Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

Some of Swedenborg's Autobiographical Letters and Numbers

Quoting from Swedenborg:

Autobiographical Letters


I rejoice at the friendship which you manifest in your letter; and I thank you sincerely for both, but especially for your friendship. The praises with which you overwhelm me, I receive simply as expressions of your love for the truths contained in my writings; and I refer them, as their source, to the Lord, our Saviour, from whom is everything true, because He is the Truth Itself (John xiv. 6). I have considered chiefly the remarks you make at the close of your letter, where you express yourself as follows: "If, perchance, after your departure from England, your writings should be the subject of discussion, and occasion should arise for defending you, their author, against some malignant slanderer, who may wish to injure your reputation by a web of falsehoods--as those are in the habit of doing who hate the truth--would it not be well for you, in order to repel such slanderers, to leave with me some particulars respecting yourself, your degrees in the University, the public offices you have filled, your friends and relations, the honors which, I am told, have been conferred upon you, and anything else that might be useful in establishing your good name, so that ill-conceived prejudices may be removed; for it is our duty to use all lawful means lest the cause of truth should suffer injury."

After reflecting on this, I have been led to yield to your friendly advice, and will now communicate to you some particulars of my life, which are briefly as follows:-

I was born at Stockholm on the 29th of January in the year 1689.{2} My father's name was Jesper Swedberg, who was bishop of West-Gothland, and a man of celebrity in his time. He was also elected and enrolled as a member of the English Society, for the Propagation of the Gospel; for he had been appointed by King Charles XII Bishop over the Swedish churches in Pennsylvania, and also over the church in London. In the year 1710 I went abroad. I proceeded first to England, and afterwards to Holland, France, and Germany, and returned home in the year 1714. 1 In the year 1716, and also afterwards I had many conversations with Charles XII, King of Sweden, who greatly favored me, and in the same year appointed me to the office of Assessor in the College of Mines, which office I filled until the year 1747, when I resigned it, retaining, however, the salary of the office during my life. My sole object in resigning was that I might have more leisure to devote to the new office enjoined on me by the Lord.

A higher post of honor was then offered me, which I positively declined, lest my mind should be inspired with pride. In the year 1719, I was ennobled by Queen Ulrica Eleanora, and named Swedenborg; and from that time I have taken my seat among the nobles of the rank of knighthood, in the triennial sessions of the Diet. I am a Fellow and member, by invitation, of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm; but I have never sought admission into any literary society in any other place, because I am in an angelic society, where such things as relate to heaven and the soul are the only subjects of discourse; while in literary societies the world and the body form the only subjects of discussion. In the year 1734, I published, at Leipsic, the Regnum Minerale, in three volumes, folio. In the year 1738 I made a journey to Italy, and staid a year at Venice and Rome.

With respect to my family connections, I had four sisters. One of them was married to Eric Benzelius, who subsequently became the Archbishop of Upsal, and through him I became related to the two succeeding archbishops, who both belonged to the family of Benzelius, and were younger brothers of Eric. My second sister was married to Lars Benzelstierna, who became a provincial governor; but these two are dead. Two bishops, however, who are related to me, are still living; one of them, whose name is Filenius, and who is Bishop of East Gothland, officiates now as President of the House of the Clergy in the Diet of Stockholm, in place of the Archbishop, who is an invalid; he married my sister's daughter: the other, named Benzelstierna, is Bishop of Westmanland and Dalecarlia; he is the son of my second sister. Not to mention others of my relations who occupy stations of honor.

Moreover, all the bishops of my native country, who are ten in number, and also the sixteen senators, and the rest of those highest in office, entertain feelings of affection for me; from their affection they honor me, and I live with them on terms of familiarity, as a friend among friends; the reason of which is, that they know I am in company with angels. Even the King and the Queen, and the three princes, their sons, show me great favor: I was also invited once by the King and Queen to dine with them at their own table, which honor is generally accorded only to those who are highest in office; subsequently the Crown Prince granted me the same favor. They all desire me to return home; wherefore, I am far from apprehending, in my own country, that persecution, which you fear, and against which in your letter you desire in so friendly a manner to provide; and if they persecute me elsewhere, it can do me no harm.

But all that I have thus far related, I consider of comparatively little importance; for it is far exceeded by the circumstance, that I have been called to a holy office by the Lord Himself, who most mercifully appeared before me, His servant, in the year 1743; when He opened my sight into the spiritual world, and granted me to speak with spirits and angels, in which state I have continued up to the present day. From that time I began to print and publish the various arcana that were seen by me and revealed to me, as the arcana concerning Heaven and Hell, the state of man after death, the true worship of God, the spiritual sense of the Word, besides many other most important matters conducive to salvation and wisdom. The only reason of my journeys abroad has been the desire of making myself useful, and of making known the arcana that were entrusted to me. Moreover, I have as much of this world's wealth as I need, and I neither seek nor wish for more.

