Sacred Texts  Swedenborg  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

Spiritual Diary


He was afterwards, from a position in front, let down from that place to the earth below, before the left foot, as there is an under-earth below that where those live who deem themselves holy [or saints], and thus came into fellowship with those concerning whose life I heard that they appear to themselves as shining in the face, and that one sees another as if they were little torches, or as sparkling spots, like glow worms - a brilliancy flowing forth from their ideas of holiness.


But the issue with such is, that they are kept in the lower earth though prompted by the most ardent desire to enter heaven, for they think that heaven is on high, wherefore their detention in the lower earth inflames their anxieties which after a time become so increased, that they become most intensely anxious, and thus spend their life in anguish, till they come to know that they are not holy [or saints]; and when at length they are exempted [from that distress], they appear to themselves excrementitious to a degree that is not perceived of others. A certain one of that description spoke with me in the right ear, and confessed the fact to be so. -l748, October 22.


THAT THE [CONTINUAL] EFFORT OF INTERIOR EVIL SPIRITS TENDS TO SLAYING. I was in a street and saw a number of knives, and a phantasy was induced that with these knives they would cut my throat; for evil spirits are such that in phantasy they think themselves actually to do [what they are inclined to do]. Wherefore a multitude of them rushed violently forth, and endeavored to point the knives at my throat, this laying hold of the slightest pretext to put me to death. I spoke with them, and it was shown that their perpetual effort was to kill me, but they were restrained by the Lord, so that they scarcely knew that they made the attempt: but as soon as ever the restraint is relaxed, they rush on [again in their murderous design], which with shame they confessed. -l748, October 22.


CONCERNING REGENERATION. Man knows not how he comes into the faculty of thinking and speaking, in which are things so wonderful, that they can never be explained to a ten thousandth part; nor does he know whence this faculty is, or what is its nature; yea, so great is man's ignorance of it, that he scarcely known that he has it, and that by it he is distinguished from the brutes. Man knows not how the lungs and their respiration are ordered, so that they concur to all and singular of their minutest functions, and to all and singular of the smallest particulars of the speech and voice, nor does he even know that the fact is so. Again, he does not know how respiration concurs to each of the ideas of thought; neither how the tongue is initiated into each of the minor motions necessary to the process of eating, of speaking, and of articulating sounds; besides innumerable other things - and yet he would inquire into the manner in which the Lord regenerates man, when this is interior, and still more interior, and thus most remote from his ideas of thought. It may thence be safely concluded that regeneration takes place from the Lord unconsciously to man, since the design of it is, that he may become a new man. - 1748, October 22.


CONCERNING THE RESUSCITATION OF SOME WHO WERE SPIRITUALLY DEAD. I again heard that some who were spiritually dead, and of whom mention has been made before were resuscitated, or initiated into life by angels. 3655-1 The delight with which they did it was afterwards made perceptible to me, and the sensation was delicious, filling my breast with truly delicious [emotions]. They also confessed that they seemed to themselves to do it of themselves, but yet that they knew it was from the Lord. They preside over the left nipple of the breast, and are [or correspond to] the ribs. - 1748, October 23.


CONCERNING DAVID AND A PONTIFF. 3656-1 It was shown that David was desirous of being chief in heaven, for such a cupidity cleaves to him from his understanding himself [to be spoken of] in the Psalms. It is therefore sometimes permitted him to ascend, and thus to suppose himself to be in the highest heaven - an incident occurring today. Being sent up [or projected] from the lower earth, he was suddenly stopped in his ascent by some opposing force, but it is remarkable, that when projected upwards into heaven, or to the loftiest height, he appears to be mounting by other steps, as by the grades of a ladder, although there is no ladder, nor does he rest till he seems to himself to have reached the highest point of ascent, where he was afterwards seen, though affected with a kind of fainting fear lest he should fall headlong, which I also perceived by communication.


It was likewise shown in what manner he brings into subjection those that are in the interior sphere of spirits, and enforces their reverence of himself as a god. In the first place, the pontiff, who was lately with me, came again among those who are above the head, as was perceived, and he was then with David, who wished to reduce him to submission, and to the acknowledgment of his claims as a god - (for David had previously proclaimed himself a god when on high, and his state of mind in this conceit was visibly represented by his hurling those down headlong who refused to acknowledge him as a god while in that lofty elevation; and he who appeared to me as if thus cast down head foremost, seemed to whirl [or spin] round like [the motion of] an auger, though only his [whirling] hair, and not his body, came into view. It then seemed to issue from his phantasy that he might transfer the Lord to the lower earth, where he would be retained: such is his quality when he ascends on high, and proclaims himself a god.) And because the pontiffs also declare themselves [each] God on earth, he of whom I have spoken before came in conflict with David; for as both he and David were each in the persuasion of being a god, they strove against each other in consequence of the opposing sphere of their persuasions; but David prevailed, because he was not only in persuasion, but also in cruelty, and thus in the persuasion of bringing into subjection. Such therefore being their twofold persuasions, there was a collision between them; and when the pontiff refused to yield, David heard or perceived that he would profess Christ, (:for it is not permitted them to name the Lord, but Christ:) he then, because in the persuasion of cruelty, dealt with him in his peculiar mode, as with the heathen, namely, by casting them down and setting their heads a whirling by phantasy, of which the pontiff complained. 3657-1


