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


There were sent down, here and there, among societies, such as excited them, so that thereby the good might be separated from the evil.


I also saw that there were thrust down into hell, by the angels, from a certain mountain, over hundreds of thousands, because they were found to be evil; the good, also, were previously brought out from there. The evil who were there, have previously perpetrated abominable things in the hells, and taken to themselves a leader, who would, in the night-time, descend into an atrocious hell, and subject those there to himself; he would, also, surround me, and then all the rest would rush to ruin and destroy me by abominable arts, which consisted in the most dreadful magical practices, in the privates being cut off and an unspeakable horror; and their leader [at that time] was Lars Benzelstjerna.


I saw a mountain afar off which was cleft in the midst of its width; and those who were there sank down deeply, together with a vast multitude; and when this happened, then a multitude emerged above, and ascended in both sections, at the sides, into loftier places there. These were they who were in the pit and were prepared for heaven.


In most mountains, there is a mountain above a mountain; and those who are on the upper mountain are in interiors, and the lower ones there are ruled by them: as, for example, when those who are in the upper mountain speak evil concerning the doctrine of the Church, then those who are below persecute the good, especially virgins and the wives of others. When they say that a doctrine is false and evil, then the lower inhabitants of the mountain, wish to commit both whoredom and adultery with their women, whom they declare to be in the falsity, or evil, of doctrine; and so, furthermore, when the upper ones are in those things themselves, or speak concerning them, the lower ones are in the representatives which correspond: wherefore, it is provided by the Lord, that those who are on the upper mountain, may be in good and thence in truths; for the life of the lower ones depends on them.


I saw the upper mountain, or those who were there, and that they raised standards in their midst, that they might thus excite those who were on the mountains round about, to do evil to those who were sent by the Lord; and, when exhorted to take away the standard, they would not, because they were excited by a diabolical crew outside them and possibly amongst them; which diabolical crew, surged out of the midst, as it were, of a pit; but that pit was closed, and it was discovered that the top of that mountain, together with the city there, was shaken hither and thither, and that there was an earthquake; by which the same is signified as by a shaking and an earthquake in the Word.


The middle of the upper mountain is also higher, so that that height increased towards the middle. When visitation takes place, which happens when the Lord sends angels thither in order that the quality of those there maybe explored, or [when He sends] certain ones by whom they see heaven, then those who are in the mountain, and in the city there, are separated; if the mountain consists of the good, the good are in the middle and the less good at the sides; but if the mountain consists of the evil, then the evil go into the middle; and, when this takes place, those who are in the middle sink down. This happened with the mountain here mentioned, which was at the west, northwards. It is important that they who are in the upper mountain be in a good life and doctrine; for on them depends the doctrine and life of the lower inhabitants, who are in external worship; and also on them depend the hells which are under these.


Many cities, on mountains, sank down in the middle; and, in the sinking, it appeared like a vortical whirling, such as there is in volumes of water falling down through a chasm. It was said that it is a sign that they cannot be saved. It was made known, by experience, that societies in the other life constitute cities; and that they who are in the same city, are in society, and arranged there, according to order; that in the cities where the good are, the best are in the middle, and [the rest], in order, [towards] the circumferences, according to good of life; and that there is also an opening sometimes made there, to the hells, which are beneath the cities.


It was also made known by experience, that every such society, every city, and consequently every mountain, has a correspondence with some part of the human body, both outwardly and inwardly in man. It was granted me to know, that those who were in the mountains had correspondence with my body as to its external parts.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO HURT THE LEFT EYE. There were certain ones below me, under the left buttock, who there made magical [instruments], which they composed out of correspondences which they have acquired from order, and from observing what ideas passed through the mind and were terminated. And therefrom they made many things, such as garlands, bands, and especially garments; which then, on account of correspondence in ultimates, had communication with those who were in the correspondences, and particularly with those there who were not [in] interiors of life; for if it had been with the interiorly good, then they would also have been able to inflict mischief on the heavens which are in internals. Those who made those magical things, were principally mechanicians who, in the world, have denied God and eternal life, thus the things of the Church, although, from hypocrisy, and fear of the loss of reputation, honor and profit, they did not confess this in the world with the mouth. Conspicuous amongst them was Polhem, who also persuaded [the others] that they should, with the mouth, confess the true doctrine which was with me; in order that, thus, he might explore arcana, and the better turn them into magic. Such ones induced quite an acute pain in my left eye, until it watered. But their craftiness was then discovered, and they were driven away and punished.


CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE CITIES AND SOCIETIES IN THE OTHER [LIFE], AND CONCERNING THE LAST JUDGMENT OF THE MOHAMMEDANS. In passing over, I also spoke with those who are upon the two mountains where the Mohammedans were; and I perceived that they who were there lived more harmoniously than the Christians in their [abodes]. In their first mountain, they said that they live well, because they readily submit themselves to, and obey, their magistrate - which was also perceived to be true and that, on this account, they are preserved in safety. They were also better than most Christians as to the understanding.


They spoke with me from the other mountain, where also were Mohammedans, who had a keen apprehension of the matters about which the conversation was; and because they were of such a character, and also of a different genius, Christians cannot come to them. When they do come thither, they are like fish in the air, as also was shown. Moreover, they are guarded beneath, where those who come to them from another globe are, and where they are eaten up, as it were, by wolves. Those who are able to come to them by means of arts, they examine, and afterwards ill-treat; because these wish to inflict injury upon them. Those of their own nation who come to them, ascend by a secret way. I spoke with them about a plurality of wives; and their elders investigated with me the reasons why it was commanded by the Lord that men should have but one wife; and they discovered justice in them; but this was allowed them in the world, for the reason that they were Orientals, and if several wives had not been allowed them, they would have rushed into adulteries, like beasts, and thus all there would perish. They entered well into reasons.


Those there who were the first-born of Christians, on whom it was enjoined by the law there that they should become Janissaries, and so Mohammedans, said that they were still Christians in heart; but part of them were intermediate.


I spoke further with them, [saying] that true Christianity consists in this: that men ought to live in charity towards the neighbor, that is, to be sincere, to be just, to be upright; thus, to practice sincerity, justice and goodness for the sake of those things, and to esteem them and venerate them as Divine, because the Divine of the Lord is in them, inasmuch as they are from Himself - which also, they know, for they say that there is nothing of good with them save what comes from above, that is, from God; and thus, that the question whether they are Christians, ought to be weighed from the good of life. I said, moreover, that true faith does not necessarily produce dissensions: that the case is otherwise, is because Christianity is in a corrupt condition. It was also said, that it is not right for anyone to discard, from some reasoning, the things which he believes to be true, immediately, and that such as do so, are not entitled to esteem; and that, therefore, no one should be molested, or injured, in his faith - besides many other things. It was said concerning the Lord, that He was conceived by Jehovah, and that, therefore, He called Jehovah His Father, and that both the former and the latter facts are perfectly well known in the whole Christian [world]; also, that they [i.e. the Christians] might thence have concluded that His Human is the similitude of the Father, and therefore Divine, but that though they know that, they conclude nothing about it. They [i.e. Christians] also know that He rose again, as to the body, and took all things of the body with Him; and this, also, is perfectly well known; but, because they suppose, from doctrine, that their own bodies, also, are to be in like manner raised at the Last Judgment, they draw no conclusion [as to the Lord's Divinity] from thence. They wondered that Christians should be so stupid, saying that they themselves were unaware of those two points. When I spoke with them concerning various things which were from the Word, and which were of the true doctrine of the Church, they became conscious of holiness from them.


It was seen, that, when those who were from the Christian Mohammedans 5064-1 - of whom above - were infested by others, who were evil, their city sank down, but only with a silent and direct descent, almost to a level with the land round about: thus they were exempted from infestation, because they were not seen. There was round about them, as it were, a mountain wall. Hence they were able to ascend and descend, at pleasure.


Those who are so stubborn, that, on account of their stubbornness and hardness, they cannot be vastated nor deterred by punishments - as, for instance, those who ascend from the hells, and cannot be detained there - are led to great abysses, which are situated round about and divide between the earths, and are cast into them - whence they are not able to ascend. There is an innumerable crowd there and an immense space. Some are vastated on the way, and in this manner, for the period of an hour; for, on the way, are those who reduce them to subjection. It so happened with the Hesseliuses, with Lars Benzelstjerna, with some of the Benzeliuses, with Nerez, [and] with a certain famous magician, as was seen. There appears there a sulphurous burning, from the fire of hatreds and the cupidity of evil.


