Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

See also Spirits

Quoting from Swedenborg:

True Christian Religion

TCR 597. The existence of temptations is known at the present time, but hardly anyone knows their origin and nature or what good they do. I showed just above their origin and nature, as well as what good they do: namely, that when the internal man wins, the external is brought under control. This control brings about the banishing of lusts and the implanting of affections for good and truth in their stead. These are so disposed that, whatever good and truth a person wills and thinks, he also does and speaks from the heart. Moreover, by his victory over the external man a person becomes spiritual, and is then brought by the Lord into the company of angels in heaven, all of whom are spiritual.

[2] The reason why up to now little has been known about temptations, hardly anyone knowing their origin and nature and what good they do, is that the church up to now has not been in possession of truths. No one possesses truths, unless he directly approaches the Lord and rejecting his former faith embraces the new one. This is why no one has been exposed to any spiritual temptation in all the centuries since that in which the Council of Nicaea introduced belief in three Gods. For if anyone had been exposed, he would have instantly succumbed, and thus cast himself even deeper into hell. The contrition which is alleged to precede to-day's faith is not temptation. I have questioned very many people on this subject, and they said it is a word and nothing more, except in the case of the simple, when it may perhaps be some fearful thought about hell-fire.

TCR 598. After the temptation is over the person is in heaven as regards his internal man, and in the world by means of his external. It is therefore by temptations that in a person's case heaven and the world are linked together, and then the Lord with him controls his world from heaven in accordance with proper order. The reverse happens if the person remains natural. Then he longs to control heaven from the world. That is what everyone who loves to dominate from self-love becomes like. If he is inwardly examined, he proves to believe in no God, but in himself; and after his death he believes anyone who has power over others to be God. Such madness is to be found in hell; indeed it has become so deep-rooted that some there say they are God the Father, others God the Son, some God the Holy Spirit, and among the Jews there are those who claim to be the Messiah. This shows plainly what a person comes to be like after death, if the natural man is not regenerated; and thus what he would become in imagination, if a new church were not established by the Lord, in which genuine truths may be taught. This is what is meant by these words of the Lord:

At the ending of the age (that is, at the end of the present-day church) there shall be affliction such as has never been since the world began, and never shall be. So unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved. Matt. 24:21, 22.

TCR 599. In people's struggles or temptations the Lord carries out an individual redemption, just as He did a total redemption when He was in the world. By struggles and temptations in the world the Lord glorified His Human, that is, He made it Divine. It is likewise now with people individually; when someone is subject to temptations, the Lord struggles for him, overcoming the spirits of hell who assail him; and after his temptation He glorifies him, that is, renders him spiritual. After His universal redemption the Lord brought everything in heaven and in hell into a state of order. He does much the same with a person after temptation, for He brings into a state of order everything in him relating to heaven and the world. After the act of redemption the Lord established a new church; likewise too He establishes in a person what is to do with the church, and makes him a church at the level of the individual. After redemption the Lord granted peace to those who believed in Him; for He said:

I leave peace with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you. John 14:27.

Likewise He grants to a person after temptation to feel peace, that is, gladness of mind and consolation. These facts show that the Lord is the Redeemer for ever.

TCR 600 If the internal man is regenerated without the external being regenerated along with it, this can be compared to a bird flying through the air with no dry land to rest on, but only a marsh where it is worried by snakes and frogs, so that it flies off and dies. It can also be compared to a swan swimming in the middle of the sea, unable to reach the shore and make its nest, so that the eggs it lays sink into the water and are eaten by fish. It can also be compared to a soldier standing on a wall, who, when this is undermined beneath his feet, falls down and is killed in the collapse. It can also be compared to a lovely tree transplanted into rotten soil, where hordes of worms eat up its roots, so that it withers and dies. It can also be compared to a house without foundations, or to a column with no base to stand on. That is what a person is like if the internal man alone is reformed, and not the external along with it; for he lacks all resolution to do good.

Arcana Coelestia

AC 1820

    [2] As few know how the case is with temptations, it may here be briefly explained. Evil spirits never fight against other things than those which we love; the more ardently we love them, the more fiercely do they wage the combat. It is evil genii who fight against the things that pertain to the affection of good, and evil spirits that fight against those which pertain to the affection of truth. As soon as they notice even the smallest thing which we love, or perceive as it were by scent what is delightful and dear to us, they forthwith assault it and endeavor to destroy it, and thereby the whole person, for our life consist in our loves.

    Nothing is more delightful to them than to destroy us in this way, nor would they desist, even to eternity, unless they were driven away by God. They who are malignant and crafty insinuate themselves into our very loves by flattering them, and thus bring us among themselves; and presently, when they have brought us in, they attempt to destroy our loves, and thereby murder us, and this in a thousand ways that cannot be comprehended.

    [3] Nor do they wage the combat simply by reasoning against things good and true, because such combats are of no account, for if they were vanquished a thousand times they would still persist, since reasonings against goods and truths can never be wanting. But they pervert the goods and truths, and inflame with a certain fire of cupidity and of persuasion, so that we do not know otherwise than that we are in the like cupidity and persuasion; and at the same time they enkindle these with delight that they snatch from our delight in something else, and in this way they most deceitfully infect and infest us; and this they do with so much skill, by leading us on from one thing to another, that if the Divine did not aid us, we would never know but that the case was really so.

    [4] They act in a similar way against the affections of truth that make the conscience: as soon as they perceive anything of conscience, of whatever kind, then from the falsities and failings in us they form to themselves an affection; and by means of this they cast a shade over the light of truth, and so pervert it; or they induce anxiety and torture us. They also hold the thought persistently in one thing, and thus fill it with fantasies; and at the same time they clandestinely clothe the cupidities with the fantasies; besides innumerable other arts, which cannot possibly be described to the apprehension. These are a few of the means, and only the most general, by which they can make their way to our conscience, for this above all else they take the greatest delight in destroying.

Arcana Coelestia (Potts) 754. 754. Verse 11. In the six-hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, in the seventeenth day of the month, in that day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the cataracts of heaven were opened. By "the six hundredth year, the second month, and the seventeenth day" is signified the second state of temptation; "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up" signifies the extreme of temptation as to the things of the will; "the cataracts of heaven were opened" signifies the extreme of temptation as to the things of the understanding.

