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

Spiritual Diary


The magical arts by which they enticed these [societies] were numerous; as, first, that they would persuade them by representation that the Lord spoke with them, and promised that, after they had endured certain punishments he would receive them to heaven. They were able moreover, when present with me, to speak as if they were in another place, where the good were, so that their voice was heard from a society of the good, just as if they were there. In like manner they could be at the same time present with others, and persuade them according to their [temper and] genius and so likewise with still more at the same time, thus inducing the belief that they had a kind of ubiquity, which was magically effected by following the ideas infused into them, whereby they could discover those who flowed in, which is easily done in the other life; for when one of this class of spirits acts as a subject of so many societies, she can easily find any particular one. She can thus inspire anyone with affection according to their genius [i. e. the genius of the societies], by simply applying herself to the ideas which flowed in. Yet the particular manner in which she insinuated herself I did not perceive, but she contracted the ability from her nature, in as much as she had thus also insinuated herself while in the world. In like manner they simulate innocence by representing an infant which they take [in their arms] and kiss; which she also represented. One thing in particular was shown me; namely, in what manner she affected persuasion, which was by representing in full view before the eyes of the societies a white flame encircling the head. This they supposed to be a sign of the celestial or angelic intellectual. That she thus represented it in the presence of multitudes is now perceived, as also that as soon as it is beheld the persuasion is induced that they are angels, and thus perhaps that they are with them. Beside these there are various familiar arts of a magical kind, among which is this, that they suddenly vanish from the sight of others, and render themselves invisible.


She was, moreover, a subject of the evil genii, who inspired such things; and from being thus a subject both of good and evil genii, she was enabled to be in a persuasive life; for the more numerous the societies which concur, the more fully are they in perceptive and active life. Wherefore I remarked to those that were in good societies, that this was outrageous, that they should have at the same time the same subject as the evil genii, and those of the worst stamp, knowing too that she had been several times seen in Gehenna, that she had spoken through me while I was asleep, and that even now she was practicing other magical arts. Wherefore if they conjoined themselves in such a subject, it would be like conjoining Beelzebub with a saint, which were abominable: for thus they would be more thoroughly deceived than ever, as such delusion exceeds all other. Moreover should they respectively conjoin their ideas in one subject, they would be as if conjoined in themselves [however much at variance], which was to be abhorred and rejected with utter aversion. Yet still the sphere of her persuasion arising from the conjunction of different societies within herself was such, that they could scarcely be persuaded, for by her persuasive ideas and representations she was still with them, and thus seemed to confirm them; and it was shown how great was the consent and the dissent, by means of white clouds on a cerulean ground (:for they are interior spirits:) which when they issued upwards, signified consent; when sideways, that they were beginning to differ; when downwards, that disagreement had actually taken place; besides that the clouds variously complicated themselves, and exhibited multifarious forms, for thus the idea of interior spirits are represented.


There were some from the societies which, as was said, constituted the skin, who were everywhere inclined to reason [ratiocinari], but it was then perceived more manifestly than ever before, that this kind of reasoning [ratiocincatio] was the greatest folly, and that those addicted to it have no perception of what is true and good, and also that the more anyone reasons the less he perceives, taking it for granted that by reasoning only can he appear wise to others, and thence seeming to himself to possess this character as compared with others. It was also clearly perceived and said, that such persons perceive nothing, when yet it is the property of intelligence and wisdom immediately, and without a process of reasoning, to perceive whether anything is true and good; for those who are intelligent and wise, and of course the angels, perceive at once without reasoning, whether a thing be true or good, as in fact it is well known that among men, though one may reason for whole hours, or through a whole volume, yet those who are intelligent and wise know in a moment as to what is true and good, nor do they pay the least attention to the reasonings of such, which in truth they deride, and regard with themselves as of no account. Nothing is more common than this; wherefore being indignant towards these reasoners, it was given to refute them as often [as they attempted to ply their skill in arguments]. These are they who constitute the scaly skin. They are for the most part those who were made such by a confounding of truth and good by means of philosophical and scientific [subtleties], and are those who have less common sense, if any at all, than the most unlearned.