Those who infest the good, in the other life, are, chiefly, those who have placed the whole of religion and salvation in faith alone, and who have confirmed [themselves] in this, and also have not lived according to the precepts of the Lord, but in cunning, enmity, hatreds, revenges and the like; thus, who have not lived the life of faith, - of these there is a vast number. Such also believe, that all the evils which they do, are remitted; which they believed, in the world, [is effected] by their attending church and the Holy Supper. These, in the other life, live ill, according to their evil cupidities; and, yet, by avowel of faith, they let themselves into societies. Such, likewise, occupy rocks and mountains and continually infest those who are below; and they make one with the diabolic crew. Such are also cast down from their rocks and mountains, and scattered round about.


There are also many who have cared nothing for the doctrine of the Church, but only for the Word in the letter, which they bend to whatever opinion, and to the favoring of whatever evils, they wish. Those who, in the life of the body, placed merit in works, when the goods of charity inflow into them from heaven, turn the influx into foul adulteries with daughters-in-law. Such things are signified by adulteries with daughters-in-law; and, because the Jews were of such a character, therefore their origin is described from adultery with a daughter-in-law.


The evil are gathered together and separated from the good in various ways. This occurs, principally, by means of evil spirits, who stir them up from every side; and, then, those who place delight in consenting and doing as the instigators wish, are those who are evil; while those who do not place delight in such things are among the good. Also, the quantity and quality of the good is perceived by the angels in the heavens, from the Lord; and it also appears in a lower sphere, by the direction of the face and body. Those who turn the eye directly upon an evil spirit consent freely; those who [turn it] to the left and right, [consent] more or less; those who turn themselves away, [consent] least: also, those who bend the body and oppose the shoulders no matter how they may be incited, are good. From the deportment of the body, also, the quality of the good and evil appears. Those who conceal themselves, in caves, in rooms, in gloomy places, all come to light and are presented before the angels.


I also saw, when many thousands had been thus separated, that a certain spirit came with a banner, and passed over the mountains and rocks, and waved the banner in passing, and that then they all appeared, as it were, enfolded in the banner; which, nevertheless, was an appearance: the fact is, they became crazy, and were no longer able to find their houses; their houses appeared destroyed, so that there was nowhere for them to go into. The case was no otherwise than as it is said of the inhabitants of Sodom, that they were struck with blindness so that they could not find their houses; and this befell even very many thousands, for an hour's time. Another spirit followed with the banner, and waved it a second and also a third time, and still did not desist; wherefore, they who were such were then cast down from the rocks and mountains.


There is a gulf, in an extensive region at the left, whither those are sent, who, on account of stubbornness and obstinacy, cannot otherwise be subdued. Those who are put into that abyss, remain there. Round about there, at the sides, are persons from different nations; every [nation] is separated from the others; and city-dwellers dwell in cities there. There is also a Stockholm, there; and thus other cities. There, also, appear those who are [still] in the world.