He was tortured by being cast down, and by being sent into the [infernal] tun, 3658-1 and that with great quickness, because of his [David's] being in such an interior phantasy. When the pontiff thus severely dealt with complained of these torments, David said to him that he was David; and concerning the Lord, that he held him bound, and that one only was to reign in heaven, at the same time asking why be wished to worship him [the Lord] as God, and proffering to show him his own kingdom. Upon hearing this the pontiff said that David was holy; he therefore denied the Lord and followed David; but when he wished to see his kingdom, he could not, and [being thus disappointed on this score], it came into the pontiffs persuasion, that if he should deny the Lord, whose vicar he had been, he would become nobody; wherefore he actually came into this persuasion, which when David perceived - for he could instantly perceive in that state the persuasions of another - he turned him into a cloud, and in this form, which I saw, cast him off to a distance, in which condition he fancied himself nothing, for he was then hardly visible, but yet from the extremity of the cloud he conversed with me. From this it may appear what is the quality of persuasions when they conflict with each other.


After this David, because he wished to be a god, conveyed himself among the interior spirits in front towards the right, and subjected them, because [he was] in the persuasion that he was a god, and could subject everyone from the cruelty in which he was during his life; wherefore he subjected those interior spirits who refused to acknowledge him for a god, which he did partly by his boring [or whirling] operations, and partly by casting them into the [infernal] tun, and by other as described above, and this very quickly, for the idea of interior persuasion involves this, that everything is done quickly, and such is the quality of interior spirits; wherefore many of them he quickly subjected, others he inveigled by other modes, as, for instance, by the persuasion of adultery, perhaps by inspiring them with his own delights thence. Thus he subjected all the interior evil spirits.


When he supposed he had thus subjugated heaven, he yet feared to advance farther, namely to the right, where the interior good spirits bean [to appear], because he knew from former experience, that he could not sustain their sphere. But yet from that persuasion he rushed into the cupidity of his persuasion, and was there held, when he began to be pained, and to be sensible of a cadaverous stench, which he was so little able to bear that it seemed to him that he would perish if he advanced farther; wherefore he was thence cast down into the lower earth. It was perceived also that the same thing had frequently happened to him before, as soon as he came within the sphere of angelic spirits. I perceived from this that while he is in the persuasion that the Lord is bound by him, he then dared to approach, and that this [phantasy] was the cause of his going thither; but yet from his suffering so miserably when there, he called it, i. e. the heaven of the Lord, hell, inasmuch as when coming there he came into direful tortures, because into a sphere contrary to adultery and cruelty. But when he reached the lower earth he was suddenly projected upwards, from some kind of persuasion, but whether that he again wished to attempt heaven with a view to its occupation, because he supposed the Lord to be bound by him, I know not.


It was also given me to perceive what is the quality of the persuasion of those who aim to be worshipped as gods, and [what their sensations] when in the persuasion that they actually are gods; namely, a pleasurable sensation chiefly about the left breast. It was communicated to me that such a sensation, is experienced first about the breast, and extends itself thence through the left papilla towards the genitalia, for the persuasion that one is a god, or supreme, so that nothing can resist him, has with it this kind of pleasurable sense.


What kind of respiration, and thence delightfulness, accompanies the persuasion of the pontiffs that they are gods, and utter everything from the fancied prompting of the Holy Spirit, was shown and communicated, as, for instance, when they sit in conclave, and regard everything which they say as divine. The pontiff above mentioned was with me, in the state in which he was when sitting in conclave, and supposing that everything he spoke was divine. A pleasant respiration was perceived within the breast, free, slow, and regular, which respiration implied that he was in such a state, for it is [then] slow, regular, and deep, freely expanding itself to the upper region of the breast, with a delightfulness from the persuasion that what he utters is divine. When anything [uttered by himself] is contradicted, as also when anything is advanced by another which he sees is to be approved, inasmuch as it originates not with himself he then perceives something rolling and creeping in the abdomen, which was also communicated to me; and when he thinks any opinion he pronounces to be divine, he perceives it also from a certain respiration more tacit, and, as it were, consenting. That such is the quality of the pontiffs when in conclave, was also confirmed by themselves. They are under the left foot. The things [above stated] were communicated [by interaction] with them, who immediately confessed it, acknowledging that when pontiffs they were such.