Arcana Coelestia (Potts) 755. 755. That by "the six hundredth year, the second month, and seventeenth day" is signified the second state of temptation, follows from what has hitherto been said; for from the sixth verse to this eleventh verse the first state of temptation is treated of, which was temptation as to things of his understanding. And that now the second state is treated of, namely, as to things of the will, is the reason why his age is told again. It was said before that he was "a son of six hundred years" and here that the flood came "in the six-hundredth year of his life, in the second month, and in the seventeenth day." No one could suppose that by the years of Noah's age, of which the years, months, and days are specified, a state of temptation as to things of the will is meant.

But as has been said, such was the manner of speech and of writing among the most ancient people; and especially were they delighted in being able to specify times and names, and thereby construct a narrative similar to actual history; and in this consisted their wisdom.

[2] Now it has been shown above, at verse 6, that the "six hundred years" signify nothing else than the first state of temptation, and so do the "six hundred years" here; but in order that the second state of temptation might be signified, "months" and "days" are added; and indeed two months or "in the second month" which signifies combat itself, as is evident from the signification of the number "two" in the second verse of this chapter, where it is shown that it signifies the same as "six" that is, labor and combat, and also dispersion.

But the number "seventeen" signifies both the beginning of temptation and the end of temptation, because it is composed of the numbers seven and ten. When this number signifies the beginning of temptation, it involves the days up to seven, or a week of seven days; and that this signifies the beginning of temptation has been shown above, at the fourth verse of this chapter. But when it signifies the end of temptation (as at verse 4 of chapter 8), then "seven" is a holy number; to which "ten" (which signifies remains) is adjoined, for without remains man cannot be regenerated.

[3] That the number "seventeen" signifies the beginning of temptation, is evident in Jeremiah, when that prophet was commanded to buy a field from Hanamel his uncle's son, which was in Anathoth; and he weighed him the money, seventeen shekels of silver (Jer. 32:9). That this number also signifies the Babylonish captivity, which represents the temptation of the faithful and the devastation of the unfaithful, and so the beginning of temptation and at the same time the end of temptation, or liberation, is evident from what follows in the same chapter-the captivity in the thirty-sixth verse, and the liberation in the thirty-seventh and following verses. No such number would have appeared in the prophecy if it had not, like all the other words, involved a hidden meaning.

[4] That "seventeen" signifies the beginning of temptation, is also evident from the age of Joseph, who was a "son of seventeen years" when he was sent to his brothers and sold into Egypt (Gen. 37:2). His being sold into Egypt has a similar signification, as of the Lord's Divine mercy will be shown in the explication of that chapter. There the historical events are representative, which actually took place as described; but here significative historical incidents are composed, which did not take place as described in the sense of the letter. And yet the actual events involve arcana of heaven, in fact every word of them does so, exactly as do these made-up histories. It cannot but appear strange that this is so, because where any historical fact or statement is presented, the mind is held in the letter and cannot release itself from it, and so thinks that nothing else is signified and represented.

[5] But that there is an internal sense in which the life of the Word resides (and not in the letter, which without the internal sense is dead), must be evident to every intelligent man. Without the internal sense how does any historical statement in the Word differ from history as told by any profane writer? And then of what use would it be to know the age of Noah, and the month and day when the flood took place, if it did not involve a heavenly arcanum? And who cannot see that this saying: "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the cataracts of heaven were opened" is a prophetical one? Not to mention other like considerations.

AC 756

That "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up" signifies the extreme of temptation as to things of the will, is evident from what has been said just above respecting temptations, that they are of two kinds, one as to things of the understanding, the other as to things of the will, and that the latter relatively to the former are severe; and it is evident likewise from the fact that up to this point temptation as to things of the understanding has been treated of. The same is evident from the signification of the "deep" namely, cupidities and the falsities thence derived (as before at n. 18), and it is evident also from the following passages in the Word. In Ezekiel:

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and many waters shall cover thee (Ezek. 26:19),

where the "deep" and "many waters" denote the extreme of temptation. In Jonah:

The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; the deep was round about me (Jonah 2:5),

where likewise the "waters" and the "deep" denote the extreme of temptation. In David:

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy water-spouts; all Thy breakers and all Thy waves are over me (Ps. 42:7), where also the "deep" manifestly denotes the extreme of temptation Again:

He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up; and He made them go through the deeps as in the wilderness, and He saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy, and the waters covered their adversaries (Ps. 111:9-11),

where the "deep" denotes the temptations in the wilderness.

[2] In ancient times, hell was meant by the "deep;" and phantasies and persuasions of falsity were likened to waters and rivers, as also to a smoke out of the deep. And the hells of some appear so, that is, as deeps and as seas; concerning which, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. From those hells come the evil spirits that devastate, and also those that tempt man; and their phantasies that they pour in, and the cupidities with which they inflame a man, are as inundations and exhalations therefrom.

For as before said, through evil spirits man is conjoined with hell, and through angels with heaven. And therefore when it is said that "all the fountains of the deep were broken up" such things are signified. That hell is called the " deep" and that the foul emanations therefrom are called "rivers" is evident in Ezekiel:

Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the day when he went down into hell I caused a mourning, I covered the deep above him, and I restrained the rivers thereof, and the great waters were stayed (Ezek. 31:15). Hell is also called the "deep" or "abyss" in John (Rev. 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3).

AC 760

That the "forty days and forty nights" signify its duration, was shown above, at verse 4. By "forty" as before said, is signified every duration of temptation, whether greater or less, and indeed severe temptation, which is of the things of the will. For by continual pleasures, and by the loves of self and of the world, consequently by the cupidities that are the connected activities of these loves, man has acquired a life for himself of such a kind that it is nothing but a life of such things. This life cannot possibly accord with heavenly life; for no one can love worldly and heavenly things at the same time, seeing that to love worldly things is to look downward, and to love heavenly things is to look upward.

Much less can anyone love himself and at the same time the neighbor, and still less the Lord. He who loves himself, hates all who do not render him service; so that the man who loves himself is very far from heavenly love and charity, which is to love the neighbor more than one's self, and the Lord above all things. From this it is evident how far removed the life of man is from heavenly life, and therefore he is regenerated by the Lord through temptations, and is bent so as to bring him into agreement. This is why such temptation is severe, for it touches a man's very life, assailing, destroying, and transforming it, and is therefore described by the words: "the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the cataracts of heaven were opened."

AC 761.