There are five kinds of spirits who go up upon the rocks and upon the mountains, and yet are cast down therefrom: (1) There is a kind who believe that faith alone saves, and care nothing for the life of faith, or a life according to the precepts of the Lord. These are such as act as one with the infernal spirits, and persecute the good; and, indeed, they persecute, in various ways, all those who profess charity as well as faith - which was shown by their desiring to dissolve marriages and to commit whoredom. To dissolve marriages, and also to commit whoredom, is their delight. The reason is, because marriages refer to the marriages of good and truth; and where this [faith alone] is, it falls into [the outward representative of] the separation of wife from husband, as was shown for a long time, and in many ways. Similar, also, is the reason that they commit whoredom; for they burn with the lust of whoredom like goats, because whoredom accords with those who are of such a character. (2) There are those who are in charity as regards the confession of the mouth, but not as regards reception in the heart; for they do not live the life of charity. These are the persecutors of faith; and they, also, dissolve marriages and commit whoredom. (3) There are those who are in external holiness and not internal. The evil, also, are wont to be in external holiness; but, inasmuch as they have no regard to the life, therefore they have no internal holiness. (4) In general, all those who are in the sense of the letter of the Word and not in any doctrine from the Word. They know something from the Word, and apply it to whatsoever purpose they wish. They explain it in favor of all the cupidities in which they are; and so make themselves out innocent. Most of them do not care for the doctrine of the Church, which, nevertheless, is capable of being to them like a lamp for seeing the genuine sense of the Word: there are some, also, who do care [for the doctrine of the Church], as, for example, the prelates, but, yet, have no regard for the life. There are many such, at the present day, who yet pass for Christians. (5) There are those who are in a life of piety and in no life of charity who meditate piously, and thereby affect sanctity: these also study the Word, and the doctrine of the Church, but only for the sake of self. They say, also, that everyone ought to cleanse his own door; they also appear as holy in external form, but, still, they have had no life of charity. They are not willing to communicate their meditations to others, either orally, or by writings. In a word, they live for themselves and not for others. They cause anxiety to others, and an aversion for those things which are of the Church; for they despise others in comparison with themselves, and also put merit in those pieties in which they engage. They lament exceedingly when they are rejected, believing that the all of the Church consisted in a life of piety alone.


All who come into the other life are vastated. Those who have been in good, in the world, are vastated as to evils and the falses thence arising; and they are, then, in their own good and in the truth thence arising. But those who have been in evil, are vastated as to truths and goods, if they have any; and they are, then, in their own evil and in the falsity arising from it. Hence, the good become images of their own good, and the evil, images of their own evil. The latter are, thus, cast down into hell; the former are raised up to heaven. Vastations last, with some, a long time, according to the quantity and quality of the good or evil. They are wont to continue for several years; and when persons are vastated, they are vastated from the head even to the heel; for thus has the good, or evil, transcribed itself upon the body.


There are vastations, also, which only last a few moments. Some persons were perceived in a cave at the left; and it was said that they are from another city. They vastate the externals, which were of the world; the internals, therefore, which appertained to use for the sake of the neighbor and of God, remaining. Those who, in the world, have had no thought but for themselves and the world, have, after vastation, but little remaining. They are stupid. But those whose interiors had regard to uses for the sake of the neighbor, when they are there vastated, throw off worldly things, and rejoice that they are thus vastated. But into this vastation only those are admitted who have been for some time previously in the other life, and thereby perceived disagreeableness in earthly and worldly things. There had been two of each sort thus vastated.


There is a great gulf at the left side. Into it are cast those whose interiors, because, owing to the loves of self and the world, they have imbibed nothing but earthly, corporeal and worldly things, are completely shut up; for the reason that they cannot be led from heaven, but only from hell. They are, therefore, cast into that gulf, that they may not infest the world of spirits. A vast multitude walks there. They are exceedingly stupid, and are held in check, there, by a fixed government, and are also shut off, as far as possible, from influx from the hells. I saw there some, who, in the world, have appeared as learned, when, nevertheless, they have possessed nothing but externals: from these they spoke, and thus only from other men. Those, however, who were able to think from themselves, and thus who were able to reason from themselves, are, if evil, cast down into hell; for they are in opposition to those who are in heaven. But those who are in that gulf are not of such a character; but, when externals are taken away from them, they rush blindly into all crimes. I also saw another dispersion of those who are on the mountains. They were dispersed in a moment; and, then, everyone of them was cast into his own place in the hells. Thus was the mountain emptied of the evil, some of the upright remaining.


Amongst the worst, in the other life, are priests who have been promoted to dignities, and so have thence come, more than others, into the love of self; and whatever they did, they did for the sake of self, their own glory, reputation and honors. Sacred things were employed by them as means. In the other life, when externals are removed, then they rush into all abominations, and into such dreadful crimes that I am unwilling to offend the ears with their recital. Such have been Ericus Benzelius, Jacobus Benzelius and others; and they, when they did anything, [did it] from self-love; they wish to rule over others, and they boast of their merits; when, yet, they possess no communication with heaven, nor any thought as to what heaven is. Amongst the Catholics, are the worst of all those who have been devout in external form, and have been ambitious to become great, and to be considered as holy by this means: these also, in the other life, are the most deceitful; for they look to themselves only, and to heaven on account of self. Such are likewise inmostly evil; for they rush into all the greatest atrocities.


