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

Spiritual Diary


They confirm themselves also by this, that in this manner propagation of offspring is promoted, and by many other things equally wicked and revolting. 3451-1


When this preacher of the king was thus detected as having been concerned [in the abomination], the rest confessed that such was the fact, but that still, independent of him, they had had such intercourse, but that on account of his participation, they had done it with less shame. The house also, which was of a yellow color, was shown, together with the entrance, but the entrance was presently covered by a cloud: he said that he had his wife there.


Ostensum mihi qualia sunt spurci illorum amores, nempe quomodo confirmant talia spurcis ratiociniis, per inductos sensus in regionem membrorum genitalium, primum in glandulas inguinales, tum per invasionem quandam sensibilem ab abdominis regione versus regionem istam, dein per inductionem sensus in membrum genitale, successive versus bulbum, et tunc simul in pollicem sinistri pedis, et per sensum igneum sub media planta; cumprimis in unguem pollicis pedis sinistri, qui tali igneo ardori in bulbo tandem correspondet; igneum erat; quibus significatum quomodo progressive se confirmarint et instigarint spurcis ratiociniis, tandem crassissimis naturalibus, quae significata per igneum in ungue pollicis sinistri pedis, tum ardoris cujusdam sensu in urethra prius, quae significant ea quae ad spurcam vesicam pertinent, sic successerunt eorum foedi amores, nam ultimo aestimant conjuges, ita conjugia pro urinatoriis vasis, quibus unicuique permittitur urinam infundere, ita detestantur et abominantur tandem conjugia, et amorem conjugialem, tum totum sexum foemininum; consequenter omnes amores inde derivatos, sic ut vita eorum tandem sit vita hyemis, et quidem spurca.


They are so powerfully allured by this foul cupidity, that they think there is not an individual in the whole world who may not be persuaded that he is of such a disposition, or may become so, for in principle they place the highest terrestrial pleasure therein, although afterwards they nauseate and abominate, together with conjugial love, everything which truly belongs to love.


That preacher was at length changed as to his face, and having become fiery yet black, his body clad in white, in this black and deformed aspect he was carried about and exhibited to spirits and angels, [that they might know] how vile a man he was; and because he deemed that his conduct was for the sake of offspring, he represented to himself something like an offspring, which was seen; but, as in the case of a young child, his head was enveloped round about and made as it were black, thus rendering his face still more deformed. At length he represented to himself that the innocent were participators with him, for these he was in the practice of substituting, that he might screen himself. He then scraped together whatever he could from the Word, - some things respecting David, and others respecting the Pre-Adamites, - which I had not before heard; and his whole body being then again enveloped, and presenting thus enwrapped a dusky aspect, the entire front of his person, from his head downwards, became, as it were, an elongated face, which added vastly to his deformity. Afterwards he was torn and rent by the tormentors, but still not very cruelly, and placed against a column, when his face appeared only of its natural dimensions, but unsightly, from a cadaverous hue.


But still he spoke, or another in him, from which it was manifest that he was void of modesty, for he was not ashamed of being made what he was, nor that he was affixed to the column with his hideous face; for not the least sign of shame was to be observed. - 1748, October 3.


IT WAS PERCEIVED, BY A SPIRITUAL IDEA, THAT NOTHING OF [TRUE] LIFE INHERES IN THE WICKED. There were above the head those who act by clandestine deceit, for they only act when they can do it without harm to themselves, as is usual with those who are accustomed to act in this manner. These being remitted for a short time [into their former state], immediately acted from their nature; wherefore I inquired of them whether there was aught of life in them, for I perceived, by a spiritual idea, that they acted like a sinew, which acts only as it is relaxed; with the difference, however, that such spirits being forms receptive of life, think that they act as if really living. By a spiritual idea it was also perceived, that of themselves they were destitute of life, which was indicated by the appearance of something black [and] lifeless. They answered that they did not know, because they also perceived that they acted like a sinew that is relaxed; thus they, from their own form, into which the life of the Lord flows, in proportion as this is diminished or withdrawn, tend to what is deceitful and depraved. - 1748, October 3.


In speaking further concerning them when reformed, [I learned] that the means employed were honors, terrors, shames, and things of this nature, which were impressed upon them by punishments and vastations, until they contracted the habit of being more watchful over themselves, and could thus be restrained with less reprehension. The consequence is, that in process of time, they become such that a greater degree of liberty can be allowed them, though the same nature remains. - 1748, October 3.


CONCERNING THE ANIMAL SPIRITS AND FIBERS. Speaking with some concerning the animal spirits, when there was one or more present who in the life of the body seemed to have known something about such things, [I said] that very few of the learned would believe that any animal spirit is given, but that the fibers are empty, like dry stalks of flax, when yet it may be evident to anyone that no such fiber could operate without its inner fluid, any more than there could be a patient without an agent. This was perceived to be impossible, for the fibers would then be destitute of all vital operation, like a blood-vessel without blood. Yet [these same persons] if they see any juice expressed, or a liquid injected by instruments, will then believe, because it becomes sensible; when at the same time nothing subservient to life can be given, unless there be an agent within and a re-agent without. This was not all actually said in so many words, but it was thought over with spirits, as it is while I am writing. - 1748, October 3. As long as it is disputed whether an animal spirit exists in the fibers, which may be done for a thousand years, they can never come even to the outer court of knowledges, nor even see it, but stand afar off; for on most points the learned simply dispute whether a thing is or not.


The sciences are not in themselves of such a nature that they are to be rejected, for those things which are spiritual may be confirmed by them, for the angels understand indefinitely more in all sciences than ever could be believed, and those too of the most hidden character; but the learned in every science, be it what it may, scarcely ever fail to endeavor, either openly or to themselves, to reason concerning spiritual things, each from his peculiar science, and thus everyone blinds himself; for many, in order to gain a character for learning, reason from their sciences; as the philosophers from theirs, the logicians from theirs, the metaphysicians from theirs, the anatomists from theirs, the geometricians from theirs, the historians from theirs, the politicians from theirs, and so on, whereby they heap up phantasies, like the Jews from their trifles; wherefore the ideas of the learned are closed, and with them spiritual and celestial things, and thus heaven itself, which is opened to the unlearned. - 1748, October 3. Who worship nature as God more than those that are skilled in the different sciences?


CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE PREACHER AND HIS LIFE. It was given to know the quality of this man's life and that of those of similar stamp, from this circumstance; that while I was reading of those things that constitute the primary knowledges of the faith professed in heaven, it was attended at first with such a full idea that the angels also were delighted; but when he was present, and the persuasion of his life flowed in, then those perceptions were so dulled [and deadened] that the spirits around me could scarcely apprehend the sense of the words, much less feel any delight, so completely was everything closed, obscured, and weakened, from the life of his persuasion alone.


Moreover, because he was in the persuasion that he might have eternal life, he was restored to his former freedom from restraint, and again explored; the reason was, that being a preacher of much dignity, he might have served as a subject of this class [of spirits], and then, as a subject, he could not have thought differently [from them], and consequently the explorers themselves might have been deceived. But because the course of events detected his quality, and the persuasion of his life, it was given to state what the result would be. But because he was a priest, and priests are accustomed to shield each other, however flagitious, certain spirits were disposed to protect him, as if it would be injurious to the priestly order were he to be impeached. He was therefore transferred into the society of others, and first of those who were cunningly malicious; but yet his true character was seen as it was. Afterwards he was conveyed to a society of the pious [pietists], who deem themselves holy, and who were with me in the face; he there became associated with those who directed him through right and wrong, pious and impious, sacred and profane, but still he was recognized there also in his true character. At length he was delivered over to the company of certain spirits who, because he was a priest, were ready to screen him, from the false idea that unless the priests were screened, the priesthood would suffer. In this society he became such that he never could have been read as he really was, for he seemed ready to confess faith as fully as those who now led him, although it was obscurely perceived that, as the spirits around me said, it was rather they than he that were chargeable with it, and that he merely served them as a subject, which he did without his own agency, for from this he would have shrunk at all hazards; but the truth was, the priests had reduced him into their own state, so that forgetting himself he spoke as they did. 3462-1 Hence it appears what the quality of priests in general is, as well as that of the bishops who are among them, viz. that from a false principle assumed they will defend the most abandoned and reprobate, and see the church of the Lord suffer rather than permit the vilest wretch to be removed from the priesthood, though it is plainly their duty to prefer the care of souls to the well-being of a base miscreant who can seduce and pervert whole congregations, and plunge them into hell. But most priests, as well as their bishops, rioting in worldly and corporeal indulgence, heed none of these things, nor think at all of the church and the salvation of souls. While I am writing this they acknowledge that such is their character, and being somewhat ashamed, retire.


But the preacher being suddenly caught away from them, comes towards my left ear, and a little below, speaking almost like a boisterously chiding spirit though his speech cannot well be described. He first makes a grinding noise with his teeth, then a similar one in the abdomen, belching forth his words, as it were, and in this kind of utterance confesses that he was in the life of the body of the character above described, that he delighted in promiscuous adulteries, and not only approved of them but actually practiced them.


I was afterwards remitted into the company of those of this character, from whence respiration flowed in, that I might know their quality; the respiration was then separated from the pectoral region, and removed to the abdominal about the naval, nor did it extend itself any further; and this signifies a life separated from good and truth. There were then shown to me certain species of respirations, concerning which much conversation also was had, as, for instance, that there is conjoined with the usual respirations an external one, which is common to the world of spirits; then an internal with an insensible external, which is sufficiently good; then an internal without an external, which is better; and finally an insensible one that was to me scarcely perceptible, which is angelic. But these in general; there are still other genera, and an indefinite number of species, pertaining to different regions of the body and the determinations thence, concerning which, by the favor of the Lord, I shall speak elsewhere. I was first accustomed thus to respire in my early childhood, when saying my morning and evening prayers, and occasionally afterwards, when exploring the harmonies of the lungs and heart, and especially when deeply engaged in writing the works that have been published. For a course of years I continually observed that there was a tacit respiration, scarcely perceptible, concerning which it was subsequently given me to reflect, and then to write. I was thus during many years, from the period of childhood, introduced into such respirations, especially by means of absorbing speculations, in which the breathing seems to become quiescent, as otherwise the intense study of truth is scarcely possible. Afterwards, when heaven was opened to me, and I was enabled to converse with spirits, I sometimes scarcely breathed by inspiration at all for the space of a short hour, and merely drew in enough of air to keep up the process of thinking. Thus I was introduced by the Lord into interior respirations. I have also again and again observed, that when I was passing into a state of sleep, my respiration was almost taken away, so that I would awake and catch my breath. When I observe nothing of the kind, I continue to write and think, and am not aware of my respiration being arrested, unless I reflect upon it. This I may say has happened in instances innumerable. Nor was I at such times able to observe the various changes, because I did not reflect upon them. The design of all this was, that every kind of state, every kind of sphere, and every kind of society, particularly the more interior, might find in my own a fit respiration, which should come into play without any reflection on my part, and that thus a medium of interaction might be afforded with spirits and angels.


Once on awakening after sleep I heard a subtle sound as of a peculiar kind of turning or twisting above my left ear, which I can hardly find words to describe. Again, on awakening at another time, I heard the sound of a rougher kind of twisting and rending, and it was perceived that it was from those who were of similar quality with the preacher, as were also those who were thus dreadfully torn, the reason of which [punishment] was, that they had deceitfully charged upon others misdeeds similar to their own; for it was habitual for him to say that all others, however innocent, were like himself, as he was desirous by means of phantasy which was perceived, of conjoining others with himself, in order that the innocent might undergo the rending. 3465-1 [It was also perceived] that he seemed to believe that he had actually substituted the innocent; but I maintained, on the other hand, that it was impossible, although I still had a sort of belief that the fact was so, as the renders labored hard to hold him, while he seemed several times to escape, and the innocent to be substituted. Wherefore angelic spirits were [seen to be] around my head, who directed the punishment, and then there was no sign of his escaping, for it was perceived that they held him, and when he seemed to escape that he was still brought back. The former illusion was owing to his being dealt with by renders of a duller genius, who did not duly perceive interior things.