The impression came into my mind that thus they might be easily ruled, because [it was done] solely through the sense of respiration, which they think to be internal and the operation of the Holy Spirit; but it was said that it is not easy, because they are in a contrary persuasion. It was therefore shown to me by whom they are governed, namely, by those above the head, who are called sirens, who insinuate themselves into all kinds of affections, that they may be able to rule and to destroy, concerning whom we have already spoken. They study nothing else than to insinuate themselves by means of affections and cupidities for the sake of rule and destruction, and yet they greatly fear to rush forwards except on fitting occasions, for they know that they will then be thrust down. They are more deceitful than others, yet by such the pontiffs, when made pontiffs, are governed. Inasmuch as they are contrary to every love, they are intrinsically worse than others, and therefore a severe and more lasting hell awaits them, although they think that because they are wary, and do not evil unless when occasion offers, the case may not be so; but because order is perverted among them, so that they abuse affections to a destructive end, they thus upon occasion rush into balefulness and cruelty. Such, therefore, are the pontiffs and those that are nearest to them.


It was observed that above those to whom David strove to come, there were spirits still more subtle, for David is of such a quality from spirits having spoken through him while he lived in the body, that he is able by effort to come to them. It was moreover perceived also that they are those who rule the spirits now spoken of as being more deceitful than others, and called sirens, because they are above them. Whether they are from this earth or from those in other earths through whom spirits speak as they did through David, and are at the same time in contrariety to conjugial love, I know not. They do not clearly appear, but they flow into the left eye, into which, even now also while I am beginning to write, they strike a degree of pain. They are averse to being detected, as they wish to practice their deceits in the most clandestine manner. -l748, October 23.


That such spirits, as well as David also, although he seems so acute among the evil as to make them fancy themselves in the loftiest height, are yet more gross than all the rest [was clearly perceived]; for in the sphere of the good they become more excrementitious, yea, more cadaverous, than others, consequently they are more gross than all others; which was also said to David and thus to them; for what is more gross than such offal, the quality of which he perceived, and knew? This is now said to David, and to those in the highest altitude. - 1748, October 23.


CONSEQUENTLY THE OBJECTS OF MEN. Spirits are greatly moved by the fact that the objects of man cause him to think concerning a variety of things, and that without order, supposing thus that the life of the Lord does not flow into all and each [of persons], and into all and each [of the things] which both men and spirits think and do; for they assume that if this was so, it would be most regular [and unvarying], and one idea would flow in order from another. Thus when I spoke openly with spirits who make such things doubtful to themselves, it was first shown me that there are common [or general] things which govern the thoughts of man, and certain common [or general) things so implanted that he knows not that he has them, as that he slightly looks upon certain persons whom he incidentally meets, as also upon the street where he walks. These objects arise from that common [or general prompting] that leads a man to observe [and take care] that he does not run against another, or against the objects that occur in the streets. So also when he is in another common [or general] idea, such objects strike the eyes but lightly, so lightly indeed that if deeply absorbed in a different common [or general] idea, he recollects nothing at all of them. Such a common [or general thought] is a kind of reflection, innate in brutes also, prompting one to beware of stumbling against anything, or of receiving injury from anyone. To know, for instance, in regard to the moon and to distances, it is a common principle that intermediate objects enable one to judge of distance, upon which common principle neither man nor animal reflects, but distance is known from the simple perception that an object is more or less remote, from whence also the common property of the idea is acquired. As to what relates to the ideas of man, the things above spoken of are nothing else than generals [of thought], and are according to their cupidities and other things.


But they objected that objects are various, now this and now that, which severally excite at once the thought. But to this it was given to reply, that such things are contingent, consequently of the Lord's providence, which can never be fathomed; that scruples might be raised against them to eternity, and yet the truth remains that they are contingent, and thus of the Divine Providence. But they wished to know, and thus to remove scruples, but it was said to them that they could never be removed to eternity, because new indeterminates would succeed; and so long as they were such [as they were] the least scruple before their eyes would cause them to see nothing; which they also affirmed when the thing was shown to then; for the smallest particle of dust before the pupil of the eye will blind the vision. - l748, October 23.


That objects are merely vessels, and that the eyes are directed to beholding these objects, some more intensely, others more indifferently, while many are not seen at all, this that they are indeed vessels, appears from the things that have been previously seen and perceived by me; as for instance that the Lord, from various and multiplex objects, should have formed before the angels a delightful, and in the highest degree connected form of things; concerning which I have spoken before. - 1748, October 23.


At length it was said to spirits, that those who formed to themselves such objections that they will not believe unless upon an exact knowledge of everything in its details, really desire and intend only to destroy, thus that the disposition [to object] comes forth from their evil and deceitful nature - the same nature which prompts them to destroy and kill everyone for the sake of themselves for this is a consequence from such kinds of objections, that they wish to destroy truths, thence whatever things are of truth; if they should be of a different character, they would then desire only to confirm the truths of the Lord. - l748, October 23.


There are many other common things of this nature pertaining to man, as that he should see what is unknown to him, also every species of cupidity, whether faint, light, or intense, is a certain common [principle] governing the objects of sight and the speech. These would have to be reduced to genera and species, in order that any kind of [distinct] idea may be had of them. Thus the desire of eating causes that whatever he sees, he should consider whether it is to be purchased for use. Other things he sees only as in obscurity, without reflecting upon them on any other account than that of the common considerations mentioned above and elsewhere. Thus a common idea which greatly attracts the eyes is that of women, which while it predominates it regards everything feminine as being naturally of such a quality as he supposes, and his thought is fixed upon these things, and thus passes over to the common idea of thought concerning them, or of interior thought; and other [qualities] he then but very slightly regards, and without reflection, except from the common [promptings] mentioned above and in many other places.