CONCERNING GENII. I was let in amongst the genii, and then my sight was opened a little, so that I might see them. I saw them running about, hither and thither, and doing things; but such things as were of no consequence. They ran up to me, ran back again, took vessels out of a house, entered it, but did not speak. The genii are of such a character that they do useless and also evil deeds, but do not exercise thought. The will ruled them, and not the thought which belongs to the understanding in a state of separation [from the will]. Those who are genii, who come into the other life, are not sent amongst the genii at once, but tarry amongst spirits; so that they may, by this means, learn to think, and thus be initiated into good. If this is to no purpose, they are then sent amongst the genii, who are of that disposition. They then rejoice, just as if they are coming into their own ease of life. But there are many kinds of genii.


I heard one spirit coming to that place, who, as soon as he came thither, began to act and operate, and even according to correspondences. They thus act correspondence with such things as they think: for example, they lift up stones to represent thinking truth; beams and timbers to represent doing good; entering houses and opening doors to represent thinking; and many similar things. Those of them who are not good, are altogether such mimics according to the correspondence of their evils. They are a comic and ridiculous crew.


CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE LAST JUDGMENT. It was observed, that, sometimes, the worst spirits assemble themselves upon the rocks and upon the mountains; and I wondered why this happened so, when yet such ones ought to be hidden below, in hell. But the reason is, that, in the world, they have conformed to the holy things of the Church, frequented churches and the Holy Supper, and have heard, as often as they have attended, about heaven and eternal salvation, and, also that they should be saved by faith alone; not knowing what faith of the mouth and faith of the heart is, nor that a knowledge of doctrinals is a different thing to faith, nor what and whence persuasion is. Hence, likewise, they have caught up the opinion, that they could also come into heaven. They who are in this idea are admitted to the rocks and mountains; for they believe that heaven is there, because that is on high, and because heaven also is upon mountains and rocks. Therefore do so many of the worst ones repair thither, and dwell there, until the city becomes full of such, when visitation takes place; and, then, such a city sinks down into hell, where they actually dwell: thus [they reach] their own abodes.


When the rocks and mountains are taken possession of by evil spirits, then sometimes also there comes a wind from the east, which, in the Word, is called the East Wind, and dries up all things there, namely, the gardens, fields, green swards and whatever is left in the fields and plains, and also cleanses offensive buildings; and, likewise, their garments are changed; for that wind comes from the region where the Lord is, thus from the celestial heaven; wherefore, by this means, all evils are destroyed. I also perceived such a wind, which to me appeared gentle, but also effective in clearing the atmosphere. Hence appears what is signified by the East Wind which dried up the Red Sea whereby hell is meant.


All who come into the other life, have with them the religion which they had in the world. Those who have worshipped men as gods are similarly circumstanced. Those of the Catholic religion, who have been their prelates and learned men, as, for instance, cardinals, bishops, deacons; Jesuits and many monks, have the characteristic, in the other life, that there they similarly wish to rule over the whole world; and they also summon various crews there, ascend mountains, and place round about guards, and such as may infest everyone else that they see, if they are not of their religion and do not adore them. This was proved to me by much experience. The simple obey, and they govern; for they ask nothing else than that they may have rule over the heavens and earths, and be worshipped as gods.


There are three kinds, which it was now granted me to observe. One kind is in the east, in the same quarter where the Lord is as the sun, upon a mountain there; and they take to them a certain devil, no matter what may have been his religion, whom they place before themselves and say he is the Lord; and they also cause, by means of phantasies, that a light [lumen] may appear from the place where he is, and, thus, that he is worshipped. They who are at the sides, on each hand and at the back, seek and obtain replies from him, and thus work evils round about, injuring all around who do not acknowledge them. At the left side, are evil ones who declared that they have Christ with them; and these wish to be of so much authority that they desire that no one should look at them, but should drop their eyes in veneration. But they are cast down and stripped of their power. At the other side, are those who were more learned. There are some, also, at the back, who, at command of that devil, commit evils. I saw Jesuits: I saw others, who entered thither, and made themselves out to be Christ; I also saw that they were cast down.