Your letter has induced me to write all these particulars, in order that as you say "ill-conceived prejudices may be removed." Farewell; and from my heart I wish you all the happiness both in this world, and the next; which I have not the least doubt you will attain, if you look and pray to our Lord. EMAN. SWEDENBORG

@1 Rev. Thomas Hartley, A.M., a friend of Swedenborg, and one of the first receivers of his doctrines, was a clergyman of the Church of England, and rector of Winwick, Northamptonshire The letter asking for particulars respecting Swedenborg's life, to which the above is a reply, was written August 2, 1769 (See Documents Concerning Swedenborg Vol. I, pp. 3-5, 6-9.--TR.$

@2 The original edition has "1689," which is probably a printer's error. Swedenborg was born January 29, 1688.--TR. 1 The original edition has "1714," but Swedenborg did not return to Sweden until after April, 1715.--TR.$



I will now give you an account of my first youth: From my fourth to my tenth year I was constantly engaged in thought upon God, salvation, and the spiritual affections (passiones spirituales) of men; and several times I revealed things at which my father and mother wondered: saying, that angels must be speaking through me. From my sixth to my twelfth year I used to delight in conversing with clergymen about faith, saying that the life of faith is love, and that the love which imparts life is love to the neighbor; also that God gives faith to everyone, but that those only receive it who practice that love. I knew of no other faith at that time, than that God is the Creator and Preserver of nature, that He imparts understanding and a good disposition to men, and several other things that follow thence. I knew nothing at that time of that learned faith which teaches that God the Father imputes the righteousness of His Son to whomsoever, and at such times, as He chooses even to those who have not repented and have not reformed their lives. And had I beard of such a faith, it would have been then, as it is now, above my comprehension.

I remain, with all affection and friendship,
Your most obedient servant and friend,
STOCKHOLM, November 14, 1769.
To the Reverend and Most Learned Doctor and Lector
@1 See Documents Concerning Swedenborg, Vol. II, pp. 278-280.$

Autobiographical statements from Swedenborg's Writings

Arcana Coelestia (AC)

5. That this is really the ease no one can possibly know except from the Lord. It may therefore be stated in advance that of the Lord's Divine mercy it has been granted me now for some years to be constantly and uninterruptedly in company with spirits and angels, hearing them speak and in turn speaking with them. In this way it has been given me to hear and see wonderful things in the other life which have never before come to the knowledge of any man, nor into his idea. I have been instructed in regard to the different kinds of spirits; the state of souls after death; hell, or the lamentable state of the unfaithful; heaven, or the blessed state of the faithful; and especially in regard to the doctrine of faith which is acknowledged in the universal heaven; on which subjects, of the Lord's Divine mercy, more will be said in the following pages.

59. The reason why the "vegetable and the green of the herb" only are here described as food for the natural man, is this. In the course of regeneration, when man is being made spiritual, he is continually engaged in combat, on which account the church of the Lord is called "militant;" for before regeneration cupidities have the dominion, because the whole man is composed of mere cupidities and the falsities thence derived. During regeneration these cupidities and falsities cannot be instantaneously abolished, for this would be to destroy the whole man, such being the only life which he has acquired; and therefore evil spirits are suffered to continue with him for a long time, that they may excite his cupidities, and that these may thus be loosened, in innumerable ways, even to such a degree that they can be inclined by the Lord to good, and the man be thus reformed.

In the time of combat, the evil spirits, who bear the utmost hatred against all that is good and true, that is, against whatever is of love and faith toward the Lord -which things alone are good and true, because they have eternal life in them-leave the man nothing else for food but what is compared to the vegetable and the green of the herb; nevertheless the Lord gives him also a food which is compared to the herb bearing seed, and to the tree in which is fruit, which are states of tranquillity and peace, with their joys and delights and this food the Lord gives the man at intervals.

[2] Unless the Lord defended man every moment, yea, even the smallest part of every moment, he would instantly perish, in consequence of the indescribably intense and mortal hatred which prevails in the world of spirits against the things relating to love and faith toward the Lord. The certainty of this fact I can affirm, having been now for some years (notwithstanding my remaining in the body) associated with spirits in the other life, even with the worst of them, and I have sometimes been surrounded by thousands, to whom it was permitted to spit forth their venom, and infest me by all possible methods, yet without their being able to hurt a single hair of my head, so secure was I under the Lord's protection. From so many years' experience I have been thoroughly instructed concerning the world of spirits and its nature, as well as concerning the combat which those being regenerated must needs endure, in order to attain the happiness of eternal life. But as no one can be so well instructed in such subjects by a general description as to believe them with an undoubting faith, the particulars of the Lord's Divine mercy will be related in the following pages.

