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

Spiritual Diary


Thus perished that great [city], which is Babylon, with all their riches, which they have amassed for ages, believing that these would save them and that no judgment would ever take place.


In order that an idea may be had of the situation, which is somewhat confused, on account of the turning to a quarter opposite from those who are above me, (the accompanying diagram [Fig. 5] 5302-1 and the following key thereto, are furnished).


Lastly was seen something black flying over the place where that city had stood. It was a dragon-monster, appearing just like a Dragon. A [Fig. 5] 5303-1 is that very great city, concerning which see p. 362 [nos. 5273-5275]. B is the rich city Babylon, now treated of [no. 5285]. His the sea [no. 5296]; S, the district subject to the rich city, where the rich ones dwell [nos. 5283, 5285]; T, the tract subject to the other city, the very great one; M, the hells of the northern part, which became a swamp [no. 5274]; and N, the hells of the southern part, the inhabitants of which were cast into the hells of the Gentiles. These we are now treating of.


The sphere which exhaled from those who dwelt in that rich, or wealthy, city, was of such a nature as to take away the whole perception and sensation of good and delight from others. I was in the delight of good and truth, and, when brought to the neighborhood of that city, while it was still flourishing, all that delight died away, until none of it remained. The reason was, that they were in the sphere of the delight of the love of the world and of self; and, in this case, all heavenly delight is taken away from those who are not of such a character. So powerful was their sphere.


CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE GREAT CITY BETWEEN THE WEST AND THE NORTH, TREATED OF ON P. 361 [no. 5269f]. In the western district subject to that city, or to the Pope, were very many monasteries, chiefly under the mountain-land. The monks, there, went out to seek for souls and subjugate them; which was done at night-time. Then, all in whom such a purpose was discovered, were cast, part into the northern swamp, part into the murky cavern, part into a certain gulf. This happened with everyone in a moment, just as with the rest who were in the city.


After this, an earthquake began in that district; and the rest were terrified by it and rushed out. It was a vast number, all of whom were cast into their hells. The reason was also told them, namely, because, with exceeding assiduity, and in every way they can, they keep the people in darkness, and so hinder their being instructed by the Lord through angels. Thus they entirely take away from them all means of salvation, which is, solely, knowing the truths of the Church and afterwards appropriating them; and, if they be prevented from doing this no means of saving them can be given. Moreover, also, those here described hunt after souls who enter the other life, of whatever religion they may be, partly by allurement, partly by force and violence, partly by magical art, and partly by damnable persuasion; so that they completely shut souls out of heaven, and bewitch them into a merely external sanctity that appears before the eyes but is devoid of all internal quality, and also inveigle them into idolatrous practices in every manner - and all this solely with the aim that they may get possession of all things in the world, and rule not only over the souls of men but also over their bodies; and, thus, that they may be lords of the whole earth, and all others their slaves. Therefore, also, they prevent them from reading the Word, and have masses in a foreign language, and set up images everywhere, and trumpet forth miracles; and yet they perform no use at all but to themselves - eating, drinking, raving and sinning, denying God and arrogating to themselves all the power of the Lord.


The speech of those who were there, was outwardly sincere, but they themselves were inwardly devils. By their speech they were able to mislead whomsoever of the simple-minded they would.


CONCERNING OLD WOMEN WHO HAVE LIVED IN ALMSHOUSES; 5308-1 AND CONCERNING BEGGARS. There were some women, many of whom, to the number of fifty or a hundred, appeared, in turn, at the angle between the north and west, and, from that mountain, continually infested all whom they saw, wishing to lead everyone, and thereby to possess them. They so infested me, frequently, from a desire of entering, by this means, into the world.


They were expelled thence several times, and cast out therefrom; but yet they always returned. At length, I was brought to their dwelling, which was some distance off, in the land between the north and west. I was led thither for the space of nearly two hours, and conducted about by roundabout ways; for they contrived the paths in this way, lest anyone should come to them. All the other paths they so sedulously contrived by magical arts, that nobody could come to them save by many roundabout ways. I was led through them, and finally to their residence. They were women who have lived in almshouses, and performed no use in the world except eating, drinking, sleeping, talking together, and going to their Church and feigning outward sanctity. They had no wish to be instructed in the doctrinals of the Church: they cared nothing for them. In a word, they have given themselves up to idleness.


