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Spiritual World
What is spiritual? 
What is the spiritual world? 
What is "heavenly joy"? 
What do we remember when we get there?

See also Spirits and Vertical Community and Spiritual Love

The evolutionary significance of the Writings of Swedenborg is that they define and establish rational consciousness. Until the Writings were written (around 1740 to 1771) the human race on earth possessed only a sensuous consciousness. The mind or spirit is composed of an outside portion called the external mind, and within that, and interior portion called the internal mind. These two minds functioned in an entirely different way before the Writings and after.

Before the Writings human consciousness was restricted to the external mind, which is entirely composed of conscious ideas built up through the senses. For instance, people's idea of God was sensuous. For God to exist in their consciousness there had to be an external manifestation or appearance of God, which meant some physical object, power, or event to which there could be witnesses. Such was God's appearance to Moses (burning bush, voice of thunder), Abraham (three angels wearing a robe and sharing a meal with him), John (man on a horse), Paul (lights and thunder and dynamic motions), and many other examples from all the religions.

Similarly,  people's ideas of heaven are also material. One common idea is that heaven or the afterlife is a resurrection of the physical body in a physical world. Sometimes a different civilization and planet are involved. It is common to suppose that heaven is a place to which people are admitted or rejected depending on a variety of things such as your family origin, your religion, certain rituals you enacted before death or during your lifetime, or the state of evolution of your spirit. This is a sensuous idea of heaven because the idea of being admitted or rejected is based on the idea of a physical place.

If all the ideas of humanity on earth were catalogued and examined it will be found that they are all based on sensuous consciousness until around 1740 and from then on some of the ideas begin to be based on rational consciousness, including the idea of God, heaven, and the as-of-self (freedom and individuality). To me it is astonishing that I should be so close to the beginning of the race's greatest evolutionary step. So early that only a tiny number of people on this planet are willing to acquire this rational consciousness now available to anyone.

The external mind could not function without an internal. This is a plain necessity of spiritual biology. Sensuous consciousness in the external mind could not exist without the internal mind prepping the external mind to its consciousness. But since we did not possess any rational consciousness we could not function ourselves in our internal mind. Therefore by necessity the internal mind was taken over and operated by our spiritual associates. In other words while our body is part of a horizontal community in some society on earth, our mind or spirit is part of a vertical community in some society in the spiritual world. Thus, minds live in spiritual societies in the spiritual world, while bodies live in physical societies in the natural world. Of course, the two are interconnected by absolute laws of correspondence. Knowing these laws allows us to discover and see the causes of events in the natural world. Every natural event or quality is called an effect, and its cause is traceable to an event or quality in the spiritual world.

The internal mind of people on earth functioned through the direct action of the vertical community. This refers to the connection our mind or spirit has with societies in the spiritual world, in heaven, or hell. The vertical community connects us to those people in the spiritual world. these are our spiritual associates. Their direct action into the internal mind of every individual, allowed that individual to have sensuous consciousness in the external mind. Thus the human race existed until the Writings. Once the Writings started to be read by various people (1750s onward) they were able to acquire new ideas that have never yet existed in human history on this planet. These ideas include: the Divine Human, the as-of-self, discrete degrees, spiritual correspondences, vertical community (called spiritual societies), substantive dualism, conjugial love, the Laws of permission, rational faith, miracles, scientific revelations, the relation between the mind and heaven or hell, and many many other ideas. These are all called rational ideas because they cannot come into the mind of sensuous consciousness. The are possible only in the internal mind. The Writings opened the internal mind of the race by teaching numberless ideas all of which are rational.

Through the action of the spiritual associates in the internal mind of the individual, one could use sensuous consciousness to build an infra-structure of sensuous rationality that appeared to encompass such truly rational ideas as God's Omnipotence, substantive dualism, infinity, life, spirit, eternity, and so on. But when you examine these existing ideas, now or from the past, from the rational perspective of the Writings, you will be able to see that the earlier ideas of God, dualism, infinity, life, etc., were merely sensuous definitions, sensuous conceptions based on the ideas of time and place and identity. Thus natural, not rational. As well, the activity of the spiritual associates that were infused into the internal mind of the people on earth allowed these people to reason in an apparently rational manner.

The reasoning power of sensuous consciousness does not lie in sensuous knowledge or understanding. For this is merely at the level of sensory input and its abstracted properties. People have often confused "abstraction" and "rational," believing that the abstracted knowledge or principle is rational or arrived at through a rational process. But they were unaware that this rational process was not the one they believed they were using. It was the rational process of the spiritual associates. Their internal mind was functioning on their own so they had rational consciousness. This is true of everyone who passes on into the afterlife. As soon as the physical body is no longer responding to the commands of the spirit and soul, the mind in its own spirit-body, is extracted from its connectivity to earth, and resurrects into the spiritual world. This extraction process takes about 36 hours.

Once the individual lives as a spirit in the spiritual world, the internal mind begins to function on its own, so that they have rational consciousness. Life in the spiritual world depends on rational consciousness being from the individual themselves, not by mediation through the vertical community. Once possessed of a functioning internal mind, individuals in the spiritual world can start being active in the vertical community. Thus they contribute their uses and abilities to those on earth, acting into their internal mind, thereby giving them the ability to think rationally as-if from themselves, from their own sensuous consciousness.

Today we can write about rational consciousness in a way that it can be understood by those who are in sensuous consciousness. This was not possible before. The action of the spiritual associates in the past could not lead to this ability (rational consciousness). Rational consciousness means that we are able to see, acknowledge, and understand some rational idea or truth that is described to us. I have many rational ideas from the Writings. Many of these ideas have been described in my writings and collected into this Swedenborg Glossary of Theistic Science. Just as I was able to see and understand rational ideas when I read them in the Writings, in the same way others are able to understand rational ideas when someone explains it on the basis of their knowledge of the Writings.

I invite you to study the Writings and see for yourself how easy it is for you to begin developing your rational consciousness. This is the true road to understanding spirituality, religion, God, and what awaits us in the afterlife.

Rational ideas, when loved, become true wisdom. With this we can lead a life of good and prepare ourselves for life in eternal bliss, conjugial joy, and community bonding. The Swedenborg Glossary of Theistic Science is to help those who are making the transition from sensuous consciousness without an internal rational of our own, to sensuous consciousness with a rational of our own.

This article continues here: What is Theistic Science

Quoting from Swedenborg: True Christian Religion

TCR 792. SUPPLEMENT.   THE SPIRITUAL WORLD.

The spiritual world has been treated of in detail in the work entitled Heaven and Hell, in which many things relating to that world are described; and as every man enters that world after death, man's state there is also described. Who does not know, or may not know, that man lives after death, because he is born a man and is created an image of God, and also because the Lord teaches it in His Word? But what his life is to be, has been hitherto unknown. It has been believed, that he would then be a soul, and of soul there has been no other idea than that of ether or air, thus that it is a mere breath, such as man breathes out from his mouth when he dies, in which, however, his vitality resides. It is also regarded as destitute of any sight like that of the eye, and of any hearing like that of the ear, and of any speech like that of the mouth. And yet, man after death is as much a man as he was before, so much so as to be unaware that he is not still in the former world; for he has sight, hearing, and speech as in the former world; he walks, runs, and sits, as in the former world; he lies down, sleeps, and awakes, as in the former world; he eats and drinks as in the former world; he enjoys marriage delight as in the former world; in a word, he is a man in each and every respect. From all this it is clear that death is not the extinction but the continuation of life, and is merely a transition.

TCR 793. That man is as much a man after death as before, although he is not then visible to the eyes of the material body, can be seen from the appearance of the angels to Abraham, Hagar, Gideon, Daniel, and some of the prophets, also in the Lord's sepulchre, and frequently afterwards to John as related in the Apocalypse; but especially from the Lord Himself, who showed by touch and by eating that He was a Man, and yet became invisible to the eyes of His disciples. Who can be so foolish as not to acknowledge that although He was invisible He was just as much a Man? His disciples saw Him because the eyes of their spirits were then opened; and when these are opened, the things of the spiritual world appear as clearly as those of the natural world. The difference between man in the natural world and man in the spiritual world is, that man in the spiritual world is clothed with a substantial body, but man in the natural world with a material body, within which is his substantial body; and the substantial man sees the substantial man just as clearly as the material man sees the material. But the substantial man cannot see the material man, nor the material man the substantial, because of the difference between what is material and what is substantial, the nature of which difference can be defined, but not in few words.

TCR 794. From what I have seen during so many years, I can relate the following: In the spiritual world there are lands just as in the natural world, and there are plains and valleys, mountains and hills, also springs and rivers; there are parks, gardens, groves, and forests; there are cities, with palaces and houses in them; there are writings and books; there are occupations and business; there are gold, silver, and precious stones; in a word, there are all things and each thing there that are in the natural world; although the things in heaven are immeasurably more perfect. But there is this difference, that all things seen in the spiritual world are instantaneously created by the Lord, as the houses, parks, food, and the rest; and that they are created in correspondence with the interiors of angels and spirits, which are their affections and the thoughts therefrom; while all things seen in the natural world spring up and grow from seed.

TCR 795. This being the case, and also because I have talked there daily with the nations and peoples of this world, both with those who are in Europe, and also, with those who are in Asia and Africa, thus with those of different religions, I will add as a supplement to this work a brief description of the state of some of these peoples. It must be borne in mind that in the spiritual world the state of every nation and people in general, and also of individuals, is in accordance with their acknowledgment and worship of God; and that all who in heart acknowledge God, and from this time on, all who acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as God, Redeemer, and Savior, are in heaven, while those who do not acknowledge Him are beneath heaven; where they are taught, and those who accept what they are taught, are raised up into heaven, but those who do not are cast down to hell; and to this class belong those who, like the Socinians, have approached God the Father only, or who like the Arians have denied the Divinity of the Lord's Human. For the Lord said:

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but through Me. (John 14:6).

And to Philip who wished to see the Father; He said:

He that hath seen and known Me, hath seen and known the Father (John 14:6 seq.).

TCR 806. THE ENGLISH IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD.

There are two states of thought in man, an external and an internal; in the external state he is in the natural world, in the internal in the spiritual world. In the good these states make one, but not in the evil. Man's internal nature is rarely manifest in the world, because from infancy he has learned to be moral and rational, and loves to appear such. But in the spiritual world it is clearly manifest what his nature is, for man is then a spirit, and a spirit is the internal man. And since it has been granted me to be in that world, and there to see the internal nature of men from different kingdoms of the world, I feel it necessary, because of its importance, to make this known.

TCR 807. As to the English nation, the better ones among them are at the center of all Christians, because they have an interior intellectual light; a light that is not manifest to anyone in the natural world, but it is clearly manifest in the spiritual world. This light they acquire from their freedom of speech and of the press, and consequent freedom of thought. With others, who have not such freedom, that light is suppressed because it has no outlet. It is true that such light is not active of itself, but it is rendered active by others, especially by men of repute and authority. As soon as anything is said by them, the light shines forth. For this reason governors are appointed over the English in the spiritual world, and priests are given them who are men of celebrity and of eminent ability, whose judgment they accept because of this inherent quality.

TCR 808. They possess also a similarity of disposition, which leads them to become closely attached to friends who are of their own nation, but rarely to others; they also aid each other; they love sincerity; they are lovers of their country and are zealous for her glory. They look upon foreigners as one, from the roof of his own palace, might look with a spy-glass at persons dwelling outside of a city, or wandering about there. The political affairs of their kingdom occupy their minds and possess their hearts, sometimes so far as to withdraw their minds from studies of loftier inquiry, by which a higher intelligence is acquired. It is true that these studies are eagerly pursued in youth by those who give attention to them in the schools; but they pass away as transient things. Nevertheless their rationality is quickened by these studies, and sparkles with a light by which they form beautiful images, as a glass prism turned toward the sun forms a rainbow, and paints it in glowing colors on a plane surface fixed to receive it.

TCR 809. There are two large cities like London, to which most of the English go after death. I was permitted to see one of these and to walk through it. Where in London the merchants meet, which is called the Exchange, there in that city is the center where its governors reside. Above that center is the east, below it is the west; on the right is the south, and on the left the north. In the eastern quarter those dwell who have lived a life of charity in a greater degree than others; here are magnificent palaces. In the southern quarter the wise dwell, and among them there is much splendor. In the northern quarter those dwell who more than others have loved freedom of speech and the press. In the western quarter those dwell who deal in justification by faith alone. On the right in this latter quarter there is an entrance to the city and also an exit therefrom; and those who live wickedly are here put out of the city. The preachers who live in the western quarter and teach the doctrine of faith alone, do not dare to enter the city by the large streets, but only through the narrow alleys, because none but those who believe in charity are tolerated in the city proper. I have heard them complaining of the preachers from the west, that they composed their sermons with so much art and eloquence, secretly weaving into them the doctrine of justification by faith, that they did not know whether good ought to be done or not. They preach that faith inwardly is a good, and this good they distinguish from the good of charity, which they call good that claims a merit, and therefore not acceptable to God. But when those who dwell in the eastern and southern quarters of the city hear such sermons they leave the churches, and the preachers are afterward deprived of the priestly office.

TCR 810. I afterward heard many reasons why those preachers were deprived of their office. I was told that the chief reason is, that they did not prepare their sermons from the Word and thus from the Spirit of God, but from their own rational light, and thus from their own spirit. They begin, indeed, as a prelude, with a text from the Word; but this they merely touch with their lips, and then abandon as tasteless, immediately selecting something savory from their own intelligence, which they roll about in their mouths and turn over upon their tongues as something delicious. Such is their teaching. It was said that as a consequence there was no more spirituality in their sermons than in the songs of birds, and that they were merely allegorical adornments, like wigs beautifully curled and powdered on bald heads. The mysteries of their discourses on justification by faith alone were likened to the quails brought up from the sea and strewn about the camps of the children of Israel (Num. 11), because of which several thousand persons died; while the theology of charity and faith together were likened to the manna from heaven. I once heard their preachers talking together about faith alone; and I saw a kind of image formed by them, which represented their faith alone. In their light, which was the light of hallucination, this appeared like a great giant; but when light from heaven was let in upon it, it appeared like a monster above and a serpent below. Seeing this, they withdrew, and the bystanders threw the image into a pond.

TCR 811. The other great city, also called London, is not in the Christian center, but at some distance to the north. Into it those pass after death who are interiorly wicked. In the center of it there is an open communication with hell, by which they are at times swallowed up.

TCR 812. From those in the spiritual world who were from England it was seen that they have two kinds of theology, one derived from their doctrine of faith, and the other from their doctrine of charity; the former is held by those who are initiated into the priesthood, and the latter by the laity, especially those who dwell in Scotland and on its borders. With these latter the believers in faith alone are afraid to engage in argument, because they combat them both from the Word and from reason. This doctrine of charity is set forth in the exhortation read in the churches on the Sabbath day to those who approach the sacrament of the holy supper. In that exhortation it is openly declared that if they are not in charity and do not shun evils as sins, they cast themselves into eternal damnation; and if in such a state they approach the holy communion, the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas.

TCR 821. All those of the Catholic religion who in the former world had thought more of God than of the papacy, and from a simple heart had done works of charity, when they find themselves living after death, and have been taught that the Lord Himself, the Savior of the world, reigns there, are easily led away from the superstitions of that religion. To them the transition from popery to Christianity is as easy as to pass through an open door into a temple, or to pass the guards in the entrance hall and enter a palace when the king so commands, or to raise the face and look up to heaven when voices are heard therefrom. But on the other hand, to lead away from the superstitions of that religion those who during the course of their life in the world have rarely if ever thought of God, and who have entered that worship merely for its festivities, is as difficult as to enter a temple through closed doors, or to pass through the guards in the entrance hall into the palace when the king forbids, or for a snake in the grass to raise its eyes to heaven. It is wonderful that not one of those who pass into the spiritual world from that Catholic religion see there the heaven where the angels dwell. That religion is like a dark cloud above them which terminates the vision. But as soon as any convert comes among those who have been converted heaven is opened, and sometimes they behold the angels there in white garments; and when they have passed the period of preparation they are taken up to the angels.