I afterwards spoke with those of this stamp, and informed them that it was impossible for them to enter the sphere of angels, for they would be distressed like a fish when raised out of the water into the air. But as they were of a more subtle genius, they were above at a very considerable height in front, and flowed in with a kind of insensible subtlety. They were those who think such adulteries with married and unmarried women as are mentioned above, to be not only lawful, but holy; thus pretending for them a character of sanctity. To these I remarked, that it was as impossible for such vile adulterers to enter the angelic sphere as for a bird to live in the ether; and I represented a bird in [the empty receiver of] an air-pump; but they thought it was possible; whereupon they themselves were representatively carried upwards, as out of the atmosphere into the ether; and the preacher himself being made the subject of this process, it appeared as if with him the urinary bladder was so dilated as to occupy the whole man, with the exception perhaps of the head, so that he became, as it were, only a filthy bladder or vile utensil. Whether anything similar appeared to take place to those who were in the elevation above-mentioned, I do not recollect. At this time I saw what I have described; but it was perceived that they were fearfully tortured, for they were remitted into more subtle ideas, because they had made a pretence of holiness.


When they had been thus tortured for a time, and by reason of the bladders drawn over them were converted to the appearance of these vile utensils, there burst forth from [each of] these coverings, as it were, a naked human body. This led me to think it might be the remains of their good, for it differed not from a naked human body, except that it was somewhat more ruddy. But it was let down almost in a perpendicular line towards the earth below, and then became somewhat, though not entirely, fiery; but after some delay it was conveyed to Gehenna. It was their holy which they had profaned, and which therefore appeared in this manner.


When this quasi human body was let down toward the midst of Gehenna, then those who were there perceived a certain charge; their lasciviousness, which was fiery, was diminished, because the delight of the other lasciviousness was greater, as it was given me to perceive. It appeared from this that their lasciviousness was more outrageous than that of those in Gehenna, for which reason they could not be sent into it. The fire of Gehenna is redder, like the fire of flame, but their fire was represented as white, and like the flame of an intenser heat. Their passive life in like manner is represented as of a snowy light, for they represent the light of winter; but when coupled with their nefarious and abominable lasciviousness, it was of a flamy light.


When it was found that the fire of Gehenna would not coalesce with the fiercer fire of this flame, then those from Gehenna who were of similar quality drew near to them, and both parties forming themselves into a band, were thence wafted about. I then supposed and said that a new Gehenna would be formed of those of this character, and that for this reason they were borne about as described. But they could not remain in that sphere, and came above my head, and there remained for some time stationary. I learned that they were exceedingly numerous, from a hissing kind of whisper, which cannot be described. They were sometime above my head, and whispered with a horrible hiss, but quite unlike the Gehenna that had previously approached my left ear, concerning which I spoke, if I mistake not, before, and the whisper of which was hoarser, because from a more dense flame of fire. But this was more subtle, because of a more subtle flame. It extended itself around my head, from their pretending such principles of holiness. They were afterwards driven to a region in the rear, or in a back direction, as if to be remitted from the world of this sun into the open universe, where beings like them are supposed to be, and there to be plunged into their lakes. Where they were afterwards driven to I know not. I perceived at the same time that my eyes were weakened, especially the right. - 1748, October 4.


CONCERNING SPIRIT, THAT IT IS EXTENDED. I conversed with those who, in the life of the body, believed that spirit was not extended, and who, moreover, from such a principle, had irradicated phantasies to that degree that they would not admit even the use of a term implying the idea of extension. Upon being aware of the fact, I inquired of one who was deeply rooted in this persuasion, what he now thought respecting the soul or spirit, whether it was extended or not, reminding him that he saw, heard, smelt, touched, and had appetite, just as if he was actually in the body; that as to touch, for instance, he enjoyed it most perfectly; besides the various cupidities of which man is possessed in his corporeal life, and (:now:) that he was even in similar thought. He confessed that during life he had been of the opinion that the soul or spirit was not extended, and consequently that he would admit nothing, not even the use of a word, which would involve such a belief. He was then held a while in the idea in which he was when he thought thus in the world, and he then said that spirit was thought. But I answered him as if he were still living in the world, by inquiring whether sight could exist without an organ of sight or an eye. Sight in itself is not extended, but the eye or organ of sight is extended, as are also the objects of sight, but not sight abstracted from organ and object. So also with thought, which is internal sight. I asked him whether he could conceive of thought or internal sight apart from organs or organic substances, just as sight could not be conceived of without an organ of sight, adding that thought viewed in itself and without an organic substance, was like vision, of which extension could not be predicted; and if internal sight or thought were practicable without an organ, I demanded from what source or by what means. He then acknowledged that he had, during the life of the body, indulged the phantasy of supposing that spirit was only thought, but not organic; he now however manifestly perceived that it was organic.


The cause is hence manifest why the learned do not believe in a life after death, nor in spirit, viz., that they abstract thought from its organic [relations], just as they would sight and hearing from their organs. To this we may add, that if spirit was nothing but thought, man would have no need of so much brain as he has, for the whole brain is an organ of the internal senses. Indeed the skull might in that case be wholly emptied of its contents, and still the thought act as spirit. How then can it fail to appear to the learned of the world, that there are organics of thought in the brain, from whence flow invisible fibers, along which the thoughts pass from the [outward] senses to the [interior] organics, and from the organics to the muscular activities?


Another subject of discourse was the form of spirits; for they know not that they are possessed of any other form than the human, inasmuch as the inmost things of the spirit aspire [and tend] to a form similar to the human body, as the spirit of the parent in the embryo to that form, and the whole spirit of man to the form of the body, but yet to a much more perfect form, one fitted and accommodated to the celestial life. This was illustrated by the case of the nymphae which are transformed from worms into winged insects, and thus into a form adapted to generation and to a life in the atmosphere, and to uses in that their heaven. This form is altogether unlike the form of the worm, because the use creates the form. But that spirits are not [earthly] bodies, is manifest from this, that the [earthly] bodies answer to the worms, and are the food of worms, but in the other life the various viscera, as the ventricle, the intestines, the liver, the heart, the lungs, are of no use, for these are all formed for the sake of the blood, and this for the sake of the muscles and the organs of sense, that the man may be able to live and act in the world. Wherefore the forms of spirits are much more perfect, and the cause of their representing the human form has already been stated. But of what quality are the forms of spirits, it is not, for various reasons, given to know. - 1748, October 4.