That spiritual temptation in man is a combat of the evil spirits with the angels who are with him, and that this combat is commonly felt in his conscience, has been stated before, and concerning this combat it should also be known that angels continually protect man and avert the evils which evil spirits endeavor to do to him. They even protect what is false and evil in a man, for they know very well whence his falsities and evils come, namely, from evil spirits and genii. Man does not produce anything false and evil from himself, but it is the evil spirits with him who produce it, and at the same time make the man believe that he does it of himself. Such is their malignity.

And what is more, at the moment when they are infusing and compelling this belief, they accuse and condemn him, as I can confirm from many experiences. The man who has not faith in the Lord cannot be enlightened so as not to believe that he does evil of himself, and he therefore appropriates the evil to himself, and becomes like the evil spirits that are with him. Such is the case with man. As the angels know this, in the temptations of regeneration they protect also the falsities and evils of a man, for otherwise he would succumb. For there is nothing in a man but evil and the falsity thence derived, so that he is a mere assemblage and compound of evils and their falsities.

AC 762.

But spiritual temptations are little known at this day. Nor are they permitted to such a degree as formerly, because man is not in the truth of faith, and would therefore succumb. In place of these temptations there are others, such as misfortunes, griefs, and anxieties, arising from natural and bodily causes, and also sicknesses and diseases of the body, which in a measure subdue and break up the life of a man's pleasures and cupidities, and determine and uplift his thoughts to interior and religious subjects. But these are not spiritual temptations, which are experienced by those only who have received from the Lord a conscience of truth and good. Conscience is itself the plane of temptations, wherein they operate.


    The Role of Temptations

    For selected quotations from the Writings on Temptations, please see the entry for Temptations and this article on The Psychology of Temptations.

    The transition from the second floor of the mind (Paul-phase) to the third and highest floor (Swedenborg-phase) occurs through the process of regeneration by means of spiritual and celestial temptations. The new phase begins when we become aware of and are willing to discard the harmful things that lie hidden in the New Testament phase of personalism, such as the idea of Three Divine Persons in One Godhead, which can easily slip into the idea of Three Gods, and that is the same as no God.   Thus one is left with self as god, or else with, so and so as god, which is no god.  Without the idea of God, we cannot regenerate. This awful sickness can be avoided by those who see through the subterfuge of their Creed by which they are not to say Three Gods with the lips even if their logic compels them to think it. They can see through the notion that says:  You're allowed to think of Three Divine Persons but you're not allowed to say Three Gods.  They can see that it's a fiction for them to pretend that when they think of Three Divine Persons they can still retain the idea of One God.  They can perceive that the notion of Three Divine Persons is an attack on the idea of One God.  And so they disregard the Three Divine Persons formula when they encounter it in their Church recitations and dismiss it as meaningless, or as traditional poetic verbiage by an over-enthusiastic lyricist monk.  And so these rational thinkers avoid being harmed by their own religion.

    What saves them is their rationality.  It is their rationality that allows them to transition from chrysalis to butterfly.  They are honest in their phase 2 personalism.  They already know how to avoid phase 1 sectarianism because they were honest in their conversion to personalism.  They have forced themselves to consciously reject in their own mind  the hereditary inclinations they felt  towards sectarianism and its fundamentalism.  They forced themselves to reject the delight of meritoriousness.  They forced themselves to practice inner agreement with the Gospel, taking care of their thoughts and emotions, that they may be pleasing to Heaven.  They forced themselves to inhibit, or cut short, all sorts of forbidden thoughts and enjoyments of cruelty and pride, and salaciousness, and frivolous pastimes and fads.  All this, for the sake of their inner development. This spiritual lesson is available to everyone at anytime. Thus, heaven is available to anyone anytime.

    By sacrificing the mind's external enjoyments of phase 1, and consciously choosing the inner enjoyments of phase 2, they are making the free commitment the Lord can use to enter in, and open up the upper chamber of the raitonal mind, and commune with the individual, person to Person.  Thereby we are freed from emotional slavery, from intellectual foppism, and from the dangers of all hell.  Now the battles are over.  It's the Sabbath of the mind. This is being ready for heavenly life.


    Some years before I was led to the Writings of Swedenborg, I was discussing with some graduate students in psychology, the idea that there is a spiritual realm beyond the natural.  I referred to William James and his Varieties of Religious Experiences--a must reference in psychology when discussing religion.  By referring to William James I was seeking legitimacy for the topic in the face of a norm that excluded "that kind of stuff" from the "science" of human behavior.  Would a scientific psychologist investigate religion for any other reason than to find out about people's attitudes, beliefs, and superstitions?  Surely you would not investigate religion because you're interested in God.  If you are, then go to theology and stay away from psychology.  Such was the sectarianism and fundamentalist norm among my colleagues. If you want to know what my intellectual influences were in psychology, I kept track of it up to 1980--see this document. A   look at my intellectual discoveries until the present may be obtained in this article.

    And so one of the students present asked:  Dr. James, can you define what you mean by spiritual?

    First I thought, what audacity!  After an hour's discussion of the psychology of religion.  But after fumbling with the answer, and thinking about it later, I knew deep down that I hadn't the foggiest idea, as a psychologist, what spiritual is!  Can you believe this?  Some months later I started reading theosophist Rudolf Steiner, and I was delighted that at last, I had something I could claim to be "spiritual" psychology.  Still, it bothered me because what he was presenting already had a name: Theosophy.  Why should theosophy be more acceptable to psychology than the unacceptable theology?  Besides, I ran into a dead end with theosophy.  Like my prior attempts to study the Kabbala, I ran into the same problem:  I was not able to confirm of my own anything whatsoever.  Whatever the topic, I was unable to confirm, except by pretense, which was easy enough, but not to my taste.  People on the New Age circuit I met wanted me to confirm their delusions, of one sort or another--Scientology.  EST.  Psychic powers.  Spiritism.  Scientism.   Hypnosis.  I Ching.  Theosophy.  Zen.   Castaneda.  Baba Ram Das.  Bubba Free John.  I thank the Lord for keeping me in aversion for cults, magic, satanism, psychic phenomena, reincarnation, and the rest of the shady world that catches unaware seekers.  Basically, I fell back on the Bible.  That was it.  I was led to search for a suitable Bible commentary, which I found one blessed day in 1981.  It was the end of the wandering journey for me and my wife.  What I had found was Emanuel Swedenborg, whose books occupied an entire shelf  in our university library! See this story of the event and its aftershock on my mind.