They dwelt in little cells, which were continuous on both sides to a considerable distance. Every little cell had a door; and, when they entered, they also closed up the entrance by an art of phantasy, in order that, if anyone came there, he should not be able to enter; so that they might be in security. They knew how to go to places round about by means of thoughts, and appear there as if present; thus, to go, as it were, out of the body; and, after they had infested others, they returned in a moment, and were thus in safety. These were the delights of their life. They dwelt at Z, and appeared at A [see Fig. 5, p. 373]. 5310-1


Then all who were there, except some who had not been of such a character but have lived well, were cast into a certain gulf, which is the fifth, on the other side of their dwellings. There, also, all of them were cast, and the region thus freed from the infestations of such ones.


It was said, that those in that gulf are compelled to think according to the sight, or according to the objects of sight and of the external senses, and not to wander therefrom at all; and when this happens, they experience the greatest torment, because they are not able to go out of the body through space by means of thoughts, and appear elsewhere: for all such persons learn to go through space as to the thoughts, and to appear at other places than where they are; in which places they appear exactly as if really present thus in many places [at once]; and the more adroitly they can do this, the safer they regard themselves. This phantastic art prevails to a great extent amongst spirits, and is exceedingly pernicious.


Afterwards, I saw beggars, who were in other places. They appear in a higher situation, and all as if continuous, or, as it were, glued together, by reason of their acting as one. They were cast into a gulf, remote from the preceding one, towards the north.


THE SITUATION OF CHRISTIANS AND OTHERS. The middle is occupied by those Christians who are called Lutherans, and Reformed; each sect according to its genius. These are on the rocks. Surrounding these on every side, are such as are of the Catholic religion. Next around are the Mohammedans: the Gentiles, however, are around these, on the west; and those who are good are transferred to the east, and stationed around them [i.e. the Mohammedans] there.


CONTINUATION CONCERNING BABEL. In the western region is a vast number of monasteries for men, but not above that region, with the exception of a few which are for the purpose of observing how things are circumstanced round about. They are beneath the earth; and there are many dwellings there, and as it were small cities full of monasteries. The number of monasteries exceeds the number in the world even to twenty-fold. Now a monastery which, for instance, contained fifty, at present also contains just as many. The rest, who have lived in previous centuries, established for themselves similar monasteries round about there, but under the mountain. The whole western region is full of such


The western region which is subject to the very great city, is full of similar monasteries, namely, such as have not been very wealthy. But those who were rich and wealthy dwelt in the western part and as far as to the southern; consequently, in the region subject to the rich city, already mentioned.


The former multitude has accumulated since the time of the Reformation; and the latter are they that dwell under the mountain. Those, however, who lived in the Dark Ages, dwell below, where there is a vast region allotted to them and their retainers. The dwellings, there, are arranged in a circuit of wide extent in all directions, so that that region is full of them - but, under those who lived after the times of the Reformation. Such as are from the Dark Ages dwell beneath them, as was said, in a wide region; for, when the latter arrived, the former let themselves down thither. Except at a point in the middle, they are not able to ascend to those who are above; but this happens rarely, inasmuch as that middle place is closed up. The point A [Fig. 7] 5317-1 there, appears as if heaped up, and thus, closed. They search for ways to get out, but find none. Sometimes, certain of their number put in an appearance; some appear like gods because they wished to be so worshipped, and some like robbers. They are, in the greatest darkness, and are not acquainted with anything belonging to doctrine.


Almost similarly dwell the rich who lived in the Dark Ages, and those who lived after them, under the western region. The latter are above and the former beneath - but these are only the rich. If they appear above, as sometimes happens, by means of thoughts, then they are in various ways cast back by those who dwell above, so that, at length, they dare not emerge; for those above fear lest they, rather than themselves, should bear away the gains from the people.