It was observed that spirits, while they are in any common [or general] idea, do then, in like manner, call forth all the objects which occur in my memory, and apply them similarly as a man does the objects of sight, or of the speech of another, and this was at first unnoticed by me, but it has so often happened, that I think the number of times can scarcely be reckoned. Whatever objects of my own memory they then discovered were so many vessels, which are applied to their ideas according to the quality of the vessels or ideas at the time, and also according to their common idea and its quality, thus diversely according to their natures, and so on. This was shown me.


[I perceived also] that the Lord thus reduced to order the objects of my sight, and thence the beautiful and pleasant representations before the angels, above spoken of, did not flow from my objects, that thus [the representations] should be directed and connected according to the objects, as I supposed, but it was the representations which directed and determined the objects, numerous and various as they were, and which thus become vessels. The objects therefore flowed from the representations, and not the representations from the objects: Thus whatever the Lord saw fit to represent, still it would happen, that the eye, or the sight of the eye, would be directed to such things as could be vessels, which at the same time were determined mediately [i.e. by the representations] then by the Lord through other methods. - 1748, October 24.


CONCERNING THE PULSE OF THE ADULTEROUS AND CRUEL. It was given me to observe the pulse of adulterers and the cruel from the case of those who were above the head, where David also was, [and I noticed] that it fell outwardly on the left side, so that like the heart it caused only the most exterior surface of the skin to pulsate. This pulsation was felt by me as not being within the body, but without; wherefore it is not in but out of the Grand Man. - 1748, October 24.


CONCERNING DAVID. Speaking with David who is now above the head, and, when there, is of such a quality as to deem himself possessed of far more subtlety than others, because the Holy Spirit spoke through him, he openly confessed that he did not understand what he wrote; that he might have thought indeed that his writings contained arcana, but what they were he knew not; that he might have known that a certain Personage was to come into the world, but that he had no farther knowledge respecting him. This [I say], he openly confessed, and as it were asseverated as also that he applied all and each of the things declared, to himself and the Jews, according to the sense of the letter. He said that because a spirit spoke through him as through me, he also was of such a quality, but it was given to say to him, that he had no knowledge of the Lord, thence no knowledges of faith, and so was ignorant of the interior things of the Word, and remained solely in the sense of the letter, which was a very different affair, and that spirits spoke through him things which he did not understand, as they do through others. Whence it may appear that he was not in interior, but only in exterior things, and with him who is in externals spirits speak differently [from what they do with those who are in internals], so that they do not understand interior things, although being in singulars. To this he had nothing to say in reply, as neither to the fact that he was such from being in externals only.


I spoke with him also concerning the Gentiles, whom he held in so great hatred [saying], that, Abraham also was an idolater, thus of the Gentiles, because the then representative church is now extinct; that the Jews were worse than the Gentiles; that faith was afterwards transferred to the Gentiles; and that now heaven also was bestowed upon them, because that Christians are at present worse than the Gentiles.


He afterwards spoke with me concerning the Word, that it was necessary that a revelation should have existed, for a revelation, or Word, contains vessels into which spiritual and celestial things can be insinuated, and thus heaven and earth be conjoined, which would otherwise be disjoined, and the human race perish. As to how the matter stands with the Gentiles, who have no revelation, and yet are saved, there are arcana [upon this subject], only it was perceived that it is sufficient that there should be conjunction through the Word; the rest remains as arcana. - 1748, October 24.


CONCERNING PRAYERS. It was perceived that prayers effect nothing while they are such that one merely intends to deprecate his evils, and thus thinks with himself "Provided only I shall have made deprecation, I shall obtain remission of sins." But sins are not remitted unless confessed truly from the heart, attended with a certain internal torture and anguish, and thus with an acknowledgment of vileness; in which and after which prayers avail. It was perceived that this was so, and that otherwise prayers, and sacraments, and external rites effect nothing; nay, they rather confirm a man, for they make his conscience quiet under the idea that sins are remitted, provided one has deprecated evils, and used the means of salvation. He thus returns to his former vileness. A certain person wished to deprecate [in this way], and then [the truth] was perceived by a spiritual idea.


Certain persons are accustomed in all evils and common misfortunes, and on other occasions, to have recourse to prayers. Such are in front, a little to the right. Whenever they see any evil impending, they immediately betake themselves to a species of supplication which wearied me, for they supposed that thence assistance would be afforded them; but no assistance [is realized] from this source. - 1743, October 24.