Those that constitute the external skin are, in the world, such as easily suffer themselves to be persuaded, and are destitute of that expansion of mind which would enable them to judge whether a thing be true or false, good or evil; wherefore the classes, general and specific, are numerous; [some of them, for instance], being easily deceived by a counterfeit love towards infants, and some by a counterfeit conjugial love, [judging solely] from externals. These are such as constitute the skin of the provinces of the genitalia. Those that easily suffer themselves to be led by a feigned compassion, are such as constitute the skin of the thorax, and so on. Such a kind of skin is of similar quality, for it suffers itself to be deceived by external soothing appliances.


The quality of which such become was shown by representatives, namely, that they appeared at length as mere skeletons, composed from head to foot of bare skin and bones, so that apparently nothing vital remained. 1748, October 26.


Those that are [thus] addicted to reasoning are of a two-fold class, as was said, namely, one which does not know what the true and the good is, and thus, though they reason concerning everything true and good, yet the more they reason, the less they know. The other [is composed of] those who reason against the true and the good, and thus endeavor to destroy them. Those who defend truths by discoursing are not reasoners, but confirmators; such are in the perception of truth and good, and confirm them rationally. - 1748, October 26.


Among the magical arts which she practiced was this, namely, that whatever of true or good was uttered by me, she would take it away, so that others should not hear it, and would substitute in place of it something false or evil. As when, for instance, I spoke of adulteries and of Gehenna, she immediately for Gehenna substituted a white light, so that they might not know what I said. This also is magical, namely, to take away the ideas of another, so as to prevent their coming to the societies to which they are directed, and then to substitute things [entirely] contrary.


THAT IN THE OTHER LIFE [SPIRITS] ARE NOT REMITTED INTO ANY DIFFERENT LIFE FROM THAT WHICH THEY HAVE BY ACTUALITY ACQUIRED TO THEMSELVES. [Certain spirits] were moved with wonder that in the other life they should learn and exercise new arts [of wickedness] supposing thence that by actuality they contracted a worse life, so as to add evils to evil. But it was perceived and said, that they were not remitted into any other life than that which they had by actuality acquired to themselves; while the are in that life, whether they exercise new arts or former ones, it is the same thing, for it amounts to the same whatever evil they do, whether new or old; thus it is not acquiring a worse life, but exercising a life acquired by actuality; for it is provided by the Lord that they should not go beyond [their already acquired life].


As to what pertains to infants, who are not remitted into a life acquired by actuality, but one flowing from hereditary [qualities], the case is this; that the cupidities are dominant which are connate, and in order that these may be diminished, as it were, or that a horror may be inspired in regard to them, and that thus they may be abstained from, they are let into such a life, more especially with a view to their being informed that with them there is nothing but evil; as otherwise they would suppose that inasmuch as they had not actual evil, they were therefore perfect. - 1748, October 26.


CONTINUATION CONCERNING SIRENS. Among the magical arts was also this, that they would inspire others with wrath and like passions, with a power of persuasion prompting them to kill each other, for they know that they cannot die, and when they have induced upon one such a persuasion, they think that they have power over him as a homicide, so as to accuse him and divulge [his crime]. Moreover nothing exists, whether good or bad, true or false, as to which they do not aim to turn it to their own advantage, thus to a magical [use], so that no others have a more watchful regard [to such ends], upon which alone they are [continually] intent; wherefore they seize the truths of faith, and goods, but solely with the purpose of deceiving others. Thus they cannot learn what is true, good, and holy, for they pervert and profane [everything]. - 1748, October 26.