There are others, again, far back in the same quarter. These are such as declare that they are Christ; and, wherever they go, they carry with them a sphere of persuasion that they are Christ. They seduce many simple and upright spirits; for, from the sphere of their persuasion, their victims cannot perceive otherwise [than that they are what they proclaim themselves]. They are among the worst, and do evils in secret. They send thence such as are at the back, and devise evils clandestinely. Those there are also let down into hell; but, still, others come in their place, and, under the pretence that they are from Christ, and that Christ is in them, work evils. They are a most accursed crew.


There are others, however, of the same religion, to wit, the Catholic, who worship the Father and do not make much of the Son. These are towards the front, a little to the north, on a lofty mountain; and they see, upon a very high mountain, a certain man with a gray beard, whom they call God the Father; from him they receive commands, even to injure men who are not of the Catholic religion. One of them came to me, in a dream, by night, at the command of his comrades there, with the purpose of injuring me, in a dreadful manner in which they are skilled; but, then, there went out, through my eyes, as it were fire from the Lord, wherewith he was smitten down and laid prostrate; and when I awoke, I spoke with them by whom he was sent. They said that they were on a high mountain, and that they received this command from God the Father, who is on that very high mountain; and that he repeated that command, so that they should destroy me utterly. When I told them that he who appears there, and whom they call God the Father, was a devil, this they denied. It was also shown that the mountain opens under him; and he was cast down into hell But others succeeded him; and they, also, were cast down. The company said that they knew that they are men who are there, but that God the Father speaks in them and by them. He [the personating spirit] appears to sit there on a silver throne; and, when inquiry was made, it turns out that that mountain is the one which is said to be "the mount of assembly in the sides of the north," where Lucifer sits, according to what is said in Isaiah, chap. 14: thus, that he upon the mountain was Lucifer. That mountain, also, is in the sides of the north. They were devils, who, from an itching and lust of ruling, mount up and make themselves out to be God the Father. I read before the company the words of Isaiah. The simple amongst them acknowledged them, but not the learned, such as the Jesuits and others, who are, in heart, atheists. These considered this matter maturely, and came to the conclusion, which they also stated, that they did this to persuade the simple that God the Father is there; and to that mountain, which is the mount of assembly, they admit such simple ones.


A long time after this, a similar [devil] was set up and proclaimed as God the Father; and, when admonished, they were not willing to desist from acknowledging [him] as such. Therefore, an infernal and diabolical [fire] burst out from that place, and as it were consumed the wretches who set up such a monster there.


CONCERNING THE DRAGON. They who are the dragons who are spoken of in the Apocalypse, are those who study the Word but do not care for any doctrine thence, and remain strictly in the sense of the letter; and also, at the same time, read the Word for no other end than that they may become great in the world. They who do so are the dragon, for the reason that the sense of the letter is the ultimate, and answers to the sensual degree in man; for the sense of the letter of the Word is in accordance with the sensual of man which exists in the world; and since it is thus, it is in accordance with worldly and terrestrial things: it is, therefore, addressed to the apprehension of children and the simple.


Such as do not care for any doctrine, therefore, are able to confirm all things whatsoever that they do, whether evils or falses, from the sense of the letter. A faith of the sense of the letter alone is a persuasive faith, which is of no avail; for [the dragons] pervert all things of the letter as they please, and they are, also, worldly and corporeal.


There are, now, very many such, in the other life, the greatest part of whom are those who are meant by the third part of the stars of heaven, which the dragon drew down from heaven with his tail; who, also, endeavor to utterly destroy the internal sense, which belongs to the doctrine of Heaven and the Church.


These, in the other life, commit abominable adulteries, which must not be divulged to chaste ears. They are adulteries with daughters-in-law. They wish to destroy others by adulteries with their own step-mothers: besides similar abominations.


But amongst these are not to be reckoned those, who, owing to immaturity or simplicity, believe the sense of the letter of the Word, and still live according to the doctrine of the Church; but they are those who study the Word, despising the whole of the doctrine from the Word.