CONCERNING A DOG. A black dog appeared in my sleep, which was first admitted as a domestic dog, and when he saw anything bony, whereon was the skin of another dog, he disdained it, whence also admitted, and not regarded as evil. But it was afterwards said that he had eaten the bones of another dog, from which he was loathed, though he wished to approach. Upon awakening I inquired if anyone had been turned into a dog, so as actually to become one; it was at length replied, that there was such an one, who also himself affirmed it. It was said of him that he was of such a quality as freely to suffer the persons of others to be induced upon him, as for instance that of David; and thus he would not only [represent and] act out their persons, but also their shameful deeds; and it was said that he became such, from the actual life not only of David, but of any other one [whom he personated]. Those of this description, especially when they suffer infamous persons to be induced upon them, after a while become such that they know no otherwise than that they are the very persons, and thus persuade not themselves only, but others, that they are such. These are they that are represented by dogs which eat the bones of other dogs. -l748, October 25.


CONCERNING THE DISPERSION OF INSIDIOUS PLOTTERS. Tonight while asleep certain spirits were acting insidiously above my head, and plotting a pernicious scheme of villainy, on the supposition that something which I had done during my life might be detected, and designing, when it was detected, to rush violently upon me; for their opinion is, that if they detect any evil in a man, they have all license to destroy him. The thing in question was something that had happened in my dreams, I think many years before, and I know not but it was brought about by the spirit who now appropriates me as his. While those deceitful insidiators were thus strenuously acting in my sleep, I suddenly awoke, and saw above the forehead, in a certain kind of light, something feathered, and immediately upon their rushing forward to destroy me for their inducing the lively phantasy [just mentioned] was a signal that now was the time - a vehement wind was felt, which falling suddenly upon them, dispelled them in a moment. Who they were, and whither they were cast, the spirits [with me], one after another conjectured, but that they were thus dispersed from societies and miserably dealt with, was perceived by me; for while thus suddenly driven from society, they could scarcely retain their senses, wherefore they were miserably tormented.


Such a catastrophe awaits those who in the night seasons insidiously plot against man, while asleep. Thence it appears how the Lord beholds all attempts and machinations [against his servants], and affords help at the [critical] moment, and how carefully also he regards man in his sleep; for it is forbidden to inflict upon man, at that time, the least injury; as he then nearly approaches [the condition of] a dead man. - 1748, October 25.


CONCERNING THE VEIL. 3682-1 David, because wicked himself and the subject of the wicked, whose wickednesses it is not necessary to recite, for he has only adulteries and cruelties in his mind, intends and without conscience contrives [evil]. That he was the subject of the deceitful above the head plainly appeared, as they began through him to plot their iniquities more openly than before, with a view to cause the guilt to redound to David; wherefore David was enveloped in the veil and let down towards a lower quarter, but by persuasions and phantasies infuted into him by the diabolical throng on high, he struggled for the space of nearly an hour, and that too with a pertinacity which can hardly be described. Phantasies were continually poured in upon him, which he received with his persuasion, and thus with the veil, with a lessening of the veil, and without the veil, he cast himself in all directions - below, now in midway, now above in front, now above the head near by, and now behind the head, which was only a phantasy with an obstinate persuasion; for such reluctations in the veil and with the veil signify such things.


After a while he attempted to act the pytho, namely, by evoking others after the manner of the pythos, that he might cause them to ascend - he standing upon my head - to which he did from his persuasion and [a kind of] pythonic idea, which was not perceived before, and which cannot be described, only that it is a persuasion [with certain spirits] conjoined with the idea of evoking whomsoever they please. Whether this pythonic practice pertained to David during his life, cannot be determined from what now happened, but when he thought that he whom he evoked ascended, there were dogs and serpents ascending, which, unless he had fled, would have mangled his person, especially in the genital region.


It was afterwards said to him that he was like a dog, and was treated by others only as a dog, because he was their subject, which was confirmed by the deceitful above the head, who said that they could treat him as a dog. As this was contrary to his persuasion of authority, inasmuch as he imagined he had dominion over others, and thus acted from himself, he was filled with indignation; wherefore he was enveloped in a kind of cloudy veil of authority, and thus let down. 1748, October 25. That they who spoke thus to David were those who boast of being the Holy Spirit, see below on this page.


CONCERNING SOCIETIES IN THE OTHER LIFE AND [CONCERNING] LOVE. Spirits were seen around me, as has often times happened, apparently not united in any society, but flowing as it were at large, which is from the phantasy of those that suppose spirits to be like the invisible atmosphere, and that they thus float about in the universe. Their persuasion was communicated to me, which was such that they supposed there was no society, but that spirits are beings, thus flowing scarcely visible about the universe.


Wherefore I conversed with spirits [on this subject], and they confessed, from the various experiences previously accorded to me, that there are societies of them, that they see each other, that they converse together, that they dwell together, that they are in the clearest light, as has been often shown me before. But this takes place among good spirits and angels; among the evil it is otherwise, as they do not appear to each other, except on certain occasions, as to which also [I was instructed]. Consequently their life after death is in this respect extremely similar to their life in the body, that they see each other, that they are in societies, that they dwell together, speak together, that they communicate their ideas and their happinesses, and indeed they then speak more wisely than can ever be described, and with an indefinable feeling of enjoyment.