    At last, through reading the Writings, I was able to answer my student's question about what is spiritual.   Spiritual is your mind--your thoughts and feelings.  Say that again?   Yes, indeed, you heard me.  But, Dr. James, that's psychology.  Cognitive science investigates the thoughts and emotions of individuals.  Precisely my point, I would say today.  What is the etymology of psychology, I would ask?  Well, every student knows that "psyche" means the mind, and "ology" means study of.  So a definition of psychology is the study of the mind.  Therefore psychology is spiritual science since spiritual is the same as the mind.  All along I could not see it--after three decades as a psychologist.  Whence came this darkness??

    It came from materialism.  No concept in psychology is admitted unless it is "tied to material operations."  This is a fundamentalist ideology and anyone would get punished for breaking the rule.  Just as I got punished by my rabbi as a six year old for asking what God looks like, I was punished by colleagues in psychology for working with concepts that are not tied down to physical operations.  Both the rabbinical mind and the twentieth century scientist's mind are experiencing the same devastating problem:  fundamentalism that comes from literalism or positivism.  It keeps the Jewish religion and contemporary science in a materialistic phase.  It is likely the case that this fundamentalist problem is present as a normal part of all religions and intellectual undertakings.  See this article on Genetic Culture.

    The mind undergoes definite phases of growth just as the brain does, the two corresponding to each other.  The mind's growth is dependent on spiritual input and output.  What we choose to think and how we choose to will--these are the ways we control spiritual input and output.  Unlike the brain whose growth is less affected by what we choose to think, the mind is totally and exclusively affected by what we think.  Consider the comparison with how you dream.  In the waking world your mind cannot alter your house, looks, reputation, and bank account, except perhaps in an uncertain and painfully slow manner.  But in a dream--click click--your mind instantaneously has the power of Aladdin's genie.  Why?   People say, Because it's just a dream, it's nothing, Poof!  That's true, but there is a deeper reason to think of.

    We can manufacture space and objects in our dreams, as well as in our imagination.   Why?  Because the world of dreams and the world of imagination are spiritual, that is, in the spiritual world.  We are dual citizens.  On the one hand, we have the organ of the mind with its reception of rationality and free will.  This mind lives or exists in the spiritual world, out of time and out of space, but connected to our body, which is in time and space and made of material substances.  Thoughts and feelings occupy no space, no material mass.   Instead, they have substantive mass, that is made of spiritual structures or organs.  If thoughts and feelings lacked a substantive mass, they would not be anything--and that's impossible.  So obviously thoughts and feelings in the rational mind constitute our spiritual citizenship, even while the body with its natural mind constitutes our earthly citizenship.  At the death of the material body, when it's no longer responsive to the mind's will and thought, we awaken in the spiritual body, thus ending our dual citizenship.  From then on, to forever, our mind lives in our immortal spiritual body.  How do I know this?  Swedenborg, according to his own detailed scientific records, was given thousands of occasions by which to experiment with this process of "extraction of the mind from the physical body"  and its subsequent phase of resuscitation and preparation for conscious life in the spiritual world.  This life is entirely different in actuality, though on the surface, it may appear similar to the life we led on earth.  Further details are given in Heaven and Hell.  I mention these details here because they are a necessary part to understanding mental growth and regeneration.

    e-mail Leon James

    The Psycho-Physiology of Temptations

    The role of temptations in regeneration is like the role of keeping score in a sports event.  To keep score in a sports event you need rules, a referee,  contestants, and a venue (which includes equipment, etc.).   In regeneration, the religious commandments are the rules, the Lord is the referee, the contestants are the conflict of affections we're struggling with, and the venue is the mind or spirit.  Look at this Table on the components of temptations:

    SPORTS EVENT rules referee contestants venue
                                --------- corresponding relations ---------
    TEMPTATION Revelation or Sacred Scripture God or the Lord evil and good affections the mind or spirit inside the physical body
                                --------- consequences and benefits ---------
    CONSEQUENCES knowing what is  the right choice receiving the power to overcome character building through a change in spiritual connections doubt, anxiety, despair followed by consolation and satisfaction

    The line up is the spiritual state half-way between the state of heaven and the state of hell.  This is called the spiritual world where our mind currently lives.  At "death" our mind is extirpated from the physical body and we are resuscitated in the spiritual body, a process that  takes about 36 hours.  We then have various adventures, involvements, or  experiences that prepare us for the "second death" when we leave the spiritual world and enter either heaven or hell.  Our temptations while we're still in the body here on earth, play a very large role in the choices we will make during this period of preparation for  the second death, usually a matter of a few days or weeks.  The reason I care so much about this topic of temptations is because temptations are the principal method of reformation and regeneration.

    We are born with a character that has inherited the evil or egotistical tendencies of our parents, who inherited them from their parents.  Each generation then acquires new egotistical and harmful tendencies of their own, and pass on to their children both the ones they've inherited and the ones they've acquired on their own.  Thus there is a cumulative weight of inheritance of evil over the generations, and it continues to grow with each new generation.  The only way to stop the chain of infection is through the process of  temptation.  This process is organic and cannot be assigned by merit or Divine Grace.  Instead, Divine Grace works to present a suitable temptation at the right time in the sequence of one's development, then waits at the door, so to speak.   Will we choose to follow the way of good spirits or the way of bad spirits.   Both clearly present themselves as part of the process of temptation.

    Imagine a sports event consisting of rope pulling, with two teams of strong men on either side.  They are matched perfectly.  No matter how long they keep at it, the flag in the middle does not move to either side.  The forces of good and evil are perfectly balanced, kept that way by the Lord's intervention.  The good team is composed of good spirits who reason out and justify the right choice according to the Divine Commandments we know from Revealed Scripture.  The bad team is composed of bad spirits who reason out and justify the wrong choice.  The presence of these contestants in your mind is arranged by the Lord.  In effect, the spirits are called down from their heaven and called up from their hell, meeting in the spiritual world where your mind is.  Their battle is felt in your mind and the outcome in balance is your eternal life in heaven or your infernal life in hell.