THAT AT THIS DAY NOTHING REIGNS BUT THE LOVE OF SELF AND OF THE WORLD. It was told me that nearly all who come from the world think of nothing else than of becoming great, and of possessing all things, scarcely anyone caring for the common good, or knowing [that there is any such thing], although under the pretence of the common good they consult their own peculiar loves. Inquiry was made concerning those who were only traders, as in Holland, who contemn dignities, and it was said that they also were such as would fain be esteemed above all others, and especially on account of their superior opulence. The avaricious are otherwise, as they are the most sordid [of all], caring neither for honors nor pleasures. Everything pertaining to the love of self and the world they present to themselves with an exclusive regard to wealth, and thus show themselves to be worse than others.


CONTINUATION CONCERNING SIRENS. They especially simulate the mind of another, or put on a likeness of the ideas of another, and thus attempt to deceive those who are influenced by a love to the persons to whom they thus resemble themselves. Such assimilations in the other life may be exhibited and represented in various ways which cannot be described. A subject of certain persons who were beloved effected assimilations of this sort, and indeed to such a degree as to be able to deceive those who were in the lower world of spirits, sometimes so fully to the life, that the fact could scarcely be known to be otherwise [than as it appeared]. Such, moreover, especially desire to come into the world through others, because they are exceedingly deceitful, insinuating themselves through good affections, and having no other end than regard to self and the world. As to spiritual and celestial things they are utterly ignorant of them, deeming them mere external matters, through which insinuations can be effected. They have a highly persuasive kind of life, but with difference according to their genera and species. - 1748, October 26.


Women constitute the greatest portion of the sirens of this kind, even those who had been distinguished in the life of the body, and who had been held in pre-eminent esteem because they had lived in fair externals, in which alone they delighted; for they do not manifest their wiles, scarcely indeed their ends, but yet they may be detected. - 1748, October 26.


During still another day the sirens were with me, and caused me great annoyance, but of what quality they were appeared from this, that when left to themselves they were borne away into things so atrociously obscene that nothing, as I heard, could be more so, and that too among themselves. It may thence be known that there is [with them] no internal bond which shall coerce [their evils], no conscience or acknowledgment [of right], still less the persuasion of anything true and good; but that their interiors are altogether loosed from restraint, not bound except by merely external bonds, such as a regard to decorum and apparent probity, which perhaps influences them more than others. But their interiors are such, so dissolute and relaxed, that provided external bonds were removed, as they are while acting licentiously among themselves, they would rush without horror, without shame, without check from any interior law, into the most abandoned, iniquitous, and obscene acts. Such, at any rate, are their thoughts, for anyone can know from this whether a law of conscience constrains one, viz., that he is unwilling to think of this or that because it is evil, because it is base, because it is obscene, so that when such a thought is suggested he is struck with fear, with shame, with horror, or is in some other way withheld from it. These are the internal bonds by which man is held, but the sirens are restrained by no [such] bond.


Neither can the sirens be instructed in the other life, for whatever of true and whatever of good they see they do not lay hold of [and appropriate], because they are only in externals, but they immediately seize whatever [of this nature] they can, and regard it as a means of deceiving, of perverting, of insinuating themselves, of ensnaring, and of turning it into something magical; for whatever is pious or holy with others, becomes with them an external means, and so on; because there is nothing interior [with them] which constrains and obliges; of this they are, as it were, ignorant.


Sirens desire above all things to obsess man; but still [to do this upon] his interiors through the exteriors, which I experienced during two or three days. They labored especially to come into the senses, yea, into the taste, and those who have this desire in regard to the taste, are evidently of this quality, for thus they aim to penetrate into man's interiors. The adulterous and the cruel, concerning whom [I have spoken] before, desire to obsess man's exteriors, but these the interiors, which I learned from several days experience, by their wishing to enter into the taste, and seizing for themselves whatever [articles of food] I might eat, which are the correspondences of the interiors The corporeal memory also, thus whatever is of science and of knowledge, they wished to appropriate to themselves, [and] thus to obsess, and to return into the world through another; which obsessions are interior. Whether many persons are at this day thus obsessed may hence, it seems, be inferred: let a man examine himself [and see] whether he is in any internal bond, so that his thoughts shall abhor and turn away with loathing [from evil]; let him prevail upon himself to abstain in some way from the most wicked, abominable, and obscene practices, inwardly or as to his thoughts, and let him then consider whether they are merely external bonds that restrain him, which, if they were removed, he would desire, without the fear of the law, to perpetrate them, and would perpetrate them - if he is such a man, then he is inwardly obsessed by such sirens, which obsession prevails at this day, whereas with the Jews, and in the time of the Lord, obsession was external.