TCR 827. To this I will add this most notable fact: Mary the Mother of the Lord once passed by and appeared overhead in white raiment. Then pausing a little she said that she had been the mother of the Lord, and that He was indeed born of her; but that when He became God, He put off everything of the human He had derived from her, and that therefore she now worships Him as her God, and is unwilling that anyone should acknowledge Him to be her son, since in Him everything is Divine.

TCR 836. All who acknowledge and worship one God, the Creator of the universe, cherish an idea of God as being a Man; they say that no one can have any other idea of Him. When they hear that many cherish the idea that God is like ether or a cloud, they ask where such people are; and when told that they are among the Christians they deny that it is possible. But they are told that they get this idea from God's being called in the Word a Spirit, and of spirit they have no other idea than that it is an ethereal substance, or some kind of a cloud, not knowing that every spirit and every angel is a man. When a further inquiry is made to ascertain whether their spiritual idea is similar to their natural idea, it is found to be different with those who interiorly acknowledge the Lord as the God of heaven and earth. I heard a certain elder saying that no man could conceive of a Divine Human; and I saw him taken among different Gentile peoples, to the more and more interior of them, also to their heavens, and finally to the Christian heaven, and their interior perception of God was everywhere communicated to him; and he observed that they had no other idea of God than that of a Divine Man, and that by no other God could man, who is an image and likeness of God, have been created.

TCR 838. I had a further talk with them about the Lord the Savior. It was said that God in His essence is Divine love, and that Divine love is like the purest fire; and as love viewed in itself seeks no other end than to become one with him whom it loves, so the Divine love seeks no other end than to unite itself to man and man to itself, even until It is in him and he in It. And since the Divine love is like the purest fire, it is evident that God, being such a fire, could not in the least degree be in man and cause man to be in Him, for He would thus reduce the entire man to a most subtle vapor. But inasmuch as God from His very essence burned with a love to unite Himself with man, to do this He must needs veil Himself with a body adapted to reception and conjunction. For this reason He came down and took on a Human in accordance with the order established by Him from the creation of the world; which order was, that by means of a power generated from Himself a Human should be conceived, carried in the womb, and born, and then increase in wisdom and love, and thereby draw near to a union with its Divine origin; thus God became Man and Man became God. That this is true the Scripture respecting Him (which exists among Christians and is called the Word), clearly teaches and testifies; and God Himself, who in His Human is called Jesus Christ, declares that the Father is in Him and He in the Father, and that whosoever sees Him sees the Father; besides other things to the same purport. That God, whose love is like the purest fire, could unite Himself to man and man to Himself in no other way reason also can see. Is it possible for the sun's fire as it is in itself to touch man, still less to enter into him, unless it veils its rays with atmospheres, and thus by a tempered heat presents itself in an adapted form? Is it possible for the pure ether to envelop man, still less enter his bronchial tube, unless it is made dense with air, and thus adapted? A fish is not able even to draw breath in the air, but only in an element adapted to its life; nor indeed is a king on earth able to administer each and all the affairs of his kingdom in his own person or directly, but only by means of higher and lower officers, who together constitute his royal body. Nor can a man's soul render itself visible to another, enter into companionship with him, and communicate proofs of his love, except by means of a body. How then can God do so except through a Human of His own? The Africans when they heard these things had a clearer perception of them than others, because they are more interiorly rational; and each one favored them in accordance with his perception.

TCR 839. Finally we talked about the interior and exterior man. It was said that men who perceive things interiorly are in the light of truth, which is the light of heaven, while those who perceive things exteriorly are in no light of truth, because they are in the light of the world only; thus interior men are in intelligence and wisdom, but exterior men are in insanity and in distorted vision (n. 345); that interior men are spiritual because they think from the spirit exalted above the body, and therefore see truths in light; while exterior men are sensual-natural because they think from the fallacies of the bodily senses; therefore they see truths as in a thick cloud, and when they reflect upon them in themselves they see fallacies as truths; that internal men are like those standing on a mountain in the midst of a plain, or on a tower in a city, or on a lighthouse at sea; while external men are like those standing in a valley at the foot of a mountain, in a vault beneath a tower, or in a boat at the foot of a lighthouse, seeing only what lies nearest to them. Moreover, internal men are like those who live in the second or third story of a house or palace, the walls of which are a continuous window of clear glass, who look round about upon the city in its whole extent and recognize every cottage in it; while external men are like those who live in the lowest story, the windows of which are made of pasted pieces of paper, who cannot see even a single street outside of the house, but only what is within it, and not even that, except by the light of a candle or of the fire. And again, internal men are like eagles soaring aloft and seeing all things spread out beneath them; while external men, on the other hand, are like cocks standing on a post and crowing aloud before the hens that are walking on the ground. Furthermore, internal men perceive that what they know compared with what they do not know is like water in a pitcher as compared to that in a lake; while external men have no other thought than they know everything. The Africans were delighted with these remarks, because from the interior vision in which they excel they recognized that it was so.

TCR 846. I was once taken up as to my spirit into the angelic heaven and into a society there; and some of the wise ones there came to me and asked, "What news from the earth?"

I answered, "The news is that the Lord has revealed mysteries, which in excellence surpass all the mysteries revealed from the beginning of the church even to the present time."

They asked "What are they?"

I replied, "They are the following:

(i.) That in each thing and in all things in the Word there is a Spiritual Sense corresponding to the natural sense; that by means of that sense the Word conjoins the men of the church with the Lord, and also associates them with angels; and that the holiness of the Word resides in that sense. [2] (ii.) The Correspondences of which the spiritual sense consists are disclosed."

The angels asked, "Did not the inhabitants of the earth know about correspondences before this?"

I answered, "Nothing whatever; these have been hidden now for thousands of years, that is, since the time of Job; but among those who lived at that time and before it, the knowledge of correspondences was the knowledge of knowledges, from which they had wisdom, because thereby they had knowledge of the spiritual things pertaining to heaven and the church. But because that knowledge was changed into idolatrous ideas, it became, by the Lord's Divine Providence, so obliterated and lost that not the least sign of it remained visible. Nevertheless it is now disclosed by the Lord, in order that a conjunction of the men of the church with the Lord and their affiliation with the angels, may be effected, and this is done by means of the Word, wherein each thing and all things are correspondences."

The angels rejoiced exceedingly that it had pleased the Lord to reveal this great mystery, so deeply hidden for thousands of years; and they said that this was done in order that the Christian church, which is founded on the Word, and which is now at its end, may again revive and draw breath through heaven from the Lord. They asked whether the signification of baptism and of the holy supper, about which such different opinions have heretofore been held, is now disclosed by means of that knowledge.

I replied that it was.

[3] (iii.) I said further that the Lord had at this time made a revelation respecting the life of men after death.

The angels said, "What about the life after death? Does not everyone know that man lives after death?"

I replied, "They know it and they do not know it. They say that man does not live after death, but only his soul, and that this lives as a spirit; and the idea they have of spirit is that it is like wind or ether; and they say that man does not live as a man until after the day of the last judgment, when the corporeal elements which he had left in the world, although eaten up by worms, mice, and fishes, would be collected together again, and again formed into a body, and that in this way men will rise again."

The angels said, "How is this? Does not everyone know that man lives a man after death, with the sole difference that he then lives a substantial man, not a material man, as before, and that the substantial man sees the substantial man, in the same way as the material man sees the material, and that men know no difference except that they are in a more perfect state."

[4] (iv.) The angels asked, "What do they know about our world, and about heaven and hell?"

I answered, "They have known nothing; but at this day the nature of the world in which angels and spirits live, that is, the nature of heaven and of hell, has been disclosed by the Lord; also that angels and spirits are in conjunction with men, besides many wonderful things respecting them."

The angels rejoiced that it had pleased the Lord to disclose such things, so that man might no longer from ignorance be in doubt respecting his immortality.

[5] (v.) I said further, "It has been revealed by the Lord at this time that there is in your world a sun different from that of our world; that the sun of your world is pure love, and the sun of our world pure fire; consequently all that goes forth from your sun, because it is pure love, partakes of life, while all that goes forth from our sun, because it is pure fire, partakes not at all of life; also that this is the nature of the difference between the spiritual and the natural, which difference, hitherto unknown, has also been disclosed. And all this has made clear the source of the light that enlightens the human understanding with wisdom, and of the heat which enkindles the human will with love. [6] (vi.) And still further, it has been disclosed that there are three degrees of life, and consequently three heavens; that the mind of man is divided into those degrees, and that man therefore corresponds to the three heavens."

The angels asked, "Did not men know this before?"

I answered that they knew about the degrees existing between more and less, but nothing about the degrees between the prior and the posterior.

[7] (vii.) The angels asked whether anything further had been revealed.

I said that many other things had; in respect to the Last Judgment; the Lord, as being the God of heaven and earth; God, as being one both in Person and in Essence in whom is a Divine Trinity, and as being the Lord; a New Church to be established by Him; the Doctrine of that church; and the Holiness of the Sacred Scripture; that the Apocalypse had been unfolded; an account had been given of the Inhabitants of the Planets; also an account of the Earths in the Universe; with many other memorable and wonderful matters from the spiritual world, whereby much more pertaining to wisdom had been divulged from heaven.

TCR 847. After this I again talked with the angels, and told them that another matter still had been revealed in the world by the Lord.

They asked what. I said, "Respecting love truly conjugial and its spiritual delights."

The angels said, "Who does not know that the delights of conjugial love surpass those of all other loves? And who cannot see that into some one love all kinds of blessedness, happiness, and delight that it is possible for the Lord to bestow may be gathered together, and that the recipient love of these is true conjugial love, since that love corresponds to the love of the Lord and the church, and is capable of receiving and perceiving a full sense of these joys?"

I replied, that men are ignorant of this, because they have not approached the Lord, and so have not shunned the lusts of the flesh, and therefore could not be regenerated; and love truly conjugial is from the Lord alone, and is given to those who are regenerated by Him; and these are they who are received into the Lord's New Church, which is meant in the Apocalypse by "the New Jerusalem." And to this I added that I doubted whether those in the world at this day are willing to believe that this love is in itself spiritual, and therefore from religion, since they cherish a merely corporeal idea of it; and therefore are willing to believe that since it is in accord with religion, it is spiritual with the spiritual, natural with the natural, and merely carnal with adulterers.

TCR 848. The angels were exceedingly delighted with both of these conversations, but perceiving a sadness in me, they asked, "Why are you sad?"

I said, "Because these mysteries that are now revealed by the Lord, although they surpass in excellence and dignity all the knowledge hitherto divulged, are nevertheless regarded on the earth as of no value."

At this the angels were astonished, and besought the Lord to permit them to look down upon the world; and they looked down, and behold, mere darkness was there. And they were told to write these mysteries on paper and the paper would be let down to the earth, and they would see a strange sight. This was done, and behold, the paper on which these mysteries were written being let down from heaven, in its progress while it was still in the spiritual world shone like a star, but when it reached the natural world its light waned, and as it fell was darkened. And when it was let down by the angels into assemblies of learned and accomplished clergy and laymen a murmur of many voices was heard, in which were the words, "What is this? Is it anything? What matters it whether we know these things or not? Are they not mere progeny of the brain?" And the appearance was that some of them took the paper and folded it up and rolled and unrolled it with their fingers, and that others tore it to pieces and wished to trample it under foot. But they were withheld by the Lord from such an outrage, and the angels were directed to withdraw the paper and guard it. And because the angels were thereby saddened, and thought "How long shall this be?" it was said:

For a time, and times, and half a time (Apoc. 12:14).

TCR 849. After this I heard a hostile murmur from the lower regions, and with it these words, "Work miracles and we will believe."

I answered, "Are not these things miracles?"

They replied, "They are not."

I asked, "What then, are miracles?"

They said, "Show and reveal future events, and we will have faith."

But I said, "Such things are not granted by the Lord, because so far as a man knows what is to come his reason and understanding, with his prudence and wisdom sink into inertness and become torpid and collapse."

Again I asked, "What other miracles shall I work."

Then arose the cry, "Such as Moses wrought in Egypt."

And I replied, "Perhaps you would harden your hearts thereat, like Pharaoh and the Egyptians."

The answer was "No."

Again I said, "Assure me that you will not dance about a golden calf and worship it, as the posterity of Jacob did a single month after they had seen all Mount Sinai burning, and had heard Jehovah Himself speaking out of the fire, thus after the greatest of all miracles. ("A golden calf" means in the spiritual sense the pleasures of the flesh.)

An answer came from the lower regions, "We will not be like the posterity of Jacob."

At that moment I heard it said to them from heaven, "If you believe not Moses and the Prophets, that is, the Word of the Lord, you will not believe on account of miracles, any more than the posterity of Jacob did in the desert, or any more than they believed when with their own eyes they saw the miracles wrought by the Lord Himself when He was in the world."

TCR 850. After this I saw some persons ascending from the lower regions, from which these things had been heard; and addressing me in a grave tone, they said, "How is it that your Lord revealed the mysteries that you have just enumerated in a long series, to you who are a layman, and not to some one of the clergy?"

To this I replied, "Such was the good pleasure of the Lord, who prepared me for this office from my early youth. Nevertheless, I will ask you a question in return; Why did the Lord, when in the world, choose fishermen for His disciples, instead of some of the lawyers, scribes, priests, or rabbis? Discuss this question among yourselves, draw your conclusions from judgment, and you will discover the reason."

When they heard this, a murmur arose among them, and then they became silent.

TCR 851. I foresee that many readers of the accounts of experiences which come at the end of the chapters will think that they are fictions of the imagination. But I declare in truth that they are no fictions, but things I have truly seen and heard; and not things seen and heard in some state of mental somnolence, but in full wakefulness. For it has pleased the Lord to show Himself to me, and to send me to teach the doctrines of His new church, which is meant by the New Jerusalem in Revelation. For this purpose He opened the interiors of my mind or spirit, thus allowing me to be with angels in the spiritual world and at the same time with people in the natural world; and this has continued now for twenty-seven years.

 

Would anyone in the Christian world have known anything about heaven and hell if it had not been the Lord's pleasure to open the sight of someone's spirit, and show and teach him?

 

[2] It is quite plain that things of the kind described in the accounts of experiences are to be seen in the heavens from the similar things seen and described by John in Revelation, as well as those seen and described by the prophets in the Old Testament Word.

 

Examples in Revelation are: his seeing the Son of Man in the midst of the seven lampstands; seeing a tabernacle, a temple, an ark and an altar in heaven; the book sealed with seven seals and its opening, and the horses coming out of it; the four creatures around the throne; the twelve thousand chosen from each tribe; the locusts coming up out of the abyss; the woman giving birth to a male child, and fleeing into the desert because of the dragon; the two beasts coming up, one from the' sea and one from the land; the angel flying in mid-heaven holding the everlasting gospel; the sea of glass mixed with fire; the seven angels having the seven last plagues; the bowls which they poured out on the earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun, the throne of the beast, the Euphrates and the air; the woman seated upon the scarlet beast; the dragon cast out into a lake of fire and brimstone; the white horse; the great dinner; the new heaven and the new earth; the holy Jerusalem coming down from heaven, with the description of its gates, its wall and the foundations of the wall; also the river of the water of life, and the trees of life which bear fruit every month; and many things besides which were all seen by John, while he was in his spirit in the spiritual world and in heaven.