It was perceived, as also on former occasions, that it is love alone which determines spirits and angels to societies, and that love is ever the grand determining principle; to whom love is wanting, everything appears erratic, vague, confused, and obscure. Wherefore the Lord alone, who is love, and from whom is mercy, determines all things, and according to the differences of love he disposes societies, and thence heaven and heavenly things. - 1748, October 25.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO BOAST THEMSELVES OF BEING, BEYOND OTHERS, THE HOLY SPIRIT. The deceitful who are above the head, and the most deceitful who are still higher up, concerning whom it has been already remarked that they were those who ruled the pontiffs, were now manifested as to their quality, and that too by means of David, of whom they availed themselves as a subject, and manifested themselves through him, because they were in the persuasion that it was not they but David (who acted), and that thus they were not in fault. They had David at this time as their subject, of whom they said that they could treat him as a dog, and that he would demean himself altogether according to their thoughts and will; whereas without such a subject they act in a secret and timid way, and only when the occasion seems to warrant. Now however they were made manifest according to what had often been said to them, and is now also said, viz. that they are pre-eminently base above all others, and although they wish to act covertly, yet while they seize upon such a subject, upon whom they can cast the blame, that they are wicked above others, adulterers above others, and cruel also [in an equal degree].


These are they who rule the pope, and inspire into him such a peculiar respiration, and induce him to believe that it is the Holy Spirit that prompts him, while it is they themselves. They are those also who boast themselves above others as being the Holy Spirit, when yet, as was said, they are the most consummately wicked of all. - 1748, October 25.


Their ideas, when determined upon me, and remitted through a spiritual medium, were as the sphere of venomous serpents.


They were those also who had subjects [occupied] with me while I was asleep, and [through them] wrought by insidious arts to compass my death; but they were dissipated, concerning which before.


In a word, they are enormously wicked beyond others and their deadly, poison is such, that they ensnare by means of holy things and the corresponding affections, aiming at nothing else than to destroy, by whatever nefarious means they can, yet under a semblance of religion, even the Lord himself, and whatever is of the Lord, thus whatever is of faith. - 1748, October 25. Such therefore are the popes, and those who assist them, and aspire at dominion.


CONCERNING TRUTH. It was perceived that the Lord, who is love, and thence mercy, flows into heaven, thus into the world of spirits, in which, because celestial love is turned into the contrary, namely, into cupidities, therefore celestial order perishes; yet whoever is in this order is confirmed in all the truth of faith from love. But because there is no celestial love but it is turned into cupidities, [I perceived] that they are only truths of faith, separate from love, which instruct and reduce [to order], so that it is still inverted order; whence it is no longer by internal, but simply by external bonds that man is governed. External bonds are those which are of civil society; internal those that spring from a knowledge of the truths of faith. There are also [of these latter] certain bonds that are more exterior, and when they persuade [to obedience] constitute the conscience of man: but that [only] is a true conscience which is from celestial love, thence from the Lord. Those interior bonds which are [at the same time] more exterior, arising from the persuasion of the knowledges of faith - how the case is with them in the other life it is not yet given to know. - 1748, October 25.


Hence it appears what is the life of persuasion, to wit, that then a man is persuaded concerning the truths or knowledges of faith, that he then has the life of light, that is, intellectual life, which life is diverse according to the persuasions of the things which the man has conceived respecting faith. When he is in the persuasion of the knowledges or truths of faith, he is still as yet in nothing more than the life of light, and the life of light cannot enter into the life of love, because this is an inversion; for from the life of love springs the life of persuasions, as he that is in the life of love is in the knowledges of faith, and everything goes to confirm it; but he who is only in the life of persuasion cannot thereby be in the life of love, because the nature [or character] which is the life of that love, is nothing else but evil, wherefore that form of life is altogether repugnant. This is the reason that the character or nature, thence the life of cupidities, is first to be destroyed before anyone can come into heaven; for the mere life of light cannot introduce anyone into heaven, where there is nothing but mutual love. - 1748, October 25.


Those who are in the persuasion of true faith, have that [gift] from the Lord, for it is a part of true faith that there is no faith except from the Lord, wherefore they cannot come into the persuasion of faith except from the Lord. Then because [he receives this] from the Lord, mercy also is granted him from the Lord, and thus there is conjunction. Wherefore whatever is of the Lord [in its own nature] this is conjoined to Him, because from Him, although his [the man's] nature or character is [intrinsically] nothing but evil; and this it is the province of true faith not only to know, but to be persuaded respecting it, and thence that he is saved through mercy.


But whatever differs from true faith, and by which persuasion is effected, derives thence a life of persuasion opposite to true life; wherefore there are innumerable species of life from persuasion, as also from nature. The life of persuasion constitutes the shell, and the life of nature constitutes the kernel, which conjoin themselves as far as possible. [This holds true] while persuasion [prevails]; for persuasion flows in and subdues cupidities, as cupidities are wont to do which induce persuasion. - 1748, October 25.


