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

Spiritual Diary


I first observed that spirits who spoke from their places in other spheres could not then have spoken; that he entered into their phantasies, and [the phantasies] of those spirits of whom I could not imagine such a thing: so that they said they could not speak as before, which I also heard; thus also did he enter into their ideas, and constrained [them] by means of phantasies, and also cast them into other regions by means of phantasies; so that they would be on another side; they were now in other regions, and spoke differently from what they did before.


He did not wish to speak; but when I was thinking, and supposed that I spoke with him, he then had such phantasies that he did not at all think concerning those things of which I thought: besides, also, contrary to my apperceived opinion; but when I thought and spoke, then he excited all men or spirits with whom I am acquainted: for he was not in the idea of my thought, but only in the idea of those who, as it were, were adjoin to my ideas, not next, but remotely; in a word, he excited persons or spirits who were far away or remote from my ideas: for every idea whatever of man's is accompanied, not only by places, but also persons, just as if persons were adjoined to them. Therefore, when I was thinking, they perceived nothing at all from my idea, but the idea of his phantasy was afar off, yea in persons, as I have said, whom he so excited, that it [seems] wonderful and incredible to others that it can so happen.


Hence may be concluded that there are spirits who can excite such things from the ideas of others, as the thinker is never aware of it, as was previously confirmed to me from those who saw excrements when I was not giving heed, and that there are other spirits who excite from every idea whatever such things as are suitable to them and their nature, as has been often observed previously. Wherefore spirits are given, who excite all things, whatsoever that are in man's idea: some, proximate things; some, the more remote things; some, even things that follow after [consequentia]. This was such a one that he only excited men that I knew, and thus that flowed from the idea and were remote, but not the next ones, that is, those of whom I thought.


He was shown to me, so far as his nature is concerned, to wit, that as it were from his eyes, but it was from the ears, there appeared to go forth, on both sides, rays, like bright stings, such as pertain to certain insects who have stings on both sides; but his were bright which it was granted me to force towards myself and dispose [arrange] differently; he drew back these bright stings, and spread them out now towards me, now to the sides, now towards the hinderparts of his head: and it was said that when he thrust forth the rays towards the occiput, and there united them, then he collected all; thus [he was then] remote from the idea; for when he thrust forth the bright stings at the back, and united them, then he excited persons remotely from the idea; when he extended them towards the sides, left and right, that [he was] thus in the idea, not so remotely; and when he applied them towards me, that he then [excited] those who [are] nearer in the idea; when [he put them forth] straight out and indeed crossed them, which I also seemed to myself able to have done, then [he excited] those who were nearest in the idea. It follows, and is insinuated, that the matter is so. Except that he was shown [to me] nothing appeared of his face, as I was told, save only the beard and ears, from which the stings [came out] - but he could vary these things, so that spirits were ignorant of what form was his face. Moreover he is invisible.


Since he excited persons by means of his phantasies, for whatever was in the idea concerning persons he collected and held the intuition therein, thus enters the ideas of spirits which he penetrated, therefore persons, to wit, that is spirits, could not resist: but he excited their ideas, and so enter into their ideas, and as it appeared, attracted them to himself as has been said. I also heard other persons who complained, and then seemed not in their own place as before, but in a place between him and me: yea, as it seemed to me, he also excited the whole of Gehenna, which was heard near at hand under my left ear, so that Gehenna was near the left ear, and I heard their shrilly sounding gyres; thus by his phantasies he perverted spheres, so that they were no longer heard in their place: wherefore if such begin to rule, the situation of the Grand Man would be perverted, as to the world of spirits. When they acted into my body their action was into the middle of the left arm, or into his forearm [cubitum], as [which] was shown.


I slept at intervals [passim], and awoke three or four times, and when I awoke he was present in his place, and continued: for he had no power on sleepers. There were also some spirits with me, who were asleep, whom he could not excite, but [only those] who were awake. In [my] sleep I dreamed that dogs had those things which were mine: that I pursued them because they carried off my things; but suddenly they ran along a certain steep way, and hid themselves; and [the way] appeared still steeper down. But the dogs hid themselves under a table, with some one, thus not seen by me; when I awoke I thought concerning the dogs and concerning the precipice that was before [me]; then the greatest possible horror of the precipice [hissna] affected me: and thus twice or thrice when I thought concerning the precipice, which horror [hissna] inflowed from him, who has so great a horror for such a thing, I was told that he never dared to think concerning the angels or concerning heaven, and that such horror [hissna] now springs up; so that he can by no means attract [draw] angels and angelic spirits by phantasy; if so, he would surely perish.


When he awoke he continually called the devil, so that he cried out nothing but diabolic things, while present with me [apud me], perhaps because they [are those] who continually call the devil, and think they can effect everything; these he attracts, for thus he calls forth many, because such things inhere in the phantasy of many; thus cohorts are excited into whose phantasies he enters, and so attracts them; thus he can [attract] cohorts.