 

There are also the things seen by the Apostles after the Lord's resurrection, as well as those seen by Peter (Acts, chapter 11) and seen and heard by Paul. There are too the experiences of the Old Testament prophets. For instance, Ezekiel saw four creatures, which were the Cherubim (chapters 1 and 10); a new temple and a new earth, and an angel measuring them (chapters 40-48); he was carried away to Jerusalem and saw abominations there, and also to Chaldaea (chapters 8 and 11).

 

[3] Likewise it happened to Zechariah to see a man riding a horse among the myrtles (1:8ff); four horns, and then a man with a measuring line in his hand (chapter 2); a flying scroll and an ephah (5:1, 6); four chariots between the two mountains, and their horses (6:1ff).

 

Likewise Daniel saw four beasts coming up from the sea (7:1ff); the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, whose dominion would not pass away and whose kingdom would not perish (7:13, 14); the battles of the ram and the he-goat (8:1ff); he saw the angel Gabriel and talked with him (chapter 9). Likewise Elisha's lad saw chariots and horses of fire around Elisha, and he saw them when his eyes had been opened (2 Kings 6:17).

 

From these and many other passages in the Word it is established that the things which come into existence in the spiritual world have been seen by many people before and after the Lord's coming. What is surprising then if it happens when a new church is beginning, or the New Jerusalem is coming down from heaven?

Arcana Coelestia

AC 9818. 'Whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom' means who have Divine Truth inscribed upon them. This is clear from the meaning of 'the spirit of wisdom', when used in reference to those governed by celestial good, as Divine Truth, dealt with below. People are said to be filled with it when it is inscribed permanently on them. The situation is that those in the Lord's celestial kingdom are acquainted with truths not as a result of coming to know and consequently believe them, but as a result of inward perception; for they are governed by the good of love received from the Lord, and this good has all truths rooted within it. The actual good itself has been implanted in the will part of their minds, and truth springing from it in the understanding part. And with these people the will and understanding parts act altogether as one, quite differently from the way the two parts act with those who are in the spiritual kingdom. So it is that the understanding part of the mind in those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom serves to give them not a knowledge but a perception of truths. For the good implanted in the will presents itself - its inward nature and its outward form - in the understanding, and in so to speak blazing light there. For those people the outward form of the good and its inward nature is truth, which they do not see, but instead perceive from good. For this reason they never argue about truths; they so avoid it that whenever there is talk about truths they say Yes or No, and no more than that. For if they said anything more it would not come from good. These are the ones who are meant in Matthew,

Let your words be Yes, yes; No, no; anything beyond this is from evil.   Matt. 5:37.

The fact that those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom are like this, see 2715, 2718, 3246, 4448, 5113, 6367, 7877, 9166 (end), 9543. What the difference is between those who are in the celestial kingdom and those who are in the spiritual kingdom, see the places referred to in 9277.

[2] From all this people may now recognize what should be understood when it is said that Divine Truths have been inscribed upon someone. Many places in the Word use the term 'spirit', and when they use it in reference to a person his 'spirit' means goodness and truth inscribed on the understanding part of his mind and consequently on the life of that part of it. The reason why 'spirit', when attributed to a person, has this meaning is that inwardly a person is a spirit, indeed inwardly is in the company of spirits. See what has already been shown abundantly on this matter in the following places,

Spirits and angels reside with a person, and the person is governed by the Lord through them, 50, 697, 986, 2796, 2886, 2887, 4047, 4048, 5846-5866, 5976-5993.

A person is among spirits and angels such as he himself is like, 4067, 4073, 4077, 4111.

Every person has a spirit through which his body has life, 4622.

 

[3] From this one may know what 'spirit' means when used in reference to the Lord, namely that it is Divine Truth emanating from His Divine Good, and that when this Divine Truth flows in and is received by a person it is the Spirit of truth, Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit; for it flows directly from the Lord, and also indirectly through angels and spirits, see the places referred to in 9682. The fact that the Spirit of truth, Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit have this meaning will be seen further on below; for prior to that it must be shown that, when used in the Word in reference to a person, 'spirit' means goodness and truth inscribed on the understanding part of a person's mind and consequently means the life of that part of it. For there is the life of the understanding part, and there is the life of the will part. That of the understanding part consists in knowing, seeing, and understanding that truth is indeed truth and good is indeed good. But the life of the will part consists in willing and loving truth for truth's sake and good for goodness' sake. In the Word the life of the will is called 'heart', but that of the understanding 'spirit'.

 

[4] The following places in the Word show that this is so: In Ezekiel,

Make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? Ezek. 18:31.

And in the same prophet,

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I give in the midst of you. Ezek. 36:26.

'A new heart' stands for a new will. and 'a new spirit' for a new understanding. In Zechariah,

Jehovah stretches out the heavens, and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zech. 12:1.

'Stretching out the heavens and founding the earth' stands for the establishment of a new Church, this Church being meant by 'heaven and earth', see 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 3355 (end), 4535. 'Forming the spirit of man within him' stands for regenerating a person as to his understanding of truth and good.

 

[5] In David,

Create for me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from before You, and do not take the spirit of Your holiness from me. Bring back to me the joy of Your salvation, and let a generous spirit uphold me. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Ps. 51:10-12, 17.

'A clean heart' stands for a will that detests evils, which are forms of uncleanness; 'a steadfast spirit' stands for an understanding of and belief in truth; 'a broken spirit' and 'a broken heart' stand for a state of temptation and the consequent humbling of the life in both. The fact that 'spirit' means life is evident from every detail in these verses. Divine Truth, from which that life springs, is meant by 'the spirit of holiness'. In the same author,

A generation that did not make its heart right, nor was its spirit steadfast with God. Ps. 78:8.

'Heart that is not right' stands for a will that is not right, and 'spirit that is not steadfast with God' stands for an understanding of and belief in God's truth that are not steadfast.

 

[6] In Moses,

Jehovah God had hardened the spirit of Sihon king of Heshbon and made his heart obstinate. Deut. 2:30.

Here also 'spirit' and 'heart' stand for the life in both parts, which is said to have been 'made obstinate' when the will has no desire to understand truth and good and put them into practice. In Ezekiel,

Every heart will melt, and all hands will hang down, and every spirit will shrink. Ezek. 21:7.

Here the meaning is similar. In Isaiah,

Jehovah is He who gives soul to the people on the earth, and spirit to those who walk on it. Isa. 42:5.

'Giving soul to the people' stands for endowing with the life of faith, 'soul' meaning the life of faith, see 9050; and 'giving spirit' stands for providing with an understanding of truth. In the same prophet,

With my soul I desired You in the night; even with my spirit within me I waited for You early. Isa. 26:9.

Here the meaning is similar.

[7] In the same prophet,

Conceive chaff, bring forth stubble; fire will devour your spirit. Isa. 33:11.

'Spirit' which fire will devour stands for an understanding of truth, and so for intelligence; 'fire' stands for a craving which, because it springs from evil, is destructive.

[8] In Ezekiel,

Woe to the foolish prophets, who go away after their own spirit! Ezek. 13:3.

In the same prophet,

What comes up onto your spirit will not ever be brought about. Ezek. 20:32.

In Malachi,

Not one has done so, nor those remaining who had spirit. Why then is there one seeking God's seed? Therefore take heed through your spirit, to see that it does not act treacherously against the wife of your youth. Mal. 2:15.

In David,

Blessed is the person to whom Jehovah does not impute iniquity; only let there be no guile in his spirit. Ps. 32:2.

In Matthew,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5:3.

In the same gospel,

Jesus said to the disciples, Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is eager, but the flesh is weak. Matt. 26:41.

In these places, as is plainly evident, 'spirit' is used to mean the actual life in a person. That the life of the understanding, or the life of truth, is meant becomes clear from the consideration that in the natural sense 'spirit' is used to mean human life and breath. And drawing breath, which is the work of the lungs, corresponds to the life of truth, which is the life of faith and consequently of the understanding, whereas the beating of the heart corresponds to the life of the will and so of love. For this correspondence of lungs and heart, see 3635, 3883-3896, 9300, 9495. All this makes clear what type of life is meant in the spiritual sense by 'spirit'. [9] The fact that 'spirit' in the ordinary sense means human life and breath is clearly evident in David,

You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You gather up their spirit, they breathe their last. You send forth Your spirit, they are created. Ps. 104:29, 30.

In the same author,

Answer me, O Jehovah. My spirit is consumed. Do not hide Your face from Me. Ps. 143:7.

In Job,

My spirit is consumed, my days are extinguished. Job 17:1.

In Luke,

Jesus took the dead girl's hand, saying, Girl, arise. Her spirit therefore returned, and she arose at once. Luke 8:54, 55.

In Jeremiah,

Every person has been made stupid by knowledge; his graven image is a lie, and there is no spirit in it. Jer. 10:14; 51:17.

In Ezekiel,

He brought me out in the Spirit of Jehovah and set me down in the midst of the valley. And there the Lord Jehovih said to the dry bones, Behold, I am bringing spirit into you that you may live. Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Come from the four winds, O spirit, and breathe into these killed. And spirit came into them, and they were alive again. Ezek. 37:1, 5, 9, 10.

In the Book of Revelation,

The two witnesses were killed by the beast ascending from the abyss. But after three and a half days the spirit of life from God entered them, so that they stood on their feet. Rev. 11:7, 11.

[10] From these places it is plainly evident that 'spirit' is a person's life. The fact that more specifically it is the life of truth, which is the life of the understanding part of a person's mind, and is called intelligence, is made plain in John,

The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. God is a Spirit, therefore those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:23, 24.

In Daniel,

... that there was in him an excellent spirit, both of knowledge and of intelligence. Dan. 5:12, 14.

In Luke,

John grew and became strong in spirit. Luke 1:80.

And regarding the Lord, in the same gospel,

The child Jesus grew and became strong in spirit, and was filled with wisdom. Luke 2:40.

In John,

He whom the Father has sent speaks the words of God, for God has not given Him the spirit by measure. John 3:34.

Here 'the spirit' stands for intelligence and wisdom; 'speaking the words of God' means declaring Divine Truths.

 

[11] From all this it may now be seen what 'spirit' means in John,

Jesus said to Nicodemus, Unless a person has been born from water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, but that which has been born from the spirit is spirit. John 3:5, 6.

'Being born from water' means [being regenerated] by means of truth, and 'being born from the spirit' means life from the Lord which comes as a result of this, called spiritual life. For the meaning of 'water' as the truth by means of which regeneration is accomplished, see 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8568, 9323. 'Flesh' however means the human proprium or selfhood, in which there is no spiritual life at all, 3813, 8409.

 

[12] Something similar is meant by 'spirit' and 'flesh' in the same gospel,

It is the Spirit which bestows life, the flesh does not profit anything. The words which I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. John 6:63.

'The words' which the Lord spoke are Divine Truths, the life which comes as a result being 'the spirit'. In Isaiah,

Egypt is man (homo), not God, and his horses are flesh and not spirit. Isa. 31:3.

'Egypt' stands for knowledge in general, 'his horses' for factual knowledge supplied from the understanding, which is spoken of as 'flesh and not spirit' when it does not have any spiritual life at all within it.

'Egypt' is knowledge, see the places referred to in 9340, 9391. 'Horses' are the power of understanding, 2761, 2762, 3217, 5321. 'The horses of Egypt' are known facts supplied from the understanding, 6125, 8146, 8148.

Anyone who does not know what is meant by 'Egypt', what is meant by 'his horses', and also what is meant by 'flesh' and 'spirit', cannot possibly know what these words [in Isa. 31:3] imply.

 

[13] Once people know what 'spirit' present in a person means they may know what is meant by 'spirit' when this term is used in reference to Jehovah or the Lord. Everything a human being has, such as face, eyes, ears, arms, and hands, also heart and soul, He is said to have. Thus spirit as well is attributed to Him, and in the Word it is called Spirit of God, Spirit of Jehovah, Spirit of His mouth, and Spirit of Holiness or Holy Spirit. The fact that the term is used to mean Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is clear from a large number of places in the Word. The reason why Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is meant by 'Spirit of God' is that all of a person's life comes from there, as does the heavenly life possessed by those who receive that Divine Truth in faith and love. The Lord Himself teaches in John that this is what 'Spirit of God' means,

The words which I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. John 6:63.

'The words' which the Lord spoke are Divine Truths.

 

[14] In the same gospel,

Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. This He said about the Spirit which those believing in Him were to receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39.

'The Spirit' which those believing in the Lord were to receive from Him means the life coming from the Lord that is the life of faith and love, as is evident from the specific expressions used in these verses. For 'thirsting' and 'drinking' means the desire to know and understand truth; and 'rivers of living water' which will flow from the belly are God's truths. From this it is clear that 'the Spirit' which believers were to receive, also called 'the Holy Spirit', means the life brought by Divine Truth emanating from the Lord. This life, as stated just above, is called the life of faith and love, being the spiritual and heavenly life itself present in a person. The reason why it says 'the Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified' is that while He was in the world the Lord Himself taught Divine Truth; but when He had been glorified, which was after the Resurrection, He taught it through angels and spirits. That holy influence present with a person, emanating from the Lord through angels and spirits, whether in a discernible manner or an indiscernible one, is the Holy Spirit there. For in the Word Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is called that which is holy, 9680.

 

[15] This explains why the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth and why it is said that He would lead into all truth, that He would not speak on His own [authority], but speak what He hears from the Lord, and that He would receive from the Lord what He was to declare, John 16:13, 14. It also explains why the Lord, when He was going to leave the disciples, breathed into them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit, John 20:21, 22. 'Breathing' means the life of faith, 9229, 9281, so that the Lord's breathing into someone means imparting the ability to understand Divine Truths and thereby receive that life. So it is also that 'the Spirit', being a name derived from 'breathing', is a derivation also of 'blowing' and of 'wind'; and this is why the spirit is frequently called the wind. Breathing, which is the work of the lungs, corresponds to the life of faith, while the beating of the heart corresponds to the life of love, see 3883-3896, 9300, 9495.

 

[16] Something similar is meant by 'breathing into' in the Book of Genesis,

And Jehovah breathed into man's nostrils the soul of life. Gen. 2:7.

This is why in Lamentations 4:20 the Lord is called the Spirit of our nostrils; and since Divine Truth consumes and devastates the evil it says in David,

The foundations of the world were revealed at the blast of the Spirit of Your nose. Ps. 18:15.

And in Job,

By the breath of God they perish, and by the Spirit of His nose they are consumed. Job 4:9.

In David,

By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all their host by the Spirit of His mouth. Ps. 33:6.

'The Word of Jehovah' is Divine Truth, as is 'the Spirit of His mouth'. The fact that the Lord is that Word is clear in John,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made though Him. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1-3, 14.

[17] The fact that Divine Truth, from which heavenly life comes to a person, is the Holy Spirit is further evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

There will come forth a shoot from the trunk of Jesse, and the Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of Jehovah. Isa. 11:1, 2.

These words refer to the Lord, in whom there is Divine Truth. Consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence is called 'the Spirit of Jehovah', and in these verses 'the Spirit of wisdom and intelligence, counsel, strength, and knowledge'. In the same prophet,

I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth judgement to the nations. Isa. 42:1.

These words too refer to the Lord. 'The Spirit of Jehovah' upon Him is Divine Truth, and consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence. Divine Truth is also called 'judgement', 2235.

[18] In the same prophet,

He will come like a rushing river; the Spirit of Jehovah will place a sign on Him. Isa. 59:19.

In the same prophet,

The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, therefore Jehovah has anointed Me to bring good tidings to the poor. Isa. 61:1.

This too refers to the Lord. Divine Truth, which was in the Lord when He was in the world, and which He was then, is meant by 'the Spirit of Jehovah'.

