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

Spiritual Diary


WHY THE EARS SIGNIFY OBEDIENCE. The reason the ears signify obedience, is, because [with] the Celestial, with whom internals are open, all things which they hear about truths and goods, enter into their will and life, and hence they do them; therefore, those things which enter by the ear are, to them, obedience. With the Spiritual it is otherwise. The things which they hear enter into the memory; because internals are not open with them. Those things which enter the life vanish from the memory; they are as it were implanted and natural things, of which they do not know the source. It was afterwards perceived, that that which enters only by the eye, enters into the understanding and lays itself away in the memory; but those things which enter by hearing, enter into the understanding and at the same time into the life; - into the understanding, because through truths into the life.


[A CONVERSATION] WITH BABYLONIANS ABOUT THE LORD. I have often spoken with these about the Lord and about His Divine power, which they have arrogated to themselves, asking whether they are able to think about the Lord without at the same time thinking about His Divine. They at first believed that they could; but they were shown that it was according to the doctrine of their Church that His Divine and Human were so united as are the soul and body, according to the Creed which is called Athanasian; that, namely, like as the soul and body make one man, so the Divine and Human [make] one Christ; and, moreover, that they are not two persons but one: - [I asked] whether, therefore, they are able to think of a man without a soul, or are able to separate it [i.e., the soul], except the body be no longer the man's. To this, they could answer nothing.


Furthermore, [I asked] whether the power they arrogated to themselves was not Divine power; and, moreover, why they say that the Father gave that power to His Human, when, nevertheless, the Divine in the Lord was like the Father's Divine - for, according to the same Creed, just as the Father is Eternal, Infinite, Uncreate, Omnipotent, God and Lord, so is the Lord; also, why they do not say that that power is from Him; and many similar things, to which they were unable to answer anything. That that power is Divine, was also stated before; for to save man is Divine, for the operation of the Divine with man is the influx of good and truth through which is salvation.


They said that the Divine then inflows and instills good and truth; but I told them that they are not aware that the operation of saving man by the influx of good and truth goes on continually in the world and afterwards to eternity, and that an evil man cannot by any means be saved, because that is contrary to Divine order. They were also asked what they now believe about the Holy Spirit, since they are in another life, where they can be instructed respecting it. They said that they now know that it is the Divine in heaven, and that it must be pronounced [to be] the holiness which is imparted to the angels. It was, therefore, demanded of them, whether, since they know that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Lord, they did not thence believe that that Divine proceeds from the Lord; and it was pointed out that this is according to the Creed. But, although they were unable to deny this, still they would not agree to it, because they have robbed the Lord of all power.


CONSCIENCE. I have often perceived, and also heard, respecting those who are in the other life, that they are unaware what conscience is; thus, scarcely one in a thousand knew. The angels wondered whence such ignorance was; but the reason was disclosed - that the man of the Church makes good, and thence works, of no moment, and he who makes these things of no account, cannot by any means know what conscience is; for conscience is grief that one has acted contrary to the Divine Commandments, also that one has thought contrary to them. Hence is manifest the quality of the Christian world at this day, that it is almost destitute of religion; for, he who possesses religion, and loves Divine things, has conscience, for he experiences pain if he had thought, intended, and still more if he had done, anything opposed to the Divine. He who has not life for an end, never knows what conscience is, because he has for an end faith only: he inquires what conscience is, and nevertheless he does not comprehend; for his belief is, that a good work contributes nothing to salvation, when, yet, these things are of the life; and the knowledges of faith which are supposed to be believed, are, if not implanted in the life by willing and doing them, only in the memory.


THE DESTRUCTION OF ETHEREAL SPIRITS BY MOHAMMEDANS, BABYLONIANS AND REFORMED. A roving crew of Mohammedans, who were in front in the western quarter towards the southern, began to look towards, and hence to infest, the Christian world; and they had communication with a most wicked Babylonish crew in the west, who were clever at etherealizing themselves, so that they could not be observed by any; with whom, also, some of the Reformed communicated, who, likewise, were skilled in the art of rendering themselves invisible, so that they could be seen by none, though they were among them.