    Note carefully:  neither they nor the Lord determine the outcome.  The outcome is determined solely and entirely by each individual mind.  In effect, you stand by the flag in the middle, and you look to the left, feeling and understanding the wrong choice as the right choice, and you look to the right, feeling and understanding the right choice as the right choice.  And you choose.  You grab hold of the rope near the flag and you add your choice by pulling left, or pulling right.  The temptation is then instantly over as the Lord takes care to unravel the pieces and make things happen.  Meanwhile if you made the right choice, He gives you consolation and deep happiness.  This is accomplished through mental association with the good spirits.  But if you willfully and stubbornly insisted on making the wrong choice, a chain of events takes place that leads to a permanent association with the evil spirits.   However, repentance is still possible, as long as you're willing to go through the stages of reformation and regeneration.  Repentance at the last moment of death is not possible in an actual sense because the venue disappears.  The mind after extirpation and resuscitation is no longer capable of the same changes as when still in the body.  Hence temptation, repentance, reformation, and  regeneration are earthbound procedures only.  They are not available in the spiritual body.

    Consolations after Temptations

    AE 897. [2] Something shall now be said about consolations after temptations. All who are being regenerated by the Lord undergo temptations, and after temptations experience joys. But the source of the temptations and of the joys that follow, which are here meant by consolations, is not yet known in the world, because there are few who experience spiritual temptations, for the reason that there are few who are in the knowledges of good and truth, and fewer yet who are in the marriage of good and truth, that is, in truths as to doctrine and at the same time in goods as to life; and no others are let into spiritual temptations; for it others were let into temptations they would yield, and if they yielded their latter state would be worse than their former state.

    The true reason why only those who are in the marriage of good and truth can be let into spiritual temptations is that the spiritual mind, which is, properly, the internal man, can be opened only with these; for when that mind is opened temptations exist, and for the reason that heaven, that is the Lord through heaven, flows in through man's spiritual mind into his natural mind; there is no other way of heaven, that is of the Lord through heaven, into man; and when heaven flows in it removes the hindrances, which are evils and falsities therefrom, which have their seat in the natural mind, that is, in the natural man; and these can be removed only by a living acknowledgment of them by man, and grief of soul on account of them. This is why man is distressed in temptations by the evils and falsities that rise up into the thought; and so far as he then acknowledges his sins, regards himself as guilty, and prays for deliverance, so far the temptations are useful to him. From this it is clear that man has spiritual temptation, when his internal, which is called the spiritual mind, is opened, thus when man is being regenerated. When, therefore, man's evils and falsities are removed temptations are brought to an end; and when they are ended joy flows in through heaven from the Lord and fills his natural mind. This joy is what is here meant by consolations.

    These consolations all those receive who undergo spiritual temptations. I speak from experience. After temptations man receives joys because after them man is admitted into heaven; for through temptations man is conjoined to heaven and is admitted into it, and consequently has joy like that of the angels there.

    When the Lord initiates an episode of temptation, it is only after appropriate preparation, to make it more likely that we're going to win our spiritual battle.  Once the state of temptation is brought on, a new set of rules apply.  Clarity of vision is taken away and doubt assails our former certainties.  For example, a husband may rest in the assurance of his total loyalty to his wife and dedication to children.  When however he undergoes a state of temptation with respect to his marital  loyalty and honesty, he is thrown into a moral darkness where the irrational seems rational, the impermissible, permissible.  Suddenly he doubts the genuineness of his commitment to chastity as he's experiencing a strong attraction for another woman.  If he gives up the battle, he takes one million steps backwards, and the entire moral and spiritual edifice he has been building, suddenly crumbles as the loose parts come unstuck, and the individual's commitment is gone.

    But more likely, he will win if he had a solid commitment.  Because the Lord has prepared him for the battle and fights for him in the battle, that he may win.  And yet, even the Omnipotent God has to voluntarily back off, if the man insists on his forbidden passion.  By backing off, instead of forcing the issue, as He very well could, of course, He gives the man yet another chance at a later try.  If He forced the man against his conscious will, the man would instantly lose all his motivation to be a person, and the hells would swallow him up quicker than you can blink the eye.   There the man's fate is sorry indeed.  I don't like to think about it.   That man could be me, but for my willingness to have the Lord rule me, instead of me ruling myself.  That could be you, but for your willingness to let God rule your life in every detail.

    Religious Self-Inspection and Temptations

    The reason that religious self-inspection is of such great importance is that it is the only practical method available to the individual to shun evils as sins against God.  Yet we are plainly told in the letter of the Third Testament that without shunning evils as sins we cannot ever be regenerated; hence Heavenly life, which is promised by religion, remains outside our reach irrespective of the amount of knowledge of Scripture we may accumulate.

    It becomes therefore critical for each one of us to develop as-if of ourselves the facility of religious self-inspection.   We can do this by resolutely striving to become better and better "religious self-inspectors," that is, more and more accurately to see the operation of the visible Divine Human in our mental organization.  This is the signification of all correspondences when viewed in a more interior light.  In Apocalypse Explained 419:20 we are told that hair signifies the ultimates of truth in the Church.   This correspondence is in the sense of the letter of the Third Testament.  By relating this rational fact to the visible Divine Human in the very operation of our mental organization, we can perceive a more interior sense of hair.   Indeed, within our thoughts and intentions, as revealed by religious self-inspection, we perceive the work of regeneration going on as-if of ourselves.   This new awareness comes about through the act of judgment we pronounce on what we find going on within ourselves in daily living.  Without this religiously motivated witnessing of our thoughts and intentions in everyday living we cannot be regenerated no matter what else we also do in terms of worship and conscience.  In Divine Providence 159 we are told that the Lord's reference to our white hair (in Matthew 5:36) is in the context of His explaining that we cannot of ourselves do even the least thing.  Certainly thinking and intending are included in this Doctrine.

        It is therefore to be presupposed that the Lord works through our acts of thinking and intending, and this without a single exception to eternity!  What an intimate life a person has with the Lord!  Surely there is no human relationship comparable to this no matter how close two people may get; this relationship is then Divine and is the true meaning of religion, namely, a tying to God or conjunction with Him.  The very place of religion therefore must be in our thoughts and intentions; they are the only true temple where God can dwell inmostly with us.  This bond with the Divine is possible only through our love into the visible Divine Human of the Lord.  This love to the Lord, which He commands, enjoins it upon us as a duty of highest worship to strive to become better and better religious self-inspectors.