When he spoke, I then supposed that he was thinking those things what he spoke; but they said that he does not think at all of these things, but spoke them as if not thinking; and that then he revolved in his mind very different matters, so that he did not know what he spoke. It was granted me to perceive that much men are given in this world, who when they speak pay no heed, and scarcely know what they speak, but that words flow from the mouth, and they meantime think entirely different things: as concerning men, whom they either destroy, mislead or persuade [inducant], they do not even [think] of those with whom they speak, but of others, entirely unknown, whom they remember from the idea of their speech, or [the idea] of others when they speak. It is now insinuated that there are many of such a character that they can speak concerning matters, whereof they do not think, and [can] think concerning other things, so that men never know what they think of others.


When I thought concerning the dragon, the he is of such a character, to wit: that he thinks one thing when he speaks another; he replied to me that he knows [those who are] of such a character, but that he is not apprehended [capiatur] by them; but when that abominable spirit began to operate, then the dragon was let into the Ancient Jerusalem, and there hid in a most obscure [place] with Jews; it was said that the Jews are thus hidden when such spirits come and operate, to wit: are wrapped up [involved] in a darksome [principle] and are thus covered up [from view], that the phantasies of [that] abominable spirit may not reach them. It was granted me to perceive that the Jews are thus kept far from faith, so that they wholly deny the Lord, for the reason that they can be hidden in [that] most darksome [principle], and that otherwise they would be drawn forth and projected [cast out] by such [evil spirits]. The dragon with the Jews, thus thinks that they hide themselves in darksome [places] wherein they say they involve themselves; but it is now shown to the dragon, and he also confessed it, that he could draw him forth together with the Jews, and so cast him into his own net. The dragon supposed that he could resist by involving himself in darkness; wherefore it was granted him to contend against [the evil spirit]; and he confessed that he could not resist, unless the Lord should guard him, wherefore he is now suppliant.


It was afterwards shown me, in what light he was, -it was said, that he was in a light [lumine]. There was in the light a fiery [principle] but obscure, as when darkness and the light of a fire are mingled. I was then instructed that there were many of such a character whose subject he was, who are nocturnal igneous lights, thus are surrounded with such a light, and these are they who when they see in the other life that spirits can accomplish so much with their phantasies, then not only believe that the diabolic crew can accomplish everything, yea by phantasies, which, I think, [I have treated] of here and there, in other places, and so persuade themselves, [but] also addict themselves to such things, and learn to act by phantasies so that they may be able to effect all things: they thus suppose that they are able to direct all things; thus addict themselves thereto and wish to be of such a sort: thus suppose that the universe is subject to them or their phantasies. It was also shown me, that this is their character, and thus they suppose they are rulers [lords] of the universe. They are nocturnal lights, yea, waxen lights, rather, because there is in them more of sulfur than tallow.


I wished to know whence such come; for I did not wish that they should be from our earth. He said, that he was from the stars; others said that he was a cannibal; concerning whom I spoke with spirits, and it was shown that they were of such a character: moreover the nature of their delight when they kill man and wish to eat him, which delight was great; also that such have lived; wherefore they are so denominated; but I am unawares whether such still live; thus whether the Calmucks are of such a character. I was informed that such [persons] can hardly go forth from any other world than this, wherein they hold each other in such deadly hatred, that not only do they most cruelly treat others, but when the actuality once comes into play, that easily does the cruelty there let loose, extend itself as amongst the cannibals. I also spoke concerning the Jews, that they hold Christians in such a deadly hatred; whether true I know not, but it is reported that [such is the case] at Prague - yea, that nothing is more pleasant to them than human blood; also that some are possessed by such insane anger or fury, as even to desire to feed on such things in [their] fury.


Wherefore this world has now wandered so far into externals, as so far into cruel thoughts, inwardly that externals are by themselves, and speak well so that no one apperceives that [ut, I think] internals think cruelties; wherefore the last times of this [world] are at hand, unless they return to reason.


Still because the sphere of that phantasy is dispersed, only around me the regions are altered, so that they who appeared below are now above; but it should be observed that only the regions are thus changed before them who are not in faith; yet the regions of the Grand Man, still remain to eternity before those who are in faith, for it is impossible that phantasies can effect anything as regards the Grand Man; for the sphere of those phantasies is dispelled whensoever it pleases the Lord - only to me was it shown how the case stands.


There also came cohorts, who are wont to disperse illy - associated [things] like the hilled [spirits who are] highway robbers; then also the east wind which [I have mentioned] before. But they could not shake off [disperse] the sphere of those phantasies. On the other hand they [those phantasies] also carried them away, so penetrating was the sphere of those phantasies; but another more subtle east wind was heard and perceived around my head and ears; into it they could not operate by phantasies.