WHAT APPEARS CLEAR TO MAN IS OBSCURE TO GOOD SPIRITS, AND THE REVERSE. I spoke with spirits to the effect, that I ought to write in such a manner that men would understand and perceive its drift; for if I wrote according to the understanding and perception of spirits and angels, it would be so obscure to man that be would scarcely apprehend anything; it would be in fact involved in darkness, although spirits, good spirits, and angels, can scarcely believe it, because, being in light themselves, they naturally conclude that that would be clear to men which is clear to them. It was therefore given to say to them, that that which is clearly manifest to men would be obscure to spirits, who understand and perceive the ideas of thought. In like manner that which is clearly manifest to spirits would be obscure to angels, because they are in the light and affection of ideas; for if angels perceived in the same manner with spirits, their perceptions would be gross, and as if clouded by darkness. It follows, moreover, on the other hand, that what is obscure to man, is manifest and clear to spirits; and what is obscure to spirits, is manifest to angels. - 1748, October 4.


OF THE PROPRIUM OF MAN, SPIRIT, AND ANGEL, AND A CLEARING UP OF TRUTH RESPECTING IT. When engaged in writing and saying that the proprium of man, spirit, and angel was in itself nothing but pure evil, certain spirits of an interior quality insinuated that they had a proprium which was not evil, namely, an inward and still inmost mind; and that the inmost gave to the inward the power of becoming celestial and spiritual. I had never heretofore supposed any otherwise than that there was an inmost mind in man which does not exist in brute animals; but they insisted that these minds, the inward and inmost, are their proprium, and because they are receptive of celestial and spiritual things from the Lord, and give its faculty to the proper mind of man, that thus they had not evil, but good. But it was answered them that these inward and innermost minds were not their's but the Lord's; and that theirs was a natural mind, which was altogether perverted; and that if a spirit or angel were deprived of his proprium, which pertains to his natural mind, the interior [or higher], as well as the lower, he would be utterly deprived of life, which was also shown to the spirit by a slight experience, and he confessed that if the experiment should proceed farther he would become nothing. But that the propriate and natural mind may be obsequious to the truly spiritual and celestial mind, the matter is so ordered that it shall not be effaced and nullified, and thus made, as it were, obsequious, for in that case one would feel nothing of himself or of his own, but his propria are disposed into a form that may be compared to a rainbow, in which the colors derive their origin from black and white, answering to the propria of man, to wit, his evils; these are disposed by the Lord that the man may live, as it were, from his own life; and the less of remains there are, the less has he of life from his proprium. Therefore, for one to claim to himself an interior and inmost mind, by which the Lord gives power to the natural mind to become what it is, is to claim for himself what is not his proprium, for neither man, spirit, nor angel knows anything of these minds.


Besides, unless those minds should be in a state of perfection, man could never be reformed. The more interior mind is mere potency when man is born, and is opened by the inner that it may give to man the faculty of understanding and perceiving what is true and good. So also, when the false and evil is much increased, and penetrates towards the interiors, just in that proportion the more interior mind is closed, that is, so much less of remains is left, which is everywhere shown. As to what pertains to infants, their inner mind is opened according to the ideas of infants in heaven.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO ARE INSANITIES FROM INQUIRING WHAT GOD WAS EMPLOYED ABOUT FROM ETERNITY, BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD, AND WHO THENCE INFER ON ORIGIN EVEN OF THE LORD HIMSELF. Those who remain [in great measure] corporeal, very much as they were on earth, cannot reason, so long as they are of this character, otherwise than from corporeal and material things, consequently from the most finite and exterior, judging, for instance, of celestial happiness from the pleasures of the body, and of everything spiritual from the sensual joys of the flesh. Some of these also, when they reason, fall into speculations grounded upon the most finite things, as time and space, concluding from time respecting the eternal, and from space respecting the infinite, not knowing that in the other life there is no notion of time or space, for those who have lived thousands of years know not that they have lived a minute; and those who were locally the most remote from me, as in the Indies, or in other earths, compared with the distance of which, all the distances on our earth vanish to nothing, were yet made to be present in a moment of time. Wherefore the notion of time and space is not given to spirits, except to those who are corporeal, and while in corporeals. But a [true and correct] notion does not obtain even with them, because [interior] reflection is not given them, and without reflection a [true] notion does not exist, as is evident from the case of a man in the body who does not reflect upon corporeal things of this kind; he is not then in the notion of them. This is written in the presence of the angels, and thus with the angels.


Hence it is that some engage themselves in reasoning from time concerning the creation of the world, and thus concerning God, what he did prior to the creation of the world; and because they have no other notion than that of time, some say that he was then thinking how he should create the world, and the things that are in it, and how he should foresee and provide for everything in particular. Thus they draw absurd conclusions, and those of them that are altogether corporeal [infer] that God began to exist with the world, thus that nature is God, or that God existed from nature; besides other things [of the same kind].


Some corporeal spirits, when they were in such a phantasy, were unable to perceive time from eternity. They could indeed perceive an eternity to come from this, that there is no end of time, and that thus it is time without end; but time from eternity [past] they do not conceive; and when their reasonings extend in that direction, they fall into such absurdities; whence the naturalists confirm themselves to the utmost that nature is God, and God from nature. 3478-1


From this it may appear how men fall into impious principles and direful phantasies, when from things philosophical, material, sensual, corporeal, yea, natural and finited to the lowest degree, they reason concerning spiritual and celestial, and still more, Divine things; which results from their not being in true faith, so that the Lord might lead each and all their thoughts; whereas they on the contrary lead themselves, for such things arise from their proprium.