CONCERNING ADULTERIES. It was said to those who are on high, inasmuch as they are interior adulterers, that this single consideration demonstrated that adulteries are diabolical, namely, that as marriages are for the sake of the propagation of offspring, thus of terrestrial societies, and thence of celestial, which as they acknowledged, has in it a Divine end, -therefore, whatever destroys or prevents marriages and thus destroys propagation, that is [essentially] diabolical. - 1748, October 25.


THAT AN ANSWER IS REFLECTED. A certain spirit above the head said something to me from a prompting of indignation, and on the instant he [also] seemed to me to answer. He however said, that it was I who thus answered; but it was given to say to him that it was not I, but that he himself had returned an answer as well as spoken. When he still supposed that the answer came from me, other spirits one after another said that it was from them, and thus three, four, or five in order. Thence it appeared how all and singular things are reflected, and what kind of order there is of all things, that an answer should be immediately returned or reflected, according as one had spoken. In like manner it is with evil, which is reflected from the commune upon him who intends or does evil. - 1748, October 25.


CONCERNING SIRENS AND MAGICAL ARTS. Sirens in the world are those who have lived indulgent to their vein, wholly absorbed in the world, and reaping their highest enjoyment from the love of self; and because thus captivated by worldly things, while yet in civil society they wish to be deemed of a different character, they have placed their entire life in decorum. Consequently from actuality and habit thence, they have contracted the ability of appearing outwardly [to advantage]; moreover, by showing off the decorous in a thousand different modes they have aimed to insinuate themselves into societies; so also by a feigning of the honest, and even of the pious, when it would serve their purpose - anything in fact that would enable them to ingratiate themselves into societies where they could, at length exercise a predominant influence, so that their life has been a life of dissimulation. Thus they appear outwardly honest, as much from decorum as from assuming a feigned character. Like others also they frequent churches, and mingle in the rites, but still they are without conscience as regards the honest, the good, and the true, being inwardly wholly solicitous for themselves alone, while outwardly they pretend [to act] for the good of others, and because thus acting without conscience, or from the interior man, and being more prone to enormities than others, they esteem adulteries as nothing, in the life of which they live so far as the fact can be concealed from others, and they can make a reputable appearance before the world and its upright societies. As they make nothing of adulteries, so of course of all other evil loves.


In the other life they conduct themselves in a similar manner, without conscience, as to which, indeed, they know not that there is any such thing. They avail themselves of all kinds of [iniquitous] arts, such as are well known in the other life, though utterly unknown in the present. Such [spirits] have infested me while awake this night, so that I was able to discern their quality, and to see that they could easily allure the upright, and even to such a degree as to serve them for objects, into whatever kind of affections they might enter, only by pretending that a thing was honest, pious, merciful, and innocent. Thus others are easily deceived [by them]. Certain ones of this character [of the female sex] did tonight inveigle a number of societies which are otherwise upright, and which constitute the outer tunic in front of the genital regions, the loins, and also the thorax. The number of such societies is wonderful, being more than I ever could have believed; yet they were shown to me and as constituting the whole anterior skin even to the feet.


3655-1 Referring to the case of those mentioned No. 3550-3556.