It was asked what they wished to do with those whom they drew to themselves, and collected by phantasies; they said that they would wrap them in a net and cast them into a sea or abyss; wherefore some wished that they should mean a flood: that by such [phantasies] they perished as by a flood. Whether there was such a correspondence of a flood, then in the antediluvian times appears probable; but that the flood took place is evident from very many things whereof I spoke with them: but as to Noah's Ark, there were many things which induce me to believe that it signifies something else: for instance, that there must be place and food [pasana] also water for so many animals, which [were contained] therein, and that [the ark] must have been so capacious. But I drop these matters, because there are spirits who desire to confuse thereby, what facts have actually transpired: so that I think that each and everything written by Moses in Genesis, is of such a character, for example that [there was] such a paradise, and Adam and other things besides.


It was shown me that all those whom he thus collected, he involved [wrapped] in a great net: for [by his] phantasies he induced a great net, so that they were involved [therein] and also lamented: but were let out, aggregated in balls [conglobatim]. It seemed that only one was involved: who [it was] I do not know; when I asked they induced [the appearance of] various persons: for such is their custom, that they substitute now this one, now that; who was enclosed in the net, that execrable spirit complained; and then one who was enclosed in the net, spread [exspatiatus] himself within the net, into various regions under my feet by various flexures. It was insinuated in me, that it was that spirit who induced phantasies. But concerning the various spreading [exspatiatione] of the last part of the net where he was enclosed, it would be prolix to write, for the flexures were numerous. - 1748, September 30.


THAT PHILOSOPHERS WHO HAVE TAKEN UP PHANTASIES CONCERNING SPIRITS CANNOT BELIEVE THAT SPIRITS ENJOY FEELING [SENSE] [sensu]. (When I extracted what is observed in Nos. 1719, 1720, concerning spirits and their sense, then were present certain learned ones, and their perception was communicated to me: from which I perceived that they can never believe [that] spirits can be endowed [pollere] with any sense, still less a sense of pains, horrors, [and] terrors: thus have their philosophic phantasies induced [brought] darkness on them. Wherefore the unlearned are they who can believe. - 1748, September 30.


THAT EVIL SPIRITS, YEA THE WORST, ARE NOT ABLE TO EXCITE THOSE WHO SLEEP. It was observed when evil spirits and genii were the worst, were around me, so as to be able to excite even subtler spirits by their ideas, that they were unable [to do so to] those who were asleep: for when I was awake, I apperceived near me spirits who were asleep: and though I was then surrounded by such [evil spirits] that still they were not at all able to move or excite the sleepers.


THAT THE WHOLE OF THE GRAND MAN IS AN ORGANISM, AND REPRESENTS THE PURER MEMBRANES [PRINCIPLES] AND GROSSER THINGS OF THE BODY, AND THE LORD ALONE [REPRESENTS] INTERIORS, THUS THE BLOODS IN THE DERIVATIVES. From what has been observed concerning the Grand Man, it is evident that he is only an organism, consequently a membraneous [principle], to which correspond the organic, or membraneous things of the body, which are actuated by the life of the Lord, thus think and act from the Lord. The Lord alone, inasmuch as he is life, vivifies and actuates these things, therefore is represented also by the animal spirits, or bloods, in the ultimate nature of the body: for his life is as well in ultimates, as in firsts primaries. Wherefore, whoever wishes to live, or act his own life, cannot be in the Grand Man, but so far as he desire this, so far does he expel himself, is purged away and rejected [therefrom]; wherefore the whole of the Grand Man is a patient force, or passive force, which is termed dead in itself; but the Lord alone is the active force, the agent, or living force: hence [comes] marriage, and [hence] heaven is compared to a spouse [bride], or wife, and the Lord alone is the bridegroom. - 1748, October 1.


THAT THERE EXISTS NO FIXED STAR, BUT WHAT HAS ITS OWN WORLDS [PLANETS] AROUND ITSELF. I spoke with spirits concerning stars [and] of the origin [ortu] of the worlds around them; [saying] that no star exists, that does not have worlds around it, because it is like a sun and center: for nothing is created but on account of the Grand Man, as an end, thus on account of the Lord. - 1748, October 20.


THAT THE LEARNED WHO HAVE TAKEN UP PHANTASIES ATTEND TO NOTHING ELSE, BUT WHAT CONFIRMS [THESE PHANTASIES]. I spoke with spirits concerning the learned, [saying] that spirits find [in them] more confirmations of such [views] as they have taken up from self-love [and] love of the world, and assumed as principles, than [they do] in others: for whatever philosophic and scientific is in men, they turn into confirmations: they do not see anything else, or if they are excited by other things bend them thither. In like manner do preachers [handle] the things that are in the Lord's Word: they do not see those things which conflict [with their views], but only such things in the literal sense as favor [them]. Wherefore the more learned in the sciences, and the more learned in the Word, the insaner are they wont to be. Hence perhaps it happens that priests immediately as it were change their mind when they become priests, and become more unmerciful than others, and so forth. It is with these things as with the ideas of spirits, who see only filthy things that are far off, [and] who conclude only from such things as they see. - 1748, October 20.


