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

Spiritual Diary


When awakened I reflected upon that state of wakefulness and desired to come into it; for it is thus that the interior man is governed of the Lord.


CONCERNING PROVIDENCE AND MIRACLES. It was perceived, and conversation had on the subject with those in the other life, that man can never be made better and receive faith, or be confirmed in faith, if he obtains what he desires, and knows how everything is; but that all things ought to be contrary to his cupidities, and contrary to his thoughts, and yet he is to believe that the Lord rules in all and single things. Unless man is so held and so believes, when things occur contrary to his opinion and his cupidity, he can never receive faith and be confirmed in it; acting on any other principle, if the slightest thing occurs not in agreement with his cupidity or opinion, he begins to doubt and deny. This was perceived and made the theme of conversation with those in the other life. - 1749, May 4.


CONCERNING THE INSTINCT OF SPIRITS AND THEIR MEMORY; ALSO CONCERNING LOVE. Spirits have not the memory of material things [particularium], but another interior memory, which [in the present life] is imperceptible. They have a certain instinct of such a quality that they desire and covet this thing or that according to their nature and state, and when they thus desire and covet, everything suitable and agreeable to it in man's memory is excited; such is their influx. It hence appears that all life is from cupidity, even that of the intellectuals, and thus from love, for this, be its quality what it may, excites the intellectual faculties, which manifest themselves conformably; this I have learned from the ample experience of many years. From their being those who desire, they know no otherwise than that they are those who think, with man; and with me they are those who speak from themselves concerning material things, for all things conform themselves to desire and love, in which is life itself. - 1749, May 4.


CONCERNING THE BONDS OF THOUGHT; CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. It was perceived and shown that thoughts have their own bonds. Those who possess conscience have internal bonds; those who are destitute of conscience, external bonds, as the tacit ones of shame, fear, honor, and other things. This appears manifestly in the other life, where external bonds are taken away from them; then there remain the bonds of thought from which it appears of what quality their thoughts were. External bonds are sometimes taken away from the sirens, and it then appears that some of them are utterly void of shame, though still not irrational, for this bond is not taken away, as they aim to be thought rational.


External bonds are taken away when such societies as constitute them are removed, as was perceived in the case of one which [previous to such removal] had been abundantly modest. - 1749, May 5.


CONCERNING THE SPEECH AND THOUGHT OF ANGELS. The speech and the thought of angels is ineffable; they regard nothing but ends, and consequently uses, which are countless in number, and existing in ineffable series, wholly beyond the comprehension of man; compared to the ideas of man on worldly subjects they are indefinite; their speech and their thought are altogether from uses which are ends, and in these they are held by the Lord, for the Lord's kingdom is a kingdom of uses and ends, from which all and single things exist and subsist. The angels that govern man regard nothing else but ends, of which man knows nothing, wherefore they hold in aversion those that have evil ends, such as the haters of the neighbor and adulterers, because they destroy marriages and conjugial love, and so on. These things were manifestly perceived from the angels that were with me. - 1749, May 5.


HOW SPIRITS ACT UPON MAN. It was shown me by lively experience in what manner spirits excite the thoughts of man. They speak as man thinks, or man thinks as they speak, and those that are nearest as if in sleep, knowing no otherwise than that they are themselves the men. Whatever things they excite and speak of among each other, these the man thinks, both being in a similar idea. But there are spirits who are very near, or are subjects, and into them flow those that are more remote, but sometimes otherwise, and so on.


When good spirits are present and excite things contrary to the cupidities of man, and to the life of cupidities, there arises conflict and anxiety and thence temptation. - 1749, May 5.


MEMORY AFTER DEATH. THAT SOULS AND SPIRITS KNOW NOT WHO THEY HAVE BEEN. Souls know not who they were [in this life], except from others who have an idea of their identity, and then being thereby excited they know it, but the knowledge is presently lost. In conversing with spirits it was said that if souls were aware of their identity, it would be the greatest detriment to them, as they would then be thinking concerning themselves, which would give rise to many evils, as self-love, merit, c. Others also would know them and thence they would be liable to become their idols; and if enemies, they would be exposed to their hatred and revenge; thus they could not be perfected. But when they are ignorant of who they are, they can be reformed and perfected, not knowing but that they are poor and vile, and so on. - 1749, May 6.