68. I am well aware that many will say that no one can possibly speak with spirits and angels so long as he lives in the body; and many will say that it is all fancy, others that I relate such things in order to gain credence, and others will make other objections. But by all this I am not deterred, for I have seen, I have heard, I have felt.

70. As it is permitted me to disclose what for several years I have heard and seen, it shall here be told, first, how the case is with man when he is being resuscitated; or how he enters from the life of the body into the life of eternity. In order that I might know that men live after death, it has been given me to speak and be in company with many who were known to me during their life in the body; and this not merely for a day or a week, but for months, and almost a year, speaking and associating with them just as in this world. They wondered exceedingly that while they lived in the body they were, and that very many others are, in such incredulity as to believe that they will not live after death; when in fact scarcely a day intervenes after the death of the body before they are in the other life; for death is a continuation of life.

150. The state of man when in his Own, or when he supposes that he lives from himself, is compared to "deep sleep," and indeed by the ancients was called deep sleep; and in the Word it is said of such that they have "poured out upon them the spirit of deep sleep" (Isa. xxix. 10), and that they sleep a sleep (Jer. li. 57). That man's Own is in itself dead, and that no one has any life from himself, has been shown so clearly in the world of spirits, that evil spirits who love nothing but their Own, and obstinately insist that they live from themselves, were convinced by sensible experience, and were forced to confess that they do not live from themselves. For a number of years I have been permitted in an especial manner to know how the case is with what is man's own, and it has been granted to me to perceive clearly that I could think nothing from myself, but that every idea of thought flows in, and sometimes I could perceive how and whence it flowed in. The man who supposes that he lives from himself is therefore in what is false, and by believing that he lives from himself appropriates to himself everything evil and false, which he would never do if his belief were in accordance with the real truth of the case.

227. As it is desirable that the origin of perception, internal dictate, and conscience, should be known, and as at the present day it is altogether unknown, I may relate something on the subject. It is a great truth that man is governed by the Lord by means of spirits and angels. When evil spirits begin to rule, the angels labor to avert evils and falsities, and hence arises a combat. It is this combat of which the man is rendered sensible by perception, dictate, and conscience. By these, and also by temptations, a man might clearly see that spirits and angels are with him, were he not so deeply immersed in corporeal things as to believe nothing that is said about spirits and angels. Such persons, even if they were to feel these combats hundreds of times, would still say that they are imaginary, and the effect of a disordered mind. I have been permitted to feel such combats, and to have a vivid sense of them, thousands and thousands of times, and this almost constantly for several years, as well as to know who, what, and where they were that caused them, when they came, and when they departed; and I have conversed with them.

446. I have discoursed with spirits concerning the common opinion that prevails among men at the present day, that the existence of the spirit is not to be credited because they do not see it with their eyes, nor comprehend it by their memory- knowledges (scientias), and so they not only deny that the spirit has extension, but also that it is a substance, disputing as to what substance is. And as they deny that it has extension, and also dispute about substance, they also deny that the spirit is in any place, and consequently that it is in the human body; and yet the most simple might know that his soul or spirit is within his body. When I said these things, the spirits, who were some of the more simple ones, marveled that the men of the present day are so foolish. And when they heard the words that are disputed about, such as "parts without parts," and other such terms, they called them absurd, ridiculous, and farcical, which should not occupy the mind at all, because they close the way to intelligence.

448. I have conversed with many who had been known to me in this life (and this I have done for a long time-for months and years), in as clear a voice, although an inward one, as with friends in this world. The subject of our conversation has sometimes been the state of man after death, and they have wondered exceedingly that during the bodily life no one knows or believes that he is so to live when the bodily life is over, when yet there is then a continuation of life, and such a continuation that the man passes from an obscure life into a clear one, and those who are in faith in the Lord into a life that is more and more clear.

They have desired me to tell their friends that they are alive, and to write and tell them what their condition is, even as I had related to themselves many things about that of their friends here. But I replied that were I to tell their friends such things, or to write to them about them, they would not believe, but would call them delusions, would scoff at them, and would ask for signs or miracles before they would believe; and I should merely expose myself to their derision. And that these things are true, perchance but few will believe. For at heart men deny the existence of spirits, and even those who do not deny it are unwilling to hear that any one can speak with spirits. In ancient times there was no such state of belief in regard to spirits, but so it is now when by crazy ratiocination men try to find out what spirits are, and by their definitions and suppositions deprive them of all the senses, and do this the more, the more learned they desire to be.