CONCERNING THE IDEAS OR SPIRITS. By means of a single tacit idea, it could be represented to spirits, what is the nature of the idea of inferior spirits, the nature of [the idea] of angelic spirits, also [that] of angels, merely by their perceiving in idea, that the interiors of an [the] idea belong to angelic spirits and their interiors belong to angels: and it was at the same time said that this, which is done and perceived in a moment, cannot be explained to man in many pages: and still would not be perceived, yea, because he has no perception what is an idea, still less what is inward or written ideas, for he supposes all things to be simple: for thus do corporal men conclude their ideas [to be]. - 1748, October 24.


CONCERNING THE METRICAL THOUGHT OF SPIRITS. ((((Spirits and angels speak metrically [in measures], so that their speech [sermo] flows spontaneously without hindrance. They use familiar words, and no word is introduced which multiplies the sense [meaning], or diverts it in other directions; they also [take care] that nothing of self-love [springing] from artful elegance and arrangement of the words may flow, for these things distract [the mind]. When alone, without the close [comitante] attention of man, they act in a more flowing manner; also when they do not inhere in any word, but in the sense. In my case [their measures] terminated in concords [unitates] of the simplest possible kind. When [they exercise] in other [measures] they are brought into concord by means of accent. These things [are so] on account of the simultaneous speaking of many spirits; otherwise, many would not be able to speak together: wherefore there must be roundness [to their speech]. The last concord becomes rounded by means of its successor, into which the preceding [one] is thus rolled. Metrical speech proceeds from interiors to exteriors, through mediate ends so called, all of which are concords. But how the harmony of speaking, pertaining to spirits, differs from the harmony of the speech of angels, it is not permitted to observe. These things in the way.))))


CONCERNING LICE. ((((They who secretly assail the things which belong to faith, and secretly pervert in various modes those who cannot know better, are lice, especially the domestic sort, which have a foul smell. In the way.))))


CONCERNING MICE. ((((They are mice, who, like mice, tread upon [terunt] those things which pertain to truths; just as mice do to corn. Those are in the highest degree, mountain mice, who are better informed, and deceitfully tread upon those things which are more interior. Such is the character of those spirits who are in the highest degree mice, so that they constantly trample on, and deceitfully pervert all that is growing up, be it the true or the good. In the way.))))


THE CONSULTATIONS OF SPIRITS. Spirits seem to themselves to hold consultations; but they exist in a moment, because [they proceed] from [their] nature. It is similar with their thoughts and answers. In the way.


CONCERNING THE DRUNKENNESS OF SPIRITS. It was also granted me to know, through visual [ocular] experience, yea, even to feel it a little, the drunkenness of spirits: which is one of the infernal punishments, but was not a hard one [acerba]. The same [spirits] were long [affected] with the annoyance and stupor of drunkenness, that previously reasoned acutely, and often they had heard many truths; hence they became intoxicated, yea, spiritually. In the way. APPEARANCES ACCORDING TO WHICH IT IS PROPER TO SPEAK, BUT NOT TO THINK. (1.) That God punishes the wicked; that he is angry; that he puts away from himself: that he does not regard, c. 3427-1 (2.) That man does good and speaks truth; that man is good and true; that man lives from himself, when yet he can neither live from himself, nor think nor will good from himself. WHAT GOOD IS, WHAT THE TRUTH OF GOOD, AND WHAT TRUTH. Let fruit be [taken as an example]: -The use which fruit answers, is good. -The manner in which the use is to be applied, is the truth of good. -The quality of the fruit as to taste, smell, and beauty, is truth. The odor of fruits or flowers: -The use which odor subserves relative to the brain, the lungs, and the heart, is good. -The manner in which it is to be applied, so as to answer its use, as to the nostrils, the temples, or about the head like a wreath, is the truth of good. -The quality of the odor, and the like, are truth. Charity: -The use it serves, is good. -How charity is to be dispensed, is the truth of good. -The quality of charity, is truth. THE GENERAL LAW OF HEAVEN. (1.) So far as the love of ruling enters with man, so far love towards the neighbor departs. (2.) Thus also so far as love towards the neighbor departs, so far love to the Lord departs; for the good which is from Him is the neighbor, and also the truth of good. (3.) Thence it follows, that so far as the love of ruling enters, so far a saving faith, which is from the Lord, departs; for faith is of truth which is of good. (4.) That this is so appears from conjugial love, which departs just in proportion as the love of ruling enters. -Conjugial love is the fundamental of all loves.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO REJECT ALL FAITH, AND BELIEVE ONLY IN LIFE. There was a certain spirit, somewhat obscurely visible, who first spoke with me by ideas, and afterwards applied himself to my left ear, but in an inverted position, his head downwards and his feet upwards, 3428-1 and thus spoke two or three times in my ear, while I knew not who he was or of what character. It was afterwards disclosed to me by living discourse and by perceptions, that of such a quality are those who reject faith so decidedly that they are unwilling to hear of faith or of knowledges, which they think to be the tree of knowledge that deceived Eve and Adam; and while they insist much upon life, speaking largely of it, and otherwise exalting it, the case is the same [i. e., they appear inverted] with those also who believe [and maintain] the contrary, viz., such as are called Lutherans, who say that faith alone without works saves. The former maintain that faith, which they so entirely reject as to be unwilling to have it named or to hear of it, does not save; indeed they are rather in the persuasion that it damns, [as is to be inferred] from their speaking only of life, as if that alone were life which they call such, though apart from knowledge; and insisting that if it is not such, it is nothing.