CONCERNING HEAVEN AND HEAVENLY JOY, THAT SOME SUPPOSED IT COULD BE BESTOWED UPON EVERYONE. There was a spirit with me who said he had supposed that everyone could be made a possessor of heavenly joy, however he had lived, if it seemed good to the Lord. But it was given to reply that the thing is not possible, because the evil have acquired to themselves another life which does not accord with the heavenly life. If [this kind of] joy were given them, their life would be destroyed, or would come so near it, that they could scarcely be said to live. But he said that certain of the evil in the world could, upon occasion, lay aside corporeal and worldly things, and he therefore could not see why they might not, after the life of the body, forego and forget everything of this kind and come into the heavenly life. But it was again replied that this could not be, except by the previous destruction of the life which one has acquired to himself. As to what may occur in certain states, it was shown that even the wicked may have transient good impressions, but when these states are changed, they return again to their own life. - 1749, May 6.


CONCERNING FAITH ALONE. I spoke with those who held that faith alone was saving; their confession was that they would be saved if they believed; that the Lord had redeemed them, had delivered them from hell, and taken away all their sins, saying that they thus consoled the sick who were at the point of death, and thus taught, to which they added, that some such, when they first came into anxiety in view of death, would be in a state for receiving this instruction and of thinking piously concerning it. But it was said in reply that this might occur in sickness and anxiety, when such an effect may take place but if they returned again to life they would be as they were before, for, [in the prospect of death] the propria of man cease to act, being thus removed from his voluntary principle, and in such a state and similar ones the Lord [temporarily] operates; but this does not last; although while such a state of anxiety remains, confession and devotion agree with it, yet it immediately recedes when the man returns into his life; just as in the other life such persons may be held in a similar confession, but in such a state or a state of anxiety, the confession is from a sinful fear.


It was, moreover, said that there may be a certain devout affection, as with preachers, which may produce the same effect, that is, as it were, something pious, reverential and like a sincere confession; this confession is external, rather of the lip than of the heart, which may exist with great variety, as appears from examples in the other life. - 1749, May 7. Moreover, as to the taking away of sins, they know not what it is; they [barely] think that they then have eternal life, and that no evil remains with them.


CONCERNING CHARITY AND CONSCIENCE. Speaking with spirits and angels concerning charity and conscience, it was perceived that the case is thus: that whoever is in charity and in true conscience may obey all the precepts of the Decalogue and know them, as it were, from himself as being in all their particulars impressed upon him, so that he has no need to learn them; that he may also know all the precepts pertaining to civil kingdoms, and how to be a good citizen wherever he is, for all such precepts are contrary to hatreds, revenges, adulteries, thefts; moreover that those who are in charity and conscience possess, as it were, from themselves all the knowledges of faith, whether goodness and truth pertains to them, or what the true and the good is; again, that they are able, as it were, from themselves to write whole books, and without masters to frame entire systems of doctrine; that they can preach, and their preaching be in accordance with whatever is true and good. Those, on the other hand, who are not in charity, owe everything to memory and to preconceived principles, and yet what they bring forth is false and evil. These things I have conversed upon twice or thrice with spirits, and it was perceived and acknowledged by them that all things are embraced in charity, whence it follows that the same holds good of true conscience. - 1749, May 7.


HOW THE CASE IS WITH CHARITY AND FAITH. I conversed with angels as to the nature of charity and faith, especially as to their being as the thought of man, which is such that man thinks and speaks all even the most intimate things according to all the most hidden and analytical rules and sciences, and yet when he is in thought he thinks not the least concerning rules as the guides of his thought, wherefore the unlearned can think and speak as well, and often better, than the learned; and when the learned think and speak they pay no attention to rules. The case is the same as to charity; whoever is in charity is in all the things of faith, or in all the knowledges which are predicated of faith, so that he does not think at all of knowledges, because he then has them in himself; thus the simple who are in charity [think and speak] better than the most instructed who are not in charity. Still that man ought to have knowledges is because he knows nothing of spiritual and heavenly things; they are above his comprehension; therefore he ought to have such knowledges that by means of them he may be regenerated, and may receive charity from the Lord, and thence act from charity, and know these things, and innumerable others. - 1749, May 7.