449. Hitherto the nature of heaven and of heavenly joy has been known to none. Those who have thought about them have formed an idea concerning them so general and so gross as scarcely to amount to any idea at all. What notion they have conceived on the subject I have been able to learn most accurately from spirits who had recently passed from the world into the other life; for when left to themselves, as if they were in this world, they think in the same way. I may give a few examples.

545. But in order that I might know the nature and quality of heaven and of heavenly joy, for long and often I have been permitted by the Lord to perceive the delights of heavenly joys, so that as I know them from actual experience I can indeed know them, but can by no means describe them. However, in order to give some idea of it I may say that heavenly joy is an affection of innumerable delights and joys that form one general simultaneous joy, in which general joy, that is, in which general affection, there are harmonies of innumerable affections that do not come distinctly to perception, but obscurely, because the perception is very general. Yet I was permitted to perceive that there are things innumerable within it, in such order as can never be described, these innumerable things being such as flow from the order of heaven.

Such order exists in every least thing of the affection, all of which together are presented and perceived as a very general one according to the capacity of him who is the subject of it. In d word, in every general joy or affection there are illimitable things ordinated in a most perfect form, and there is nothing that is not alive or that does not affect even the inmost things of our being, for heavenly joys proceed from inmost things. I perceived also that the joy and deliciousness came as if from the heart, and very softly diffused themselves through all the inmost fibers, and so into the congregated fibers, with such an inmost sense of delight that the fiber is as it were nothing but joy and deliciousness, and the whole derivative perceptive and sensitive sphere the same, being alive with happiness. In comparison with these joys the joy of bodily pleasures is like gross and pungent dust as compared with a pure and gentle breeze.

548. I have sometimes spoken with spirits fresh from the world concerning the state of eternal life, telling them how important it was for them to know who is the Lord of that kingdom, and what is the nature and form of its government, just as those in this world who go into another kingdom are especially interested to know who and of what sort is the king, what is the nature of the government, and many other things that belong to the kingdom; and how much more should they be interested in this kingdom, where they are to live forever. I told them that the Lord alone rules both heaven and the universe, for He who rules the on must rule the other; and that the kingdom in which they were now is the Lord's kingdom, the laws of which are eternal truths, all of which are based on the one great law that men shall love the Lord above all things and their neighbor as themselves, and now even more than themselves, for if they would be as the angels this is what they must do.

To all this they could make no reply because in their bodily life they had heard something of the kind, but had not believed it. They marvelled that there is such love in heaven, and that it is possible for any one to love his neighbor more than himself, seeing that they had heard that they were to love their neighbor as themselves. But they were instructed that in the other life all goods are immeasurably increased, and that the life in the body is such that men can go no further than loving the neighbor as themselves because they are in the things of the body, but that when these are removed, the love becomes purer, and at last angelic, which consists in loving the neighbor more than themselves. The possibility of such love is evident from the conjugial love that exists with some persons, who would suffer death rather than let their married partner be injured; and also from the love of parents for their children, in that a mother will endure starvation rather than see her infant hunger, and this even among birds and animals and likewise from sincere friendship, in that perils will be undergone for our friends; and even from polite and feigned friendship, that would emulate real friendship in offering the better things to those to whom we wish well, making great professions even when they do not come from the heart.

And finally its possibility is evident from the very nature of love, which finds its joy in being of service to others, not for the sake of self but for the love's own sake. But all this could not be comprehended by those who loved themselves more than others, and who in the bodily life had been greedy for gain, and least of all by the avaricious.

561. But what are remains? They are not only the goods and truths that a man has learned from the Lord's Word from infancy, and has thus impressed on his memory, but they are also all the states thence derived, such as states of innocence from infancy; states of love toward parents, brothers, teachers, friends; states of charity toward the neighbor, and also of pity for the poor and needy; in a word, all states of god and truth. These states together with the goods and truths impressed on the memory, are called remains, which are preserved in man by the Lord and are stored up, entirely without his knowledge, in his internal man, and are completely sept rated from the things that are proper to man, that is, from evils and falsities.

All these states are so preserved in man by the Lord that not the least of them is lost, as I have been given to know from the fact that every state of a man, from his infancy to extreme old age, not only remains in the other life, but also returns, in fact his states return exactly as they were while he lived in this world Not only do the goods and truths of memory thus remain and return, but also all states of innocence and charity. And when states of evil and falsity recur-for each and all of these, even the smallest, also remain and return-then these states are tempered by the Lord by means of the good states. From all this it is evident that if a man had no remains he must necessarily be in eternal damnation. (See what was said before at n. 468.)