The same person, who was a subject of this class of spirits, 3429-1 and who spoke in my ear with his head and heels inverted, although not conspicuous, yet he afterwards appeared to me as lying for the most part [or most of the time], extended in a supine posture, and then seemed of a white body, and yet not [to be] a body, but something white like one, because life is represented in this manner. When he was examined as to the quality of the life which he perceived, [in himself] it was found to be abstracted from faith, thus from knowledges, they thinking [i. e., the spirits whose subject he was] that life being present, knowledges were of no account. It was given to say to him, as his persuasion was communicated, and, as it were, borne in upon me, that life is that which does, and that life is of faith, and that faith is nothing but life; and when one lives the life of faith, that then knowledge is not perceived, as is the case with the angels; or as a man, in speaking, does not attend to the sounds or words, but abides in the sense of the words, so also while he lives, that those things which are of knowledges do, as it were, perish, as also the things which are of scientific and intellectual faith.


He who thus appeared, being exhibited naked, supine, and snowy, said that he was nothing, thinking that life chiefly consisted in that, and this [he reiterated] often, that he was nothing; for which reason, and because he was so imperceptible, evil spirits were unable to harm him, for it was his persuasion that he was nothing, and in that persuasion lay his life; but in what manner or respect he was nothing, I was not able to perceive, only [that he said it] not from humility towards the Lord, nor from the consciousness that there was nothing but what was evil and impure in himself, for this he did not admit, as [all such] deem themselves pure, though they do not say holy. But his or their persuasion was, that he was then pure, and that there was nothing of evil, still less of defiled, pertaining to them, thus that all evil and defilement were washed away.


But this subject-spirit was not, I think, in any other persuasion than that life consisted in this, viz., that he was nothing; but what the being nothing is he did not know. In other things he was, compared to others, rather open to conviction; as, for instance, when it was said that the Lord is life, he gave his assent to it, besides other things which he could easily be drawn to admit; wherefore his whiteness appeared like that of a body, naked and pliable, because he himself was pliable, as was manifest. I thus judged that he was easily led to things that were true and good; but I now perceive that the fact was otherwise, and also that he had lived in ignorance, and thought that [state] to be everything (:his preacher or instructor, who is now with me and directs and has directed him, does not admit what I am now writing; he does not admit that I shall say true and good, because this involves faith, which he regards as knowledges [or sciences] that pervert:) and thought all this was so, as his preacher or instructor has taught him, thus [remaining] in ignorance, because he suffers himself to be simply and passively led; wherefore there is yet hope of him, for ignorance excuses.


It is consequently clear that his preacher or instructor, who appeared to me before, was present [to him by his influence]; for whenever he was with him, the spirit was in a similar opinion and persuasion, and he had the power of leading him to do [whatever he pleased], since he could persuade him into whatever he wished, [and] thus had persuaded him that life was all in all. He does not even admit the utterance of the term faith, nor that of truth and good, because they are of faith. Whether he admits love and its vocal term I doubt, for I perceive that he does not know what love is, consequently he does not know what life is, because he does not admit the life of faith, and scarcely the life of love. His life therefore is perceived as being cold; but yet while he lived in the body he did not seem to himself to have acted badly; he rejected whatever he deemed corporeal and worldly, and being of a serious turn, shunned everything sportive and pleasant.


And because he thus spent life without a knowledge of life, he appears but obscurely, accordingly as he regarded life as something spiritual and abstracted from the body.


When therefore his preacher was in his own persuasion concerning such a kind of life, and he appeared erect in his black garment, which was dimly seen, then the good spirits of interior quality, who were above, appeared inverted and of a grayish white, their heads being downwards and their feet upwards, for so his persuasion, or the sphere of his persuasion, inverted good spirits. Afterwards, when he himself was inverted, in his black garment, obscurely seen, it was effected with difficulty, and the good spirits there were then erect; yea, when his subject, whom he had persuaded, lay supine, then the good spirits who were at the right above, and who thus led him, said that they could stand erect, but there was still somewhat of an opposing force, as they inclined forward to compel themselves to stand upright. And now I perceive something cold from the preacher, who applies himself upwardly to my head, so that cold enough exhales from him. The good spirits wish that I should write much cold, 3434-1 for it especially affects my hands and my left knee, and passes towards the sole of the foot. They say it is not permitted me to feel more cold; whence it may be known that enough is much.