The Mohammedans, conjointly with the Babylonians, began to obsess my left ear, and to place gangs of spirits roundabout, so that they might accomplish their aims; but they did this so insensibly and unnoticeably, that it scarcely came to the sensation. Still, however, they were instantly discovered; and the Mohammedans, who were at the front in the west, were destroyed by the earth where they were rolling over them, and were thus cast down into hell.


Afterwards were discovered the Babylonians who made one with these: they were in a dark corner among the anterior mountains in the west, where is the woman upon the scarlet beast, and a little to the front of those mountains where the Neapolitans and Sicilians are; 5858-1 and, likewise, the mountain upon which the chief ones had their dwellings was there. They invented that art, in order that they might render themselves altogether invisible to everybody, even to one beside them, and this with eminent skill; and those who were upon the mountain were able likewise to hurl themselves upwards, and also to remain in the air; so that they could make themselves aerial beings in order to escape all destruction. But destruction came upon them; and, for several minutes of time, that faculty was taken away from them and they were cast into gulfs and hells roundabout. In the next place, visitation came upon those who were stationed in front and rendered the former ones assistance; and they, also, were cast into hells. The judgment advanced beyond, to those who were farther inwards, and this for a great distance; first, towards the north, and afterwards in a straight line farther into the west, where the Sicilians were, who were all skilled in that art; and they, in like manner, were deprived of that faculty, and were cast into hells near there, in which it appeared fiery and exceedingly dark.


Among these, also, were some who were so expert in that art, that they were able not only to render themselves invisible, but also to bring it to pass that no one could tell where they were, whether in this quarter or in that. They supposed they would thus be secure, and that they could commit every crime without the possibility of discovery. Both the former and the latter communicated with some in the mountains at the front; and all who made one with them were cast into hells. There was, amongst these, a plot, that, when there was a sufficiently great multitude of those like themselves for them to make the attempt, they intended to destroy all things; - this, also, they confessed.


These were preserved, to the end that, through them, all in the Christian world also who were able to render themselves invisible might be discovered; for, through such ones, they are found out. For there were, in the Christian world, among the Reformed, some who ascended by avenues known only to themselves, into societies where the good Reformed were; and there, as soon as they saw any, they hid themselves, by [making themselves] invisible, so that those who were in the society did not know that they were there. Since these had communication with those Babylonish wretches, they were all discovered, and cast down out of the societies from every direction: they belonged to many societies which looked westward. That art of theirs, by which they rendered themselves invisible, was found out: it was a unique art, which could not be learned, save by some who had contrived various schemes in the world: others were not able to render themselves such.


At length, the destruction reached to the Mohammedans who were forwards at the west; and they were all swallowed up by the earth which was under them; for they looked to the Christian world, which was forbidden to them.


In a word, there was a vast multitude of Babylonians: such as [were] of the Reformed, set up a pain of the hinder part of the loins, roundabout.


There was a certain one who appeared at the left, in the plane of the sole of the foot, whom I believed to be Vice-president Rosenstolpe. I conversed with him on various subjects, about the Lord and on other matters. He embraced all things, as though he were a good Christian: all who heard him supposed that he was such; from his gait and the paths he traversed, nothing else was apparent. It turned out, however, that he was a hypocrite and crafty; for he produced pain in the teeth and temple, and operated under the feet, somewhat towards the genitals; but, still, he so bore himself that he was believed to be a good Christian. When those things 5863-1 were accomplished, he declared that he did not believe that they had occurred. He was, therefore, told to go thither and see and he went to the dark angle beside the Sicilians, a little to the front, and there sat upon a seat and talked with those of the most wicked who remained there.


By this conversation it was discovered what sort he was, namely, that he was a most wicked spy, in that he plotted with them in what way they might assail, when the time should be favorable and that he should not be so much as seen: he should direct; and, also, that he had directed that which was done around [my] ear: besides many other things. It was thus discovered, that, although he appeared such, or was able to bear himself like a Christian, he was still a most crafty spy, and also plotter, whom, for that reason, those there obeyed. Those who remained were then gathered to him, to the number of several hundreds; and, after they were assembled, they were told to go away; and then they proceeded to the right along the northern line, into the west, beyond the Sicilians, and there entered into a most dark cavern, stretching under the north, and on the way were deprived of all their art. In the meantime, that execrable spy told them not to go thither, but somewhere else; but they replied that they could indeed, but that still they could not, inasmuch as they wished [to go] thither, and that they were totally unable to arrest their steps; at which he marveled, because it was contrary to his belief. He saw all those who entered that place.