699. That I might witness the torment of those who are in hell, and the vastation of those who are in the lower earth, I have at different times been let down thither. To be let down into hell is not to be carried from one place to another, but to be let into some infernal society, the man remaining in the same place. But I may here relate only this experience: I plainly perceived that a kind of column surrounded me, and this column was sensibly increased, and it was intimated to me that this was the "wall of brass" spoken of in the Word. {1} The column was formed of angelic spirits in order that I might safely descend to the unhappy. When I was there I heard piteous lamentations, such as, O God! O God! take pity on us! take pity on us! and this for a long time. I was permitted to speak to those wretched ones, and this for a considerable time. They complained especially of evil spirits in that they desired and burned for nothing else than to torment them. They were in despair, saying that they believed their torment would be eternal; but I was permitted to comfort them. @1 Jer. i. 18; xv. 20.$

831. There are women who have lived in the indulgence of their natural inclinations, caring only for themselves and the world, and making the whole of life and the delight of life to consist in outward decorum, in consequence of which they have been highly esteemed in polite society. They have thus, by practice and habit, acquired the talent of insinuating themselves into the desires and pleasures of others, under the pretense of what is honorable, but with the purpose of gaining control over them. Their life therefore became one of dissimulation and deceit. Like others they frequented churches, but for no other end than that they might appear virtuous and pious; and moreover they were without conscience, and very prone to shameful acts and adulteries, so far as these could be concealed. Such women think in the same way in the other life, knowing not what conscience is, and ridiculing those who speak of it. They enter into the affections of others, whatever these may be, by simulating virtue, piety, pity, and innocence, which are their means of deceiving; but whenever outward restraints are removed, they rush into things most wicked and obscene.

[2] These are the women who become enchantresses or sorceresses in the other life, some of whom are those called Sirens; and they there become expert in arts unknown in the world. They are like sponges that imbibe nefarious artifices; and are of such talent that they quickly put them in practice. The arts unknown in this world which they learn in the other are these. They can speak as though they were in another place, so that their voice is heard there as from good spirits. They can as it were be with many at the same time, thus persuading others that they are as if present everywhere. They can speak as several persons at the same time, and in several places at the same time. They can turn aside what flows in from good spirits, even what flows in from angelic spirits, and in divers ways pervert it instantly in favor of themselves. They can put on the likeness of another, by the ideas of him which they conceive and fashion. They can inspire any one with an affection for themselves, by insinuating themselves into the very state of another's affection. They can withdraw suddenly out of sight, and escape unseen. They can represent before the eyes of spirits a white flame about the head, which is an angelic sign, and this before many. They can in divers ways feign innocence, even by representing infants whom they kiss. They also excite others, whom they hate, to kill them (for they know they cannot die), and then divulge it and accuse them of murder.

[3] They have called up out of my memory whatever of evil I have thought and done, and this most skillfully. While I was asleep they have talked with others, just as if from me, so that the spirits were persuaded of it, thus of things false and obscene. And many other arts they have. Their nature is so persuasive that no room is left therein for any doubt; therefore their ideas are not communicated like those of other spirits. And their eyes are like those ascribed to serpents, seeing and paying attention every way at once. These sorceresses or sirens are grievously punished, some in Gehenna, some in a kind of court among snakes; some by wrenchings and various collisions, attended with the greatest pain and torture. In course of time they are separated from all society and become like skeletons from head to foot. A continuation of the subject follows at the end of the chapter.

842. [2] It is the same with one man during temptation and when the commotions or waters of temptation cease, as it is with man in general, as I have learned by repeated experience; for evil spirits in the world of spirits sometimes band together in troops, and thereby excite disturbances until they are dispersed by other bands of spirits, coming mostly from the right, and so from the eastern quarter, who strike such fear and terror into them that they think of nothing but flight. Then those who had associated themselves are dispersed into all quarters, and thereby the societies of spirits formed for evil purposes are dissolved. The troops of spirits who thus disperse them are called the East Wind; and there are also innumerable other methods of dispersion, also called "east winds," concerning which, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter.

When evil spirits are thus dispersed, the state of commotion and turbulence is succeeded by serenity, or silence, as is also the case with the man who has been in temptation; for while in temptation he is in the midst of such a band of spirits, but when they are driven away or dispersed, there follows as it were a calm, which is the beginning of the disposal of all things into order.

[3] Before anything is reduced into a state of order, it is most usual that things should be reduced into a confused mass, or chaos as it were, so that those which do not well cohere together may be separated, and when they are separated, then the Lord disposes them into order. This process may be compared with what takes place in nature, where all things in general and singly are first reduced to a confused mass, before being disposed into order. Thus, for instance, unless there were storms in the atmosphere, to dissipate whatever is heterogeneous, the air could never become serene, but would become deadly by pestiferous accumulations. So in like manner in the human body, unless all things in the blood, both heterogeneous and homogeneous, did continuously and successively Sow together into one heart, to be there commingled, there would be deadly conglutinations of the liquids, and they could in no way be distinctly disposed to their respective uses. Thus also it is with man in the course of his regeneration.