CONCERNING BABEL AND PROFANATION; THE DRAGON. There was a certain spirit pre-eminently malicious, a profaner, who was apperceived, and because he was so much more malicious than others he could not be driven away by the angels except by the appearance of a certain fiery something, just as if had been an evil genius. Having been thus cast down he appeared as a slender form suspended midway; but the sirens wished to have him as a subject of their own, when he began by degrees to become larger and larger, and grew at length to the great size that belonged to him; and as then by means of phantasies he drew a multitude, troops, as it were, of spirits around him, he became proportionally gross, and appeared finally as a huge dragon, and enclosed the sirens in his belly, of which they complained, for all their artifices were then unavailing, as he had bound and held them subject to his will. In the meantime I conversed with them and with him, and they said that they wished to be released from him, being now powerless. He had cords which he extended to catch and draw his victims into his mouth, and he projected his jaws backwards and thus [seized and] swallowed them; all which were representations. It was thus apperceived what is signified by the dragon, and by his becoming great and swallowing so many, and thus what is signified by Babel; for multitudes are allured to such a power because of his versatile nature, and his potent persuasions. - 1749, May 7.


THAT EVERYTHING DEPENDS UPON AFFECTION, THUS UPON CHARITY. It was perceived and shown that everything depends upon affection, and that it is merely variations of affections which produce ideas and thus speech, and that one affection contains within it things innumerable which are varied indefinitely as they flow into thought. It thence appeared that spiritual things are from celestial, or faith from charity, or truth from goodness, thus that the true, in regard to its quality, is as the good. - 1749, May 8. I spoke at the same time on those points with the angels, by whom the above was shown and confirmed.


THAT THE THOUGHT AND THE SPEECH OF ANGELS REGARD ONLY ENDS. It was often perceived and made a subject of conversation with spirits, that angels neither care for nor perceive anything else than ends; nor do they eliminate anything else from the thoughts of man. As to other things, they do not know them nor care for them. Their thought and speech is solely of ends, thence of uses, and it is for this reason that their thought and speech are so remote from the perception of man, which is of particular or material things. - 1749, May 8.


HOW SPIRITS ARE REDUCED TO ORDER. Souls and spirits in the other life are continually being reduced to order, so that there is not the smallest moment of time in which changes and reductions to order are not taking place, for there are multifarious states of every man, both in particular and in general. What then shall be said of so many souls or myriads of souls as have existed since the creation, and as are daily flocking [into the spiritual world]? Wherefore there is a continual reduction to order. The means of effecting it are countless in number; one is, that certain evil spirits are admitted among the upright, who bring with them a peculiar sphere; these spheres are such that they affect all who are of a quality similar to them, as when they are lascivious, all the lasciviously inclined are excited by them in a similar manner, whence it is known how much everyone is inclined that way, whether more or less, and thus they are separated as to their states; and so also as to others, yet so that their ruling state of life may be bent to some use. - 1749, May 11.


CONCERNING SUBJECTS. It was observed that spirits send emissaries from their own to other societies, in order to hold communication with them. Sometimes evil spirits go forth like spiders, into many foreign societies, as was said before; they are those who enter from permission into societies and excite them, and thence the members are explored as to their quality during their whole lives, and thus they are dissociated according to the nature and genius of each one. It was discovered that there were some such in a particular society, at which there was much complaint, and another society said that they were from their own members. - 1749, May 13.


THAT SPIRITS TAKE AWAY DELIGHTS; COMMUNICATION. I wondered when it was told me that spirits took away my delights. I had been in delights, as those of writing, but they were taken away, and I was left in undelight, and it was said that they were spirits above in front who had taken away those delights, and yet that they were not aware of having done it. It was said and shown that they were such as preferred themselves to others; they wished well only to their associates, with whom they would communicate their delight. Those of this character, whenever they find any natural delight seize upon it and take it away; but celestial delight is beyond their reach. There is a kind of serene aura around one [in delight], and when others come into it, it is obscured to him from whom it proceeds, and is appropriated to those that come thither. It was afterwards shown me that this arises from various causes; those who are in hatreds draw the delights of another to themselves from the pleasure they have in depriving another of what is his. Those who are by nature such that they rejoice solely in the [pilfered] delight of another, are not tolerated with man. It was shown that the case was thus, and I wondered at it. But everyone appropriates the delight of another according to his nature, and those who do not do it according to their nature, but wish to put on the nature of another who has delight that they may themselves possess it, are cast out, for this is infamous. - 1749, May 14.