    Quoted from this article on Religious Psychology

    Natural, Spiritual, and Celestial Temptations

    Step 1:
    I have made the following diagram to help us focus on the anatomy and physiology of mental reformation.  Note that the Lord starts the process and oversees it at every step, or else it would collapse and cease to function, like a rusty old car on a junk yard without gas and battery.  The Lord initiates the timing of the temptation to give us maximum help in our battle.  The temptation is initiated at one of the three levels of worship.  Natural temptations at phase 1, spiritual temptations at phase 2, and celestial temptations at phase 3.

    tempt.gif (6814 bytes)

    Step 2:
    We are brought into awareness of our evil delight by experiencing a threat to them.  We are now set-up to make the fateful decision:  to give up the delight, thus to deprive ourselves from it, or to hold on to it and experience it over and over again, giving ourselves up to them.  The decision to give up our forbidden delight feels like dying a little because it appears that we're giving up part of our love, hence life.  The will wants to retain the delight, but the reason instructs us to turn from it because it is spiritual cancer.  The reason is instructed by one's religious concepts:  Moses concepts with natural temptations, Pauline concepts with spiritual temptations, and Swedenborg concepts with celestial temptations.

    Our conscious self in the natural plane (phase 1 worship) is immersed through and through in corporeal delights that live within the natural mind, where they are fed by the hells.  See the anatomical diagram above--you can click or scroll up, then click your Back button to continue here or scroll back down.

    Note the expression "as-of-self" in the diagram just above (yellow), as it is one of the key concepts for moving from phase 2 personalism to phase 3 particularism.   The car you're driving appears to move as-of-self, doesn't it.  Many drivers talk to their cars in recognition of this appearance.  Similarly, when we fight the battle of temptation, at whatever level, we're fighting as-of-self, but by ourself.   The Lord alone has the power to fight and discipline the hells that are involved in temptations.  And yet it is necessary to fight fighting as-of-self, without which there is no striving for good, no appropriation of goods or abilities from the Lord.   This idea is crucial to keep at the center of our focus, so that we may avoid the deathly pitfalls of meritoriousness and belief in oneself as god.

    So when we are facing a natural temptation, we cannot give up our delights without threat.  So the Lord sees to it that the individual, whatever his or her religion, experiences believable threat along with the temptation, to help the individual along and to make it less hard to give up the forbidden delights.  I use this phrase "forbidden delights" which has somewhat an arcane ring to it, to emphasize what's at stake:  our soul.  If you were taught that the devil is after you, and you believed it, you were not far from scientific actuality.  If you look at the above diagram (in yellow), bottom right and left, you will see marked there the reality empirically observed by Swedenborg, that our thoughts and feelings cannot proceed on their own, but need influx from the vertical community in order to proceed.  Without the direct and correspondential participation of others in the spiritual world in our thinking and feeling, the mental process stops as surely as being injected with a heavy dose of curare, and stops dead in its track,  like a sinking anchor when it hits the bottom of the ocean.

    During a temptation, the Lord stands still, ready to spring into helpful action, like an attentive nursemaid at the bedside of a woman in labor.  In one moment He hooks us up with the evil societies He has brought up from hell into the spiritual world so that they may be in communication with our mind.  We now have thoughts and emotions that correspond to their lusts and falsities.  At this point in the temptation we are tottering.  We are considering what it would be like to give in to the temptation.   As we are thinking this, they are in the delight of their life, which is to oppose Good and Truth.  They experience good and truth as searing threatening distasteful things from which they turn away, and the experience they have of turning away is delightful to them.

    When they are brought up by the Lord from the hells in which they keep themselves hidden, they are suddenly in their greatest delight.  This infernal delight is what we are also experiencing, simultaneously with them.   This contiguity is so overpowering that we accept it as our own delight.  In celestial temptations we are clearly aware of their presence as we are brought down into spiritual world and are made to face the spirits so we can see them as the source of the delight we're experiencing as-if from ourselves.  And yet, despite this clear perception, the delight is so overpowering that we're willing to turn away from the Lord so that we may give ourselves over to that forbidden delight.  But only for a brief moment, because the Lord then lines up the other forces.

    There is a face off in our mind at the precise point in the spiritual world where the opposing spiritual soldiers are lined up against each other.  Now we are aware of two opposing voices or emotions or justifications:  the good vs. the evil, the true vs. the false.  Actually, the evil allied with falsity vs. the good allied with truth.   The Lord has matched them perfectly in terms of what we need in our mind in order to turn away from the evil and the false, and turn toward the good and the true.

    It's a pure free will choice of love in total freedom.

    The outcome is everything.  The Lord cannot undo your choice, despite His Omnipotence.  His infinite love and wisdom will not allow Him to interfere with your choice in a temptation.  Why?  Because if He did, you would be immeasurably worse off.  Remember that He ceaselessly fights to save you from a worse hell than you have to be in.  The cruelty of hellish existence and its horrendous inanities that appear bottomless, varies enormously, and so those who keep themselves in hell forever, are cared for by the Lord, lest they sink into bottomless cruelty and suffering.   Honoring our choices in temptation is one of the Lord's protective policies.

    Step 3:
    If we choose right, we choose good, and then we can look in the face of evil delights and they run from us, back into the hell they came from.  The delights are no longer irresistible.  The Lord then jacks up the temptations, making them ever more interior, bringing us to trial, therefore to the opportunity of deliverance and salvation.  At last we can look at our former delights which we found nearly irresistible, and we can turn away from them, in disgust.  We are then ready for the next level of temptations.

    Life in the external rational is a life of temptations in the sense that the Divine allows the external rational to be in communication or consociation with those who inhabit mind's hell in virtual reality. The Divine psychotherapy which goes on with each of us, and which is called regeneration, creates a spiritual balance between the forces of heaven streaming into the interior rational, above us, and the forces of hell streaming into the external rational, below us. Conscience above, temptations below. We choose according to the virtual power we pick up. We navigate and rise upward by appropriating or loving the spiritual wisdom of conscience in our interior rational memory. We navigate and sink downward by appropriating or loving the spiritual insanity or delusion within temptations. This spiritual balance keeps us in freedom so that we can choose what we love. What we love is the only thing that remains permanently. Whatever we choose not in love, by coercion, does not remain, but dissipates.

    Every time you resist temptations, you gain in virtual power. You ascend by the mechanism of consociating with inhabitants of higher regions in communal mind. Conscience is a virtual elevator. You soar upward when you resist temptations. Your will is being purified, healed. Soon the things you loved that gave you delight, lose their attractiveness. Eventually you hold them in aversion. You are healed of it. That temptation will no longer present itself. Yet there are others to succeed, for without temptations, says Swedenborg, no one can be regenerated.