946. I have spoken with spirits concerning the fact that possibly few will believe in the existence of so many and such wonderful things in the other life, in consequence of the absence of any but a very general and obscure conception - amounting to none at all - of the life after death, and in which men have confirmed themselves by the consideration that they do not see a soul or spirit with their eyes. Even the learned, although they say there is a soul or spirit, so cleave to artificial words and terms - which rather obscure or even extinguish the understanding of things than assist it - and so devote themselves to self and the world, and but rarely to the general welfare and to heaven, that they believe still less than do sensuous men. The spirits to whom I spoke marveled that men should be of such a character, seeing that they are well aware of the existence in nature itself, and in each of its kingdoms, of many wonderful and varied things about which they are ignorant, as for example those in the internal human ear, concerning which a book might be filled with things amazing and unheard of, and in the existence of which every one has faith. But if anything is said about the spiritual world, from which come forth all things in the kingdoms of nature both in general and in particular, scarcely any one gives credence to it, on account - as before said - of the preconceived and confirmed opinion that because it is not seen it is nothing.

968. Certain spirits had brought with them from the world the idea that they must not speak with the devil, but flee from him. But they were instructed that it would do no harm at all to those whom the Lord protects, even if they should be encompassed by all hell, both within and without. This it has been given me to know by much and by marvelous experience, so that at length I came to have no fear of even the worst of the infernal crew, to hinder my speaking with them; and this was granted in order that I might become acquainted with their character. To those who have wondered that I spoke with them, I have been permitted to say not only that this would do me no harm, but also that the devils in the other life are such as have been men, and who when they lived in the world passed their life in hatred, revenge, and adultery, some of them being then pre-eminently esteemed; nag, that among them are some I had known in the bodily life; and that the devil means nothing else than such a crew of hell. And furthermore, that men, while they live in the body, have with them at least two spirits from hell, as well as two angels from heaven; and that these infernal spirits rule with the evil, but with the good have been subjugated and are compelled to serve. Thus it is false to suppose that there has been a devil from the beginning of creation, other than such as were once men. When they heard these things they were amazed, and confessed that they had held a totally different opinion in regard to the devil and the diabolical crew.

1110. Those who have assumed righteousness and merit on account of their good works, and so have attributed the efficacy of salvation to themselves, and not to the Lord and His righteousness and merit, and have confirmed themselves in this in thought and in life, in the other world have their principles of falsity turned into phantasies, so that they seem to themselves to be hewing wood: this is exactly as it appears to them. I have spoken with them. When they are engaged in their labor, and are asked whether they are not fatigued, they reply that they have not yet accomplished enough work to be able to merit heaven. When they are hewing the wood there appears to be something of the Lord under the wood, thus as if the wood were merit that they are getting. The more of the Lord there appears in the wood, the longer they remain in this condition; but when that appearance begins to cease, their vastation is drawing to an end. At length they become such that they too can be admitted into good societies, but still they long fluctuate between truth and falsity. Great care is taken of them by the Lord, because they have lived a dutiful life, and He from time to time sends angels to them. These are they who in the Jewish Church were represented by the hewers of wood (Josh. ix. 23, 27).

1116. Dwellings were shown me of those who were of the second and third posterities of this Most Ancient Church. They are magnificent, extending to a great length, and diversified with beautiful colors of bright crimson and cure blue. For the angels have most magnificent dwellings, such as cannot be described, as I have often seen. To their eyes so real is their appearance that nothing can be more real. But whence such real appearances come, will be shown of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. They live in an aura, so to speak, of resplendent pearly and sometimes of diamond-like light. For there are wonderful auras in the other life, of inexpressible variety. They greatly err who do not believe that such things exist there, and indefinitely more than any one ever could or can conceive. They are indeed representative, like the things sometimes seen by the prophets but yet are so real that they who are in the other life hold them to be real, and the things which are in the world to be relatively unreal.

1121. I have been informed by sons of the Most Ancient Church concerning the state of their perception, that they had perception of all things that belong to faith, almost as have the angels with whom they had communication; for the reason that their interior man, or spirit, by means also of the internal respiration, was joined to heaven; and that love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor are attended with this; for man is thus conjoined with angels through their veriest life, which consists in such love. They said that they had the law written upon them, because they were in love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor; and such being the case, whatever the laws prescribe was in agreement with their perception, and whatever the laws forbid was contrary to it. Nor did they doubt that all laws, human as well as Divine, are founded in love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and regard these as their fundamental. Wherefore, as they had this fundamental in them, from the Lord, they could not but know all things that were from it. They believe too that those who live in the world at this day, who love the Lord and the neighbor, have also the law written upon them, and are acceptable citizens everywhere on earth, as the same are in the other life.