This preceptor, as he wishes to be called, or preacher, was led into several spheres, that the quality of his life might be explored, as for instance into the sphere of those who believe there is nothing except evil and pollution in man; but not being able to remain in that sphere, he now insinuates that the Lord took away all evil and pollution, so that with man there is nothing of it left. Whether the Lord alone is [now] such, he does not dare to say, because he knows that he is in the other life, and that spirits are present who hear. I perceive, however, by a spiritual idea, that he thinks the fact to be, that the Lord alone is polluted, because he took away all pollution from the human race, and that thus he will remain till the last judgment, when he comes into glory, when it will be different, and that he chose to assume this pollution in order to save the human race; being thus persuaded from the fact that the Lord bore all the evils and defilements of men. He says that he knows no otherwise.


Hence it may appear why the good spirits were inverted, viz. from his persuasion; when the truth is altogether the reverse, and the Lord alone is life, and the Lord alone is pure and holy, and all beings, whether angels, angelic spirits, spirits, or men, how many soever there may be of them, are evil and unclean, and never can have anything of good or of life, except from the Lord: and that evil is spiritual death, and good celestial life, and truth from good life celestial-spiritual.


He was brought into another sphere, where they believe there is nothing of life but from the Lord; but there he could not abide.


Conversing with him largely concerning the knowledges of faith, that no true life can ever be given except through such knowledges: that without life by the knowledges of faith, or by the doctrine of faith, that is, by faith, there would be no need of the revelation of the Word, either the Word of the Old Testament or the New; in order that this might be evinced, it was given to say that otherwise there would have been no need of his preaching, in order to instruct as to the conduct of life, and the rejection of faith; nor would there have been any need of his disputing with me on the subject, as life might have been immediately infused without the Word and without his preaching: to all which, because he was unable to answer, he confessed once or twice that it was so, but because he was in the persuasion [before mentioned] he returns to it again, and wishes to retract the words, which I have written in this paragraph. This also he wishes to insinuate, that man is regenerated while ignorant of it, and thus obtains life; concerning which it was also previously given to speak with him and to say, that such is indeed the case with regeneration, but yet [that it is effected] by the knowledges of faith, and that although man is ignorant of it at the time, yet in a state of adversity and temptation, when bodily things recede, the things that are of faith are recalled by the Lord to his mind.


It was also previously given to speak concerning the angelic life, that it is a life of love, and it was intimated, that a life of love is their felicity, inasmuch as they perceive the felicity of life in doing good; that the celestial life is such, and thence the spiritual. It is otherwise with men, who when born are defiled and are nothing but evil, and are educated in the love of self and the love of the world, and such a life can by no means be amended and reformed, except by the knowledges of truth and good, thus by the knowledges of faith. Wherefore it was insinuated into him, that the internal man consists of understanding and will, and that without understanding there was never a man, and [yet] that man is not born into any understanding, still less into will, but first into intellectuals, and so is inaugurated into the intellectuals of truth and good, which are of faith, and thus by the Lord into life: thus the life becomes [the life] of the Lord, which is the life of love.


He was then brought to him - [or to them] - whose subject he was, who thought faith alone without the works of the law to be saving, thus to those were in a contrary persuasion, that I might see how those spheres upon concurrence would be affected. They each confessed themselves to have been in life Lutherans, but he who supposed faith alone without good works to be saving, began, from the sphere of the other's persuasion, to be changed first about the head, which appeared obscurely white; he then became almost invisible, and complained that he could not resist (:perhaps seeming to himself to be only inverted:), then he appeared to recede, and his [vacated] place seemed as a fiery lumen, or as something peculiarly bright.


Above the head a little to the left in the rear stood those who favor promiscuous marriage, from the persuasion that every good ought to be common, thus also marriages, and [who hold] that the reason why matrimonies are contracted is solely with a view to cohabitation, and that thus the offspring may be reared as belonging to one party, while at the same time they really belong to others. Upon being asked what he thought of that kind of life, in which the good was thus common, he replied, as it was given to perceive, that he did not reject it, saying indeed that he did not approve it, yet still did not condemn it because every good is common. That both he and the other, who was his disciple, or former subject, thought so, was owing to the fact, that they had their own wives, with whom, on account of the scandal, they did not wish to have the concession take effect, but that others should think and act thus he had not the least objection. But it was told him that this was abominable, and that conjugial love was unique, from which not only the love of offspring, but (:as now:) all other loves were derived; that when this is relaxed, the most enormous license grows strong against all conjugial love, and nothing of life remains, which is [spiritual] death because there is no life of love. - 1748, October 2.


It was observed that when the persuasion of that preacher or preceptor operated in me, the perception of truth and good which I formerly had, was, as it were, taken away, so that I could only recur to scientifics, or scientifically to the knowledges of faith, for I did not then perceive that marriages were so holy, inviolate and strict. Hence it may appear how powerfully the persuasions of certain men are able to work upon those whom they instruct, thus of this preceptor upon his disciple, who was, notwithstanding, a king. It appears also from this, that he before whom he stood, and who believed that faith without good works was saving, became himself, from the sphere of the persuasion, [transformed] about the head into a white cloud: for the persuasion penetrated so deeply that he was almost ready to affirm, wherefore he was removed. Such is the power of the sphere of persuasion.