[19] The fact that 'the Spirit of Jehovah' means Divine Truth and consequently heavenly life that comes to the person who receives that Truth is further evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

... until the Spirit is poured out on us from on high; then the wilderness will become a ploughed field, then judgement will dwell in the wilderness. Isa. 32:15, 16.

The subject here is regeneration. 'The Spirit from on high' is life from the Divine; for the promises that 'the wilderness will become a ploughed field' and that 'judgement will dwell in the wilderness' mean the presence of intelligence where none existed previously, thus new life there.

[20] Something similar occurs in Ezekiel,

... in order that you may know that I will put My Spirit in you, in order that you may live. Ezek. 37:14.

In the same prophet,

I will no longer hide My face from them, because I shall pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel. Ezek. 39:29.

In Joel,

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; and on men servants and women servants in those days I will pour out My Spirit. Joel 2:28, 29.

In Micah,

I have been filled with strength by the Spirit of Jehovah, and with judgement and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Micah 3:8.

In Zechariah,

The horses going out into the north land have caused My Spirit to rest on the north land. Zech. 6:8.

In Isaiah,

I will pour out waters upon the thirsty land, and streams upon the dry. I will pour out My Spirit upon your seed. Isa. 44:3.

In these places it is evident that 'the Spirit of Jehovah' means Divine Truth and the life of faith and love which come through that Truth. It flows in directly from the Lord, also indirectly from Him through spirits and angels, see 9682 (end).

[21] Something similar occurs elsewhere in Isaiah,

On that day Jehovah Zebaoth will be a crown of adornment and a tiara of beauty for the remnant of His people, and a Spirit of judgement to him who sits in judgement, and strength to those ... Isa. 28:5, 6.

'A crown of adornment' stands for the wisdom that comes with good, 'a tiara of beauty' for the intelligence that comes with truth, and 'a Spirit of judgement' for Divine Truth, since 'judgement' is spoken of in reference to truth , 2235, 6397, 7206, 8685, 8695, 9260, 9383.

[22] In the same prophet,

The angel of Jehovah's face delivered them; because of His love and His pity He redeemed them. But they rebelled, and exasperated the Spirit of His holiness; consequently He was turned by them into an enemy. He put the Spirit of His holiness in the midst of them. The Spirit of Jehovah led them. Isa. 63:9-11, 14.

'The Spirit of holiness' here is the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, thus Divine Truth which comes from the Lord; 'the angel of His face' is the Lord in respect of Divine Good, for 'Jehovah's face' is love, mercy, and good. In the Book of Revelation,

The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10.

'The testimony of Jesus' is Divine Truth that comes from Him and has regard to Him, 9503.

[23] In David,

Jehovah God makes His angels spirits, and [His] ministers flaming fire. Ps. 104:4.

'Making angels spirits' stands for making them recipients of Divine Truth; 'making them flaming fire' stands for making them recipients of Divine Good or Divine Love. In Matthew,

John said, I baptize you with water for repentance. But He who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matt. 3:11.

'Baptizing' means regenerating; 'with the Holy Spirit' means doing so through Divine Truth; and 'with fire' means springing from the Divine Good of Divine Love. For the meaning of 'baptizing' as regenerating, see 5120 (end), 9088; and for that of 'fire' as the Divine Good of Divine Love, 4906, 5215, 6314, 6832, 6834, 6849, 7324.

[24] In Luke,

If you, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? Luke 11:13.

'Giving the Holy Spirit' means enlightening with Divine Truth and endowing with life from that Truth, which is the life of intelligence and wisdom. In the Book of Revelation,

The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are the seven spirits of God. Rev. 4:5.

And in addition,

In the midst of the elders [there was] a Lamb standing, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Rev. 5:6.

It is self-evident that the word 'spirits' in these places is not used to mean spirits, since they say that the lamps and the Lamb's eyes are the spirits of God . For Divine Truths are meant by 'lamps', 4638, 7072; the understanding of truth is meant by 'the eyes', or Divine Intelligence and Wisdom when the expression refers to the Lord, 2701, 4403-4421, 4523-4534, 9051; and the power of truth derived from good is meant by 'horns' 2832, 9081, 9719-9721. From all this it is evident that Divine Truths are meant by 'the spirits of God'.

[25] When people know therefore that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, which is real Holiness, they may know the Divine meaning in the Word wherever the terms 'Spirit of God' and 'Holy Spirit' are used, as in the following places: In John,

I will ask the Father to give you another Paraclete, to remain with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and remind you of all that I said to you. John 14:16-18, 26.

And in another place,

When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from the Father, He will bear witness to Me. And you will bear witness. John 15:26, 27.

And in yet another place,

I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. If I do not go away the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go away I will send Him to you. John 16:7.

[26] From these places it is again evident that the Divine Truth which emanates from Divine Good, or from the Father, is the Paraclete and Holy Spirit. This also explains why He is called 'the Spirit of truth', and why it is said that He will remain in them, teach them all things, and bear witness to the Lord. In the spiritual sense 'bearing witness to the Lord' means teaching about Him. The reason why [in the first of these quotations] it is said that the Paraclete, who is the Holy Spirit, is sent in the Lord's name from the Father, then [in the second] that the Lord Himself will send Him from the Father, and after this [in the third] that the Lord will send Him, is that 'the Father' means the Divine [Being] Himself within the Lord, so that the Father and He are one, as the Lord teaches explicitly in John 10:30; 14:9-11.

[27] In Matthew,

Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy of the Spirit will not be forgiven people. If anyone speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come. Matt. 12:31, 32.

'Speaking a word against the Son of Man' takes place when a person goes against God's truth that has not yet been implanted in or inscribed on his life; for 'the Son of Man' is Divine Truth, see above in 9807. But 'speaking a word against the Holy Spirit' takes place when a person goes against Divine Truth, especially Divine Truth concerning the Lord, that has been implanted in or inscribed on his life. Speaking against or denying that Truth when it has formerly been acknowledged is profanation; and profanation is such that it completely destroys a person interiorly. This is why it says that this sin cannot be forgiven. What profanation is, see 3398, 3898, 4289, 4601, 6348, 6960, 6963, 6971, 8394, 8882, 9298.

[28] And in the same gospel,

Jesus said to the disciples, Go and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matt. 28:19.

'The Father' is the Divine [Being] Himself, 'the Son' is that Divine [Being] Himself in a human form, and 'the Holy Spirit' is the emanation from the Divine [Being], so that there is one Divine [Being] yet still a Trinity. The truth that the Lord is the Divine [Being] Himself under human form is His own teaching in John,

From now on you know the Father and have seen Him. He who sees Me sees the Father. I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. John 14:7, 9, 10.

or from the evil one

The Latin means God does not despise but the Hebrew means O God, You will not despise

or breath

i.e. What you have in mind

Sw. here follows the Latin version of Sebastian Schmidt. The Greek means He who God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the spirit by measure.

Apocalypse Explained

AE 1209  (2) In everything spiritual there are three forces, an active force, a creative force, and a formative force. The active force, because it is spiritual, proceeds from the fountain of all forces, which is the sun of heaven, and that is God's Divine love, and love is the active itself, from which the living force which is life proceeds.

[3] The creative force is the force that produces causes and effects from beginning to end, and reaches from the First through intermediates to the last. The First is the sun of heaven itself, which is the Divine; intermediates are things spiritual, afterwards things natural, also things terrestrial, from which finally are productions. And as in the creation of the universe that force proceeded from the First to the last, so afterwards it proceeds in like manner in order that productions may be continual; otherwise they would fail. For the First continually regards the last as an end; and unless the First looked to the last continually from itself through intermediates according to the order of creation, all things would perish; therefore productions, which are especially animals and plants, are continuations of creation. It does not matter that the continuations are effected by seeds, it is still the same creative force that produces. Moreover, it is according to the observation of some that certain seeds are yet being produced.

[4] The formative force is the last force from ultimates, for it is the force that produces animals and plants from the ultimate materials of nature, which are collected in the earth. The forces that are in nature from its origin, which is the sun of the world, are not living forces but dead forces. These do not differ from the forces of heat in humans and animals, which keep the body in such a state that the will by means of affection, and the understanding by means of thought, which are spiritual, can flow in and do their work in it. They do not differ from the forces of light in the eye, which simply cause the mind, which is spiritual, to see by means of its organ, the eye. The light of the world sees nothing, but the mind by the light of heaven. The same is true of plants. Those who believe that the heat and light of the sun of the world do anything more than open and dispose the things proper to nature that they may receive influx from the spiritual world, are very much deceived.

TCR 583

IV. REGENERATION IS EFFECTED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO THAT IN WHICH A PERSON IS CONCEIVED, CARRIED IN THE WOMB, BORN AND EDUCATED.

In human beings there is a perpetual correspondence between what takes place naturally and what takes place spiritually, or between what takes place in one's body and what takes place in one's spirit. This is because human beings as to one's soul are horn spiritual, and are clothed with what is natural, which forms their material body. Therefore when this body is laid aside, one's soul, clothed with a spiritual body, enters a world where all things are spiritual, and is there affiliated with its like.

Since then, the spiritual body must be formed in a material body, and is formed by means of truths and goods which flow in from the Divine through the spiritual world, and are inwardly received by us in such things in us as are from the natural world, which are called civil and moral, the way in which its formation is effected is evident; and since, as before said, there is in us a constant correspondence between what takes place naturally and what takes place spiritually, it follows that this formation is like conception, gestation, birth and education.

It is for this reason that natural births in the Word mean spiritual births, which are births of good and truth; for whatever is mentioned in the sense of the letter of the Word, which is natural, involves and signifies what is spiritual. That in each and all things of the sense of the letter of the Word there is a spiritual sense is fully shown in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture.

TCR 692. At this point I will add some accounts of experiences, of which this is the first.

When I was going home from the school of wisdom, I saw on the way an angel dressed in blue. He came and walked beside me, and said: 'I see you have come away from the school of wisdom, and that you took great pleasure in what you heard there. But I perceive that you are not fully in our world, because you are at the same time in the natural world, so you do not know about our Olympic contests. At these the wise men of antiquity meet, and learn from newcomers from your world what changes of state and what vicissitudes wisdom has so far undergone and is still undergoing. If you like, I will take you to the place where many of the wise men of antiquity live together with their sons, that is, their disciples.'

So he took me to a place on the border between the north and the east, and when I had a view in that direction from a piece of high ground, I caught sight of a city with two hills at one side, the one nearer the city being the lower of the two. 'This city,' he told me, 'is called Athenaeum, the lower hill is called Parnassium, the higher Heliconeum. They bear these names because in the city and its neighbourhood the wise men of ancient Greece live, men such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristippus and Xenophon, with their disciples and recruits.'

I asked about Plato and Aristotle. He told me that they and their followers were in a different region, because they had taught rational arguments concerned with the understanding, but the people here had taught about moral issues which relate to life.

[2] He said that scholars from the city of Athenaeum were frequently sent on embassies to the educated Christians, to report what are their present thoughts about God, the creation of the universe, the immortality of the soul, the condition of man relative to that of animals and other subjects apposite to interior wisdom. He told me that the crier had announced a meeting for that day, a sign that their emissaries had met some newcomers from the earth and heard some interesting news. We saw a lot of people coming out of the city and its neighbourhood, some of them with laurel-wreaths on their heads, some holding palm-fronds in their hands, some with books under their arms, and some with pens tucked under the hair of the left temple.

[3] We joined them and went up together, and found on the hill an octagonal palace, which they called the Palladium. When we went in we found eight hexagonal recesses, in each of which was a bookcase, as well as a table at which those who wore laurels sat down. In the Palladium itself we saw seats carved out of stone, on which the remainder seated themselves.

Then a door on the left was opened and by it two newcomers from the earth were brought in. When they had been welcomed, one of those wearing laurels asked them, 'What news is there from earth?'

'The news,' they said, 'is that men have been found in forests resembling animals, or animals resembling men. They recognised from their faces and bodies that they had been born men, but that at the age of two or three they had been lost or abandoned in the forests. They said that these creatures could not voice any of their thoughts, nor learn how to make articulate sounds so as to utter words. Neither did they know what food was fit for them, as animals do, but they put in their mouths what grew in the forest whether clean or dirty; and much more of the same kind. From these facts some of our learned men made many guesses and some made many deductions about the condition of men relative to that of animals.

[4] On hearing this some of the wise men of antiquity asked, 'What were their guesses and deductions from these facts?' The newcomers replied that there was a great deal, but it could be reduced to the following:

1. Man by his nature and also from birth is more stupid and so more vile than any animal, and if not taught becomes like one.

2. He can be taught because he has learnt to make articulate sounds, and so to talk; and by this means he has begun to express his thoughts; and by degrees he has done so more and more, until he could put together the laws of living together, many of which, however, have been stamped upon animals from birth.

3. Animals equally with men are capable of reasoning.

4. If therefore animals could talk, they would reason as cleverly on all subjects as men. A proof of this is that they think from reason and prudence just as much as men.

5. The understanding is merely a modification of sunlight with the co-operation of heat by means of the ether, so that it is simply an activity of more inward nature. This activity can be raised to such a height that it looks like wisdom.

6. It is therefore useless to believe that man lives after death any more than an animal does, except that perhaps for a few days after death an exhalation of the life of the body may appear as a cloud in the form of a ghost, before being dispersed into nature. This is very much as when a twig picked out of the ashes of a fire may appear to retain the likeness of its shape.

7. Consequently religion, which teaches that life continues after death, is an invention so that the simple may be kept inwardly obedient by its laws, just as they are kept outwardly obedient by the civil law.

They added that these were the reasonings of those who were only clever, but not intelligent. 'What do the intelligent think?' they asked. The reply was that they had not heard, but they were of the opinion that they thought the same.

[5] On hearing this all who were sitting at the tables said: 'What times they live in on earth now! What sad changes wisdom has undergone! It seems to have turned into foolish cleverness. The sun has set and is beneath the earth, diametrically opposite its noon position. How can anyone fail to know from the evidence of the people abandoned and then found in the forests, that this is what man is like if he receives no instruction? Surely he is what he is taught to be. By birth he is more ignorant than animals. He must then learn to walk and to talk. If he did not learn to walk, would he stand upright on his feet? And if he did not learn to talk, would he be able to utter any of his thoughts? Surely everyone is what he is taught to be, crazy if taught falsities, wise if taught truths? And if he is crazy from being taught falsities does he not imagine himself to be wiser than the man who is wise from being taught truths? Are there not foolish and deranged people who are no more human beings than those who were found in the forests? Are not those who have lost their memory like them?

[6] 'From both these sets of facts we draw the conclusion that a man is not a man without instruction, and is not an animal either, but he is a form capable of receiving in himself what makes a man human, so that he is not born a man, but becomes one. Man has by birth a form such that he can be an instrument for the reception of life from God, with a view to being a subject into which God can put all good, and by union with Himself make blessed for ever. We perceive from what you say that wisdom at the present time is so far extinct or turned to foolishness, that there is total ignorance about the terms upon which human beings live as compared to those on which animals live. As a result, they do not know either anything about how a person lives after death. But those who are able, but unwilling, to know about this, and so deny its reality, as many of you Christians do, can be likened to the people found in the forests. It is not that they have become so stupid through being deprived of instruction, but they have made themselves stupid by relying on the fallacies of the senses, which are the darkness that conceals truths.'

[7] But then someone standing in the middle of the Palladium and holding a palm-frond in his hand said: 'Please unravel this mystery. How could man having been created a form of God be changed into the form of a devil? I am well aware that the angels of heaven are forms of God, and the angels of hell are forms of the devil, and that these two are completely opposite forms, one of madness, the other of wisdom. Tell me, then, how could man created as a form of God pass from daylight into such a night as to be able to deny the existence of God and everlasting life?'