They also have light there, but it is dim. It is an illusory light that they have. They are allowed to go and dwell round about, and also to let themselves down still deeper, but not to rise up. When they go about, they always turn their back to the Lord as the sun - never their face. They are wholly idolatrous; they pay sacred worship to images and not to the Lord, because they say they have got all His power themselves.


They also possess concealed treasures; and they place their heart in them, believing that they can never come to want while they have these. Owing to their phantastic faith, which is also persuasive, these treasures remain there; and, as often as they come there, they see them. They always say that they are destitute.


There are some in the western region, who are in the boundary between the rich and those who are not very rich. On the side belonging to the rich, the inner places were laid open; and there appeared there both higher and lower dwellings, which were seen clustered together there because the inhabitants were all rich. Their destruction was close at hand. Wherefore, being terrified, they rose up, descended, and carried forth their gold, silver, diamonds and precious things, believing that thus they would be safe. They ascended by winding, or spiral stairs; and the stairs appeared crowded with men.


CONCERNING THE TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON. Babylon was the name of those two regions, subject to the two cities, that are in the two angles - to wit, the western region at about the middle, or by the chasm, of which also mention has been made above; and the western region, also near the middle, which is subject to the rich city - these two regions were properly named Babylon, because riches abounded there, and those who were there placed their heart on those things only. The other two regions - to wit, from the middle of the western region as far as to the farthest boundary of the northern - which were subject to the very great city, were also Babylon, but not so properly as the two former ones, inasmuch as in these two there was not so much wealth.


After the confine between the southern and western quarters was destroyed (concerning which destruction somewhat was stated just above [no. 5321]), a total vastation began to come upon that great tract which is Babylon; wherein, as above said, dwelt a great multitude, one stratum above another - to wit, those who lived before the time of the Reformation beneath, and those who lived afterwards, above.


The vastation commenced by an east wind, which was sent in the first place through the southern tract, and proceeded to the western as far as the boundary that is in the middle of the western tract; and it carried away the mountain above, which covered [that region], to such an extent that, first, the under-side of the mountain appeared uncovered, and then was exhibited what was the character of that subterranean region, that, namely, it was full of palaces and monasteries. Round about the chasm above mentioned, appeared nothing but a certain gloom; afterwards, in that southern tract, the rich who were outside the monasteries, in so great number that it was as if that whole tract was built beneath; and then the region as far as the western confine, and from that spot to the middle boundary in the west, where were magnificent monasteries in immense number.


Next, all the heaps between the palaces and monasteries were carried away by east and west winds, which proceeded, in order, one after another, until that stratum was laid bare as far as the foundations, and even to their treasures, which were under the monasteries.


This being done, the rich, who occupied the forward tract, were cast down thence into the hells of the Gentiles, previously described [no. 5265], at the west, around the Mohammedans; and the monks and priors, and all the prelates, when they saw that all things were laid bare, rushed forth from their monasteries, and were brought to the western sea, at its northern parts.


Those of the rich who were at the front, had done nothing else than eat, drink, and amuse themselves, consequently, give themselves up to enjoyment, not even thinking about any God. They had a worship, but it was destitute of any [genuine] worship - a mere matter of habit. In a word, they had done nothing at all else than live for enjoyment. All their utensils were of gold and silver, and of precious stones besides. These are they who were cast into the hells of the Gentiles. They have lived in luxury.


After this was accomplished, then all the palaces and all the monasteries were turned into smoke, which smoke proceeded to the western sea; also, all the hidden riches, which all vanished into smoke and were cast into the sea.


After this was accomplished, then a stronger east wind arose and carried away another mountain-roof in each tract; and this passed on to the two other tracts, as far as the angle between the north and east, where it stopped. That wind seemed to pass over the whole, going, and returning, and continuing, till all things were completely laid bare, consequently, those two strata; and, these being exposed, there appeared, everywhere, nothing but monasteries, with a kind of rabble round about for slaves. The monks lived there like gods; and the rabble worshipped them as their gods.