Some spirits were of such a quality that in reasoning concerning the creation of the world, [they made it a question] what the Lord could have been before the creation and from eternity, and [finally inferred] that eternity could not be predicated of the Lord; besides other outrageous things of like nature.


When I was myself led by them into such phantasies, in order that I might get free from them by having their fallacy exposed, it was given to ask them, whether they could conceive of anything existing beyond the bounds of the universe; whether there were any space without the universe; and if there were, whether this extended to infinity; for no termination can be conceived if space is conceived; thus how there could be space without space, or the infinite, which cannot be predicated of space (:some suppose that there God is, because he is infinite:) wherefore those who had been in such phantastic conceits in the life of the body, appeared to themselves to be conveyed without the universe; and some of them, when there, armed their condition to be so much to their mind, that they wished to remain there, aloof from the [troubles and] annoyances to which they were subject in the created universe. But while held in the phantasy that they were out of the universe, as things appeared to them according to their phantasy, they then began to reason concerning that non-space beyond the universe, as having no limit; wherefore they seemed to themselves to advance still farther, till at length they saw there certain beings, who spoke to them, and whom I also heard speaking, and saying, that they were in the terminus beyond the universe, and in fact that they themselves were termini, and if they approached that they should swallow them up. Whereupon they were smitten with terror in the prospect of being devoured if they ventured farther, and indeed seemed, from the effect of their terror, to be, as it were, actually devoured; thus deeming themselves reduced to nothing, and compelled to vanish away. Those who thus stood in the terminus, or as being themselves termini, were described as a kind of statues, yet neither of stone nor wood, but as somehow animated, and yet not animated; whether cold or hot, could not be determined, but they seemed to be both. These [reasoners] were those who in the life of the body had been in such a phantasy, viz., that of confounding the Divine infinite with infinite space, so that they could not conceive the infinite of the Lord except by the infinite of space; wherefore because they could not conceive the infinite of space, neither do they admit the infinite of the Lord.


I was also [as remarked above] held by them in that phantasy, though still recollecting my former state, but I was delivered from it by the Lord by thinking of infinite space as not being space beyond the universe, which is without bound. The idea thus falls into the inconceivable, and as this is true of the thought of space, so also of that of an eternity before the creation of the world. I was afterwards led by the Lord himself into a certain perception of forms, the idea of which exceeded immensely all the ideas received by geometricians, for even the lowest human forms, as those of the intestines, so vastly surpass the forms apprehended by geometrical ideas, that they can by no means be perceived by them. And as this is true of the intestinal spires, and their consequent forms, so also far more are the forms of their operations such that the most subtle of them cannot possibly be conceived from geometry and its calculus of infinites, as they indefinitely transcend all such calculus. What then can be conceived from geometry of the forms of the still more subtle organs, and what of the vital forms, or those adapted to the reception of life, which immensely transcend the organic forms and [baffle] the sight? Hence it appears in what manner the human mind acts upon spiritual, celestial, and divine subjects; that it cannot reason even from the excretions of the intestines, [and show] how they are separated, which it cannot perceive from their calculus of infinites; wherefore they reason from the very dregs of these excretions, the most vile and sordid of all things.


There was shown to me a hand before the left eye, upon the sight of which it was given to perceive that it signified that they were inveigled by such a phantasy; for as long as man or spirit holds himself in phantasy respecting the creation of the world, whether, according to the opinion of one of the ancient philosophers, it was from eternity, or not, they are borne away into direful conceits respecting the orientation of God from nature, thus respecting nature that it is God. This phantasy once imbibed, so long as they remain thus corporeal, as remarked above, easily and spontaneously recurs, and thus obtains the mastery; and if they confirm themselves, [they will maintain] that nature is God, especially the geometricians, who think that nothing can go beyond or rise above their science, when yet the utmost extent of geometry cannot reach to the point of detecting the coarsest process of fecal secretion; and as to the form of the intestines, geometry with its whole array of infinites cannot grasp it at all.


Wherefore, that I might not be held in things so extremely ultimated and finite by the Lord, there was given me a notion of forms entirely transcending all geometrical forms, for geometry is terminated in the circle, or in curves referring themselves to the circle, which are merely terrestrial, and do not embrace even the lowest of the atmospheric and aqueous forms. From these lowest or terrestrial forms, it was given, by the removal of imperfections, such as the causes of gravity, rest, 3484-1 cold, and so on, to perceive forms which were free from the operation of such causes; and that then there remained forms still more free from them, and others freer still, till at length forms were given in which nothing could be conceived but centers in every point, so that they consisted of mere centers from whence were all circles and peripheries, each of the points of which represented centers, and from these centers still had respect to similars, till the lower form being removed, in which were those termini signifying the boundaries of space and of time, I saw myself carried forward to forms almost entirely void of limits and thus taken out of relative to spaces and time. But all these forms are yet finite, because an idea of them can be conceived by a certain abstraction of those things that are more finited, though they yet remain finite; wherefore all such forms are still within nature, and are without life. Consequently as long as the mind detains itself or is detained in such forms, it still falls short of the sphere of life; but the things that are within or above them, are living from the Lord, but still organic, because even they have no life of themselves, any more than the forms within nature. Wherefore no one by any kind of abstraction can conceive of the forms that are within the natural, as I now perceive while writing concerning forms on the paper before me, being forced thus to confess that there are spiritual forms within the most subtle forms of nature which are never perceptible. - 1748, October 5.


CONCERNING DIPPEL. A certain one was for some time at my left side, who attempted wicked things; I did not know who he was, because he acted with much subtlety, so that I was scarcely aware of his influence, but yet it was given me to perceive it. He was also, as it were, within me on the left side, and I called him a most vile devil. He then receded to a station in front a little higher up, and spoke, but he induced a common [or general] sphere of ideas, which cannot be described. It was however such that there was no idea of particulars, and yet he spoke as if from particulars, for all discourse is of particulars. A similar sphere I do not recollect of having perceived before, that is, of one's speaking in such a general kind of sphere. His sphere therefore was the sphere of his nature, the nature of one who was bound to no principles, but was in general opposed to all, whoever they might be, of whatever principle or whatever faith. He therefore arrayed himself against all, and could ingeniously refute and vilify them, while he himself knew nothing of truth and good. I afterwards wondered that such a genius [or character] should exist - one that could refute others with so much dexterity, and sting them so keenly, when yet it was not from the knowledge of truth.