    Thus it is that throughout life on earth we accumulate our choices in freedom. When we pass on, our choices have cumulatively created our virtual empire, and how we've chosen is how we'll live to eternity. The afterlife is a continuation of the direction we've taken in this life. A change of direction is not feasible since the weight of accumulated choices carries us onward, irresistibly, and seemingly as-of-self. Our own virtual power, accumulated through the choices, carries us forward, in whichever direction we are already traveling.

    Right living is therefore a matter of right choices. These choices occur moment by moment. We are to micro-manage ourselves so as to witness the battle of good and evil in our mind, moment by moment. Focus your attention on your eyes, for instance. Where do they habitually look? What do they automatically inspect, examine, linger on? This self-witnessing will reveal to you what your natural loves are. The external mind is composed of the corporeal/sensuous/external rational complex below us. Your loves in the external mind are located in negative virtual zones of communal mind. These are the loves we share with those who inhabit the hells of mind. They are already fully committed to those loves, but we, not yet. We can reject them by loving what's above us even more. This love above us, in conscience, is more virtuous, more excellent, more virtually powerful, more desirable.

    Original here, along with  quotations from the Writings relating to Temptations.

 TCR 664

Fourth Memorable Relation:- Once I looked toward the right in the spiritual world, and observed some of the elect conversing together. I approached them and said, "I saw you at a distance, and there was round about you a sphere of heavenly light, whereby I knew that you belonged to those who in the Word are called `the elect;' therefore I drew near that I might bear what heavenly subject you were talking about." They replied, "Why do you call us the elect?" I answered, "Because in the world, where I am in the body they have no other idea than that `the elect' in the Word mean those who are elected and predestined to heaven by God either before or after they are born, and that to such alone faith is given as a token of their election, and that the rest are held as reprobates, and are left to themselves, to go to hell whichever way they please. And yet I know that no election takes place before birth, nor after birth, but that all are elected and predestined to heaven, because all are called; also that after their death the Lord elects those who have lived well and believed aright; and this takes place after they have been examined. That this is so it has been granted me to learn by much observation. And because I saw that your heads were encircled by a sphere of heavenly light, I had a perception that you belonged to the elect who are preparing for heaven." To this they replied, "You are telling things never before heard. Who does not know that there is no man born who is not called to heaven, and that from them after death those are elected who have believed in the Lord and have lived according to His commandments; and that to acknowledge any other election is to accuse the Lord Himself not only of being impotent to save, but also of injustice?"

TCR 665

After this there was heard a voice out of heaven from the angels who were immediately above us, saying, "Come up hither, and we will question one of you (who is yet in the body in the natural world) what is there known about Conscience." And we went up; and when we had entered, some wise men came to meet us, and asked me, "What is known in your world about conscience?" I replied, "If you please, let us descend and call together both from the laity and clergy, a number of those who are esteemed wise; and we will stand directly beneath you and will question them; and thus with your own ears you will hear what they will answer." This was done; and one of the elect took a trumpet and sounded it toward the south, north, east, and west; and then after a brief hour so many were present as almost to fill the space of a square furlong. But the angels above arranged them all in four assemblies, one consisting of statesmen, another of scholars, a third of physicians, and a fourth of clergy men. When thus arranged, we said to them, "Pardon us for calling you together; we have done so because the angels who are directly above us are eager to know what you thought, while in the world in which you formerly were, about conscience, and thus what you still think about it, since you still retain your former ideas on such subjects; for it has been reported to the angels that in your world a knowledge of conscience is among the lost knowledges."

[2] After this we began, and turning first to the assembly composed of statesmen, we asked them to tell us from their hearts, if they were willing, what they had thought, and there fore what they still thought, about conscience. To this they replied one after another; and the sum of their replies was that they knew only that conscience is secum scire (a knowing within one's self), thus conscire (a being conscious) of what one has intended, thought, done and said. But we said, "We do not ask about the etymology of the word conscience, but about conscience." And they answered, "What is conscience but pain arising from anxiety about the loss of honor or wealth, and the loss of reputation on this account? But this pain is dispelled by feasts and cups of generous wine, as also by conversation about the sports of Venus and her bay."

[3] To this we replied, "You are jesting; tell us, if you please, whether any of you have felt any anxiety arising from any other source." They answered, "What other source? Is not the whole world like a stage on which every man acts his part, as the player does on his stage? We cajole and circumvent people, each by his own lust, some by jests, some by flattery, some by cunning, some by pretended friendship, some by feigned sincerity, and some by various political arts and allurements. From this we feel no mental pain, but on the contrary, cheerfulness and gladness, which we quietly but fully exhale from an expanded breast. We have heard indeed from some of our class, that an anxiety and a sense of constriction, as it were, of the heart and breast has sometimes come over them causing a sort of contraction of the mind; but when they asked the apothecaries about it, they were informed that their trouble came from a hypochondriacal humor arising from undigested substances in the stomach, or from a disordered state of the spleen; and we have heard that some of these were restored to their former cheerfulness by medicines."

[4] After hearing this, we turned to the assembly composed of scholars, among whom there were also some skilful naturalists, and addressing them, we said, "You who have studied the sciences, and therefore are supposed to be oracles of wisdom: tell us, if you please what conscience is." They answered, "What kind of a question for consideration is that? We have heard, indeed, that with some there is a sadness, gloom, and anxiety, which infest not only the gastric regions of the body, but also the abodes of the mind; for we believe that the two brains are those abodes, and because they consist of containing fibers, that there is some acrid humor, which irritates, gnaws and corrodes the fibers, and thus compresses the sphere of the mind's thoughts, so that it cannot flow forth into any of the enjoyments arising from variety. This causes a man to fix his attention upon one thing only, and this destroys the tension and elasticity of these fibers, so that they become numb and rigid. All this gives rise to an irregular motion of the animal spirits, which by physicians is called ataxy, and also a defective performance of their functions, which is called lipothymia. In a word, the mind is then situated as if it were beset by hostile forces, nor can it turn itself in any direction any more than a wheel fastened with nails, or a ship stuck fast in quicksands. Such oppression of mind and consequently of the chest, afflicts those whose ruling love suffers loss; for if this love is assaulted, the fibers of the brain contract, and this contraction prevents the mind from going out freely and partaking of the various forms of enjoyment. Hallucinations of various kinds, madness, and delirium, attack such persons during these crises, each according to his temperament, and some are affected with a brain sickness in religious matters, which they call remorse of conscience."