1122. I have been further informed that the men of the Most Ancient Church had most delightful dreams, and also visions, and that it was insinuated into them at the same time what they signified. Hence their paradisal representations, and many other things. The objects of the external senses therefore, which are earthly and worldly, were nothing to them; nor had they any perception of delight in them, but only in what they signified and represented; and therefore when they looked at earthly objects they did not think about them at all, but only about the things which they signified and represented, which were most delightful to them; for they were such things as are in heaven, from which they see the Lord Himself.

1270. Presently some were let out of that hell; but the Lord made such a disposition by means of intermediate spirits and angels that they could do me no harm. Out of that deep they came in front, and appeared to themselves to be working their way toward the front, as it were through caverns in the rock, and so upward. At last they appeared from above to the left, in order that from there, and thus from a distance, they might inflow into me. I was told that they were permitted to inflow into the right side of the head, but not into the left side; and from the right side of the head into the left side of the chest; but by no means into the left of the head, for if this occurred I should be destroyed, because they would then flow in with their persuasions, which are direful and deadly; whereas if they flowed into the right of the head, and thence into the left of the chest, it would be by means of cupidities. Such is the case with influx.

[2] Their persuasions are of such a nature that they extinguish all truth and good, so that those into whom they flow can perceive nothing whatever, and after that cannot think; and therefore the other spirits were removed. When they began to flow in I fell asleep. Then while I slept they flowed in by means of cupidities, and this with such violence that if awake I could not have resisted them. In my sleep I was sensible of the vehemence of it, which I cannot describe, save that I afterwards remembered that they tried to kill me by a suffocating afflatus, which was like a terrible nightmare. Then, waking, I observed that they were near me; and when they perceived that I was awake, they fled away to their own place above, and flowed in from thence.

[3] When they were there they appeared to me as if they were being wrapped up in a cloth, such as was spoken of before (n. 964). I thought they were being thus wrapped up, but it was others whom they were wrapping up. This is effected by means of phantasies; but yet the spirits against whom they thus work by phantasies know not but that they are really being wrapped up. It appeared as if those whom they thus wrapped up rolled down a certain rocky declivity. But those who were thus wrapped up were released and set at liberty. They were spirits who were unwilling to withdraw, and who were thus preserved by the Lord, for otherwise they would have been suffocated-although they would have revived again, but after great suffering. The spirits from that hell then went back by the rocky declivity; and there was heard from thence a sound of boring, as if many great boring instruments were at work; and it was perceived that it was from their intensely cruel phantasies against the Lord that such a sound came. They were afterwards cast down through dark caverns into their hell beneath the misty rock. While they were in the world of spirits, the constitution or order of the sphere there was changed. {1}
@1 See Spiritual Diary, n. 3367. [Reviser.]$

1376.CONTINUATION CONCERNING SITUATION AND PLACE, AND ALSO CONCERNING DISTANCE AND TIME, IN THE OTHER LIFE. I have frequently conversed with spirits concerning the idea of place and of distance among them-that it is not anything real, but appears as if it were, being nothing else than their states of thought and of affection, which are thus varied, and are in this manner presented to view in the world of spirits; but not so much so in heaven among the angels, since these are not in the idea of place and time, but in that of states. But the spirits to whom bodily and earthly ideas adhere, do not apprehend this, for they suppose that the case is exactly as they see it to be. Such spirits can hardly be brought to believe otherwise than that they are living in the body, and are not willing to be persuaded that they are spirits; and thus scarcely that there is any appearance, or any fallacy, in relation to the matter, for they desire to live in fallacies. Thus do they preclude themselves from the apprehension and acknowledgment of truths and goods, which are as far as possible from fallacies. It has been shown them many times that change of place is nothing but an appearance, and also a fallacy of sense. For there are two kinds of mutation of place in the other life; one is that which has been spoken of before, when it is laid that all spirits and angels in the Grand Man constantly keep their own situation therein; which is an appearance. The other is that spirits appear in a place when in fact they are not there, which is a fallacy.

1378. I have been informed, both by conversation with angels, and by living experience, that spirits, as spirits, in regard to the organic forms which constitute their bodies, are not in the place where they are seen, but may be far away, and yet appear there. I know that they who suffer themselves to be carried away by fallacies will not believe this, but still the case is so. This has been illustrated to those spirits who have believed nothing to be true that they did not see with their eyes - even if this were mere fallacy - by the fact that something similar is exhibited among men in the world. Take for instance the sound of a speaker's voice coming to the ear of another person: if the person who hears it did not know to the contrary, by the discriminations of sound, learned by experience from infancy, and did not see the speaker at a distance, he would have no other belief than that the speaker was close to his ear.