After this, he was asked what he now deserved, on account of such grievous wickednesses. He said that he could not at all be dislodged: he trusted in his art. But he, then, was commanded to go to that place; and he went, nor was he able to stop himself. He went on as far as to the cavern into which the former ones entered, and passed beyond into the west, near by the north; and then they came out of hell to meet him, and greeted him and called him friend; and when he came to that [part] where it was fiery, 5865-1 he entered there, supposing that he could go out when he wished. He trusted to his intelligence; but, as soon as he entered that place, he said that he was altogether robbed of his arts, and could now do nothing at all. In the hells, there, all become profoundly stupid; and the more stupid, the farther they are removed into the west, near the northern line.


Those of the Reformed who saw him, said that they have never seen such a one who could so completely deceive others; and all those who saw him were cast forth from the societies; for no others were permitted to see him but those who were such as were to be cast out.


CONRAD RIBBING. For a time nothing was heard of him; but at length he was brought out and let into his interiors, and thus into the delight of counseling how evils may be brought about; which he did so cleverly that scarcely anyone else could do it more cleverly. Into this delight of his, there inflowed all who were in like [delight] in the western quarter, and also some of the celebrated and the obscure in the Christian globe, below and above. He did this also in secret, and so contrived things that all approaches were seized, so that the channel of the influx from the Lord was obstructed, even from the highest [plane]. He held my thought bound, for nearly two hours, in atrocious adultery; which, also, was contrived clandestinely, with abominable art, by means of a puppet from a female profaner. But I was, at length, gradually liberated by the Lord, and the leader, Ribbing, was first cast deeply into a hell, and, being afterwards taken out, was brought to the hell of the stupid, where Lagerberg is, in the angle of the north and west. Hence was manifested, that such as attempt evils in secret, without fear on account of the Divine, and delight in the possession of a keener understanding than others in such things, become more stupid than others.


 5869-1 THOSE WHO ARE ABOVE IMPART LIGHT TO THOSE WHO ARE UNDERNEATH, WHEN THEY AGREE. It was observed, at different times, that the evil who are below, see clearly, as in light, all the approaches to others, and in every direction; whence they know how to obstruct the passages and to obsess, and how to plot abominations. That light they have from no other source than from those who are above, or on high, and look roundabout; namely, those who are on high within the Christian globe, where there is light. These, from where they are, see all the approaches; and, when they look toward the evil, and experience delight in that which is done by the evil, then their sight is communicated to the evil, and the evil see all things roundabout as plainly as they do. Such ones are on high as are possessed of the delight of ruling over others. They are of various dispositions; and their lust shows itself, so far as they look downwards and roundabout, from on high. Those who are beneath, can see nothing around them, only in front, as occurs with men on earth then, they see only where they go. It is otherwise when such ones are above as [their] delights have communication with.


LANG. He had confirmed himself in favor of nature by denial of the Divine, beyond others. He appeared so hard as entirely to bend back everything Divine; but, inasmuch as he realized that he was in the other life, and that they who acknowledged the Divine were able to come into heaven, he therefore began to listen to, and learn, such things as are of the Church. He then appeared to be drawing a common truck behind him. After a time, however, when he was almost vastated he again began to listen to the truths which are of the Church supposing that he would thus become better. But there then appeared such a truck with a devil sitting in it; and, when he wished to turn him out of it, it seemed that the devil wanted to swallow up his face: wherefore, being terrified, he fled away. But the truck with the devil in it followed, so that he did not escape until he rejected those truths; and he was at length driven like a beast, by the devil, into the hell in the angle of the north and west, and became stupid.


THE STATE AFTER THE LAST JUDGMENT, AS RESPECTS SPIRITS. Societies of heaven were formed, according to all the genera and all the species of the affections of good and of truth most accurately distinguished; and, likewise, corresponding infernal societies. All spirits, before they are vastated, are now conducted along through paths leading to the societies of their life, that is, those which correspond to their interiors; nor are they allowed to turn aside in any other direction, and tarry in other places; much less to form to themselves societies according to life in externals, as formerly.


All are conducted along appointed paths; nor is it permitted them to turn to the side. The like, also, happened to the sirens, likewise to the Babylonians, everywhere in the west. They go direct to their hells, without delay.