He afterwards approached nearer, and appeared at first black in the face. At length advancing still nearer, and being in a certain light, he took an earthen flask, of a grayish white appearance, and came up to me with the flask in his hand, that he might offer it to me to drink from, at the same time insinuating that it [contained] excellent wine, so that I begun to be almost persuaded to comply, for I knew not who he was; but I was presently informed that it was Dippel, and that he displayed this flask of wine because he formerly practiced the same stratagem, when in consequence of his becoming angry with anyone for contradicting him, he would give him wine containing some poisonous mixture, that he might destroy his understanding, and cause him to know no more what he said than if he had been an infant. He was moreover of such a character in respect to those whom he deceived, from whom he took away, as it were, all understanding of truth and good; and even those who adhered to him [seemed to know nothing] except his own opinion. I had myself been among those who adhered to him, and had heard the various things collected from his writings, but could not retain in memory the least item, nor know what I thought, nor even help thinking things absurd. Such was his contrariety even to those who adhered to him, as to take away all their intelligence of truth and good, and leaving them in a kind of delirium, not knowing what they were about: yet still they adhered to him. Whether therefore he gave such a poisonous draught to anyone, or whether by the flask and the wine was signified such a quality in himself which he imparted to others who adhered to him, I know not; it might be both.


His quality was represented to me by a great hurdle [or crate] of teeth of a yellowish hue, like teeth indeed, but so large as to be monstrous, so that the entire face was apparently nothing but teeth.


CONCERNING [CERTAIN] EXCELLENT SPIRITS OF ANOTHER EARTH, SIMILAR TO THE PRIMITIVE OR MORAVIAN CHURCH. A company of spirits came to within a short distance of my left temple, and breathed upon me with a certain kind of speech, which, however, I did not understand. But thinking it might be within the sphere of my thoughts, I felt it as something softer than I recollect ever to have experienced before, blowing like a very gentle aura first upon my left temple and left ear upwards, extending to the left eye and slightly towards the right, then to the lips, especially from the left eye, and when it reached the lips it entered by the mouth, and thus as I supposed, through the Eustachian tube into the thought. There was then given a communication of thoughts, so that I perceived theirs, and they mine. They then stated, in cogitative speech, by what manner the utterance was effected, viz. by moving the lips, which were similarly moved with me, as also the tongue for a short time, which was a common act [to them all], for there ought to be a common where there are particulars. Moreover their thoughts were communicated by [the fibers of] the lips, and it was said in thought that they thus perspicuously conveyed their ideas to others. I was able thence to conclude that they were from some other earth, from their speaking [by the simple motion of the lips], but from what one in particular I was left in ignorance. From their confession of faith I was prompted to think them from the earth Jupiter; for in every earth there are various knowledges of faith, as there are also in our own, and our Most Ancient Church was extremely similar to that [to which these spirits belonged]. Their speech was moreover marked by another common peculiarity, viz. that it was effected somehow by the lower jaw, which with me, as well as with themselves, they made to protrude beyond the upper lips: 3488-1 quae maxilla simul movebatur a gingivis, quam motionem habebant, a mea maxilla cum gingivis, et labiis. 3488-2


They confessed that they acknowledged the only Lord, which led me to conclude that they were from the earth Jupiter, as also that the proprium with them was only polluted. Concerning these things, and also perhaps a third topic, I conversed with them, but the third I do not recollect, though I inferred that they were in the true faith. They then said that I was impure, for they declared of what character I had formerly been, which they perceived immediately from my sphere; wherefore I said to them that it was as they had confessed (:which was the third topic just mentioned as forgotten:) viz. that all good is of the Lord, and that in themselves there was nothing but evil, therefore all their good was from the Lord, and they themselves, considered in themselves, were devils and infernals; consequently the Lord alone had delivered and saved them from hell, as he had us. In farther conversing, they asked me why I spoke with devils? I replied that it was permitted me, and that too with the very worst of the devils, from whose inflatus alone man, as to all that is his own, is liable to be spiritually destroyed. I informed them also that the devils of this character were once men, and some of them, whom I had known in the life of the body, were men of eminence, and of whom I had never supposed any such thing as that they were devils, or would become devils, but that they would rather become better; 3489-1 for it would be unreasonable to suppose that the Lord would permit anyone to be punished in hell, much less to eternity, for [the sins of] a short life, especially as each one considered his principles to be true, and was thus fixed in his persuasion. It is not to be thought therefore that the Lord would suffer anyone to be punished, much less without intermission forever, except with a view to reformation, as whatever is from the Lord is good, and for a good end, but eternal punishment could have no [such] end. This was the reason that I answered them so harshly, and called them, as to their proprium, infernals and devils.


Their respiration, which was interior, within the umbilical region, was communicated to me, but flowing up and down through the breast, it was not perceptible.


It was given me to think concerning the primitive church, of which some supposed those spirits to be; wherefore some from the primitive church came near, who were very similar to them, but they did not speak by the [simple motion of] the lips, nor did they flow-in in like manner; they flowed-in by an afflatus into the upper region of the head, from about the separating line between the cerebrum and the cerebellum, towards the forehead, thus above and almost within the brain, and that they who come into heaven and thence the breath they breathed upon me flowed into the interior of the thorax and crosswise to the left of the nose. It then first filled the thorax with respiration, and thence passed to the region of the umbilicus, where they respired inwardly from the umbilicus through the back of the thorax, the breath scarcely reaching to the mouth. The respiration was thus reciprocally inwards, but not evolved outwardly; that is to say, [it passed] from the umbilical region to that of the thorax towards the back, and then upwards towards the neck, and thus with a reciprocal rolling, which was sufficiently agreeable.


I also heard from these the same confessions of faith, viz. that the Lord ruled the heaven; that all good was from the Lord; and that with them was nothing but defilement.