So deplorable was the darkness in another stratum, that they proclaimed themselves gods, and said that the Lord has no power, and that they have all, and have transferred all power from the Lord to themselves - knowing, all the while, that it was not granted to them, since it was only to Peter; and, when others inquired what heaven is, they then led them to their treasures and gave them something of trifling value, and brought them to their table and treated them to delicacies, saying that this was heaven.


All of these - and their number was immense - were brought down to the northern shore of the western sea, and cast into the sea; and all the monasteries fell into dust; and [everything that was in them] vanished into smoke, and was carried down into that sea.


Afterwards, I saw a certain atmosphere fall down from heaven, which completely devastated all those tracts so that they became a desert.


Subsequently came merchants, of whom a great number were accustomed to come to the southern quarter in particular; and they sought the rich who had dwelt there, but did not find anything at all. Therefore they went away sad. Certain ones flocked thither to drag out the gold and silver from the bottom; but they sought for it in vain.


After this, there exhaled from that place a smoke as it were of sulfur, which proceeded to the western sea.


It was also observed, that some who dwelt nearer to the city of the rich, in the southern tract, had, as it were, a millstone around the left shoulder, the shoulder being inserted in the middle of it. This was a representative that they had confirmed their execrable dogmas from the Word. A millstone is such a doctrinal.


Thus was Babylon devastated and utterly destroyed on three sides, the southern, the western, and the northern. This commenced at the end of the year 1756 and the beginning of the year 1757. Yesterday and today those three tracts [were fully destroyed]. Today is the 6th day of January, 1757.


CONCERNING BABYLON ON THE EASTERN QUARTER. There were also very many of the same religion in the east, where mountains appear; and in that region also there are monasteries, and common people in subjection; but those were there who have been pious and upright, who have engaged devoutly in holy exercises, and have been devoted to many uses. They were taken out from those mentioned above, and transferred towards the east, to the mountains there, where they kept up their religion. They said that, from that part, they had influx into those who were in the southern and the western tracts; but that they were able to do nothing with them, inasmuch as all piety and devotion was changed into such luxuriousness and corporeality, as characterized them, and that they labored with them in vain.


Those who dwelt in the angle between the south and east, in monasteries, were cast out of them, and passed through along the middle of the southern plain as far as the west; and those who were near them more to the east, crossed the northern plain along the middle and passed as far as the western tract, which was laid waste, and thence proceeded to the angle between the west and north, following an angular, or diagonal, line, as far as those who had lived in almshouses, mentioned above, [nos. 5308-12] and still farther to the remotest distance; and thence they repaired towards the western quarter, at the other side of the destroyed tract, and there were allotted their residence.


It was perceived that there was still with them something of hypocrisy; for they affected the left side of my head with a dull pain. The reason that they were of such a character, was that they have, indeed, been in outward sanctity, and also, more than others, in inner sanctity, but yet they have been in the desire of ruling over others; and, being led by [this] blind love, as their devotion was so far hypocritical; and, as they were in darkness as regards Divine things, only worshipping saints more devoutly than others did, therefore, they were removed so far off; and there was then given them another locality in the west to dwell in.


After these were driven out, then were those driven out who were in the eastern quarter, in the middle, and on both sides of the middle; and they were led around, somewhat towards the corner, or diagonal line, between the east and north, and removed as far as possible; and then they were dispersed into the northern plain, beyond that tract which had been destroyed and made a desert, or waste. The multitude of them was vast, and occupied a great space around that tract, nearly as far as the angular line between the north and west. It was a vast multitude. They were the ones who made to themselves a sun by means of phantasy, and placed therein a certain one whom they called Christ - of which ones I have already treated. Such as were there were in darkness, and believed that they were led by the Lord, but that the Lord does nothing save through them - besides other notions that pertain to darkness; for those who were in the east are of such a quality. Those there who are towards the south, are more in natural lumen. In a word, they are, for the most part, as it were foolish.