From the incidents above related it appeared that a single expression of the Word, which [one interprets] for himself according to his phantasies, is able to induce an entirely false doctrine or heresy, and thus a life; as, for instance, from this alone, that all goods ought to be common, thus also wives again from this, that man is regenerated while in ignorance of it, and without the need of knowledges; from this also, that the Lord has borne iniquities, [implying] that all the human race is pure, and that consequently the Lord alone is burdened with sin; moreover, that life is that which is regarded, but not faith, because it is something scientific; besides other similar things; thus myriads of heresies may exist from the literal sense of the Word.


The subject before mentioned being elevated to heaven in order that he might perceive a certain pleasantness communicated to me, inquired, "For what end is such pleasantness? for I supposed that one would place his happiness only in use, like the angels." Being then, conveyed among those who would have the whole heaven, without exception, to be as nothing, I perceived that he had [in that persuasion] his own felicity, thus not in any use; concerning which it was given to say, that mutual love, and a preference of another over one's self were angelic, and that then felicity was given by the Lord (:thus now or then I said to him:) 3443-1 and that all were dedicated to their uses, some that they might be delighted in marriages, some in the love of infants, some in helping the distressed in temptations, some in resuscitating and introducing the dead, and so on. - 1748, October 2.


What the quality of that life is it was given to perceive when I sifted the truth respecting [the things of] love, that they are represented by heat, viz. that as nothing of the vegetable kind can exist and subsist without heat, as nothing [of this kind can flourish] in winter, so neither can anything [exist] in man without love; if destitute of love, his life is the life of winter, which [kind of life] the preacher also appropriated, as if it were no other than a wintry life, from which nothing of truth and good, still less of the fruit of faith, could be produced; wherefore his presence was cold, as it was given to say to him. - 1740, October 2. I thence perceived that it was only with the utmost reluctance that he would admit the word love; that he did admit it, notwithstanding his repugnance, seems to have been on account solely of the well known sexual love towards a wife, and other similar things.


CONTINUATION. This preacher or preceptor was afterwards examined, and conversation was first had respecting conscience, that true conscience is not given without the knowledges of faith; but he would have it that the human race was born into the conscience of truth, that he might thence know what truth and good is; but it was shown, that man is not born into any knowledge, but is viler than the brute, and unless he received the knowledges of truth and good from education, would be much viler than the brutes, and scarce an animal; thus that he is altogether destitute of conscience, which is the product of those things that the man thinks true and good. Thus it happens that false and defiled consciences are given, as for instance when one is troubled on account of prevarications against those things that are not true and good, but which he only thinks to be true, and good, but which he only thinks to be true, like heretics, idolaters, and others acting from trifling considerations, in which there is nothing of evil; whereas conscience is true [when there is trouble or anxiety on account of transgressions or prevarications] against the things that are of the truth of faith. This kind of conscience is never born with man, but there are first knowledges, by which it is to be procured, and then at length it is [fully] given by the Lord, so that he may sometimes be ignorant of the causes [from which he acts], like a man who, having learnt languages and sciences from infancy, becomes at last as if he did not know them, but they follow as though they had never been acquired.


Thus (:now:) to live honestly, to live according to laws - laws of subordination - to study the good of the commonwealth these things are [first] learned, and afterwards remain fixed; and thus it is granted by the Lord that one should not take cognizance of what he has learned, but that conscience should dictate. Such things were said to him, but he was unwilling to admit them, being confirmed, it would seem, by them [in the belief] that as ideas are connate with man, as it is termed, so also is the conscience of those foul adulteries, maintaining, beside many other things, that it became defiled from [fallacious] reasoning. That conscience was such [as I had affirmed] he would not acknowledge; wherefore he was elevated on high, where they perceive interior things, that he might better perceive the truth; but being of the quality of one without conscience, he acknowledged and yet did not acknowledge, and so much the less as he did not admit the knowledges of faith.


It was shown also that from the sacred Word he had acquired to himself many confirming things, by means of foul representations and shameful nakednesses, which it is not permitted to relate; thus he was without conscience.


Being examined also as to whether he wished to rule over others, it was detected that he had in his mind a desire to hold all others in subjection, thus not only the king [above-mentioned], whom he transferred under his feet, and into whom he wished to infuse persuasions, but did not fully dare to do it, but he wished to exercise the same dominion over everyone else; so supreme with him was the love of self. This was evinced by the vile attempts, to this end, of similar spirits, who for a long time have been well known to me.


He desired also to inveigle the innocent, as when anything was charged upon him, he would fain substitute the innocent [in his place], pretending that even those whom he knew to be innocent were liable to the same charge; and this that he might not only exculpate himself, but also persuade others that it was lawful thus to substitute whomsoever he could find. In this manner those act who are without conscience and without love towards others.