3656-1 We cannot of course but be aware, that the contents of this and two or three succeeding articles are calculated to give somewhat of a severe shock to the preconceptions and prejudices of the Christian world. So deep-seated and inveterate is the belief in the personal sanctity of the individuals who were employed as amanuenses of the Divine Spirit in penning the sacred books, that what is here said of David will be apt to be regarded not only as a gross defamation of a good and holy man, but as prima facie evidence of the general falsity and absurdity of Swedenborg's representations of the other life. It can scarcely fail to elicit the prompt reply, that such a statement is certainly untrue, and what confidence, therefore, can be reposed in any declaration made by such a witness in relation to things which he affirms of the spiritual world? "If the state of David in that world is such as is here described, he could not have possessed the character in this world which has usually been ascribed to him and if the judgment of the church in all ages is to be reversed in regard to him, what reason have we to think well of the lot of the distinguished personages whose names adorn the roll of Scripture worthies? Indeed, what evidence can any man have of his own good estate in the sight of God, and what security of salvation in the world to come?" The assured and unmoved receiver of these disclosures can cherish, perhaps, but a faint hope of meeting, in such a way as to repel or neutralize, the force of the objections urged on this score, and thus of turning aside the torrent of obloquy which the statements here made will scarcely fail to throw upon the head of their author. Still, as he has had to encounter and overcome the full weight of the objection in his own case, he would fain solicit the ear of skepticism for a brief exhibition of the grounds upon which his original repugnance to Swedenborg's statements was countervailed. 1. A reason is fairly to be demanded for Swedenborg's thus representing the state of David in the other life, if the statement be not true. Reared in the bosom of the Christian church, and naturally sharing its traditional biases, it is difficult to conceive of the mental process by which he should have formed so disparaging an estimate of the character of David, unless it were in consequence of his being supernaturally instructed in the truth. To say that he had in some way conceived a prejudice against him, and that this prejudice had colored his visions in the other world, amounts to very little, so long as no solution is proffered of the grounds on which such an adverse sentiment should have established itself in his mind. The same remark is to be applied also to what is said of Paul in a subsequent part of this work. 2. The truth or falsehood of the recital here made is to be resolved back into the truth or falsehood of a leading principle affirmed by Swedenborg of the Jewish people in general, viz., that they were not in strict propriety a church, but merely the representative of a church, and this from the fact that they were characteristically a gross, external, sensual people, incapable of spiritual views. There is no adequate ground for supposing that the penmen of the Scriptures were, to any considerable extent, exceptions to this character. There is no evidence that they had, personally, a genuine spiritual insight into the genius and scope of the great truths which they were moved to utter, nor does it necessarily follow that their lives and characters were inwardly conformed to the essential spirit of the doctrines and duties which they declared. In regard to David there is reason to believe that, in giving vent to expressions which in the letter breathe wrath, cruelty, and revenge, he thus embodies his own sentiments as a man, while the internal spiritual sense speaks in reality a language directly the reverse - that of divine love and mercy. We know, moreover, of no ground to question that what Swedenborg here says of him is true namely, that, in inditing the Psalms, he applied to himself what was spiritually spoken of the Lord Messiah, and if so, it is easy to conceive that a degree of inflation may have possessed his mind, which should lead in the other life to just such manifestations as are here described. One thing at least is certain - that Swedenborg speaks, throughout his writings, as disparagingly of the Jewish race, as he does of David, and on substantially the same grounds and if he is warranted to do so in the one case, he doubtless is in the other. The disclosure in both instances has the all-important effect of separating the character of the Word from the character of the persons who wrote it, and especially of making the Psalms God's Psalms, instead of David's. 3. The general evidence of the truth of Swedenborg's revelations is too strong to be invalidated by particular passages speaking a language contrary to preconceived ideas. The proof, for instance, that our traditional ideas respecting the character of David, are true, is no stronger to the candid mind, than that which establishes the general truth of Swedenborg's relations. We are immovably firm in the conviction that no man could write as he has written, unless he had been admitted within the veil. He has uttered truth pure from the fountain of truth, and this truth thus imparted is a universal boon, property, and interest. It is the peculium of no man or body of men. Neither does it lay any special responsibilities, on the score of its vindication, upon those who may have distinguished themselves by an avowed belief of it. The adherents of Swedenborg's system do not admit that they are any more called upon to attempt the conciliation of his apparent errors with his acknowledged truths, than any other class of men. We take substantially the same ground with the Christian apologist for the scriptures, who says to the caviling sceptic, You have no right to insist upon what you call the absurdities and incredibilities of the sacred narrative until you have overthrown the accumulated positive proof of its Divine original. What does it avail to pronounce it ridiculous to suppose that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, so long as you cannot subvert the testimony which makes out the book of Jonah, and the other canonical books, to have come from God?" So do we also say to the rejecters of thee records of the phenomena of the spiritual world. Read continuously, with an unbiased mind, the series of developments contained in this Diary, and see if you do not find as much evidence of truth in one page as you do of seeming falsity in another. If so, on what principle can you allow the assurance of truth to be nullified by the semblance of falsehood? Can a thousand falsities annihilate a single truth? We do not, of course, ask that that which appears to be a falsity shall be believed as a truth but we do demand that you shall not suffer the absolute conviction of truth, on the one hand, to be stifled by the suspicion of falsehood on the other. It would be easy to enlarge the catalogue of reasons which weigh with New Church men for admitting the truth of these statements, however revolting to former prejudices, but they may all be summed up in one, viz., that the evidence of Swedenborg's general truth is so overwhelmingly strong as to leave their minds wholly unafflicted by particular points of assertion which may be attended with difficulty. In this case they cannot feel so sure that David was a good man, as they do that Swedenborg was a true man. -Tr.

3657-1 Note on the lateral margin - "They appeared small because raised to a very great height, and David acted quickly, because it was done from a phantasy familar to him."

3658-1 A species of punishment in the other world, of which an account is given, AC 947, 948.

3682-1 The punishment of the veil is thus described: "The punishment of the veil is a very common one, and is in this manner. The offender seems to himself, in consequence of the phantasies whereby he is impressed, to be under a veil, stretched out to a great distance it is as it were a cohering cloud, which is condensed according to the culprit's phantasy under this cloud the sufferers run here and there, with a most eager desire to make their escape, and with different velocities, until they are wearied out; this generally continues for the space of an hour, more or less, and is attended with diverse degrees of torture, according to the degree of their desire to extricate themselves. The punishment of the veil is inflicted on those who, although they see the truth, yet are rendered by self-love unwilling to acknowledge it, and are angry to think that it is truth. Some spirits have such anxiety and terror under the veil, that they despair of ever being set at liberty, as I was informed by one who had been let out. There is also another kind of veil, wherein the offender is wrapped up as in a sheet, so that he seems to himself to be bound as to his hands, feet, and body, and at the same time is impressed with a strong desire to extricate himself: this he imagines may be easily effected, inasmuch as he is only wrapped up with a single fold; but when he attempts to undo it, the more he unfolds of it, the longer it grows; until he is driven at last to despair. - AC 963, 964.

Next: 3701-3750