to which he endeavored to add his own, which were of adultery, and that, as appeared to me, in a very subtle manner. I thence learned that he was a fresh deceiver in their ranks, wherefore it was given me to inspect those who seemed to themselves to be on high, and for this reason appeared small to themselves, as they also did to me, for one phantasy, produces another. When the person above mentioned was detected, they wished him to withdraw from their fellowship; for they were fearful for themselves lest they should be cast down; but they could not [effect his removal], for he appeared in the midst of them, small [like themselves], and surrounded with a sphere of holiness, like that which is seen in their temples, where the Lord is thus represented in pictures, encompassed with rays of light. Hence it may appear that he was of such a quality as to boast himself of being the Lord on earth, thus that he had been a pontiff.


Such being his quality, I conversed with him on various topics, as concerning Peter and his keys, which he thought he had; and so exceedingly gross were his ideas respecting these keys, that he had represented [to himself] as it were a gate leading into heaven to which he applied a key in order to open it. He said that the keys were given him by Peter, and that he would open it gratis to the poor, but as to the rich they would be estimated [and dealt with] according to their ability to give; for that they should give was a holy duty. Being asked whether he believed that those whom he introduced would remain there, he said that this he did not know; if they did not, they might go out. Moreover he wished to humble himself saying that he was nothing, because they [are accustomed to] call themselves the servants of servants, when yet, as I think was said to them at the time, they arrogate to themselves all power.


It was moreover said, that they could not know whether those whom they admitted were worthy, as they might be robbers, and those destined [by their life] to hell; but he replied that this did not at all concern him; if they were not worthy they might be cast out. As to what is to be understood by the keys of Peter, it was given to say to him, that faith was signified by Peter, and because none but the Lord gives faith, thus the Lord alone admits to heaven, and Peter does not now appear [in the matter]. But he insisted, saying that no one can ever come from the earth into heaven, unless the Lord grants the power to some man of admitting him.


Concerning the Lord, whom he called Christ, he had no other opinion than that he is to be worshipped, in so far as it is he who confers upon them that power, but if he were considered as not conferring it, I perceived that he would not be worshipped, so that everything had reference to their being able to exercise that power on earth under the person [or in the name] of the Lord. When I farther spoke with him concerning interior things, that they flowed into exterior, he had an idea of that influx so filthy as to be almost excrementitious. Such are they who are of the pontifical rank and are reverenced on earth as the highest in the doctrine of faith.


He said, farther, that he believed he was holy from his nativity, and that one made pontiff ought to be born thus holy; this idea he had contracted from their being called [each his] holiness.


3603-1 Swedenborg here supposes himself to have readers of what he writes, and consequently we must infer that as he wrote his Diary [now called Spiritual Experiences] to be read, he wrote it also to be published. -Tr.

3605-1 The incidents narrated in the above article are thus given in the SS no. 26: "To prevent any person from entering into the spiritual sense, and perverting the genuine truth which belongs to that sense, there are guards set by the Lord, which are signified in the Word by the cherubs. This was made known to me by the following representation: It was given to me to see great purses which had the appearance of bags, in which was stored up money in great abundance and as they were open, it seemed as if anyone might take out, yea, steal away, the money therein deposited: but near those two purses sat two angels, as guards. The place where they laid appeared like a manger in a stable. In a neighboring apartment were seen modest virgins with a chaste wife; and near that apartment stood two infants, and information was given, that they were to be treated in their sports, not in a childish way, but according to wisdom. Afterwards there appeared a harlot and lastly, a horse lying dead. On seeing these things I was instructed, that thereby was represented the literal sense of the Word, in which is contained the spiritual sense. Those large purses full of money signified the knowledges of truth in great abundance. Their being open, and yet guarded by angels, signified, that anyone might take thence the knowledges of truth, but that there was need of caution lest he should falsify the spiritual sense, in which are naked truths. The manger in the stable, in which the purses lay, signified spiritual instruction for the understanding this is the signification of a manger, because a horse that feeds there signifies understanding. The modest virgins who were seen in a neighboring apartment, signified the affections of truth: and the chaste wife signified the conjunction of goodness and truth. The infants signified the innocence of wisdom therein; they were angels from the third heaven, who all appear as infants. The harlot with the dead horse, signified the falsification of the Word by many at this day, whereby all understanding of the Word is destroyed; a harlot signifies falsification, and a dead horse signifies the non-understanding of truth." Compare AR 255, and TCR 277.

3605-2 For an account of the spirits termed Genii, see AC 5035.

3642-1 As we have great doubt as to the true rendering of this section, we subjoin the original that the competent reader may have the means of better satisfying himself. "Quod mali et dolosi communicent suas ideas, praeter quod sciant, quinam ibi, et quot sunt, et quod ad certum finum teneanter omnes, ita conjuncti, nam mali fines quoque conjungunt, at si scirent in altera vita socios, et non detinerentur ad fines communes, rueret unus in alterum, nam quisque imperare alteri, destruere alterum cupit: hoc perceptum.

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