The teachers replied one after the other, first the Pythagoreans, then the Socratics, and afterwards the rest. But among them there was a certain follower of Plato, who was the last to speak. His opinion, which was adopted, went like this. The people of the age of Saturn, the golden age, knew and acknowledged that they were forms for the reception of life from God, and consequently they had wisdom written upon their souls and hearts, so that they saw truth by the light of truth, and truths enabled them to perceive good by the pleasure of its love. 'But,' he said, 'as in the following periods the human race retreated from the acknowledgment that all the truths of wisdom and thus all the good of love they had was continually flowing in from God, they ceased to be dwelling-places of God, and then too they stopped talking with God and mixing with angels. For the interiors of their minds were diverted from their previous direction, which was being raised upwards by God towards God, and they were turned further and further aside, outwards to the world, and so directed by God to God by way of the world. Finally they were turned in the opposite direction, which is downwards towards oneself. Because a person who is inwardly turned upside down or away cannot look to God, people separated themselves from God and became forms of hell, and so of the devil.

'It follows from this that in the earliest ages people acknowledged with heart and soul that all the good of love, and so all the truth of wisdom, came to them from God, and also that this good and truth were God's in them, so that they were purely receivers of life from God; which is why they were called images of God, sons of God and born of God. But in the following ages people no longer acknowledged this with their heart and soul, but by some incorrect belief, later by historical faith and finally merely professing it with the lips. Acknowledging anything of this kind merely by professing it with the lips is not acknowledging it, and is in fact denying it at heart.

[8] 'These facts enable us to see what wisdom is like on earth among present-day Christians. They can still be inspired by God as the result of a written revelation, while not being aware of the difference between man and an animal. Thus many people believe that if man lives after death, so too must an animal; or because an animal does not live after death, neither can man. Surely our spiritual light, which enlightens our mental vision, is in their case turned into thick darkness; and their natural light, which only enlightens the bodily vision, has become dazzling light to them?'

[9] After this speech all turned to the two newcomers and thanked them for coming and bringing their report; and they begged them to carry back to their brethren a report of what they had heard. The newcomers replied that they would strengthen their people in their belief in this truth, that in so far as they attribute all the good of charity and all the truth of faith to the Lord and not to themselves, so far are they human beings and so far do they become angels of heaven.

True Christian Religion

TCR 475. IV. SO LONG AS MAN LIVES IN THE WORLD, HE IS KEPT MIDWAY BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, AND IS THERE IN SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM, WHICH IS FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

In order to know what freedom of choice is and the nature of it, it is necessary to know its origin. Especially from a recognition of its origin it can be known, not only that there is such a thing as freedom of choice, but also what it is. Its origin is in the spiritual world, where man's mind is kept by the Lord. Man's mind is his spirit, which lives after death; and his spirit is constantly in company with its like in the spiritual world, and at the same time by means of the material body with which it is enveloped, it is with men in the natural world. Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits, for the reason that the spirits with whom he is in company in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, while his own spirit thinks and speaks naturally so long as he is in the material body; and the natural man cannot understand or perceive spiritual thought and speech, nor the reverse.

This is why spirits cannot be seen. But when the spirit of man is in company with spirits in their world, he is also in spiritual thought and speech with them, because his mind is interiorly spiritual but exteriorly natural; therefore by means of his interiors he communicates with spirits, while by means of his exteriors he communicates with men. By such communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If it were not for such communication, man would have no more thought or other thought than a beast, and if all connection with spirits were taken away from him, he would instantly die.

[2] But to make it comprehensible how man can be kept midway between heaven and hell and thereby in spiritual equilibrium from which he has freedom of choice, it shall be briefly explained. The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell; heaven then is overhead, and hell is beneath the feet, not, however, in the center of the globe inhabited by men, but below the lands of the spiritual world, which are also of spiritual origin, and therefore not extended [spatially], but with an appearance of extension.

[3] Between heaven and hell there is a great interspace, which to those who are there appears like a complete orb. Into this interspace, evil exhales from hell in all abundance; while from heaven, on the other hand, good flows into it, also in all abundance. It was of this interspace that Abraham said to the rich man in hell:

Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they who are there cross over to us (Luke 16:26).

Every man, as to his spirit, is in the midst of this interspace, solely for this reason, that he may be in freedom of choice.

[4] Because this interspace is so large and because it appears to those who are there like a vast orb, it is called the World of Spirits. Moreover, it is full of spirits, because every man after death first goes there, and is there prepared either for heaven or for hell. There he is among spirits, in company with them, as formerly he was among men in the world. There is no purgatory there; that is a fiction invented by the Roman Catholics. But that world has been treated of particularly in the work on Heaven and Hell (London, 1758, n. 421-535).

TCR 476. Every man from infancy even to old age is changing his locality or situation in that world. When an infant he is kept in the eastern quarter towards the northern part; when a child, as he learns the first lessons of religion, he moves gradually from the north towards the south; when a youth, as he begins to exercise his own thoughts, he is borne southward; and afterwards when he judges for himself and becomes his own master, he is borne into the southern quarter towards the east, according to his growth in such things as have regard interiorly to God and love to the neighbor. But if he inclines to evil and imbibes it, he advances towards the west.

For all in the spiritual world have their abodes according to the quarters; in the east are those who are in good from the Lord, because the sun, in the midst of which is the Lord, is in that quarter; in the north are those who are in ignorance; in the south, those who are in intelligence; and in the west, those who are in evil. Man himself is not kept as to his body in that interspace or middle region, but only as to his spirit; and as his spirit changes its state by advancing towards good or towards evil, so is it transferred to localities or situations in this quarter or in that, and comes into association with those who dwell there.

But it must be understood that the Lord does not transfer man to this or that place, but man transfers himself in different ways. If he chooses good, he together with the Lord, or rather the Lord together with him, transfers his spirit towards the east. But if man chooses evil, he together with the devil, or rather the devil together with him, transfers his spirit towards the west. It must be noticed that where the term heaven is here used, the Lord also is meant, because the Lord is the all in all things of heaven; and where the term devil is used, hell also is meant, because all who are there are devils.

TCR 477. Man is kept in this great interspace, and midway therein continually, for the sole purpose that he may have freedom of choice in spiritual things, for this is a spiritual equilibrium, because it is an equilibrium between heaven and hell, thus between good and evil. All who are in that great interspace are, as to their interiors, conjoined either with the angels of heaven or with the devils of hell; or at the present day either with the angels of Michael or with the angels of the dragon. After death every man betakes himself to his own in that interspace and associates himself with those who are in a love similar to his own, for love conjoins everyone there with his like, and causes him to breathe out his soul freely, and to continue in his previous state of life. But the externals that do not make one with his internals are then gradually put off, and when this has been done the good man is raised up to heaven, and the evil man betakes himself to hell, each to such as he is at one with as to his ruling love.

TCR 478. This spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be illustrated by various forms of natural equilibrium. It is like the equilibrium of a man bound about his body or at his arms between two men of equal strength, one of whom draws the man between them to the right, and the other to the left, so that the man in the middle can freely turn this way or that as if unrestrained by any force; and if he turns toward the right he draws the man on his left forcibly toward him, even bringing him to the ground. It would be the same with any unresisting person, even if bound between three men on his right, and the same number on his left, of equal power; also if bound between camels or horses.

[2] Spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be compared to a balance, in each scale of which equal weights are placed; but if a slight weight is then added to either scale, the tongue of the scale begins to vibrate. It is similar with a pole or large beam balanced on its support. Each and all things within man, as the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, and the rest, are in such a state of equilibrium; and for this reason each is able to discharge its functions in perfect quiet. It is the same with all the muscles; if they were without such equilibrium all action and reaction would cease, and man would no longer act as a man. Since, then, all things of the body are in such equilibrium, so are all things of the brain, and consequently all things of the mind therein, which relate to the will and understanding.

[3] There is a freedom also belonging to beasts, birds, fishes and insects; but these are impelled by their bodily senses, prompted by appetite and pleasure. Man would not be unlike these if his freedom to do were equal to his freedom to think. He, too, would then be impelled by his bodily senses, prompted by lust and pleasure. It is otherwise with one who heartily accepts the spiritual things of the church, and by means of them restrains his freedom of choice. Such a man is led by the Lord away from lusts and evil pleasures and his connate avidity for them, and acquires an affection for what is good, and turns away from evil. He is then transferred by the Lord nearer to the east, and at the same time to the south of the spiritual world, and is introduced into heavenly freedom, which is freedom indeed.

TCR 693. The second experience.

Some weeks later I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'There is to be another meeting on Parnassium; come and we will show you the way.' I went and when I came near I saw someone with a trumpet standing on Heliconeum, announcing and summoning a meeting, Then I saw people coming up from the city of Athenaeum and its neighbourhood as before, and among them three newcomers from the world. The three were from the Christians, one a priest, the second a politician, and the third a philosopher. On the way the people entertained them with talk on various subjects, especially about the wise men of antiquity, whom they mentioned by name, The three asked whether they would see them. They were told that they would see them, and if they wished greet them, since they were easy to approach.

They asked about Demosthenes, Diogenes and Epicurus. 'Demosthenes,' they said 'is not here but where Plato lives. Diogenes with his school lives under Heliconeum, because he regards worldly matters as of no value and reflects on heavenly matters. Epicurus lives on the western boundary and does not visit us, because we make a distinction between good and evil affections; we hold that good affections go along with wisdom, and evil affections are opposed to wisdom.'

[2] When they had climbed the hill of Parnassium, some guards there brought water from its spring in crystal goblets, saying: 'This is water from the spring mentioned by the ancient writers of fables as having been broken open by the hoof of the horse Pegasus and later consecrated by the Nine Maidens. But by the winged horse Pegasus the ancients meant the understanding of truth by which comes wisdom. The hooves of its feet meant the experiences which give rise to natural intelligence; and by the Nine Maidens they meant knowledge and learning of every kind. These stories are nowadays called fables, but were correspondences, a manner of expression the earliest people used.'

'Don't be surprised,' their companions told the three newcomers. 'The guards are taught to speak like this. We understand by drinking the water from the spring being taught about truths, and by means of truths about different kinds of good, and so to be wise.'

[3] After this they went into the Palladium and with them the three newcomers from the world, the priest, the politician and the philosopher. Then those with laurel wreaths who were sitting at the tables asked: 'What news is there from earth?'

'The news,' they replied, 'is that a certain person is claiming to talk with angels, and to have his sight opened into the spiritual world just as much as he has it opened into the natural world. He reports a great deal of news from there, including the following. A person, he says, lives as a person after death, just as he previously lived in the world. He sees, hears and talks, just as he did previously in the world. He is dressed and wears adornments just as previously in the world. He feels hunger and thirst, eats and drinks, just as previously in the world. He enjoys the delights of married life, just as previously in the world. He goes to sleep and wakes up, just as previously in the world. That world has lands and lakes, mountains and hills, plains and valleys, springs and rivers, parks and woodland; as well as palaces and houses, towns and villages, just as the natural world. There are writings and books there, there are official duties and business enterprises, precious stones, gold and silver. In short, every single thing that there is on earth is to be found in heaven, and in infinitely greater perfection. The only difference is that everything in the spiritual world is of spiritual origin, and so is spiritual, since it comes from the sun there, which is pure love. Everything in the natural world is of natural origin, and so is natural and material, because it comes from the sun there which is pure fire. In short, a person after death is perfectly human, in fact, a more perfect person than he was previously in the world. For previously in the world he had a material body, but in the spiritual world he has a spiritual body.'

[4] When this was said, the wise men of antiquity asked what the people on earth thought about this. 'We,' said the three, 'know that this is true, because we are here and have looked at and tested everything. But we shall tell you what was said and what reasonings were employed on earth.'

Then the priest said: 'The clergy like me, when they first heard these things, called them visions, then fictions, and later said that the man had seen ghosts. Finally they were perplexed and said, "Believe it if you like. We have up to now taught that a person will not have a body after death, until the day of the Last Judgment." '

'Are there not intelligent men,' they asked, 'among them, who can prove and convince them of the truth that a person lives on after death?'

[5] The priest said that there were some who proved it but failed to convince. 'Those who offer proofs,' he said, 'assert that it is contrary to sound reason to believe that a person does not go on living as a person before the day of the Last Judgment, and in the meantime is a soul without a body. "What is a soul and where does it live in the meanwhile? Is it more than a breath, a puff of wind flying through the air, or something lodged in the middle of the earth, where its Pu is. Do the souls of Adam and Eve, and of all their successors for six thousand years or sixty centuries still flit about the universe, or are they shut up in the bowels of the earth, awaiting the Last Judgment? Is there anything more worrying and pitiable than such a period of waiting? Could not their fate be compared to that of prisoners in jails chained hand and foot? If that is man's fate after death, would it not be better to have been born a donkey than a man? Surely it is unreasonable to believe that a soul can be clothed again in its body, when the body has been eaten by worms, rats or fish? Or that some new body will be wrapped around a bony skeleton which has been parched by the sun or has collapsed into dust? How can such stinking bits of corpse be gathered together and united with souls?" But when they hear such arguments, they do not offer any reasonable answer, but cling to their faith, saying; "We keep our reason obedient to our faith." Their reply to the question about all being gathered from the grave on the day of the Last Judgment is: "This is the task of omnipotence," and when they start talking about omnipotence and faith, reason flies out of the window. I can assure you that then sound reason is treated as nothing, and some regard it as a mirage. They are actually able to tell sound reason that it is crazy.'

[6] On hearing this the wise men of Greece said: 'Are not these paradoxes refuted by themselves as being contradictory? Yet in the world to-day even sound reason cannot refute them. Can you believe anything more paradoxical than what is said about the Last Judgment, that then the universe will come to an end, and then the stars of the sky will fall upon the earth, although it is not as big as the stars? Or that people's bodies, what will then be corpses or mummies eaten up by people or reduced to shreds, will be joined to their souls again? When we were in the world, we believed in the immortality of people's souls because of the deductions which reason offered us. We also allotted a place for the blessed, which we called the Elysian fields, believing them to be likenesses or appearances of human beings, though delicate because they are spiritual.

[7] After these speeches, they turned to the second newcomer, who in the world had been a politician. He admitted that he had not believed in life after death, and had thought that the stories he had heard about it were imagination and fiction. 'When I thought about it,' he said, 'I said: "How can souls be bodies? Everything a person is lies dead in the grave. Has he got an eye there to see with? Has he got an ear there to hear with? How can he have a mouth to talk with? If any part of a person lived after death, could it be anything but a kind of ghost? How can a ghost eat and drink? How can it enjoy the delights of married life? Where does it get clothes, house, food, and so on? Ghosts, which are airy forms, look as if they existed, but they do not." It was this and such like that I thought when I was in the world about people's life after death. But now that I have seen everything, and touched everything with my hands, I have been convinced by my very senses that I am a person just as in the world. So much so, that I am unaware that I am not living as I formerly did, but for the fact that now my reason is sounder. I have several times been ashamed of what I thought formerly.'

[8] The philosopher told much the same story about himself. But the difference was that he ascribed all the news he had heard about life after death to opinions and theories which he had learnt from ancient and modern thinkers.

The wise men were astonished to hear this. Those who belonged to the school of Socrates said that this news from earth allowed them to perceive that the interiors of men's minds had little by little been closed up, so that in the world now belief in falsity shone like truth, and silly cleverness like wisdom. They said that the light of wisdom had since their time lowered itself from the interior of the brain to the mouth beneath the nose, where it looked to the eyes like the gleam of lips, and what the mouth had to say from that source seemed like wisdom.

On hearing this one of the recruits there said: 'How stupid are the minds of those who dwell on the earth to-day! I wish the disciples of Heraclitus and Democritus, who laugh at everything or who weep at everything, were here. We should hear a mighty laughter and a mighty weeping.'