That a serpent is the sensual man, has been shown in explanations; in fact, by serpents are understood sensual men, all of whom despise the Word; but there are various kinds of them, according to their craft and deceits; whence there are various genera of serpents, and still more species, in the other life. Some of these it was granted me to see; they were horrible.


Such are cast down, in crowds, from heaven, where they first betake themselves. They who are dragons can defend whatever dogma they like; they oscillate amongst all. They can be Catholics, Reformed, Lutherans, Quakers; in a word, they are of unsettled faith. The reason is, because they do not think beyond sensual externals, and according to them in which there is no stability, and everything is worldly and terrestrial. They do not suffer themselves to be elevated [as to the understanding] into heaven, and thence to imbibe doctrine; for they are lovers of self and the world. They are exceedingly dangerous; for it is they who are meant by the serpent, whose head should be trampled, but which should yet wound the heel; 5089-1 and by the one in David, which lifted up its head and drank of the river; 5089-2 and in the prophecy of Israel, always lying in the way, and biting the horse's heel. 5089-3


The reason why they are dangerous, is, because they are able to persuade almost any of the simple and the upright, that this or that is to be believed, merely from the external sense of the Word, and without explanation; and the simple have not exerted themselves, and learned, in the world, that the external sense of the Word is according to the apprehension of the sensual man - for the first apprehension of man is sensual; and that this must be the lowest level in the Word, because in the position of a foundation, or in the position of the soles of the feet, whereon the body stands. For the Word is, in the sight of the Lord, like one man; for it is Divine Truth. Hence, the sense of the letter is its sole; but, still, there are interiors corresponding to it, in accordance with the connection of such things as are in man.


That they commit horrible adulteries, is, because they falsify Divine Truth to favor their concupiscences. The fact that they are able to defend all evils from the Word was inquired into. Experimental proof was furnished that they can defend, as lawful, adulteries, murders, thefts and many more things forbidden in the Decalogue, and make it appear, that, to those who are priests, belongs the power of remitting all of them.


CONCERNING CITIES IN THE OTHER LIFE, AND CONCERNING THE PROVIDENCE OF THE LORD IN PRESERVING THEM. There appear, with spirits, cities, similar to the cities in the world; hence [they have] London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and the rest. The reason that it is so, is because every man [in the world] has, with himself, spirits who are in the other life, and these possess the interiors of the man; therefore, all things of his memory. They do not, indeed, see the world through his eyes, but still [they see it] inwardly in him from his ideas. Hence the ideas of similar houses, buildings, streets, and cities appear to them; and they so appear that it is as if they were the places themselves. Of this appearance a fuller statement may be made elsewhere. Hence it is that spirits who are with men belonging to one city, have the idea of the same city.


Hence, too, it is, that the Lord instantly sees what is the quality of those there, in general and in particular, as to loves, ends, dispositions and manners. Wherefore, if any disturbance occurs there, then the Lord at once suppresses it, as was made evident to me, by an example: - There was a conspiracy in the [natural] city in which I was, and the common people were on the side of the conspirators; wherefore, those spirits who were rebellious, or seditious, were then at once driven away thence, and other spirits brought in, in their place. Hence the intentions of those [in the natural city] were changed, and the tumult quieted.


So it happens in other things. The whole region there, is also such as in the world, with its provinces, cities and villages; and things happen there in a similar manner. To those who preside, are immediately sent spirits and angels who inspire sound counsels; which things are of Providence.


CONCERNING THE INTELLIGENCE OF SPIRITS. I spoke concerning the regeneration of man, but only in reference to the fact that man is introduced into it by means of his affections, which takes place more fully, in proportion as they have given way and become better. Immediately, a certain spirit described, from influx out of heaven, its progress by its degrees, and then he proceeded, in order, up to several hundreds [of these degrees] - it might have been to several thousands, but it was very long; and this he did in such order, and with such ideas, as could not be comprehended by man, nor even for the most part, expressed, or grasped, by worldly ideas. And this was the progress of regeneration in the exterior man. It was said that thousands of thousands more are given in the interior man, and indefinitely more in the inmost: those, also, in the most external man were not recounted. Hence may be manifest what great intelligence spirits and angels possess, and what great ignorance men.