But I still recollect that it came into my thought that these spirits were not from the primitive church, but from the Moravian church; and thus is it now said, that they were from the Moravian church, among whom an image of the primitive church is preserved.


THAT THE KNOWLEDGES OF FAITH MAY BE BROUGHT, BY DISPUTATIONS, EVEN TO THE POINT OF DENIAL. I spoke with spirits who supposed themselves to be in true faith, and who acknowledged with the mouth and in a scientific way, that the Lord rules the universe; that all good is from Him; and that everyone's proprium is nothing but evil; all which they affirmed. But I remarked to them that those things which are luminously clear in themselves, when they fall under discussion, come into obscurity or ignorance, and from ignorance or obscurity into doubt, and from doubt into denial, and thus man becomes an atheist. But they replied that it could not be so; and this was asserted among them because they had confirmed in themselves the knowledges of faith, and were thus able [without danger] to dispute with others and even to induce obscurity. I added from experience, that they might doubt, and even seem to themselves to deny, because the sphere of certain persuasions is such that it is able to extinguish spiritual things, as was said to me respecting the antediluvians; but that those who are in faith, and in whom the Lord has deeply rooted and confirmed the knowledges of faith, although they seem to themselves, from the sphere of persuasions, to be driven to denial, yet that is dispelled (:which is sometimes represented by removals:) negation being first driven away, then doubt, then obscurity, till finally they are established in light; that is, in knowledges. Hence it appears that nothing can injure those who are in faith, although they should be in the midst of devils, and in such spheres as seemed to threaten destruction. - 1748, October 6.


CERTAIN MAHOMETANS CAME ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH INTO CHOIRS [gyros] OR CONSENTING HARMONIES. I heard a certain sonorous though somewhat hoarse-voiced choir, which I knew at once, from the gyre and the sound, to be composed of Mohometans. It was [as I remarked], of hoarser or less flowing sound than that of any choir I had before heard, and I was informed by others that they were Mohometans, who had died three or four days previously. In like manner I heard a choir of Mahometan women, of whom the same thing was said. That they were Mohometans was given me to perceive by the communication of their delight when they heard that the women were near. They held on during the whole night, and I heard at length that they formed their choirs with peculiar rapidity and ease, as they were in fact almost initiated into the harmonies in the space of one night; for these choirs are formed from all speaking and thinking as each one, and each one as all. Certain spirits remarked that Christians were seldom inaugurated into these choirs and harmonies in short of thirty years. - 1748, October 6.


HOW ONE SPIRIT LEADS ANOTHER TO THINK AND SPEAK. When writing concerning freedom, and saying that he who is led by the Lord is free, and he a slave who, in his own opinion, is led by himself a spirit applied himself to my left side, thinking that he was free because he spoke from himself. But it was given to say to him, that he was not [led] by himself but by others, and by those too of such a character, that they would kill him if they could; and I asked him if it were not better that he should be led by the Lord, who gives every good, or wills well to all? When he still persisted in thinking that he was ruled by himself and spoke from himself, it was shown him by what spirits he was led, and what ones spoke through him, and that when these spoke others spoke in them and led them, and so on successively to the number of five, six, or seven, who confessed that they spoke through them one from another, while they supposed that they were speaking from themselves. It was observed that they formed a certain circular spire, and that thus the influx of the Lord's life flowed in through a kind of perpetual-spiral form. But this form no one can know but the Lord.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO ACT THROUGH THE GOOD AFFECTIONS OF MEN, AND THUS BEND THEM TO THEIR OWN PURPOSES. There was a certain spirit whom I knew during his life, although ignorant of his ruling motives and modes of action, but who in his time was highly esteemed for his endowments of intellect. With this person I conversed, and he flowed-in in a general manner, his influx differing but little from that of those who act without any fixed principles of art [or method]; but as he assumed only such things as are agreeable to a man, and are termed good affections, to these he assented; as for example he would introduce infants, and thence exhibit pleasant spectacles, as it were, and such like things, that he might allure the good. In this manner he attracted their minds through their good affections. It was discovered also that he was possessed of conscience, as he was unwilling to do anything contrary to the sense of goodness and truth. I perceived also his tenderness, that he would not harm those who were in mutual love, which love was represented by an infant surrounded by rays and carried by a mother, as the Lord when an infant is sometimes represented. When he was told to desist [from this conduct], he said he would not desist unless the Lord should save him; and because he was of such a quality as to act by good affections, and the like, and because he could be prompted by a certain tenderness of conscience, he was received to the society of those of similar stamp, and thence acted by a gentle influx which cannot better be described than by comparing it to something pearly and yet flowing, and [which was directed] to the tunic of the left eye. [Those of this character] acted by their wills inwardly, but yet they are those who pertain to the outer tunics of the left eye. Their afflatus is somewhat cool, and this coolness is now felt especially in the region of the left knee. He flowed in also by respiration into the left side of the breast, affecting my sensation, as far as I know rather pleasantly than otherwise. Such therefore are those who correspond to the outer tunics of the left eye. - 1748, October 7. They are those moreover who, from a peculiar tenderness of conscience, protect whatever belongs to the left eye.


To this class, however, belong some that are evil as well as those that are not evil, and their quality may be understood from their resemblance to Dippel [mentioned above]. They are such as have general ideas, not being bound [or devoted] to any particular principle which they have confirmed to themselves. These general [or vague] ideas which distinguish such spirits are not easily described. They held my mind set loose, as it were, from everything certain and determinate, and acted as if roaming abroad in an open field, so that unless certain others had retained my thoughts in a measure restricted, I should have had no proper sense of anything, so diffusive is their sphere. And yet, what I could not but wonder at, they were able, even in that sphere, to speak of things that were [definite and] certain, and if such [spirits] were not detained in ideas of speech, I should scarce know that they existed, for it is, as it were, a common sphere of spirit as a whole [totius spiritus]. Should the operations in the body take place according to it the motive fibers would be so relaxed that a man could scarcely restrain his evacuations, which it was also given to experience. In fact they had nothing else of a determinate character in their minds than the wish to lead good men by good affections and evil men by the cupidities of evil; and because they are in this general idea, and not determined by life, they that are good can mingle with many societies of the good, and there be fixed and determined, but not to anything that is not good, as was clearly ascertained. The evil, on the other hand, can mingle with many evil societies, and there be fixed. Those that are in such a general state of ideas reflect but little upon other persons, though still many things fall into their thoughts; so that they do not know, until they begin to reflect, that they are actually drawing others over to their interests. - 1748, October 7.