THAT GOOD SPIRITS, AND, STILL MORE, ANGELS, DELIGHT THEMSELVES WITH THE MAN WHO IS IN CHARITY. There are good spirits with man, and also angels; good spirits with those who are in charity, which spirits are the subjects of many societies. Whatever inflows from the angels is received by man according to his quality or his love while he is in charity; then the life with the angels is pleasant and delightful, for they have connection with the ideas of man's memory, in which their own terminate; wherefore angels and good spirits come to them in the delight of their life. It is otherwise with an evil man, for his recipient vessels are contrary, into which indeed goods may flow through the angels, but they are perverted, wherefore they are unable to dwell there on account of the repugnances which are perceived. Upon these things I spoke with spirits. - 1749, May 14.


CONCERNING INFLUX. It was shown to me to the life and to the sense how the case is with influx, that it is, as it were, a river of general affections, or rivers unceasingly flowing; or it is a general affection flowing as if it were a continual stream, and varying itself in a wonderful manner. It resembles an atmospheric stream, and all who are in that river, or in those rivers, are affected each according to his peculiar genius, for it is in this manner received, and in that common river acts according to each one's genius, somewhat like, for example, a wheel driven by a prevailing force, but inwardly acted upon by various counter forces; or as in the human body, all the motions of the several viscera are still controlled by the single motion of the heart and lungs; thus it is with all and each within the sweep of this general river of heaven, which is composed solely of affections thus flowing, and affecting every particular, so that no one can escape beyond the bounds of affection. In the meantime I spoke with angels while I was in such a river, and it was shown to the life how this operated as a general affecting principle, and that it rolled itself as it were, in such a way that I could then have been in another train of thought, and yet in it with variety, and still be impelled by that same river or be determined according to a general influence.


These rivers of general affections exist in every degree; in interiors flowing more gently, and constantly, and with a pleasing variety; but in exteriors, incessantly and roughly, as it were, whence it is that such various, irregular and incoherent promptings appear in exteriors, as if made up of pure activity, though they are still directed by the general sphere, according to reception and state in everyone. - 1749, May 16. Inasmuch as these influences thus resemble, as it were, an atmospheric river or stream, therefore the Lord says in regard to regeneration, that it is as the wind blowing, of which a man knows not whence it comes nor whither it goes. It is altogether thus in respect to influx, which cannot possibly be described nor shown to man unless he be a spirit; to spirits it may be shown and is shown. It thence also appeared that the influx of life is from the Lord alone, and that it affects all so that they think they live of themselves; and also that this influx is Divine mercy, whence are all the affections of love and truth. That all life is from affection, as from its general principle, everyone may be convinced, since if he is not affected by delight, or the like, he never [really] lives.


It was hence given to know what kind of an influx there is in all things from the Lord, from whom everything in the universe [that lives] has life; as also that order is from the same source, and that the more concordant one is with that stream, the more is he in order. As to animals, I spoke concerning them with spirits, and it was shown that they are in order.


THAT ALL EVIL IS FROM MAN, AND THAT BY THE LORD EVIL IS PREVIDED [FORESEEN], NOT PROVIDED. PERMISSION. Evil spirits are constantly disposed to attribute the evil of punishment to the Lord, but it was often said to them that every evil is from man, and that it is previded, or foreseen, but not provided by the Lord; for since man's nature is such that he believes himself able to do good, the evil which he does is appropriated to him, whereas it would be otherwise did he believe it to be not from himself, but from evil spirits. If man were in the truth of faith, and in the faith which is of charity, evil would not then be appropriated to him. It was given to represent to them a large and extensive library - which is easily done in the other life - where all the books could be filled with arguments going to prove that evil is from the Lord, everyone containing a thousand arguments; but yet it was represented as written on the back of all of them, that every evil is from man, and that evil was previded and not provided by the Lord. It was said, moreover, that if one would not believe this before it was proved, then everything within the books would confirm him in the belief that it was not so, and that the false was true; nevertheless, such as I have stated is the fact. - 1749, May 17.


The evil of punishment flows from order; if there were no evil in punishment, order would perish; one would infest many, and these many, many more. Since, then, such an order is for the conservation of all, thence is the permission [of the evil]; just as in every government, if there were not penalties, it would perish. Nay, if a king should pardon criminals, he himself should perish. How much more does this hold in so great a government [as the Lord's]?


CONCERNING THOSE WHO ASSUME THE PERSONS OF OTHERS. There are those who induce upon themselves so dexterously the persons of others, that the deception can scarcely be detected, and that not only when they are suffering punishment, by substituting others with a view to escape themselves, but also apart from punishment under the influence of terror or shame. There are multitudes of such, to whom it was shown how nefarious is such conduct. They suffer miserably the punishment of discerption or reverberation, and they are then possessed with the idea of casting the blame upon others; still they are not freed from punishment till they have abandoned such a prompting. A certain spirit persisted and bore his punishment for a very long time, and yet continued unaltered. - 1749, May 17.