When the meeting was over, they gave the three newcomers from earth mementoes of their country; these were copper plates on which some hieroglyphs had been engraved, and these they took away with them.

TCR 694. The third experience.

Some while later I looked towards the city of Athenaeum which I mentioned in the preceding account. I heard an unusual shouting coming from it. There was a certain amount of laughter in the shouting, and a certain amount of indignation in the laughter, and a certain amount of sadness in the indignation. Yet this shouting was not for this reason discordant; it was harmonious, because one element was not together with the other, but one was inside the other. In the spiritual world one can distinguish in sounds the mixture of differing affections.

I asked from a distance, 'What is happening?' 'A messenger,' they said, 'has come from the place where newcomers from the Christian parts of the world first appear, to say that he had heard from three people there, that in the world they had come from they shared the belief of other people that the blessed and happy would after death have total rest from their labours. Since administrative duties, offices and work are labours, they believed they would have rest from them. The three have now been brought by our emissary, and are standing waiting in front of the gate. So a great shouting has started, and they have deliberated and decided that they should not be brought into the Palladium on Parnassium, as in the previous case, but into the large auditorium, so that they can reveal their news from Christendom. Some people have been despatched to introduce them in due form.'

I was in the spirit, and distances for spirits depend upon the condition of their affections, and I then had a desire to see and hear them, so I found myself in their presence, watching them being brought in and hearing them talking.

[2] The older and wiser people were seated at the sides of the auditorium, and the rest in the middle. There was a raised platform in front of them, and to this the three newcomers together with the messenger were conducted by younger men in a solemn procession through the middle of the auditorium. When silence had been obtained, they were greeted by one of the elders present and asked: 'What is the news from earth?'

'There is a lot of news,' they said, 'please tell us about what.'

'What is the news from earth,' replied the elder, 'about our world and about heaven?'

They replied that when recently they had arrived in this world they had heard that there and in heaven there are administrative duties, ministries, public offices, businesses, studies of all sciences and wonderful work. Yet they had believed that after their migration or transfer from the natural world to this spiritual one, they would come into everlasting rest from labours, and what were duties but labours?

[3] To this the elder said: 'Did you understand everlasting rest from labours to mean everlasting leisure, in which you would continually sit or lie, plying your hearts with delights and filling your mouths with joys?' The three newcomers smiled gently at this, and said they had supposed something of the sort.

'What have joy,' they were asked in reply, 'and delights and so happiness got in common with leisure? The result of leisure is that the mind collapses instead of expanding, or one becomes as dead instead of lively. Imagine someone sitting completely at leisure, with his hands folded, his eyes cast down or withdrawn, and imagine him being at the same time surrounded with an aura of cheerfulness; would not his head and body be gripped by lassitude, the lively expression of his face would collapse, and eventually his every fibre would become so relaxed that he would sway to and fro until he fell to the ground? What is it that keeps the whole system of the body stretched and under tension but the stretching of the mind? And what is it that stretches the mind but administrative duties and tasks, so long as they are enjoyable? So I will tell you some news from heaven: there are there administrative duties, ministries, higher and lower law-courts, as well as crafts and work.'

[4] When the three newcomers heard that in heaven there were higher and lower law-courts, they said: 'Why is that? Are not all in heaven inspired and led by God, so that they know what is just and right? What need then is there of judges?'

'In this world,' replied the elder, 'we are taught and learn what is good and true, and what is just and fair, in the same way as in the natural world. We do not learn these things directly from God, but indirectly through others. Every angel, just as every man, thinks what is true and does what is good as if of himself, and this, depending upon the angel's state, is not pure truth and good, but mixed. Among angels too there are simple and wise people, and it will be for the wise to judge, when the simple as the result of their simplicity or their ignorance are in doubt about what is just, or depart from it. [5] But if you, who have still not been long in this world, would be good enough to accompany me to our city, we shall show you everything.'

So they left the auditorium, and some of the elders went with them. They came first to a large library, which was divided into smaller collections of books by subjects. The three newcomers were astonished to see so many books, and said: 'Are there books in this world too? Where do they get parchment and paper, pens and ink?'

'We perceive,' said the elders, 'that you believed in the previous world that this world is empty, because it is spiritual. The reason for this belief of yours is that you entertained the idea that the spiritual is abstract; and that what is abstract is nothing and so as if empty. Yet here everything is in its fulness. Everything here is substantial, not material; material things owe their origin to what is substantial. We who are present here are spiritual people, because we are substantial, and not material. This is why everything that is in the material world exists here in its perfection; so we have books and writing, and much more.'

When the three newcomers heard the term substantial mentioned, they thought this must be so, both because they saw there were books written and because they heard it said that matter originates from substance. To give them further proof of this, they were taken to the houses of scribes, who were making copies of books written by the city's wise men. They looked at the writing and were surprised how neat and elegant it was.

[6] After this they were taken to research institutions, high schools and colleges, and to the places where their literary contests took place. Some of these were called contests of the Maidens of Helicon, some those of the Maidens of Parnassus, some those of the Maidens of Athena and some those of the Maidens of the Spring-waters. They said that they were so named because maidens stand for the affections for branches of knowledge, and everyone's intelligence depends upon his affection for knowledge. The contests so called were spiritual exercises and gymnastics. Later, they were taken around the city to visit controllers, administrators and their officials and these showed them the remarkable work performed by craftsmen in a spiritual manner.

[7] When they had seen this, the elder talked with them again about the everlasting rest from labours the blessed and happy obtain after death. 'Everlasting rest,' he said, 'is not leisure, since that reduces the mind and so the whole body to a state of feebleness, torpidity, stupidness and somnolence. These are not life, but death, much less the everlasting life of the angels in heaven. So everlasting rest is a rest that banishes all those ills and makes people alive. This can only be something that uplifts the mind. So it is some interest or task which excites, enlivens and delights the mind. This depends upon the purpose for which, in which and towards which it aims. This is why the whole of heaven is seen by the Lord as a coherent purpose, and it is the purpose he serves that makes every angel an angel. The pleasure of service carries him along, as a favourable current does a ship, and confers upon him everlasting peace and the rest peace gives. This is what is meant by everlasting rest from labours. The extent to which an angel is alive depends upon his mental commitment arising from service. This is perfectly clear from the fact that the depth of conjugial love anyone enjoys, together with the manliness, potency and delights that accompany it, depend upon his commitment to true service.'

[8] When it had been proved to the three newcomers that everlasting rest is not leisure, but the pleasure of some work that is of service, some girls came with embroidery and sewing, their own handiwork, and presented these to them. Then, as the new spirits took their departure, the girls sang a song expressing in an angelic melody their affection for useful work and its attendant pleasures.

TCR 734. With these words the angel led the way, and was first accompanied by the group which had persuaded itself that heavenly joys were only entertaining meetings and charming conversations. These people were taken by the angel to join gatherings in the northern quarter, whose ideas of the joys of heaven had been in the previous world precisely this. There was a spacious building in which people of this sort were gathered; it contained more than fifty rooms, different ones being allocated to each of the various topics of conversation. In one set of rooms the talk was of what they had seen or heard in the square and the streets; in another there was charming talk of different kinds about the fair sex, with enough jokes included to make everyone present burst out into hilarious laughter. In other rooms they were discussing the news about royal courts, government departments, the political situation, leaks from various secret committees, together with deductions and guesses about what had happened. Other rooms were devoted to trade, others to literary subjects, others to matters concerned with public affairs and moral behaviour, others to ecclesiastical matters and different sects, and so on.

I was allowed to look inside that building, and I saw people running from one room to another, looking for gatherings which answered to their affection and thus to their idea of joy. In the gatherings I saw three sorts of people: some who were more or less panting to speak, some who were anxious to ask questions, and some keen on listening.

[2] The building had four doors, one on each side, and I noticed that many people were breaking up the gatherings and hastening to leave. I followed some of them to the east door, and saw some people sitting near it with long faces. So I went up to them and asked why they were sitting looking so sad. 'The doors of this building,' they replied, 'are kept shut against those who want to leave. It is now three days since we came in, and we have spent our time as we wished in meetings and conversations, and we have become so tired of continual talk that we can hardly bear to listen to the mere noise of it. We were so bored we made our way to this door and knocked; but we were told that the doors of this building are open for people to come in, but not to go out. "Stay and enjoy the joys of heaven," they told us. So we concluded from this reply that we shall have to stay here for ever. As a result our minds have fallen victim to sadness, our chests are beginning now to feel constricted, and we are becoming worried.'

[3] Then the angel addressed them and said: 'This state is death to your joys, the ones you thought were the only heavenly ones, though they are but concomitant to heavenly joys.' 'What then,' they asked the angel, 'is heavenly joy?'

The angel replied briefly as follows: 'It is the pleasure of doing something which is of service to oneself or others. This pleasure derives its essence from love, and its coming-into-being from wisdom. The pleasure of service arising from love by means of wisdom is the soul and life of all heavenly joys. There are in the heavens most entertaining meetings, which cheer the angels' minds, delight their spirits, gladden their hearts and refresh their bodies. But these take place after they have performed services in their occupations and tasks. This is what gives the soul and life to all their pleasures and amusements. But if you deprive them of that soul or life, the concomitant joys one after another cease to be joys, first becoming matters of indifference, and then worthless, and finally the source of sadness and worry.'

When he had said this, the door was opened and the people sitting near leaped out. They hurried away home, each to his own occupation and his own task, and so were revived.

TCR 692. At this point I will add some accounts of experiences, of which this is the first.

When I was going home from the school of wisdom, I saw on the way an angel dressed in blue. He came and walked beside me, and said: 'I see you have come away from the school of wisdom, and that you took great pleasure in what you heard there. But I perceive that you are not fully in our world, because you are at the same time in the natural world, so you do not know about our Olympic contests. At these the wise men of antiquity meet, and learn from newcomers from your world what changes of state and what vicissitudes wisdom has so far undergone and is still undergoing. If you like, I will take you to the place where many of the wise men of antiquity live together with their sons, that is, their disciples.'

So he took me to a place on the border between the north and the east, and when I had a view in that direction from a piece of high ground, I caught sight of a city with two hills at one side, the one nearer the city being the lower of the two. 'This city,' he told me, 'is called Athenaeum, the lower hill is called Parnassium, the higher Heliconeum. They bear these names because in the city and its neighbourhood the wise men of ancient Greece live, men such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristippus and Xenophon, with their disciples and recruits.'

I asked about Plato and Aristotle. He told me that they and their followers were in a different region, because they had taught rational arguments concerned with the understanding, but the people here had taught about moral issues which relate to life.

[2] He said that scholars from the city of Athenaeum were frequently sent on embassies to the educated Christians, to report what are their present thoughts about God, the creation of the universe, the immortality of the soul, the condition of man relative to that of animals and other subjects apposite to interior wisdom. He told me that the crier had announced a meeting for that day, a sign that their emissaries had met some newcomers from the earth and heard some interesting news. We saw a lot of people coming out of the city and its neighbourhood, some of them with laurel-wreaths on their heads, some holding palm-fronds in their hands, some with books under their arms, and some with pens tucked under the hair of the left temple.

[3] We joined them and went up together, and found on the hill an octagonal palace, which they called the Palladium. When we went in we found eight hexagonal recesses, in each of which was a bookcase, as well as a table at which those who wore laurels sat down. In the Palladium itself we saw seats carved out of stone, on which the remainder seated themselves.

Then a door on the left was opened and by it two newcomers from the earth were brought in. When they had been welcomed, one of those wearing laurels asked them, 'What news is there from earth?'

'The news,' they said, 'is that men have been found in forests resembling animals, or animals resembling men. They recognised from their faces and bodies that they had been born men, but that at the age of two or three they had been lost or abandoned in the forests. They said that these creatures could not voice any of their thoughts, nor learn how to make articulate sounds so as to utter words. Neither did they know what food was fit for them, as animals do, but they put in their mouths what grew in the forest whether clean or dirty; and much more of the same kind. From these facts some of our learned men made many guesses and some made many deductions about the condition of men relative to that of animals.

[4] On hearing this some of the wise men of antiquity asked, 'What were their guesses and deductions from these facts?' The newcomers replied that there was a great deal, but it could be reduced to the following:

1. Man by his nature and also from birth is more stupid and so more vile than any animal, and if not taught becomes like one.

2. He can be taught because he has learnt to make articulate sounds, and so to talk; and by this means he has begun to express his thoughts; and by degrees he has done so more and more, until he could put together the laws of living together, many of which, however, have been stamped upon animals from birth.

3. Animals equally with men are capable of reasoning.

4. If therefore animals could talk, they would reason as cleverly on all subjects as men. A proof of this is that they think from reason and prudence just as much as men.

5. The understanding is merely a modification of sunlight with the co-operation of heat by means of the ether, so that it is simply an activity of more inward nature. This activity can be raised to such a height that it looks like wisdom.

6. It is therefore useless to believe that man lives after death any more than an animal does, except that perhaps for a few days after death an exhalation of the life of the body may appear as a cloud in the form of a ghost, before being dispersed into nature. This is very much as when a twig picked out of the ashes of a fire may appear to retain the likeness of its shape.

7. Consequently religion, which teaches that life continues after death, is an invention so that the simple may be kept inwardly obedient by its laws, just as they are kept outwardly obedient by the civil law.

They added that these were the reasonings of those who were only clever, but not intelligent. 'What do the intelligent think?' they asked. The reply was that they had not heard, but they were of the opinion that they thought the same.

[5] On hearing this all who were sitting at the tables said: 'What times they live in on earth now! What sad changes wisdom has undergone! It seems to have turned into foolish cleverness. The sun has set and is beneath the earth, diametrically opposite its noon position. How can anyone fail to know from the evidence of the people abandoned and then found in the forests, that this is what man is like if he receives no instruction? Surely he is what he is taught to be. By birth he is more ignorant than animals. He must then learn to walk and to talk. If he did not learn to walk, would he stand upright on his feet? And if he did not learn to talk, would he be able to utter any of his thoughts? Surely everyone is what he is taught to be, crazy if taught falsities, wise if taught truths? And if he is crazy from being taught falsities does he not imagine himself to be wiser than the man who is wise from being taught truths? Are there not foolish and deranged people who are no more human beings than those who were found in the forests? Are not those who have lost their memory like them?

[6] 'From both these sets of facts we draw the conclusion that a man is not a man without instruction, and is not an animal either, but he is a form capable of receiving in himself what makes a man human, so that he is not born a man, but becomes one. Man has by birth a form such that he can be an instrument for the reception of life from God, with a view to being a subject into which God can put all good, and by union with Himself make blessed for ever. We perceive from what you say that wisdom at the present time is so far extinct or turned to foolishness, that there is total ignorance about the terms upon which human beings live as compared to those on which animals live. As a result, they do not know either anything about how a person lives after death. But those who are able, but unwilling, to know about this, and so deny its reality, as many of you Christians do, can be likened to the people found in the forests. It is not that they have become so stupid through being deprived of instruction, but they have made themselves stupid by relying on the fallacies of the senses, which are the darkness that conceals truths.'

[7] But then someone standing in the middle of the Palladium and holding a palm-frond in his hand said: 'Please unravel this mystery. How could man having been created a form of God be changed into the form of a devil? I am well aware that the angels of heaven are forms of God, and the angels of hell are forms of the devil, and that these two are completely opposite forms, one of madness, the other of wisdom. Tell me, then, how could man created as a form of God pass from daylight into such a night as to be able to deny the existence of God and everlasting life?'