CONCERNING THE HOLLANDERS IN PARTICULAR, WHO SEIZE BY CRAFT AND DECEIT THE GOODS OF OTHERS. A certain spirit, obscurely visible, was present above the head, which I perceived from the stench of his teeth, and a still more horrible foetor, and also a little after by a smell as of burnt horn or bone; and inasmuch as he was not clearly visible, I supposed he was some one of the class of spirits thus distinguished, but I was informed that he was one of the Hollanders. There then came up a vast crowd of these above, below, behind, like a cloud, whom I perceived to be of the same stamp. Those who were detected as being above the head, I supposed, from their partial invisibility, to be of a peculiarly subtle genius, and thus spiritually wicked; but I was informed that where a sphere is spiritual such persons are not clearly visible, but that in a natural sphere they appear distinctly to each other, as those who are thus natural think nothing of spiritual things, nor believe in a hell or a heaven, or in the existence of spirits; consequently they are naturally but dimly seen.


They came in front above and spoke with the greatest earnestness, striving in the meantime by every cunning art to prevent anything being divulged concerning them. The particular arts they employed it is not necessary to relate, only that they aimed to snatch away the ideas of others, and that they induced a multitude of illusions with a view to prevent their detection, which was continued for a long time. Hence it was given to know that they were of such a quality in their lifetime as made them unwilling that anything they did or thought should be exposed, assuming a counterfeit face and speech, and all with a view to defraud others of their property. As a consequence of this habit, contracted in the life of the body, they fall into a similar practice, in the other life, of seizing whatever comes in their way, and concealing their thoughts and actions, though I do not recollect of their resorting to false pretenses and actual lies, only that they employed a species of craft in concealing their transactions, and by a simulated cast of countenance deceiving all they could. They continued this practice for nearly ten or twelve hours, laboring with all their might to prevent exposure. I did not perceive a manifest fraud, and they now convey themselves stealthily away.


Speaking of their business proceedings, I perceived that their life was not so much wrapped up in money as in business itself; for their riches did not consist in money laid up in coffers, nor in their merchandise itself, of which they think comparatively little, but in business itself, which was their end and their life. It was however common to them, at least to some of them, to have magnificent houses and suburban dwellings, where they lived luxuriously; but this was the case with a few only. I conversed with them [at length] on this business propensity, which was their life and soul, and their desire for possessing, by whatever art and management, what others possessed, even in any part of the world, and their thinking that everything must belong to them. Concerning the Jews, they said they hated them on account of their foreign traffic, but as to business, as they draw much money into their country by various secret methods unknown to them, they regard them with a degree of tolerance. But as they were unable to defraud them of anything, they had no dealings with them, though in point of fact they preferred them to all others, thinking that by their means they could attract the good of others to themselves.


3451-1 As there is no propagation of offspring in the other life, it is to be borne in mind that the scenes here portrayed were really transacted in the natural world, but under the instigation of spirits such as those whom Swedenborg here describes. While abiding in the body they were acted upon by spirits of a similar love and life to their own, and when they enter the world of spirits they are immediately associated with their like, and the traits which are there developed show clearly what they had been during their lives on earth. The same remark applies to a multitude of the revelations contained in these pages. -Tr.

3462-1 In a note on the lateral margin of the page containing this paragraph, occurs the following: "I wondered that such a person should be found in the company of priests, and almost began to think him blameless that he was there, for a good pectoral respiration flowed in."

3465-1 Of the nature of the punishment termed discerptio, or rending, see AC 829, 957, 959.

3478-1 "Men cannot but confound the Divine Infinity with infinity of space; and as they cannot conceive of the infinity of space as being other than a mere nothing, as it really is, they disbelieve the Divine Infinity. The case is similar in respect to eternity, which men cannot conceive of otherwise than as eternity of time, it being presented to the mind under the idea of time with those who are in time. The real idea of the Divine Infinity is insinuated into the angels by this, that in an instant they are present under the Lord's view, even from the farthest extremity of the universe, without intervening space or time. The real idea of the Divine Eternity is insinuated into them by this, that thousands of years do not appear to them as time, but scarce otherwise than as if the had lived a minute. Both ideas are insinuated into them by this, that in their NOW they have together things past and future; hence they have no solitude about things to come, nor have they ever any idea of death, but only an idea of life: thus in all their NOW there is the Eternity and Infinity of the Lord." - AC 1382.

3484-1 From this, and from what occurs elsewhere in the philosophy of Swedenborg, it appears that motion is to be regarded as a more native state of elementary matter than rest. -Tr.

3488-1 We have left untranslated the concluding sentence of the above paragraph, because we know not how to understand it. It evidently points at some difference in the motion of his jaw and that of the spirits in question, but the precise nature of the difference is to us unintelligible. -Tr.

3488-2 Note on the lateral margin:- "They pertain in the Grand Man to the province intermediate between the cerebrum and cerebellum, thus to the region of thought or intellect in the cerebrum, and to that of affection or will in the cerebellum. Thence it is that intellectual and voluntary things act with them as one, the face speaking and the eye at the same time, as it were, thinking."

3489-1 Dr. Tafel's note on this passage implies that Swedenborg's meaning here is, not that be supposed such persons would be regenerated, but that they would be subdued, and thus ameliorated. As to the paragraph that follows, respecting, the eternity of punishment, it is probably to be considered as expressing Swedenborg's opinion during the life-time of the persons spoken of, and before he became the subject of that full enlightenment which he afterwards received; for he is elsewhere extremely clear and emphatic on this subject. Thus, AC 10,749, "The life of man cannot be changed after death; it remains then such as it had been, nor can the life of hell be inscribed into the life of heaven, since they are opposite. Hence it is evident that they who come into hell remain there to eternity. " -Tr.

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