CONCERNING SIRENS. Certain sirens are punished by being transmitted into sad and sorrowful societies, where they meet with nothing but what is mournful. Their deceitful minds are thus broken down, and it was said that they thus lose, in a measure, their faculties, and become, as it were, insane. - 1749, May 17.


THAT EVIL SPIRITS CAN UTTER WHAT IS GOOD, AND THUS BECOME SUBSERVIENT. From experience; evil spirits may be brought into a state in which they shall utter things both good and pious; this is effected by a removal, in certain states, of corporeal things, so that they shall be, as it were, without themselves; just as wicked men may speak and think under the influence of fear and horror. They can speak thus, also, when they are brought into the state of the love of self and of the world, or of cupidities, as is the case with some preachers. They can do it too, when they are in a sort of obscurity, so that they know not what they speak, the life of falsity, which would otherwise oppose, being taken away by the darkness induced; they then utter good things, as being more or less absent in mind. The same thing occurs also when they are deprived of rationality, which is often the case. Thus spirits are led into goods in the other life and are vastated.


CONCERNING SPHERES OF AFFECTION. All spheres of the affection of goodness and truth are from the Lord. The more a spirit or an angel can be reduced into a state of harmony with such a sphere, the more perfect he is, both [as we may say] as to quality and quantity. It was shown me by lively experience how certain societies of spirits were affected by a sphere of the Lord's affections, causing them to will what was good and true, and to resist evil and the false, when other spirits in the same sphere could not do it. It was given to speak with those in societies who said they were of such a quality, and then to observe the differences, how one society was more or less affected, and another not at all, and I conversed with them on the subject. Every sphere of affection involves in it a certain general something, in which spirits are as to particulars, according to their states. They now say that they might then have been enraged, and from what cause, and that still other states were possible; in a word, that they might be otherwise than they are. - 1749, May 21.


CONCERNING SOULS THAT ARE VASTATED TO SUCH A DEGREE THAT THEY HAVE VERY LITTLE OF LIFE REMAINING, THE Sphincter Ani. I was brought into a place whither, as I was informed few come; there were a great many souls flitting about which had lived from ancient times, say two, three, and four thousand years, and were being vastated. They were among those who from being of the Church had become idolaters, as was the case with many of the daughters of the Church, who had lapsed into idolatry. Their speech was that of those who had very little life remaining, as it uttered through a pipe of one tone, or as if mere organs through which others spoke, and then they seemed to themselves to have something of life. They spoke with me and said that they were now remaining there; their state I cannot farther describe; it is extremely sad; they can still serve some use, as for instance that of the anus, to act as the sphincter ani, or the parts thereabouts.


Those became such who were the sons or daughters of the Church, and fell into idolatry; they said that they had neither known nor cared anything for God, that they had lived unhappily in wedlock, believing in nothing but the life of the body; wherefore after death they become such as I have described. Those that were in the Church are at length, after many centuries, reduced to this state, and they become interior idolaters, for their life, although it appears human from their excelling in ingenuity of discourse and [a certain] polish, is yet an animal life, and thus after ages have passed they retain next to nothing of spiritual life, and finally are enabled to subserve the vilest uses, such as those above mentioned. - 1749, May 26.


CONCERNING FEMALE JUGGLERS. There were certain female spirits separated from the sirens, because they had not been adulteresses, and brought into society, and thus rendered spirits of more subtlety. These were with me for a long time, because they were under the auspices and conduct of good spirits or of others more subtle, and from living under such a tutelage they appeared for some time sufficiently docile, but as they were always in the spirit of ruling, and were vindictive, they were separated and cast into the societies of sirens. These, when finally vastated, become such as I have described, and subserve the sphincter urethrae. - 1749, May 26.


CONCERNING INNOCENCE AND SLEEP OF A SPIRIT. Evil spirits again infested me in my sleep and were punished. Being afterwards awakened, and remaining so for an hour, the same thing occurred again, the spirits around me being meantime asleep; from which it appears that while man is awake spirits may be sleeping around him. While some were then prompted to produce disquiet, others wishing them to be silent said to them from innocence, "Keep still - the Lord is asleep," which, because it was from a kind of infantile innocence, was highly acceptable; from whence we may conclude how the case is with innocence - that it is accepted though it be ignorant of truth. - 1749, June 1.