Let a man thoroughly consider whether he is of such a quality, for he is now able to know. I speak from experience, for I conversed much with them; I felt their influx in all my sensation, and it was given me to know and perceive their endeavors, and the processes by which they act, besides a multitude of other particulars which cannot [here] be recited, for they act interiorly, and very many things were shown me solely by representations, as [for instance] what the quality was of their phantasies, which were not permitted to reach me, because so direful and horrible. These were almost wholly shown by representations, as when they wished to enter into my interiors, they would extend themselves naked upon their backs above my head, would roll themselves to the right and to the left, would curve themselves between their feet, would invert themselves with their head downwards, and their feet upwards, and so on, all which are their direful, magical, pythonic, and detestable phantasies, which were not allowed to infest me that that they might not cleave to my memory, and thus be seen by spirits. Besides these there were many other things done among themselves, which were not seen, but only heard, for the same reason.


They were with me in phantasy during the whole night, so as to occupy my memory, holding their ideas in such things, and thus thinking that they would press on and obtain possession, just as with others they would possess the interiors. I observed a [persevering] obstinacy which was so great as to excite my wonder; but their obstinate phantasy cannot be described. This occurred while I was asleep, for they are prompted to act while man sleeps, as well as when he is awake. They do this especially in order that they may loose all internal bonds.


But that they would be driven away was represented by naked reddish colored horses, on which sat small naked [riders] of the same hue, and they were conveyed from the anterior towards the posterior parts. It was afterwards shown whither they went; namely, when they think themselves to be penetrating towards the interiors, and indeed to the things which are of the brain, they are borne there through certain foul passages. I supposed it was through the passage of the mucus into the nostrils, but it was not through that passage, but through the pores of the skull-bone to the external cuticle, and it seemed that such from the anterior part were carried in a mass into a certain filthy sphere, as into a soft slough, but consisting of dissolved garbage,


but which was not seen on account of the softness induced, and the sphere of sordid feculence, into which, when conveyed, they seemed to be dissolved; and it was perceived that they are the things which are called cavernulae, in the outer skin of the head, where is the abode of lice, [and the place] where they are produced and grow; which [insects] how filthy they are, may appear from the fact that they are principally found upon those who are infested with a baleful itch, and upon dead bodies. These are such as wish to enter in and obsess the scientifics and intellectuals of man, and would fain thus insinuate themselves through all kind of knowledges perverted to magic, with a view to obsess man. They are also of a like quality [in the present] life; they can allure men to themselves, and thus fascinate them with a desire of being in their society, so that they are seduced, and made to prefer [such allurements] to internal things. In this manner they are drawn away by seducers of this kind from internal things.


Others who insinuate themselves by affections, when they thence supposed that they were passing towards the region of the thorax, and thence into the loins, were brought, as I felt, through the external skin, and it was perceived that those of this quality took possession there of the little pools of fetid sweat; and how foul these are may be clearly perceived by means of microscopes; they are also the hiding places of lice. In like manner they insert themselves about the loins, and the issue is, that they dwell in the vilest filth.


Whoever is destitute of faith in the Lord is obsessed by such, and at length comes among them, and in the other life is associated with them, and spends his life in the midst of the most disgusting filth. - 1748, October 27.


It was observed that such were able to excite from memory whatever I had thought respecting venereal things, even from infancy, and they would so excite the recollection that it could not be resisted, and they even declared the facts with a living voice. Such is their art above others, that not only with man, but even with spirits, they could at the same time excite the memory of their corporeal and venereal things, so that they complained that they were laid open among them; for the efficacy of their sphere is such that it pervades even to the corporeal memory of spirits, which otherwise is never permitted.