It was ascertained that those who are interiorly evil, want to turn aside and tarry in places under which are those who infest the good; for their interiors make one with the infesters, and their delight is to be together with them and to injure the good. This latter delight is ingrained in them wherefore, they perceive delight as soon as they are above infesters. Whence the delight is, they do not know; but it is the delight of inflicting injury. They had this craving for a long time, nor did they suffer themselves, except reluctantly, to be conducted along paths away from those [infesting spirits]. That they wish to remain in that part where they are sensible of the delight of doing mischief, underneath, has been proved to me by much experience. They perceived that I was annoyed by the evil; and, then, they always wanted to be above that place, and were compelled, by force, to retire from it. In a word, all now proceed by their own ways to their own societies: thus, it is not allowed to tarry and form to themselves any [semblance] of heaven, overhead.


In consequence of this, man now enjoys freedom of thinking rationally; for [men] were before infested by evil [spirits], who instilled evil affections: the evil who were above allied themselves with these, and thus took away the freedom of thinking rationally.


Moreover, for a long time such ones as were able to conceal their interiors and make themselves appear good, were admitted into societies; but societies were continually purged from such. They were found out in many ways; especially were they detected by their wanting to look down into the places below, outside a society, or by peering about inside a society: these were all separated and cast down. They were detected in different ways, respecting which much can be said, and cast down; either in an instant, by being turned to their own loves - those treated thus are vastated - or, by being commanded to go away; and they are thus brought down to their own places.


It was, for a long time, permitted them to cross over by the high places, for the reason that they all want to mount on high; but it was not so allowed afterwards, save to some through whom societies are to be purified.


THE HELL OF THE PROFANE. I saw that there was a hell, which was in the north near the west, into which many of the profane were cast; and that the profane were transferred from that to another hell, very far away, in the angle of the west and south, because the hells of profaners are there.


Profaners induce a terrible oppression in the breast.


WHO THE DRAGONS ARE, IN A SUMMARY. By the dragon all those are meant who are in the knowledge of doctrinals and of the Word, and not in the life of charity. Those who are in the knowledge of doctrinals and of the Word, and at the same time in the life of charity, are Michael.


THOSE WHO, SOLELY OWING TO BIRTHPLACE, ARE IN NO KNOWLEDGE OF GOD OR OF RELIGION. There were some who appeared to me in sleep, now like men, and again like a certain kind of birds, with whom, also, many as it were ludicrous things occurred, such as are characteristic of sleep, by confining those birds in a cage; and so forth. At length they appeared like men. When I awoke, it was shown me that they were men born in a certain island in the West Indies, who had no knowledge of God whatever, consequently no religion; but, yet, lived sincerely and amicably. It was said that, at first, in the other life, these appear as if not possessed of rationality but that, still, since they have not adopted any principles contrary to religion, inasmuch as they have been in ignorance, they are instructed in the other life almost like children, and gradually perfected, so that they become better than those who were born in a religion in which there are falsities, by which their good of life has been formed. It was shown that they were in such an affection of truth as is not surpassed anywhere else. This was shown by the fact that they wished to serve others; but reply was made that they were not able, because they did not understand anything. Some riches were then given them. These they presented to a master; but this, in order that he might take them as servants, and they be thus instructed how to live.


THE LIFE OF CHARITY WITH MAN. It was perceived, that, in the Christian globe, man is by no means able to be in the life of charity, unless, when thinking about the Lord, he thinks of His Divine. To think about His Divine only when one is in the doctrinal, and not when he is thinking apart from that, is not thinking of the Lord's Divine. Nor does a man think of the Lord's Divine when he prays the Father for the sake of the Son: he does not then have the Lord in his idea of the Divine. It was also perceived that everyone, who, when thinking of the Lord, thinks about the Lord's Divine, is in the life of charity; for, him the Lord leads.


It was observed, too, that many declared charity and not faith to be the essential of the Church, believing that thus they would be saved in preference to others; but they who said this from a principle only, and not from life, do not in the least differ from those who are in faith alone. A certain one said that he understood that he, since he believes in charity, has the life of charity, just as he who believes in faith has the life of faith. Hence it was manifest that they believed life to dwell in anyone, apart from actual living.