Lastly, the visitation came upon the angle between the north and east; and, on both sides thereof, in a long stretch into the region there, were monasteries for virgins and women, of which there was an immense number, in triplicate strata, below and above. All those who were in the monasteries were brought out; and such of them as led an evil life, especially by adulteries and harlotry, and such as became profane through an evil life at variance with their religious principles - these were brought forth to the front, to the boundary of the angle; and, on both sides thereof, at the north and east, extending over some space, was made a great and deep chasm, into which all such ones were cast.


The remainder, who passed a life in accordance with their religious principles, and at the same time were engaged in some work, and were not idle, were brought out thence towards the east, somewhat distant from the boundary, so that they might settle there, and form a society without monasteries. But only a few stayed; they [i.e. the bulk of them] returned, longing for the monasteries. Those who have lived in idleness, caring for nothing else than outward piety, were shared amongst the followers of their religion, so that they might there act as attendants to them, and learn to work; for the heavenly life does not consist in idleness, and in piety without work, but in piety with work.


The rest - also women - who were diligent in serving others there, in various modes, in reference to food, clothing, and the rest of the employments there, and who did so out of affection and religion - these were brought away outside of the region of the Church, so that they should form a society there, in a place protected from infestations from men, in order that they might there learn the truths of faith; for such ones learn - not, however, those who have been idle. That society was formed in the confine between the south and west at a remote distance, in a region where they are safe; and, to them, in that place, are sent those who teach.


Afterwards came many travelers, merchants of various nations, and monks who were travelling and absent while these things were happening; and, when they saw all things there waste and deserted, they lamented exceedingly. This continued for days.


Those who are in the sea, and those who are in the gulfs, dare not raise their heads out of them. As soon as they do so, they are cruelly tormented; for round about there prevails an altogether different sphere, which is opposed to theirs.


Those in the west are those who have been in an extreme love of self and had rule as their end; in the east are such as were in the delight of the love of ruling; in the north, those who are in an obscure light respecting everything; and in the south, such as have excelled in genius.


CONCERNING THE LAST JUDGMENT OF THOSE WHO ARE CALLED PROTESTANTS, AS, FOR EXAMPLE, LUTHERANS, THE REFORMED, AND OTHERS. Those who were of the Lutheran, Calvinistic, and the other religions in the Christian world, with the exception of the papists, were in the middle; but below, upon a hill, and somewhat round about, were those who were of a genuine faith, and at the same time in the good of life. Above them, on an extensive mountain and in a mountain region round about, were such as have been external men and have not had any internal, who have known the Word and doctrinals, and have frequented churches, but still have cared nothing at all about their life; in a word, have been in externals alone and loved themselves and the world above all things. These were on that mountain, and in the middle; also in the mountain-region round about, where there were various cities and a vast multitude. All of them were brought down below the mountain-region as far as the boundary where the Catholic religion is, and were there brought into a steep, or sloping, chasm - dark, wide and large. Those who were in the southern part of that mountain and mountain-region, were brought down into that wide and dark chasm which is at the northern boundary; in like manner those who were in the eastern quarter there - all in their order: those who were in the eastern quarter into that chasm which is at the southern part nearer towards the east; those who were in the southern, in their order, towards the west thereof; but those who were in the western quarter of the mountain, were brought [into] a mighty, steep, dark, yawning chasm, at the boundary of the western tract, and there cast deep down.


First those of the southern quarter, afterwards those of the western, and lastly those of the eastern, were brought down there. This happened at the same time that the Papists of the eastern quarter were brought down beyond the northern tract - of whom above.


Those who were brought into those chasms at the boundaries, were such as have led an evil life and have thought very wickedly of God and religion - in a word, the evil.


When this was done, their dwellings were laid waste and dispersed. They were mostly of those that were outside the cities.


5302-1 A diagram of two cities with a mountain between and towards back in reference to them.

5303-1 A diagram of two cities with a mountain between and towards back in reference to them.

5308-1 Or, possibly, "convents." - ED.

5310-1 The figure consists of two parallel lines with many shorter lines going out from them at a perpendicular angle away from each other - indicating the cells in which these people live.

5317-1 Figure 7 is comprised of two concentric circles, with the outer one having a bump at the top where is the letter "A".

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