THAT THE WHOLE WORLD OF SPIRITS MAY BECOME AND HAS BECOME WORSE AND WORSE. Under the guidance of the angels I thought concerning a particular evil which had befallen me, and which spirits, with almost one consent, attributed to me. I thought with myself how this could be, as I was of the opinion that some misfortune was likely to result to me from it, and yet I was greatly nonplussed to see how it could come from this source and how I could be the cause of it, when, at the same time, I knew that I was not in the least particular led by myself but that I was led to evil by evil spirits, and to good by the Lord through the angels, and that too in the minutest things, so that nothing so insignificant can be named that I am not thus led in it, as I have learned by the multiplied experience of many years. In this I have been the more confirmed from the fact that prior to this occurrence many societies, consisting of from 30 to 50, or 100 or 200 spirits, have assured me that it was they who thus thought, willed, did, and inflowed; and this was asserted by societies round about me one after another. To this I may add, that some of the very worst spirits were present with me, of some of whom it was said that there could not be worse, and yet of whom the angels said through spirits that they could not resist their influence nor compel me in a contrary direction; such being the equilibrium, and everyone being kept in it, so that the balance shall not incline on either side. When I reflected upon all this, and that yet the cause of the evil should be charged upon me, rendering me unhappy, it was given me to ponder how this could be, whether it were possibly owing to the life I had formerly led, which prevented its being otherwise, or whether it were foreseen and thus, as it were, predestinated, and yet that I was led in the meantime, as all men and spirits are wont to be, through delights and through hope, to a kind of felicity which may endure for a considerable time in the other life, when yet it is foreseen that such may be eventually unhappy - all this, I say, I weighed, but at length it was given me to see that the Lord turns everything to good, but that the world of spirits is so bad that it turns everything to evil, and becomes itself worse and worse, so that the equilibrium preponderates on their side; and seeing the world of spirits is such, it cannot be but that man himself should become worse by means of its influx; for so much as the world of spirits is worse, so much less avails the influent good from the Lord, and so much less can man be bent to good. The state of the world of spirits in the whole is as that of every spirit and man in part; the worse either becomes, the less good is received, and the less can evil be bent to good; the world of spirits is as a general receiving vessel, while man and spirit is as a particular vessel.


These things were said in conversing with spirits, and moreover that it is the ruling evil which does the mischief, of which everyone is a part. This was conveyed [derivebatur] to all around me representatively, but because, from their being spirits, they could not do otherwise [than fall into this representative evil], it was therefore abolished. It was said, moreover, that ruling evil itself is properly the devil, thence the whole world of spirits, and thence every individual evil spirit. - 1749, May 28. These spirits said the case was the same with them also, as from the influx of the whole world of spirits being evil they are not in fault, and so also with men, as everything is from influx, neither are they are in fault, and that it is with them as it is with me; but it was given to reply that if they believe or acknowledge that the fact is that they do not act from themselves or from their own proprium, they would be wholly guiltless, but if they do not acknowledge or believe this, but believe that they act from themselves or from their own proprium, then they are guilty, and evil cannot but be appropriated to them. Barely to know is not to acknowledge, and to say and to wish it to be so, and yet not to acknowledge it, amounts to nothing; it is merely to take an argument for granted, which will not avail them. But if they acknowledge and believe, they are separated from evil spirits and come to the good, and are ruled by good, that is, by the Lord.


HOW INNUMERABLE SOCIETIES CONSPIRE TO ONE FALSE PRINCIPLE, THUS HOW MUCH THERE IS IN ONE IDEA, AND THAT THE THOUGHT IS THE IMAGE OF THE MAN. It was manifestly perceived and spoken of with spirits, by whom it was acknowledged, that one idea of the false has innumerable societies conspiring to it, but all diversely, some directly, some indirectly, some from an end of evil, some from an end of good, some from malice, some from good will, some from ignorance - so numerous are they that contribute to make up one idea of the false. Thus, for instance, let one make faith essential in preference to charity, or let one place merit in piety, or the like, some will conspire with a simple heart, some with an evil one. The opinion in which a man is, or his assumed principle, is a kind of nucleus, as long as he is in it, from which other things are as rays diversely variegated and going to make up the idea. This was shown to me to the life, and I spoke with those who were, one in such an idea, another in another, some in front a little to the right, some above behind, but all from a different end, and yet all conspiring, from which it appears what damage ensues when a man or a spirit is in falsity.