THE NEW HEAVEN. I saw that those who were reserved by the Lord were taken up, to the number of tens of thousands; and they who were taken up, appeared like a mist rising up from the ground, when the heat of heaven beats down upon it after rain.


THOSE WHO, BY SINCERE SPEECH ALONE, ARE ABLE TO WIN OVER THE SIMPLE, AND BRING THEM ON TO THEIR SIDE. It was shown by many things, and for a long time, that sincere speech alone, or that which has the ring of sincerity, could deceive the simple and those who were in externals. This was shown, for a considerable time, in the case of Lars Benzelstierna; who was able to draw to his side entire multitudes and companies, solely by a tone of sincerity, and, through conjunction with them, to inflict injury upon whomsoever he wished. He said nothing else but, "Do me this favor"; 5883-1 nor did he state any reason. It was hence manifest, how innumerable they are who attend only to speech, and not at all to reasons; from which, also, it could be evident in what way hell is able to deceive such ones.


The same was also done by others. It was only necessary for them to speak in a sincere tone, and, although they [i.e., the simple auditors] heard and saw that the speaker was a devil, they still countenanced him. This happened with Peter Schonstrom.


The like occurred with a certain exceedingly bad devil, who drew a multitude after him; nor did they question whether he were a devil, or not. It was shown them that he was a devil; but, when he spoke in a sincere tone, they still adhered to him. Another one - Eric Benzelius - was able to attract through simulated affections; another, by honest words and a sincere countenance, - for example, Falker. But all these were separated from the rest and transferred where they might learn not to render aid to devils. They were, however, for the most part, lazy ones who took no pleasure in any kind of work.


THE MORAVIANS. The Moravians appear at the left, near the sole of the foot, and also, above the head, those who act with them. The latter suppose, that, when on high, they are in heaven; for which reason, they push their way thither, by phantasies. Regarding the former, it was believed that they were almost Socinians, since they have not any idea of the Divine respecting the Lord, but only of the Human: that God the Father acknowledged Him as His Son, and called Him so, because He took upon Himself to save the human race by the passion of the cross. Because this was discovered, they were enraged, and made common cause with the evil who desired to inflict injury upon me.


I afterwards told them, that they ought not to do so, but to no purpose; wherefore, those above were cast into the north, in order that they might there form a certain society in the midst in that part, thus at a distance from the Christian globe. Those who were below, were likewise conducted thither. But, when they were there, they were, even then, not willing to desist, but, together with certain ones remaining above, incited the Babylonians to inflict injury at the back. They were, therefore, taken thence farther away to the northern angle, and there dispatched into a cavern which stretched obliquely under the west, so that they should not any longer harm others who did not agree with them as regards religion.


THE QUALITY OF THOSE WHO ARE LIKE ABRAHAM SCHONSTROM. Many of these were seen and noticed, the greatest part above the head slightly to the back; and they were found out by this, that, as soon as they observed any who wished to commit adultery, spiritually, they conjoined themselves with them, and brought the filthiness of adultery close at hand: wherefore, as many as did so were cast forth into their hell. They were such, that, wherever they came, they were received into the company of the upright; because, as respects external appearance and speech, they did not appear to be such, but still they were found out by their taking pleasure in inflicting harm upon all persons whatsoever; for the politeness they displayed was merely exterior. It was previously seen, also, that they were able, by means of phantasies, to hurl themselves from place to place, from one height to another.


THE QUALITY OF THOSE WHO ARE LIKE CARL BROMAN. One was exhibited who resembled Carl Broman; and, although he knew that a person was a friend, he yet set to work to bring evil upon him, and this stubbornly, wishing to destroy him. He did this solely for the reason that he hoped for profit; or else he favored him by whom he thought to obtain the reputation of wealth.


ALL WHO LOOKED DOWN, EVEN THE GOOD, WERE SEPARATED FROM THE REST. ((((It was before shown, from experience, that those who looked down were separated from the rest. This also took place in the societies of heaven, where the upright and good are. Those who did not belong to a society, were not able to help looking at those things which were beneath, because they were not in the bond of the society; wherefore, also, they were separated from it and led away to their own society; some to lower places first, others not to lower places first; some by roundabout ways: in order that they might be brought back into their own reigning affection.))))