[5] After this we turned to the third assembly, which was composed of physicians, among whom were also some surgeons and apothecaries. And we said to them, "Perhaps you know what conscience is. Is it a grievous pain that seizes both the head and the parenchyma of the heart, and from these the subjacent regions, the epigastric and hypogastric? Or is it something else?" They replied, "Conscience is nothing but such a pain; we understand its origin better than others; for there are related diseases that affect the organic parts of the body and of the head, and consequently the mind, since this has its seat in the organs of the brain like a spider in the midst of the threads of its web, by means of which it runs out and about in a like manner. These diseases we call organic, and such of them as return at intervals we call chronic. But the pain which has been described to us by the sick as a pain of conscience, is nothing but hypochondria, which primarily affects the spleen, and secondarily the pancreas and mesentery, depriving them of their normal functions; hence arise stomachic diseases, from which comes deterioration of juices; for there takes place a compression about the orifice of the stomach, which is called cardialgia; from these diseases arise humors impregnated with black, yellow, or green bile, by which the smallest blood-vessels, which are called the capillaries, are obstructed; and this is the cause of cachexy, atrophy, and symphysia, also bastard pneumonia arising from sluggish pituitous matter, and ichorous and corroding lymph throughout the entire mass of the blood. Like consequences arise when pus makes its way into the blood and its serum from the breaking of pustules, boils, and swellings in the body. This blood, as it ascends through the carotids to the head, frets, corrodes and eats into the medullary and cortical substances, and the meninges of the brain, and thus excites the pains that are called pains of conscience."

[6] Hearing this we said to them, "You talk the language of Hippocrates and Galen; these things are Greek to us; we do not understand them. We did not ask you about these diseases, but about conscience, which pertains only to the mind." They said, "The diseases of the mind and those of the head are the same, and the latter ascend from the body; for there is a connection like the two stories of one house, between which is a stairway by which one can ascend or descend. We know therefore that the state of the mind depends inseparably on the state of the body; but we have cured these heavinesses of the head or headaches (which we take it are what you mean by troubles of conscience), some by plasters and blisters, some by infusions and emulsions, and some by stimulants and anodynes."

[7] When therefore we had heard more of this kind, we turned away from them and toward the clergy, saying, "You know what conscience is; tell us therefore and instruct those present." They replied, "What conscience is we know and we do not know. We have believed it to be the contrition that precedes election, that is, the moment when man is gifted with faith, through which he obtains a new heart and a new spirit, and is regenerated. But we have perceived that this contrition had pens to but few; only with some is there a fear and consequent anxiety about hell-fire, while scarcely any one is troubled about his sins and the consequent just anger of God. But we confessors have cured such by the gospel that Christ took away damnation by the passion of the cross and thus extinguished hell-fire and opened heaven to those who are blessed with the faith on which is inscribed the imputation of the merit of the Son of God. Moreover, there are conscientious persons of different religions, both true and fanatical, who make to themselves scruples about matters of salvation, both in things essential and in things formal, and even in what is indifferent. Therefore, as we have said before, we know that there is such a thing as conscience, but what and of what nature true conscience is, which must by all means be spiritual, we know not."

TCR 666

All these declarations made by the four assemblies were heard by the angels who were above us, and they said to each other, "We see that there is no one in Christendom who knows what conscience is; we will therefore send down from us one who will instruct them." And immediately there stood in their midst an angel in white clothing, around whose head appeared a bright band in which there were little stars. This angel addressing the four assemblies said, "We have heard in heaven that you have presented succession your opinions about conscience, and that you have all regarded it as some mental pain which infests the head with heaviness, and from that the body, or infests the body and from that the head. But conscience viewed in itself is not a pain, but a spiritual desire to act in accordance with whatever pertains to religion and faith. Hence it is that those who feel delight in conscience are in the tranquillity of peace and interior blessedness when they are acting in accordance with their conscience, and in a kind of perturbation when they are acting contrary to it. But the mental pain which you have believed to be conscience, is not conscience but temptation, which is a conflict of the spirit with the flesh; and this conflict, when it is spiritual, has its origin in conscience; but if it is natural merely, it has its origin in those diseases which the physicians have just recounted."

[2] "But what conscience is may be illustrated by examples; A priest who has a spiritual desire to teach truths in order that his flock may be saved, has conscience; but he who has any other end in view, does not have conscience. A judge who regards justice exclusively, and executes it with judgment, has conscience; but a judge who looks primarily to reward, friendship, or favor, has not conscience. Again, a man who has in his possession the property of another, the other not knowing it, and who is thus able without fear of the law or loss of honor and reputation, to keep it as his own, and yet, because it is not his, restores it to the other, has conscience, since he does what is just for the sake of what is just. So again, one who can obtain an office but who knows that another who is also seeking it would be more useful to society, and yields the place to him for the sake of the good of society, has a good conscience. So in other things.

[3] All who have conscience say whatever they say from the heart, and do whatever they do from the heart; for not having a divided mind they speak and act according to what they understand and believe to be true and good. From all this it follows that a more perfect con- science may exist with those who have more of the truths of faith than others, and who have a clearer perception than others, than is possible with those who are less enlightened and whose perception is obscure. A true conscience is the seat of man's spiritual life itself, for there his faith in conjoined with charity; therefore when such act from conscience they act from their spiritual life, but when they act contrary to conscience they act contrary to that life. Moreover, does not every one know from common speech what conscience is? When it is said of any one: `He has conscience, ' does not that also mean that he is a just man? But on the other hand, when it is said of any one, `He has no conscience' does it not mean that he is also unjust?"

[4] When the angel had said this he was immediately taken up into heaven; and the four assemblies came together as one; but when they had conversed together some time about the remarks of the angel, behold, they were again divided into four assemblies, but different from the former. One contained those who comprehended the words of the angels and assented to them; a second those who did not comprehend but still favored them; a third those who did not wish to comprehend them, saying, "What have we to do with conscience?" and a fourth those who laughed at what was said, saying, "What is conscience but a breath of wind?" And I saw the four bodies separating from one another, the two former passing to the right and the two latter to the left, these going downward, but the others upward. (end of Memorable Relation)

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