Every idea is an image of the man; it is an image of such a society in general, yet different with one from what it is with another; one is an image of this society, another of that, and thus an image of all with diversity according to state, however, the state may be varied; still it is an image of the general society while in such and such an opinion those that are in the idea of truth have angelic societies concordant with them. - 1749, May 29.


CONCERNING THE PROVIDENCE OF THE LORD IN THE MOST SINGULAR THINGS. There was a certain one who had confirmed himself in the belief that there was no providence, but that all things flow from the thought and prudence of man, and from fortune, as to which, however, he knew not what it was. He was among the subtle evil spirits, because he had indulged more in thought than in discourse and conversation. He applied everything which he perceived in the other life to the end of promoting his own interest, as he was intent upon exalting himself. While thus acting in the subtlety of his nature with the most detestable artifice prompted by this motive, I spoke with him, and he said that he was in his own heaven while thus employed, and that no other heaven could be given, and this he made for himself. But it was replied that this was hell, and that such haughtiness was turned into a direful hell, which was also shown him. Being thus made what he would naturally become, he shuddered at himself, saying that he had not believed that such would be the result. The cause was then stated to him, viz., that he had confirmed himself in those principles. It was said by good spirits that he was worse than others by reason of his subtle influx against goodness and truth.


He was afterwards reduced to the state of his infancy, and his quality fully disclosed in the presence of the angels, and it was demonstrated that from having been of such a character in his infancy he never could have been otherwise [than he was], and it was shown also how every single act of his life had been so overruled by the Lord as to prevent him from plunging himself into the most grievous hell, into which he would have rushed if the Lord's continual providence had ceased in the least degree. When it is shown by the Lord angels can see, almost at a glance, every act of the life of anyone, as much from its manifestations in infancy, as in adult age, whence it was also given to know that the Lord's providence operates in the most singular things. - 1749, June 2.


When asked whether he had ever thought of another life, he said that he had never believed in it, but had rejected everything of the kind, and that for the reason that he had seen so much to confound that idea as the just man suffering and the wicked exulting, and other things of that nature, especially as he saw that the evil led a happy life; from all which he concluded that he should die altogether in the death of the body. He confessed that he was in the greatest astonishment to find himself now alive.


CONCERNING HABITATIONS AND PARADISIACAL THINGS. The angels have their own habitations where they dwell, which are magnificent. I have been there and have seen them at times, and that with wonder, so manifest and conspicuous are they; nothing in fact can be more so. The habitations which are on the earth, or of man, are comparatively scarcely anything. They call those which are on the earth dead and not real, but their own true, as if alive and real, for they enjoy them with all sense. The architecture is such that the art itself is thence, so that they can never be described; they exist too in vast variety.


Like other men, I wondered that such things exist in the other world, since it is contrary to our conception of the life of spirits; as also from whence they were, but the reason is, that the Lord appears to them as a sun, whence is their lumen and light, which many times exceed the light of the sun on the earth; and as they have light, so also the variegation of light, which causes color; without such variegation light does not exist, for it is to them shade; thence they have colors which I have often seen, so splendid and beautiful that they cannot be described. Everything which exists in the other life is not, as some suppose, empty and void, but is the substantial itself, because it is the origin of all that is substantial in nature. There the substantial is living, or a most pure ethereal principle, which is formed by the Lord into things of this kind so wonderful that they can scarcely be described. It is enough that I have seen them, and that often; I have been there; I have spoken with them, and they have said that those things were real while the things on earth were not, being comparatively dead, and such as they despise. - 1749, June 2.


CONCERNING SCIENTIFICS AND DOCTRINALS, THAT THEY ARE OF NO ACCOUNT EXCEPT TO MAKE A MAN CONFORMABLE TO THEM. I was led through the mansions of the heaven of spirits, from whence I perceived those that were in the interior heaven, and with whom also I conversed. It was at the right where there is a state of rest - such a state of rest as cannot be described. I spoke with them in their mansions, and there appeared spirits above me, some in a kind of pendant lucidity, where are the habitations of the men of the Most Ancient Church. I spoke with spirits and angels, but as often as I adduced anything doctrinal or scientific they were unwilling to admit it, saying there was no need of such things - that they disturbed their quiet - inasmuch as they were in them, and from being in them, they know [everything] of the kind. From this and other things I learned that they did not admit of doctrinals except on account of use, and that doctrinals were nothing else than the means of man's becoming such as doctrinals alone would make him, that is, means subservient to man's use on the earth, and to the use of souls recently arrived from the world. They clearly perceived whether I was disposed to place a glory in things of this kind, and their perception on this score was indescribably accurate. It was also given me to know the quality of the ideas of angelic spirits, which are universal, as are those of spirits in general, but it cannot be described. - 1749, June 3.