They have contracted this from the life of the body, during which they are continually intent upon subjecting to themselves the minds of others, and thus of fascinating them, [and that] from various ends, especially that when subjected they may rule over them, and have them for slaves, thus reducing to bondage the souls of men. Thence their sphere in the other life is that of incessantly obsessing the interiors of man, which sphere had continually the effect with me of their wishing to infuse themselves into the taste, and of doing this as often as I ate, as if they would snatch with the hand [and] the lips [my food] with a disposition to eat. Such [a disposition] exists from the sphere of interior phantasies, that thus represents itself, for the taste and the tongue correspond to the interiors. - 1748, October 27.


THAT THE MATERIAL IDEAS OF MEN ARE VESSELS OF ANGELIC IDEAS. 3724-1 I spoke openly with spirits [remarking] that the Providence of the Lord in ultimates appeared so confused and scattered, that [it seemed] like the materials collected from different quarters for [the erection of] a vast palace, which were calculated by the architect, and then brought together, and thus thrown into different heaps, afterwards to be formed and fitted for the palace; and yet no one but the architect would be able to perceive from the accumulations [that] such a palace [would be the result], while at the same time each single part was numbered, and was such as could be fitted in.


While occupied with these reflections, it was said that thoughts of this kind flowed in from heaven, where there is no reference to the building of palaces, but it might be [understood] of indefinitely various things which yet in the thought of man are represented by the construction of edifices and palaces; for innumerable interior things may be compared to such constructions, as much on a universal scale, like the Providence of the Lord, as in countless other particulars, as anyone may know that even in the ideas of men this conformity takes place, and the same of countless other things of like kind. Hence it follows that the thoughts of man are vessels recipient of angelic ideas.


But the objection occurs, that evils are excited by evil spirits, and are hindered by the angels, thus that the beginnings are with spirits, and that they, as it were, flow-in into heaven, where they are restrained. But it was answered - and that with perception - that every good of the Lord flowing through heaven into the world of spirits is turned into evil, and thus that it is evil which flows from angelic ideas. This is evil with spirits [to wit that] by which they excite evils with man, and thus that it should return to heaven. It does not follow because the Lord flows through heaven, and thence evil [results], that he also flows into heaven or into the angels, to restrain the evil; for that that which is true in regard to the one is true in regard to the other, appears from the angels with man, who restrain and moderate the evils of spirits [and] who still confess that the Lord restrains, although it seems to them that they do it themselves; wherefore [it is that] such an equilibrium and such an order is preserved by the Lord in the world of spirits, and to every evil there is, as it were, its own counterpart, or impediment, and if evil should preponderate and thus prevail, that the world of spirits should be immediately so disposed that there may be an equilibration and offset. - 1748, October 28.


Their fallacy in supposing otherwise is again refuted by [the case of] the antipodes, inasmuch as if they did not know that there were antipodes, and that we come into that relation every twelfth hour, no one would ever believe it, because he would suppose that they would thus fall off. The cause was then stated, to wit, that there is a [principle of] gravitation in each minutest particle of a man, which presses [him] towards the earth, and since there is such a sphere of gravitation in each single particle, therefore it is up or down to a man according to gravitation; which is also confirmed by other well known experiences in respect to the centripetal force. In these things, when heard, the spirits acquiesced. - 1748, October 28. It was said that the fluids in the human body had their up and down not according to the sphere without the body; for they are then confirmed in their upward and downward motion, and in their tendency to [particular] quarter, according to endeavor [nisus], concerning which much might be said. Thus the blood and other fluids do not recognize the same up and down in the body, which [holds] without, which is also confirmed by experience.