SIMPLE COMPASSION. There was a spirit who stood near, a little above, and inflowed into the lids of the left eye, which seemed as it were to discharge teardrops. It was hence perceived that he was a spirit who was in external compassion. I afterwards spoke with him, below; and he said that he often felt such compassion for the poor and wretched that he shed tears. But, on being asked whether he gathered together the knowledges of truth and good which are of the Church, he said that he did not apply himself to learning those, but still that he was in external devotion. Hence an intimation was conveyed to him, that he was not in internal and genuine compassion, which does not exist except through the knowledges of good and truth. He inflowed into the left breast; and a certain painful sensation, almost such as comes from those who are in external devotion, was felt. He said that he has been in heaven with the angels, but does not want to return thither. The angels then said that he came to them, imagining that he could stay with them; but they told him that he was not able to endure them nor they him, because it was perceived that he was only in the external;


but, that if he wanted to be there, he might perhaps be able to be in a certain quarter of the society where the simple good were. He also withdrew thither, and mingled with those who were there; but they were not able to endure him. One or two of them went to a certain governor, saying, that it was better that he be told to go somewhere else, because his compassion was moved towards everyone whatever, and he did not inquire whether it was of use; but that they see, first, of what quality those are to whom they are to extend pity, and thus in what manner they shall pity them, with discrimination. In consequence of this, he was told by the governor that it would be better for him to go away to some other society where were those like him, and that he would there enjoy the delight of his own heaven; which, also, he did. He had no wish to harm others.


CONRAD RIBBING. He began to counsel the wicked, it being unknown who he was: wherefore, he was let into his nature; still, however, in such wise that he was, at the same time, similar in externals to what he was when he had given such counsels in the world, and when he spoke, in the world, from an interior discernment of a matter, - as he was accustomed to do, owing to his being continually in seclusion at home, because of his inability to seek company elsewhere, on account of his feet; and owing to his being engaged, at the same time, in such business transactions as required him to think deeply; and also owing to his being puffed up by interior love of self and by cunning in schemes. He then began to contrive artifices roundabout, with interior cunning, by means of which he allured very many, whom he posted for destroying the good whom the Lord protected; and it was marvelous that [I was] speaking with him, at the same time, respecting various things, which he also clearly apprehended; and, since he persisted, [and] could not be dragged away by any warning or fear of hell, he was, therefore, grievously punished several times. He said that he wished to desist, but that he was not able. He was told that that arises from the fact that he had no fear of the Divine, nor did he think of Him. After this, he desired to go into hell, in order to see what it was like; wherefore, it was permitted him to go wherever he wished. He went far away into the west beside the north, to the profoundly wicked. He was asked to stay there, but was not willing, because they were crafty. He discerned this, and, therefore, went to a place farther off in the same direction, and stopped there. They were evil there, but not so wicked as those who were at the front.


On coming to that place, he was let into his interiors; which state was pleasing to him. He then said to them, that they were to give him whatever they possessed; which, at first, they refused, but afterwards, by the force of [his] thought, and by promises to return it, he prevailed. Next, he wanted them to do exactly as he wished; which, also, he obtained. After this, he distributed of those possessions to everyone according to [his] arbitrary preference: much, to him who favored him greatly, to another, little; according to the degree in which they were pleasing to him. By this was manifested of what character he had been in the world, and how he had thought from the lust of the love of self. He also confessed that he had so thought: namely, that if he had absolute power, which also he coveted in the highest degree, he would do thus with all - he would take possession of all things of theirs, and give to everyone, according to their doing, altogether and blindly, as he ordered. Thus, also, was manifested, that he esteemed himself, as regards intelligence, before all others in the world.


When, therefore, those in that hell complained of the loss of their possessions, he was there most severely punished, as to the face and body. This being over, he was let out and put into his external: he was put in remembrance of such things; and he confessed that he cherished such desires in himself. But not even so did he desist: he was prompted to various passions, and also to revenge; and it was ascertained that he was continually in the purpose of taking revenge upon those who spoke anything, even if it were nothing bad, contrary to his love, and that he cherished revenge even to the death, and sought how he might injure him [i.e., his enemy] unawares, even by the authority of his official position; besides many other things. Wherefore, he was driven towards the south-west corner, afar off, where such are, into a hell there. When cast down, he seemed, at first, to be enveloped in a cloud.