Afterwards the fact was detected and confessed by him, that he was leagued with them [the adulterers], and he disclosed the manner in which those abominable promiscuous marriages were conducted, both in darkness and in light; for they court obscurity, but when those whom they fear withdraw, they bring a light and kindle it, when their rites are detected, which from their abominableness are not to be described; and as they say that the intercourse is to be common, so they act promiscuously, that a wife may not know by whom she is pregnant, and thus the progeny may be common to all, and yet may be brought up by a husband; thus everyone acknowledges the offspring as common, and in order to this many have connection with one [woman], and indeed all, in order that the particular person may not be known. Their quality was represented in the light by filthy swine, which they resemble.


3427-1 It is not of course implied by this, that, in the righteous government of God, the wicked are not punished, but simply that this punishment results from the contrariety of nature between the Divine Being and the offender. This appears as the exercise of wrath on the part of God, and the Scriptures are in great measure constructed on the principle of apparent rather than real truth. It is the sinner who punishes himself by his own evil. To a man with diseased eyes who looks towards the sun, it appears as if the sun, by his positive influence, caused the pain which he feels; whereas the true cause is in the state of his eyes, and which he may have procured to himself by his own act. If the eye were sound the light would not harm him. This is Swedenborg's doctrine of punishment. It is the necessary and inevitable result of transgression, by the law of its own working. A nature alienated from God regards God as opposed to him and fighting against him, whereas God is unchangeable love, goodness and mercy. Still the transgressor is punished, not only by the natural effects of this contrariety in its bearings towards himself, but by the malignant passions of other wicked spirits, a part of whose evil is this very infernal prompting to inflict misery upon others in ways that are ineffable to men in the body. The doctrine delivered by Swedenborg on this head may be seen in what follows: - "That Jehovah has not any anger is evident from this, that He is love itself, good itself, and mercy itself, and anger is the opposite, and is, also an infirm principle, which cannot be imputed to God: wherefore when anger in the Word is predicated of Jehovah, or the Lord, the angels do not perceive anger, but either mercy, or the removal of the evil from heaven. That anger in the Word is attributed to Jehovah or the Lord, is because it is a most general truth, that all things come from God, thus both evils and goods but this most general truth, which infants, young people, and the simple, must receive, ought afterwards to be illustrated, namely, by teaching that it is so said to the intent that they may learn to fear God, lest they should perish by the evils which they themselves do. The reason why by anger is meant mercy and clemency is, because all the punishment of the evil exist from the Lord's mercy towards the good, lest these latter should be hurt by the evil; but the Lord does not inflict punishments upon them, but they upon themselves, for evils and punishments in the other life are conjoined. The evil inflict punishment upon themselves principally when the Lord does mercy to the good, for then their evils increase, and thence punishments: it is from this ground that instead of the anger of Jehovah, by which are signified the punishments of the evil, mercy is understood by the angels. From these considerations it may be manifest what the quality of the Word is in the sense of the letter, also what the quality of truth divine is in its most general sense or meaning, namely, that it is according to appearances, by reason that man is of such a quality, that what he sees and apprehends from his sensual, he believes, and what he does not see, neither apprehend from his sensual, he does not believe, thus does not receive. Hence it is, that the Word in the sense of the letter is according to those things which appear; nevertheless in its interior bosom it contains a store of genuine truths, and in its inmost bosom truth divine itself." - AC 6997. -Tr.

3428-1 The inversion here spoken of is to be regarded as the effect of a strong contrary persuasion. To a certain state of mind a spirit in a directly opposite state appears in the manner here described. In the present life the encasement of the spirit in a material body, prevents the effect from being realized as it is in the other. But even here it is easy to apprehend that to a rigid Papist, for instance, a Protestant must appear as to his moral posture, the opposite of himself, like his own image seen in the water; and so vice versa with the Protestant. They will of course be antipodes to each other if their feet are in contact. Yet each appears to himself normally erect. It seems, however, from what follows, that in some cases, where the sphere of the contrary persuasion is peculiarly strong, that its effect may enter the consciousness of the inverted party, and he may be aware that the other regards him as inverted, and on this ground he may not only be said to be inverted, but may be in a measure sensible of the effect. -Tr.

3429-1 For an account of the spirits called subjects in the other world, see AC 5856.

3434-1 From this it may perhaps be inferred that Swedenborg ultimately designed the publication of this Diary [now called Spiritual Experiences]. It is otherwise not easy to understand why the phraseology in this instance should have been deemed of any particular importance. -Tr.

3443-1 Parenthetical clauses, like the present, frequently occur in the pages of the Diary [now called Spiritual Experiences], and seemed designed to indicate some particular impression made, from the spiritual world, upon the writer's mind at the very time he was penning the paragraph. What this was cannot now be ascertained, any further than as the general scope of the context may afford grounds, more or less definite, for an inference respecting it. -Tr.

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