The teachers replied one after the other, first the Pythagoreans, then the Socratics, and afterwards the rest. But among them there was a certain follower of Plato, who was the last to speak. His opinion, which was adopted, went like this. The people of the age of Saturn, the golden age, knew and acknowledged that they were forms for the reception of life from God, and consequently they had wisdom written upon their souls and hearts, so that they saw truth by the light of truth, and truths enabled them to perceive good by the pleasure of its love. 'But,' he said, 'as in the following periods the human race retreated from the acknowledgment that all the truths of wisdom and thus all the good of love they had was continually flowing in from God, they ceased to be dwelling-places of God, and then too they stopped talking with God and mixing with angels. For the interiors of their minds were diverted from their previous direction, which was being raised upwards by God towards God, and they were turned further and further aside, outwards to the world, and so directed by God to God by way of the world. Finally they were turned in the opposite direction, which is downwards towards oneself. Because a person who is inwardly turned upside down or away cannot look to God, people separated themselves from God and became forms of hell, and so of the devil.

'It follows from this that in the earliest ages people acknowledged with heart and soul that all the good of love, and so all the truth of wisdom, came to them from God, and also that this good and truth were God's in them, so that they were purely receivers of life from God; which is why they were called images of God, sons of God and born of God. But in the following ages people no longer acknowledged this with their heart and soul, but by some incorrect belief, later by historical faith and finally merely professing it with the lips. Acknowledging anything of this kind merely by professing it with the lips is not acknowledging it, and is in fact denying it at heart.

[8] 'These facts enable us to see what wisdom is like on earth among present-day Christians. They can still be inspired by God as the result of a written revelation, while not being aware of the difference between man and an animal. Thus many people believe that if man lives after death, so too must an animal; or because an animal does not live after death, neither can man. Surely our spiritual light, which enlightens our mental vision, is in their case turned into thick darkness; and their natural light, which only enlightens the bodily vision, has become dazzling light to them?'

[9] After this speech all turned to the two newcomers and thanked them for coming and bringing their report; and they begged them to carry back to their brethren a report of what they had heard. The newcomers replied that they would strengthen their people in their belief in this truth, that in so far as they attribute all the good of charity and all the truth of faith to the Lord and not to themselves, so far are they human beings and so far do they become angels of heaven.

This passage is repeated from CL 156a-156e (151-154 bis).

TCR 693. The second experience.

Some weeks later I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'There is to be another meeting on Parnassium; come and we will show you the way.' I went and when I came near I saw someone with a trumpet standing on Heliconeum, announcing and summoning a meeting, Then I saw people coming up from the city of Athenaeum and its neighbourhood as before, and among them three newcomers from the world. The three were from the Christians, one a priest, the second a politician, and the third a philosopher. On the way the people entertained them with talk on various subjects, especially about the wise men of antiquity, whom they mentioned by name, The three asked whether they would see them. They were told that they would see them, and if they wished greet them, since they were easy to approach.

They asked about Demosthenes, Diogenes and Epicurus. 'Demosthenes,' they said 'is not here but where Plato lives. Diogenes with his school lives under Heliconeum, because he regards worldly matters as of no value and reflects on heavenly matters. Epicurus lives on the western boundary and does not visit us, because we make a distinction between good and evil affections; we hold that good affections go along with wisdom, and evil affections are opposed to wisdom.'

[2] When they had climbed the hill of Parnassium, some guards there brought water from its spring in crystal goblets, saying: 'This is water from the spring mentioned by the ancient writers of fables as having been broken open by the hoof of the horse Pegasus and later consecrated by the Nine Maidens. But by the winged horse Pegasus the ancients meant the understanding of truth by which comes wisdom. The hooves of its feet meant the experiences which give rise to natural intelligence; and by the Nine Maidens they meant knowledge and learning of every kind. These stories are nowadays called fables, but were correspondences, a manner of expression the earliest people used.'

'Don't be surprised,' their companions told the three newcomers. 'The guards are taught to speak like this. We understand by drinking the water from the spring being taught about truths, and by means of truths about different kinds of good, and so to be wise.'

[3] After this they went into the Palladium and with them the three newcomers from the world, the priest, the politician and the philosopher. Then those with laurel wreaths who were sitting at the tables asked: 'What news is there from earth?'

'The news,' they replied, 'is that a certain person is claiming to talk with angels, and to have his sight opened into the spiritual world just as much as he has it opened into the natural world. He reports a great deal of news from there, including the following. A person, he says, lives as a person after death, just as he previously lived in the world. He sees, hears and talks, just as he did previously in the world. He is dressed and wears adornments just as previously in the world. He feels hunger and thirst, eats and drinks, just as previously in the world. He enjoys the delights of married life, just as previously in the world. He goes to sleep and wakes up, just as previously in the world. That world has lands and lakes, mountains and hills, plains and valleys, springs and rivers, parks and woodland; as well as palaces and houses, towns and villages, just as the natural world. There are writings and books there, there are official duties and business enterprises, precious stones, gold and silver. In short, every single thing that there is on earth is to be found in heaven, and in infinitely greater perfection. The only difference is that everything in the spiritual world is of spiritual origin, and so is spiritual, since it comes from the sun there, which is pure love. Everything in the natural world is of natural origin, and so is natural and material, because it comes from the sun there which is pure fire. In short, a person after death is perfectly human, in fact, a more perfect person than he was previously in the world. For previously in the world he had a material body, but in the spiritual world he has a spiritual body.'

[4] When this was said, the wise men of antiquity asked what the people on earth thought about this. 'We,' said the three, 'know that this is true, because we are here and have looked at and tested everything. But we shall tell you what was said and what reasonings were employed on earth.'

Then the priest said: 'The clergy like me, when they first heard these things, called them visions, then fictions, and later said that the man had seen ghosts. Finally they were perplexed and said, "Believe it if you like. We have up to now taught that a person will not have a body after death, until the day of the Last Judgment." '

'Are there not intelligent men,' they asked, 'among them, who can prove and convince them of the truth that a person lives on after death?'

[5] The priest said that there were some who proved it but failed to convince. 'Those who offer proofs,' he said, 'assert that it is contrary to sound reason to believe that a person does not go on living as a person before the day of the Last Judgment, and in the meantime is a soul without a body. "What is a soul and where does it live in the meanwhile? Is it more than a breath, a puff of wind flying through the air, or something lodged in the middle of the earth, where its Pu is. Do the souls of Adam and Eve, and of all their successors for six thousand years or sixty centuries still flit about the universe, or are they shut up in the bowels of the earth, awaiting the Last Judgment? Is there anything more worrying and pitiable than such a period of waiting? Could not their fate be compared to that of prisoners in jails chained hand and foot? If that is man's fate after death, would it not be better to have been born a donkey than a man? Surely it is unreasonable to believe that a soul can be clothed again in its body, when the body has been eaten by worms, rats or fish? Or that some new body will be wrapped around a bony skeleton which has been parched by the sun or has collapsed into dust? How can such stinking bits of corpse be gathered together and united with souls?" But when they hear such arguments, they do not offer any reasonable answer, but cling to their faith, saying; "We keep our reason obedient to our faith." Their reply to the question about all being gathered from the grave on the day of the Last Judgment is: "This is the task of omnipotence," and when they start talking about omnipotence and faith, reason flies out of the window. I can assure you that then sound reason is treated as nothing, and some regard it as a mirage. They are actually able to tell sound reason that it is crazy.'

[6] On hearing this the wise men of Greece said: 'Are not these paradoxes refuted by themselves as being contradictory? Yet in the world to-day even sound reason cannot refute them. Can you believe anything more paradoxical than what is said about the Last Judgment, that then the universe will come to an end, and then the stars of the sky will fall upon the earth, although it is not as big as the stars? Or that people's bodies, what will then be corpses or mummies eaten up by people or reduced to shreds, will be joined to their souls again? When we were in the world, we believed in the immortality of people's souls because of the deductions which reason offered us. We also allotted a place for the blessed, which we called the Elysian fields, believing them to be likenesses or appearances of human beings, though delicate because they are spiritual.

[7] After these speeches, they turned to the second newcomer, who in the world had been a politician. He admitted that he had not believed in life after death, and had thought that the stories he had heard about it were imagination and fiction. 'When I thought about it,' he said, 'I said: "How can souls be bodies? Everything a person is lies dead in the grave. Has he got an eye there to see with? Has he got an ear there to hear with? How can he have a mouth to talk with? If any part of a person lived after death, could it be anything but a kind of ghost? How can a ghost eat and drink? How can it enjoy the delights of married life? Where does it get clothes, house, food, and so on? Ghosts, which are airy forms, look as if they existed, but they do not." It was this and such like that I thought when I was in the world about people's life after death. But now that I have seen everything, and touched everything with my hands, I have been convinced by my very senses that I am a person just as in the world. So much so, that I am unaware that I am not living as I formerly did, but for the fact that now my reason is sounder. I have several times been ashamed of what I thought formerly.'

[8] The philosopher told much the same story about himself. But the difference was that he ascribed all the news he had heard about life after death to opinions and theories which he had learnt from ancient and modern thinkers.

The wise men were astonished to hear this. Those who belonged to the school of Socrates said that this news from earth allowed them to perceive that the interiors of men's minds had little by little been closed up, so that in the world now belief in falsity shone like truth, and silly cleverness like wisdom. They said that the light of wisdom had since their time lowered itself from the interior of the brain to the mouth beneath the nose, where it looked to the eyes like the gleam of lips, and what the mouth had to say from that source seemed like wisdom.

On hearing this one of the recruits there said: 'How stupid are the minds of those who dwell on the earth to-day! I wish the disciples of Heraclitus and Democritus, who laugh at everything or who weep at everything, were here. We should hear a mighty laughter and a mighty weeping.'

When the meeting was over, they gave the three newcomers from earth mementoes of their country; these were copper plates on which some hieroglyphs had been engraved, and these they took away with them.

This is repeated from CL 182.

TCR 694. The third experience.

Some while later I looked towards the city of Athenaeum which I mentioned in the preceding account. I heard an unusual shouting coming from it. There was a certain amount of laughter in the shouting, and a certain amount of indignation in the laughter, and a certain amount of sadness in the indignation. Yet this shouting was not for this reason discordant; it was harmonious, because one element was not together with the other, but one was inside the other. In the spiritual world one can distinguish in sounds the mixture of differing affections.

I asked from a distance, 'What is happening?' 'A messenger,' they said, 'has come from the place where newcomers from the Christian parts of the world first appear, to say that he had heard from three people there, that in the world they had come from they shared the belief of other people that the blessed and happy would after death have total rest from their labours. Since administrative duties, offices and work are labours, they believed they would have rest from them. The three have now been brought by our emissary, and are standing waiting in front of the gate. So a great shouting has started, and they have deliberated and decided that they should not be brought into the Palladium on Parnassium, as in the previous case, but into the large auditorium, so that they can reveal their news from Christendom. Some people have been despatched to introduce them in due form.'

I was in the spirit, and distances for spirits depend upon the condition of their affections, and I then had a desire to see and hear them, so I found myself in their presence, watching them being brought in and hearing them talking.

[2] The older and wiser people were seated at the sides of the auditorium, and the rest in the middle. There was a raised platform in front of them, and to this the three newcomers together with the messenger were conducted by younger men in a solemn procession through the middle of the auditorium. When silence had been obtained, they were greeted by one of the elders present and asked:  What is the news from earth? 

'There is a lot of news,' they said, 'please tell us about what.'

'What is the news from earth,' replied the elder, 'about our world and about heaven?'

They replied that when recently they had arrived in this world they had heard that there and in heaven there are administrative duties, ministries, public offices, businesses, studies of all sciences and wonderful work. Yet they had believed that after their migration or transfer from the natural world to this spiritual one, they would come into everlasting rest from labours, and what were duties but labours?

[3] To this the elder said: 'Did you understand everlasting rest from labours to mean everlasting leisure, in which you would continually sit or lie, plying your hearts with delights and filling your mouths with joys?' The three newcomers smiled gently at this, and said they had supposed something of the sort.

'What have joy,' they were asked in reply, 'and delights and so happiness got in common with leisure? The result of leisure is that the mind collapses instead of expanding, or one becomes as dead instead of lively. Imagine someone sitting completely at leisure, with his hands folded, his eyes cast down or withdrawn, and imagine him being at the same time surrounded with an aura of cheerfulness; would not his head and body be gripped by lassitude, the lively expression of his face would collapse, and eventually his every fibre would become so relaxed that he would sway to and fro until he fell to the ground? What is it that keeps the whole system of the body stretched and under tension but the stretching of the mind? And what is it that stretches the mind but administrative duties and tasks, so long as they are enjoyable? So I will tell you some news from heaven: there are there administrative duties, ministries, higher and lower law-courts, as well as crafts and work.'

[4] When the three newcomers heard that in heaven there were higher and lower law-courts, they said: 'Why is that? Are not all in heaven inspired and led by God, so that they know what is just and right? What need then is there of judges?'

'In this world,' replied the elder, 'we are taught and learn what is good and true, and what is just and fair, in the same way as in the natural world. We do not learn these things directly from God, but indirectly through others. Every angel, just as every man, thinks what is true and does what is good as if of himself, and this, depending upon the angel's state, is not pure truth and good, but mixed. Among angels too there are simple and wise people, and it will be for the wise to judge, when the simple as the result of their simplicity or their ignorance are in doubt about what is just, or depart from it. [5] But if you, who have still not been long in this world, would be good enough to accompany me to our city, we shall show you everything.'

So they left the auditorium, and some of the elders went with them. They came first to a large library, which was divided into smaller collections of books by subjects. The three newcomers were astonished to see so many books, and said: 'Are there books in this world too? Where do they get parchment and paper, pens and ink?'

'We perceive,' said the elders, 'that you believed in the previous world that this world is empty, because it is spiritual. The reason for this belief of yours is that you entertained the idea that the spiritual is abstract; and that what is abstract is nothing and so as if empty. Yet here everything is in its fulness. Everything here is substantial, not material; material things owe their origin to what is substantial. We who are present here are spiritual people, because we are substantial, and not material. This is why everything that is in the material world exists here in its perfection; so we have books and writing, and much more.'

When the three newcomers heard the term substantial mentioned, they thought this must be so, both because they saw there were books written and because they heard it said that matter originates from substance. To give them further proof of this, they were taken to the houses of scribes, who were making copies of books written by the city's wise men. They looked at the writing and were surprised how neat and elegant it was.

[6] After this they were taken to research institutions, high schools and colleges, and to the places where their literary contests took place. Some of these were called contests of the Maidens of Helicon, some those of the Maidens of Parnassus, some those of the Maidens of Athena and some those of the Maidens of the Spring-waters. They said that they were so named because maidens stand for the affections for branches of knowledge, and everyone's intelligence depends upon his affection for knowledge. The contests so called were spiritual exercises and gymnastics. Later, they were taken around the city to visit controllers, administrators and their officials and these showed them the remarkable work performed by craftsmen in a spiritual manner.

[7] When they had seen this, the elder talked with them again about the everlasting rest from labours the blessed and happy obtain after death. 'Everlasting rest,' he said, 'is not leisure, since that reduces the mind and so the whole body to a state of feebleness, torpidity, stupidness and somnolence. These are not life, but death, much less the everlasting life of the angels in heaven. So everlasting rest is a rest that banishes all those ills and makes people alive. This can only be something that uplifts the mind. So it is some interest or task which excites, enlivens and delights the mind. This depends upon the purpose for which, in which and towards which it aims. This is why the whole of heaven is seen by the Lord as a coherent purpose, and it is the purpose he serves that makes every angel an angel. The pleasure of service carries him along, as a favourable current does a ship, and confers upon him everlasting peace and the rest peace gives. This is what is meant by everlasting rest from labours. The extent to which an angel is alive depends upon his mental commitment arising from service. This is perfectly clear from the fact that the depth of conjugial love anyone enjoys, together with the manliness, potency and delights that accompany it, depend upon his commitment to true service.'