WHAT ONES ARE EXCEEDINGLY FAR OFF IN THE WEST. It was observed, that, beyond the most wicked of the Babylonian communion in the west, there are hells by degrees not so atrocious; also, that the wickedness is lessened by degrees till you reach the Mohammedans and Gentiles; and this for the reason that there may be equilibrium.


PHANTASIES. What phantasies are could be evident from a certain one who was in phantasies; for he seemed of himself to mount into a chariot, and the chariot to be changed into an elephant; he also seemed to himself to be seated on the elephant and the next moment to be thrown down by the elephant's trunk, and also to be trampled upon. After he rose up, they [i.e., the bystanders] spoke to him, saying, that those things were visions and not realities. He replied that he knew they were visions, but that, still, since he saw them with his eyes, and felt the pain of the trampling and of the throwing down, it cannot be otherwise than real. The spirits reasoned with him, at considerable length, that it was merely a vision; but yet he could not be convinced that it was not real, because he actually saw and felt it. It was Jacob Benzelius.


A SPIRIT CANNOT REFRAIN FROM DOING AS HIS LOVE DIRECTS. A certain one who was in the lust of revenge and in self-love, plotted many things for destroying those whom the Lord protected. His attempts were numerous. Other spirits afterwards spoke to him, asking why he did so. He said that he could not help it, because he was in the thought of revenge. They asked why he did not think of the consequence. He said that the lust carried away the thought of that, so that it was swept aside as it were of itself: besides many similar things. It was hence observed that he thought as he did when he had been left to himself in the world, and but that external bonds had there restrained him, he would [then] have acted similarly; for he did not now think of his position and the loss of it, for he had no recollection of that, but only of revenge and of the possibility which there was, through his being able to summon many to his assistance, and through arts, of accomplishing his purpose. This also was Jacob Benzelius.


THE SPHERE OF THE LORD'S DIVINE. At the back were many who leagued themselves together to destroy those whom the Lord protected. There were many of these leagues. They began, moreover, to assail [their victims]; but it was immediately noticed that those whom the Lord protected were engirded by the sphere of the Lord's Divine. That sphere unfolded itself towards those who assailed, and some ventured to enter it; but they were, thereupon, instantly penetrated with such anxiety of heart that they became like those who struggle in agony, some, throwing themselves down on the ground, writhed like serpents: I heard them crying out that they would never do such things again. A certain one - Lars Benzelstjerna - rolled himself along by a long course towards a hell in the west, and plunged himself deeply in.


CATS. Some, when explored by the angels, appear as cats. They are those who are able to be in the sphere of the Divine without being tortured; at which I marveled. There was one such in the sphere mentioned above, and interiorly in it; nor did he retire. It was also told me out of heaven, that such ones are able to ascend into certain heavens and stay, nor can they be driven away by the angelic sphere, like others; but there are some there who command them, by word of mouth, to begone, and thus they go away. Those who so command are in power from the Lord. The reason that such are cats, is, because those are cats who have been in external worship and have lived morally, and also attended church, and listened to the sermons, but have given no heed whatever to the things that were preached, and who thus did not imbibe any knowledges of truth and good; - to which they had paid no attention, but only to the speech without the sense. Such, moreover, was B[aron] Stjerncrona, who merely sang, Amen, but paid no attention to any knowledges.


WHAT ONES ALSO ARE SERPENTS. Those also are serpents, who, in the world, have lived alone, and have thus pondered over the various things which happened in the world, and have not divulged their thoughts to anyone. Those who thought ill of their country and neighbor act similarly to serpents; and, also, when explored by the angels, appear as serpents. They are at the back, and their purpose inflows at the hinder part, between the loins, and the worse ones, as far as to the genitals. Those who have not divulged their thoughts, and yet knew how to comport themselves according to the received etiquette and external propriety, are admitted into societies of the upright, because they do not exhibit their thoughts; but, still, they go out and act in league with the wicked, and return; nor do they say what they have done, only that they have enjoyed themselves. Gustav Benzelstjerna.


5858-1 See nos. 5648 and 5652. -TR.

5863-1 i.e., the thing related in the immediately preceding paragraphs. -TR.

5865-1 See n. 5858, at the end. -TR.

5869-1 No. 5868 is missed in the Latin. -TR.

5883-1 Swedish, gjor mig til wiljes.

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