CONCERNING THE SIRENS. A certain person came to me of a sudden, and it was perceived that it was Paul, who inquired whether I were speaking ill of him. But it was replied that I was not then thinking of him. It was thence perceived that the evil spirits above the head began to speak through the sirens with others, while I was awake as if from me; they spoke also with still others. There was a species of undulation descending from the spirits above the head, and they likewise spoke with others as from me. - 1748, October 28. They yet continue thus to speak, and [to utter] foul things, but I hear nothing; it is to me as entire silence, nor do I perceive anything. The spirits who hear say that the things uttered are foul, but that the speech is as if from me, although from the foulness [they know] it is not from me, and they hold me not only in the state of not perceiving, but in a certain kind of pleasurable frame. Such are the sirens.


CONCERNING IDEAS. That man has ideas unknown to him, formed of [various] composites, and which are peculiar to everyone, may appear if one will call to mind cities, places, and other things [which he has witnessed]. Something [uniformly] occurs by which he distinguishes, by which he knows, whether it be taken from any particular place, or from anything seen, and [he will recollect] that he there met with something which impressed the idea somewhat deeply upon him. This fact takes precedence, but not the name or word; as, for instance, when thinking of Milan, the first thing that occurs, as being impressed upon him, is, that there men are often assassinated at night; when of Prague, that there are among the streets passage-ways through their houses for nocturnal homicides; when of the Jews there, that they covertly put Christians to death; and so of other places.


It was further shown that men do not know what an idea is, for when they are held in thought respecting an idea, [all the ideas] vanished, so that there seemed to be nothing [left], but yet ideas are spoken of, as it is still common in familiar discourse to say, that "such a thing is according to my idea," and "[my] idea is so and so," by which nothing more is signified than thought in general. Hence now it appears that men know nothing concerning interior things, thus concerning the interior man, since they neither know that thought is distinguished into ideas, or composed of ideas, nor yet what thought is, nor can they distinguish it from will; yea, they scarcely know that they have thought, because they do not reflect upon the inner man. Hence they can have no other conception than a most general one, scarcely indeed that they think, although they think otherwise than they speak or than they act, and thence they might know it. Wherefore it was said that an idea is a less thought, that of which thought is composed; this perhaps may be understood. Hence also it appears that interior things are altogether conjoined with external, so that man lives only in the bodily senses and in the body, in which things they are.


But in the other life I have not yet known, for several years, one spirit who does not perceive what an idea is, because it is perceived by me; and they now wonder that men are such, when they also were such, and are such, except so far as I have some distinctness of idea.


CONCERNING THE QUAKERS. In my sleep Abr. Schonst appeared, concerning whom I had an idea of interior deceit and malice, concluding from externals. Whether he were really such I pretend not to say. He then appeared different, and as one concerning whom I had a somewhat better conceit, but still [thinking] that he was inwardly malignant, and especially that he had a contemptuous opinion of others compared with himself. They [the Quakers] appeared in [my] sleep, and at length [they were seen] clad in outer garments [that shone] splendidly with a profusion of gold, adorned as the garments of the French are wont to be, on whose persons the gilded flowers extend themselves from the garments to the face, so their face is adorned, or, as it were, clothed with an ample array of such small gilded cords [or tassels].


When I awoke the spirits spoke with me, saying that they were Quakers, concerning whom I had had barely the idea that they were, as to life, honest and upright, for I had never heard anything else. When I spoke with them concerning sanctity - as they deem themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit - they said merchandize was sanctity; but it was given to reply that merchandize was not sanctity, but merchandize conducted so and so, especially with probity and compassion; that [when that was the case] then there was sanctity, which they perceived and acknowledged to be true.


There was moreover represented a lofty pointed turret, of a grayish color, which when I surveyed, the turret began to vanish as to its upper part, and only the middle part remained, which was grayish.


Spirits were desirous of exploring their interior quality, but they were unable, for they were averse to any disclosure, deriving this from the life of the body, that nothing should be laid open, which was also communicated to me. They said, when [the spirits] wished to explore their interiors, that they asked ill of no one, and did harm to no one, and what more would they have? - 1748, October 27. It was discovered also that they speak but little, and therefore that they divulge scarcely anything of what they think. It was then said that they have no particular fixed doctrinals of faith, except that they are inspired by the Spirit.