HOW THE CASE IS WITH REPRESENTATIVES AND CORRESPONDENCES IN HEAVEN, ILLUSTRATED BY THE CORRESPONDENCE OF KNOWLEDGE WITH EATING. While walking in the street I thought for some time of eating, or of what I should eat, and I perceived that the angels thought of nothing of the kind, but of knowledges and intelligence, and that thence there existed in my mind, in common with those of the world of spirits, the thought of eating, and on speaking with them was informed that it was so. I thus learnt that discourse concerning knowledges falls with man into the idea of what he eats, and that the cause of such a correspondence is, that knowledges are spiritual food by which the life of spirits is sustained. In like manner correspondences are given in other things which man would never know unless instructed, and these are so many that they cannot be enumerated even as to their genera and species. Such is the influx of heaven, as it was given to me to know from [this and] a multitude of other proofs. - 1749, June 4.


So also when the discourse is about intellectual things, and man has for an object of his thought horses, then he speaks concerning horses; for these correspond [with intellectual things]; thus very many, yea, innumerable [natural] things correspond with spiritual things, from which it may be concluded that in heaven they speak and think of scarcely anything else than the Lord, His kingdom and faith, and whatever nearly or remotely pertains to them - things which are thus varied in the world of spirits and in the thought of man according to external objects of sight and hearing or internal objects of memory. I have seen horses, and spirits remarked that there would immediately occur to them something relative to intellectual things. - 1749, June 4.


CONCERNING INFANTS IN HEAVEN. Infants are educated and grow [in heaven]; they are educated by knowledges derived from the Lord through the angels, and grow, as it were, by means of these knowledges, so that they appear to themselves to become more adult. As their knowledge is increased, so also is their mind [animus] and mind [mens], whence [as remarked] they seem to themselves to grow, and whence they become as angels, which was expressly made known to me as being the case. It may also appear from experience that intellect and judgment should cause [even a child] to appear as a youth and as a man. The fact was declared by the angels. - 1749, June 4.


CONCERNING THE PUNISHMENT OF THOSE WHO WOULD FAIN VIOLATE INFANTS, AND WHO THEY ARE. The sirens and many others around me sought to violate the infants and others that were sent to me, but they were punished by being driven, whirled, or gyrated around, all of them together, in such a manner, that they became confused, and knew not where they were, like persons that had lost their senses. This circumgyration was wonderful; one who had suffered it returned to me and said that he could never describe such a state. The punishment went on around me; the punishers were those who, in the life of the body, had been inwardly intent, by study and clandestine machinations, upon destroying others, and it was said that so peculiar was this punishment that they could inflict it, but not others. They were under the influence of a kind of insanity, the effect of the circumvolution of their murderous thoughts, and this was communicated to the culprits, male and female, who were punished - 1749, June 5.


CONCERNING HOPE. It was shown in a variety of ways that the life of evil spirits consists of cupidities, and as far as they are removed from their life; wherefore in order that they may live, and be prepared for some use, it is granted them at times to abide in cupidities, yea, even in the hope of doing evil, as long as there is any ground for such a hope; it was shown also that they can accomplish whatever they undertake as long as they are held in their own life. This was evinced in the case of spirits who were impressed with an idea contrary to hope, to wit, that they could not effect the object of their thoughts. They were held in that thought, and then seemed to recede, because they were not in their own life, not being in hope; just as much as hope was diminished, so much they receded. Hence it appeared that hope was a continuation of cupidity. - 1749, June 6.


THAT CERTAIN SPIRITS THINK THEMSELVES TO BE MAN, BUT WITH MUCH DIFFERENCE IN DIFFERENT CASES. There was several times a certain spirit with me who was fully in the idea that he was a man, so that he knew no other in fact than that he was I myself. He was occasionally separated from me and shown that he was a separate spirit, but still he would not believe it, but insisted pertinaciously that he was I; and he flowed in repeatedly in such a manner that I scarcely knew what to make of it. He was, however, punished in various modes, and after being absent for a time he returned and bore himself in the same manner, and though the truth was disclosed to him he refused to believe. It was also shown that he had been an old man who in the life of the body had been possessed by the phantasy that he was this person and that.

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