So with a man who sees remote objects: if be did not at the same time see intervening objects, and know from them, or judge of the distance by what he knows, he would believe a distant object to be near his eye. Much more is this the case with the speech of spirits, which is interior speech; and with their sight, which is interior sight.

[2] And the spirits were told, further, that when plain experience declares a fact, they ought not to doubt, and still less deny it, on the ground that it does not so appear to the senses, and that they do not perceive it. For even within the realm of nature there are many things that are contrary to the fallacies of the senses, but are believed because visible experience teaches them. For example, the sailing of a ship around the globe: they who suffer themselves to be carried away by the fallacies of the senses, might believe that ship and sailors would fall off when they came to the opposite side, and that the people at the antipodes could never stand upon their feet. Such also is the case with the subject before us, and with many things in the other life that are contrary to the fallacies of the senses, and yet are true, - as that man has no life of himself, but from the Lord; and very many other things. By these and other considerations, incredulous spirits could be brought to believe that the case is as we have stated it.

1387. I have several times conversed about perception with those in the other life who, while they lived in the world, had regarded themselves as able to penetrate and understand all things telling them that angels perceive that they think and speak, and will and act from the Lord. But still they could not conceive what perception is, but supposed that if all things were to inflow in this way, they would be bereaved of all life; because in that case they would think nothing from themselves, or from what is their own; and in this they had made life to consist; and that in that case it would be another who was thinking, and not themselves; so that they would be mere organs devoid of life. But they were told that between having perception, and not having it, the difference of life is like that between light and darkness; and that men first begin to feel alive when they receive such perception; for then they live from the Lord, and also have what is their own, which is given together with all happiness and delight. It was also shown them by varied experience how the case is with perception, and at the time they acknowledged the possibility of it; but after a while they again did not know, doubted, and denied. From this it has been made evident how difficult it is for man to comprehend what perception is.

1505. I have also been informed how these spheres, which in the other life become so perceptible to the senses, are acquired. Take as an example one who has formed a high opinion of himself and of his own pre-eminent excellence. He at last becomes imbued with such a habit, and as it were with such a nature, that wherever he goes, though he looks at others and speaks with them, he keeps himself in view; and this at first manifestly, but afterwards not manifestly, so that he is not aware of it; but still it is regnant, both in the particulars of his affection and thought, and in those of his bearing and speech. Men can see this in others. And this is the kind of thing that in the other life makes a sphere, which is perceived, but no more frequently than the Lord permits. The same is the case with other affections; and therefore there are as many spheres as there are affections and combinations of affections, which are innumerable. The sphere is as it were the man's image extended outside of himself, the image in fact of all things that are in him. In the world of spirits that which is presented to the view or perception is only something general; what the man is as to particulars, is known in heaven; but what as to the least particulars is known to none but the Lord.

1523. That I might know the nature of that light, I have often been conducted into the abodes of good and of angelic spirits, and have seen both the spirits and the objects there. I have also seen infants and mothers in light of so great a brightness and resplendence that there could not possibly be anything brighter.

1628. All the angels have their own dwellings in the places where they are, and they are magnificent. I have been there, and have sometimes seen and marveled at them, and have there spoken with the angels. They are so distinct and clearly seen that nothing can be more so. In comparison with these, the habitations on earth amount to scarcely anything. They also call those which are on the earth dead, and not real; but their own, living and true, because from the Lord. The architecture is such that the art itself is derived from it, with a variety that knows no limit. They have said that if all the palaces in the whole world should be given them, they would not receive them in exchange for their own. What is made of stone, clay, and wood is to them dead; but what is from the Lord, and from life itself and light itself, is living; and this is the more the case that they enjoy them with all fullness of sense. For the things that are there are perfectly adapted to the senses of spirits and angels; for spirits cannot see at all by their sight the things that are in the light of the solar world; but things of stone and wood are adapted to the senses of men in the body. Spiritual things are in correspondence with those who are spiritual, and corporeal things with those who are corporeal.

1635. The speech of spirits with me has been heard and perceived as distinctly as the speech of man with man; indeed, when I have spoken with them while I have been in company with men, I observed that just in the same way as I heard the men speaking sonorously, so also did I hear the spirits; insomuch that the spirits sometimes wondered that others did not hear what they said to me; for as regards the hearing there was absolutely no difference. But as the influx into the internal organs of hearing is different from that of speech with men, it could be heard only by myself; to whom of the Lord's Divine mercy these organs have been opened. Human speech passes in through the ear, by an external way, by means of the air; but the speech of spirits does not enter through the ear, nor by means of the air; but by an internal way, into the same organs of the head or brain. Consequently the hearing is the same.

I would be delighted to know your reactions. Please e-mail me now.


Source pages

Authors: Leon James &  Diane Nahl Webmaster: I.J. Thompson