If therefore they are interiorly such as represented, according to the things which I know by thought respecting those two, then there are two classes [of them], one exceedingly bad, because they have no conscience, another [also bad], because they despise others in comparison with themselves.


It was given to say to them, as to their assertion that they spoke evil of no one and did evil to no one, that this was well in a society on earth, but to think evil and to be intrinsically evil, this is not tolerated in the other life - not in the societies of the other life - because there there is not such a speech, nor such other things as in the world, but there are the ideas of thought, which are communicated to others; wherefore if they are intrinsically evil, they exceedingly injure the societies of the other life, nor are they known there by any other means than their ideas, which are their speech.


HOW EXTERNAL THINGS MAY HAVE REPRESENTED INTERNAL. I spoke with a spirit when writing [and saying] that the external things of the Jewish church represented internal, and that externals were to be compared to an apple that was seen, in which were stored up innumerable things; and because the interior things of the apple were exhibited by representative ideas, the comparison was continued, [showing] that the apple not only contained within itself the things of taste and of smell, but fibers similar to those of the tree, the receptacles of the seeds, the seeds, in which was the wonderful power of producing a new tree, and not only a single tree, but an innumerable succession of them, so that they could fill the whole earth, and that even to a kind of eternity. This being its inward property, the infinite and eternal is in this way represented by it, and thus the Lord: and thus also in the singulars exclusive of the potencies of the seed, for all and each of the things [of the apple] conspire to its eternity, and, as it were, to its infinity. - 1748, October 27.


HOW TRUTHS AND GOODS FROM THE LORD ARE EXCITED. It was, manifestly perceived that sirens and others, when they excite anything from the memory of man, hold the ideas solely in such things, as for instance in filthy or evil things, and then there immediately come forth from his memory such things as he had thought or done during his life, one after another; for these things which are in the memory of man correspond to their ideas; as man - which anyone may know from himself - while he holds his ideas on any subject, perceives that those things are excited in order which pertain to the general idea; concerning these he immediately thinks, and when he speaks all his speech is also from them.


Spirits wondered that when they spoke they immediately received a response. It was then perceived that the response [and] thus the true and the good, which was in the memory of man, was excited solely by the common [or general prompting] which flows from the Lord through heaven, so that unless there were influx from the Lord, no response of true and good would issue from the memory, and when it was manifestly perceived that it was an angelic idea which excited, it was given to reply that it was thence, and then to interrogate the angels whether, because it was through them, it was also from the Lord. They insinuated that such was the case, and moreover that the general sphere of the Lord [penetrating] through heaven, in like manner excited the true and the good in the memory of man, which was a response to them. Hence it appeared that all life is from the Lord. - 1748, October 27.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO DESPISE THE WORD AND DIVINE WORSHIP, AND THINK THEM TO BE ADMITTED SOLELY IN ORDER THAT MEN MAY BE KEPT IN BONDS. There was a phalanx of spirits in front, rising from the side of Gehenna, and coming on high in front. It was perceived from their sphere that they made light of the Lord, and extolled themselves. This was manifestly perceived from the sphere of their phantasies, which was widely and continuously diffused. They were in an elevated position in front, and acted by an undulatory vibration, through which they also spoke, for to speak by [such an] undulation was formerly often done. The undulation fell towards the left knee, and extended itself to the sole, and under the sole of the foot, by which is signified the grossness of their phantasies, since the knee [denotes] that which is more subtle. The knee in front and the foot being bony, they are consequently such that the speech of those of this quality falls thither with a vibratory undulation.


This was, manifested by a certain subject of theirs, who said that he should act against the Lord; and because he thus spoke scandalously he was manifestly thrust down and cast towards one side of Gehenna, concerning which below.


Being of this quality, they were borne in a direction from the anterior region, where they were above the head, towards the left, and thus towards the back parts on high, whither they wished to go in order to call others to their aid, for they were desirous of domineering and being supreme. They often also boasted that no one could know them, and that they feared no one. When they went they seemed to be turned about to the right and the left, with a motion like that of boring, which signified, as I was informed, its being insinuated into their ideas that they should desist, for this might be turned to their injury; wherefore they stopped without proceeding further.