CONCERNING THE HELLS OF REVENGE. For those who burn with revenge, there are particular and separate hells, according to the extent and nature of the vengefulness. They are in various places, under the mountains, at different depths. When one looks in there, there appears as it were a burning flame, like that which proceeds from sulfur. I saw a certain hell of that description, in front, a little to the right, wherein a certain one was cast who burned with such revenge that he would rather die than abstain therefrom. There was also a cavern there into which he was cast, which was gloomy as if with the smoke from such a flame. He was like one dead with agony. It was perceived that they who cannot be hindered from injuring others, are cast in thither, and thus prevented for a time; though they afterwards return to their former state of life.


They are punished very grievously; and much more grievously than others, because [their evil] is so deeply inrooted that their very life is revenge. Some of them are such that they place the whole delight of their life in revenge; and, then, just as they have burned with revenge before they have accomplished it, so greatly do they rejoice afterwards. Many such are said to be from Italy, where that vindictiveness is inrooted, from immoderate pride, because they wish to rule all; for revenge has much in common with self-love. Since papal times, also, when interior pride increased, these are exceedingly cruel. And such vindictiveness is said to be inrooted in the natives of that country, and thence is likewise derived to posterity.


Those who do not suffer themselves to be subdued by any other means, are put into a great privy, and plunged under; and they labor for a long time to rise up thence, but in vain. And, when they emerge, they are again tested by others, as to whether they wish to take revenge; and when it is proved that the vindictiveness remains, they are sent back thither. And this may last for ages; for, with such, revenge has become of the life. I also witnessed a certain one emerging; and he was excited by others to revenge, and then sent back to that privy.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO ARE RESUSCITATED FROM THE DEAD, AND WHO IN THEIR LAST MOMENTS PROFESSED FAITH ([ERIK] BRAHE). He was executed at the tenth hour before noon; and I saw him, and we spoke together, at the tenth hour, in the afternoon, thus twelve hours afterwards; and, after that, for several days almost continually. After two days, he began to return to his former state of life, which was to love worldly things; and, after three days, he became just as he previously was in the world, and betook himself to the evils which he had imbibed in the world.


CONCERNING THE DRAGON. There are those who relate to the head of the dragon, to his body and to his tail. Those who form the head are sensual persons, who remain in the sense of the letter of the Word alone. Those who form the body are, principally, those who have been learned, or who, by virtue of scientific knowledge, are able to reason, as well concerning spiritual as concerning moral and civil matters, and yet only from the senses and the fallacies thereof; and, because they reason from the sciences, they are accounted learned; but, all the while, they, in heart, deny God, the life after death, and salvation. They attribute all things to nature; but yet they excel in the faculty of reasoning. Since, however, they deny those things which belong to the interior understanding, and thus are wise from worldly and terrestrial things only, they are sensual, and, in fact, Serpents of the tree of Knowledge. Amongst the principal of this class was Peter Ribbing, who attributed all things to nature. In heart, he denied God; and yet he could reason, both in favor of, and against, Divine things. He was more sensual than the rest. Those, however, who constitute the tail of the dragon, are hypocrites of various kinds, who, in heart, deny God and eternal life, but yet preach them with the mouth - as also the remaining points; as, for instance, those which relate to conscience, to faith, to the welfare of the country and the welfare of the neighbor. They kill with their tails - both the latter and the former are amongst the worst in the other life, since they are able to turn themselves both ways, as well to heaven as to the hells. The former are such as [the man] who came amongst the invited guests, and had not on a wedding-garment. The sphere of both former and latter is atrocious, impairing and deadening all piety, truth, good of faith, and, in general, all Christianity; leading away from the Lord, and leading to the proprium.


5064-1 i.e. The Janissaries; see 5062, above.

5089-1 Genesis 3:15.

5089-2 The passage which seems to be meant is not in David but in Job (40:23). That passage, it is true, alludes not to the serpent, but to "behemoth;" which creature, however, has, according to Swedenborg's Apocalypse Explained no. 455, a spiritual significance so closely akin to that of the serpent that it may be said to he merely a "variety" of it.

5089-3 Genesis 49:17.

Next: 5101-5150