It was observed that when there they spoke thence, and at the same time as in the region of Gehenna, at which when I wondered it was said that they there think themselves to be on high, when in fact they are in the neighborhood of Gehenna, and that their thinking themselves to be on high was a phantasy, which proceeds from their lofty-mindedness, that elevates them thither, while yet they are near Gehenna, where their [proper] abode is.


There then appeared to me a face which was black, and having a white bandage wrapped about the head. When I inquired what this meant, I perceived that it signified that they were such as regarded the Word of the Lord as black, and as useful only to keep the common people in the bond of conscience; this was [the import of] the white bandage round the head. I perceived also that those of this quality made nothing of divine worship, and still less of the Lord, and that they ascribed all things to their own prudence. Thus they were in the spirit of domineering through their own peculiar prudence, as multitudes are, both those who are in dignity and those who are in offices of serving.


It was farther said, that their abode is near Gehenna, where the dragons are, so that the haunt of dragons is ever where such [spirits] are. They are therefore of lofty aspirations, and ascribe everything, without exception, to their own prudence and intelligence, which is properly signified by dragons. They were therefore there, although they appeared on high, and the subject before spoken of was cast thither.


I was instructed that from the success of their affairs in the life of the body, they had contracted the persuasion that they were to attribute everything to their own prudence; wherefore it was said that they are not punished on the instant of their coming into the other life, because of their being in this persuasion, for thus they would be utterly broken down, but that it is done by degrees, that they may thus be restored from their persuasion, and instructed. It is a punishment sufficiently severe [to be obliged] to dwell with dragons, which are flying serpents. These, however, were not deceitful; with the deceitful it fares worse.


As long as this continued there was nothing seen, for their idea of spirits is such that they had formerly supposed that a spirit was merely an aerial wavering something, as such have no true idea of spirits, which idea, when diffused from others, is itself of the same quality; for when those who think spirit to be nothing, when they are present in the other life, nothing appears to them but a certain vacuity; they said also that they saw nothing, being ignorant whether it were spirits or an atmospherical inane. - 1748, October 27.


Their common property, which I also perceived, was that they supposed themselves competent to everything, and thus in the other life would fain be worshipped as gods. But it was given to say to them, that although they thought themselves all powerful, yet if they were myriads in number, they could be driven by a single fly. At this they were enraged, but the truth was shown them by their being driven into a fright by a light whisper of wind, which they imagined to be a cohort from hell that would carry them away, about which I spoke with them.


CONCERNING A CERTAIN DEALER IN ARTIFICES. A certain spirit was detected in artifices devised for no use, but merely with a design of vaunting himself of his cunning, who spoke with me, and that too in an artificial manner, not previously observed. There was a broad sound of speech, which vibrated like a wavering, aerial, imperceptible something, of a general kind [striking], crosswise about the mouth in which the speech is [seated]. He said that he could speak like a great many at the same time; but it was said to him that this had been heard before. He could then speak remotely in another place, where still he was not, as also in many places at the same time, so that his presence should be supposed to be there and elsewhere at once, which was in some measure perceived. But it was said to him that such a thing was an artifice, and that such appearances could be presented; that with him [it was practiced] for no use but that of boasting; that with magicians it was for destroying; that it would be better if there was a good use, namely, since he was so cunning, that he should, on suitable occasions, instruct others, in order to put them on their guard against the fallacies of magicians. Otherwise his arts were of no use to him, unless perhaps it were that good spirits through him might instruct the simple concerning the like things, and convince them that magicians acted in the same manner. - 1748, October 28.


3724-1 We have endeavored to give, though with some doubts of having succeeded, a correct translation of the several articles under this head. If the reader should find, as we have found, great difficulty in eliciting from them an intelligible sense, we trust he will attribute it to the obscurity of the original, as much as to any defect in the version. Tr.

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