[8] When it had been proved to the three newcomers that everlasting rest is not leisure, but the pleasure of some work that is of service, some girls came with embroidery and sewing, their own handiwork, and presented these to them. Then, as the new spirits took their departure, the girls sang a song expressing in an angelic melody their affection for useful work and its attendant pleasures.

This is repeated from CL 207.

TCR 695. The fourth experience.

Most people today who believe in a life after death also believe that in heaven their only thoughts will be devotions, their only utterances prayers, and both of these together with their facial expressions and bodily acts will be nothing but ways of glorifying God. So they imagine that the only homes they will have will be places of worship or consecrated buildings, and so they will all be priests of God. But I can solemnly state that in that life the rites of the church do not take up more of people's minds or houses than they do where God is worshipped in the world, though in a purer and more inward way. But there are to be found there all kinds of matters requiring secular attention, and all sorts of matters requiring rational learning, and these of the highest degree,

[2] One day I was carried off into heaven and brought to a society, where wise men lived who in ancient times had been distinguished for the learning they had gained from deep study and meditation on matters within the scope of reason, and which at the same time were of service. Now they were in heaven because they had believed in God, and now believed in the Lord, and they had loved the neighbour as themselves. I was subsequently taken to a meeting they held and asked where I came from. I revealed that I was in the body in the natural world, but in the spirit in their spiritual world.

These angels were delighted to hear this and kept asking: 'In the world where you are in the body what do people know and understand about inflow?'

After thinking what I could recollect on the subject from conversations and from the writings of famous people, I replied that they are still ignorant of any inflow from the spiritual world into the natural world, though they know of the inflow of nature into objects in nature. For instance, the inflow of heat and light from the sun into living bodies, and also into trees and plants, which causes them to become alive; and in the opposite case the inflow of cold into the same bodies, which causes their death. Moreover they know about the inflow of light into the eyes bringing about sight, the inflow of sound into the ears bringing about hearing, the inflow of smell into the nostrils bringing about smelling, and so on.

[3] Apart from these instances the scholars of the present time reason in different ways about the inflow from the soul into the body, and from the body into the soul. On this subject there are three theories current. One party argues whether there is an inflow from the soul into the body, which they call 'incidental' because of the chance incidence of things on the bodily senses. Or they argue whether there is an inflow from the body into the soul, which they term 'physical', because objects impinge on the senses and from these on the soul. Or whether there is a simultaneous and instantaneous inflow both into the body and the soul together, to which they apply the term 'pre-established harmony'. Yet each of these parties thinks that the inflow they believe in exists inside the realm of nature.

Some people believe that the soul is a particle or drop of ether, some that it is a tiny ball or speck of heat and light, some that it is some entity hidden in the brain. But whatever it is they consider the soul to be, they call it spiritual; but by spiritual they mean something purer but natural, since they know nothing of the spiritual world and the inflow from it into the natural world, so that they remain restricted to the natural sphere. Within this they climb up and drop down, and they soar into it like eagles into the air. Those who are limited to nature are like the natives of an island in the sea who are unaware of the existence of any land but theirs; or they are like fish in a river unaware of the existence of air up above their waters. As a result when anyone mentions the existence of a world apart from theirs inhabited by angels and spirits, and describes this as the source of all inflow into human beings, as well as into trees at a more inward level, they stand astonished, as if they had been told of visions of ghosts, or of nonsense from astrologers.

[4] Apart from the philosophers, people nowadays, in the world in which I live in the body, are unable to think and talk about any other sort of inflow than that of wine into glasses, of food and drink into the stomach, of taste into the tongue, and perhaps of the inflow of air into the lungs, and so on. But if these people are told anything about the inflow from the spiritual world into the natural one, they say: 'Let it flow in, if it does; what pleasure or use is there in knowing this?' Off they go, and then afterwards on talking about what they are told about inflow, they play about with it, as some people play with pebbles, running them through their fingers.

[5] Afterwards I talked with those angels about the amazing effects caused by the inflow from the spiritual world into the natural one. For instance, we talked about the way caterpillars turn into butterflies, about bees and drones, and the astonishing things the silkworm does, and also spiders; how people on earth attribute all these things to the light and heat of the sun, and so to nature. What has often astonished me is that they use these facts to strengthen their leaning towards nature, and any such strengthening plunges their minds into sleep and oblivion, so that they become atheists.

[6] After this I related the amazing facts about plants, how they all progress from the seed in due sequence until they produce new seeds, exactly as if the earth knew how to provide and adapt its elements to the reproductive principle of the seed; and from this to bring forth a shoot, to broaden this to form a stem, to send forth branches from this, to clothe these with leaves, and later to embellish them with flowers, and beginning from their interiors to produce fruits, and by means of these produce as offspring seeds from which the plant can be born again. But because these things are always to be seen and have become familiar, usual and commonplace by constant repetition, they are not looked on as amazing, but as simply the effects of nature. People hold this view solely because they are ignorant of the existence of a spiritual world, working from within on and actuating every single thing which comes into existence and is formed in the world of nature and upon the natural earth, activating sensation and movement as the human mind does in the body. Nor do they know that every detail of nature is as it were a tunic, sheath or clothing enclosing spiritual things and serving at the lowest level to bring about the effects corresponding to the purpose of God the Creator.

TCR 696. The fifth experience.

I once prayed the Lord to be allowed to talk with the disciples of Aristotle, and at the same time with the disciples of Descartes and those of Leibnitz, in order to learn what opinions they held on the interplay between the soul and the body. My prayer was answered by the appearance of nine men, three Aristotelians, three Cartesians and three Leibnitzians. They stood round me, the admirers of Aristotle on the left, the followers of Descartes on the right, and the supporters of Leibnitz behind me. A long way off, and separated by gaps, were to be seen three men apparently wearing laurel-wreaths; and the perception flowing in from heaven made me aware that these were the actual champions or founders of the schools. Another man stood behind Leibnitz holding on to the sleeve of his robe; I was told that he was Wolff.

[2] The nine men on seeing one another began with polite greetings and conversation. But soon afterwards a spirit rose up from the underworld carrying a torch in his right hand, which he shook in their faces. This made them three by three to become enemies and they glowered at one another; for they were gripped by a desire to quarrel and dispute.

The Aristotelians, who were also Schoolmen, began by saying: 'Anyone can see that objects flow into the soul by means of the senses, like anyone entering a room through the door, and that what the soul thinks depends upon the inflow. When a lover sees a pretty girl or his bride, does not his eye sparkle and transmit love for her to the soul? When the miser sees bags full of money, is not every one of his senses inflamed with longing from them, and as a result he transmits this to the soul, exciting a desire to possess them? When some haughty person hears himself being praised by another, does he not prick up his ears, and they transmit the compliments to the soul? The bodily senses are like fore-courts offering the only way in to the soul, These and countless similar examples must lead one to conclude that the inflow is from nature, in other words, physical.'

[3] On hearing this the Cartesians clapped their fingers to their brows, and now took them away to say: 'Dear, dear, you are speaking from appearances. Are you not aware that it is not the eye which loves a girl or a bride, but the soul? Likewise, the bodily sense does not desire the money in the bag of itself, but under the control of the soul. Likewise, neither do the ears in any other sense scoop up the compliments paid by toadies. Surely it is perception which produces sensation? And perception is a function of the soul, not of an organ. Tell us, if you can, what it is other than thought which makes the tongue and the lips speak? What is it but the will that makes the hands work? Thought and will are functions of the soul. So what is it but the soul which makes the eye see, the ears hear, and the remaining sense-organs feel, pay attention and notice? These and countless other examples allow everyone, whose wisdom goes beyond bodily sense-impressions, to conclude that there is no inflow from the body into the soul, but from the soul into the body. We call this incidental inflow, or spiritual inflow.'

[4] On hearing this three men, who had been standing behind the previously mentioned groups of three and were supporters of Leibnitz, raised their voices and said: 'We have listened to the arguments on either side and compared them, and we have noticed that on many points one party prevails and on many others another. So, if we may, we should like to settle the dispute.'

When they were asked how, they said: 'There is no inflow from the soul into the body nor from the body into the soul, but both activities take place concordantly and instantaneously. This has been elegantly named by a famous writer, who called it pre-established harmony.'

[5] On the conclusion of this debate, the spirit carrying the torch appeared again, but now holding it in his left hand. He shook it towards the backs of their heads, so causing the ideas of all of them to become confused, and they cried out: 'Our soul does not know, neither does our body, which side to take. So let us draw lots to settle the dispute, and we will support the view represented by the first lot drawn.'

So they took three slips of paper and wrote on one 'Physical Inflow', on the second 'Spiritual Inflow' and on the third 'Pre-established Harmony'. They put the three slips into a hat held upside down and selected someone to draw one. He put his hand in and grasped with his hand the one on which was written 'Spiritual Inflow'. When they saw this and read it out, they all said, some however with a clear and fluent voice, some with a dull and withdrawn voice, 'Let us support this, since it came out first.' Then an angel suddenly appeared standing by, who said: 'Do not believe that the paper favouring Spiritual Inflow came out by chance; it was contrived. For your ideas are so confused that you cannot see its truth, but the truth of itself presented itself to his hand, so that you would support it.'

TCR 697. The sixth experience.

I once saw not far from me an atmospheric phenomenon. I saw a cloud divided into smaller clouds, some of which were blue and others dark; and I saw these as it were colliding with one another. They were striped with glittering rays which crossed them; sometimes the stripes had sharp tips like sword-points, at other times they appeared square-ended like broken off swords. Sometimes the stripes ran out so as to meet, at other times they withdrew into themselves, rather like boxers. So it looked as if these little clouds of varied colours were fighting one another, but they were playing. Since this atmospheric display took place not far from me, I lifted up my eyes and looking hard I saw boys, young men and old men entering a building constructed of marble with also porphyry in its foundations. The phenomenon was over this building. Then I asked one of those who were going in what was happening there. 'It is a high school,' he replied, 'where young men are given an introduction to various forms of wisdom.'

[2] On hearing this I went in with them. I was in the spirit, that is, in much the same state as people in the spiritual world, those who are called spirits and angels. Inside the school there was in front a chair, in the middle were benches, around the sides seats, and a gallery over the entrance. The chair was for the young men who were to take turns to reply to the question set. The benches were for the audience, the seats at the sides for those who had previously given wise answers, and the gallery for the older men who were to be umpires and judges. In the middle of the gallery there was a platform, where a wise man, called the headmaster, was seated. He put the questions, and the young men answered these from the chair.

When all were assembled, the man on the platform got up and said: 'Please now reply to this question and answer it if you can: what is the soul and what is its nature?'

[3] On hearing this all were astonished and began to murmur; and some of the crowd on the benches cried out: 'What man is there from the age of Saturn down to our times who has been able by any effort of rational thought to see and grasp what the soul is, much less what its nature is. Surely this is beyond the capacity of anyone's understanding?'

But people in the gallery replied to this: 'This is not beyond the understanding, but within its capacity and purview. just give a reply.'

So the young men got up who had been chosen that day to mount the chair and reply to the questions. There were five of them, who had been examined by the elders and found to be outstandingly clever. They were then sitting on padded seats at the sides of the chair. They then took it in turn, according to the order in which they sat, to climb up to the chair. As each went up, he put on a tunic of opalescent silk and over it a gown of soft wool with flowers woven in it, and a hat on his head with a chaplet of roses surrounded by small sapphires on the crown.

[4] Then I saw the first man so clothed go up and say: 'What the Soul is and what its nature is has not been revealed to anyone since the first day of creation. It is a secret which God alone keeps in His treasure-houses. But this much has been discovered, that the soul dwells in man like a queen. However the location of its residence has been the subject of conjecture among learned experts. Some have placed it in the small tubercle between the cerebrum and the cerebellum known as the pineal gland. They have guessed that this was the seat of the soul because the whole person is controlled from those two brains, and that tubercle regulates them. So what governs the two brains at its whim, must also govern the whole person from head to heel. This view,' he said, 'has been regarded by many in the world as true or very probable, but a later age has rejected it as a mere invention.'

[5] On finishing this speech he took off the gown, tunic and hat, and the second of those chosen put them on and so took the chair. His pronouncement about the soul was that in the whole of heaven and in the whole of the world there is no one who knows what the soul is and what its nature is. 'This much,' he said, 'we know, that the soul exists and is in man; but where it is, is a matter of guesswork. This is certain, that it is in the head, since that is where the understanding thinks and the will forms its resolutions; and it is on the face in front of the head that man's five sense organs are to be found. What gives all of these life is the soul which resides inside the head; but I would not dare to express an opinion on where in it its residence is. I have agreed with those who have assigned to it a lodging in the three ventricles of the brain; at other times with those who placed it in the corpora striata there, at other times with those who placed it in the medullary substance of either brain, at other times with those who placed it in the cortical substance, at others with those who placed it in the dura mater. For there was no lack of points to be made in favour of each one of these seats.

The point in favour of the three ventricles in the brain was that they are the receptacles of the animal spirits and all the brain's lymphs. The points in favour of the corpora striata were that these compose the marrow through which the nerves emerge, and by means of which either part of the brain has continuous extensions to the spine; and from one or other of these the fibres emerge which compose the whole structure of the body. The points in favour of the medullary substance of either brain were that it is a gathering and massing together of all the fibres which form the starting point for the development of the whole person. The point in favour of the cortical substance was that here are the first and last ends, and so the beginnings of all fibres, and so of sensation and movement. The point in favour of the dura mater was that it is the shared covering of either brain, from where it stretches in a kind of continuity over the heart and the viscera of the body. For my part, I do not rate one of these theories as superior to another. Will you please, decide and choose which is the best theory.'

[6] After saying this he came down from the chair and passed on the tunic, gown and hat to the third, who went up to the chair and spoke as follows. 'How can I at my age deal with such a lofty subject? I appeal to the learned people seated at the sides here, I appeal to you wise people in the gallery, in fact I appeal to the angels of the highest heaven: can anyone by the light of his reason form for himself any idea of the soul? As regards its seat in man, I can offer as good a guess as anyone else. My guess is that it is in the heart and consequently in the blood. My reason for this is that the heart by means of the blood from it controls both the body and the head. There is a large blood-vessel called the aorta emerging from it and reaching the whole of the body; and there are blood-vessels called carotid arteries emerging from it and reaching the whole of the head. As a result it is universally agreed that the soul by means of blood from the heart sustains, nourishes and gives life to the whole organic system of both the body and the head. An additional reason for believing this assertion is the fact that Holy Scripture says so many times 'soul and heart'. For instance, you are to love God 'with all your soul and with all your heart'; and God creates in man 'a new soul and a new heart' (Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 26:16; Jer. 32:41; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27, and elsewhere). It also says explicitly that the blood is the soul of the flesh (Lev. 17:11, 14).' On hearing this some people raised their voices to cry 'Very learned!'; they were members of the clergy.

[7] After this the fourth put on the garments worn by the previous speaker, and on taking the chair said: 'I too suspect that there is no one of such a sharp and subtle mind as to be able to discern what the soul is and what its nature is. I think therefore that anyone who wishes to scrutinise it has his subtlety exhausted by useless exertions. But from childhood up I have persisted in believing the opinion of the ancients, that man's soul is in the whole of him and in every part of him, and so is as much in his head and each of its parts as in the body and each of its parts. It is a useless invention of modern scholars to locate its seat in some part rather than everywhere. Also the soul is a spiritual substance, to which neither extension nor position can be attributed, but only residing and filling. Again, is there anyone who does not understand life when he mentions the soul, and is not life in the whole and in any part you like to name?' There were many in the audience who supported this statement.

[8] He was followed by the fifth, who, adorned with the same emblems, pronounced from the chair as follows: 'I don't much care to say where the soul is, whether it is in some part or in the whole person. But I will draw on my own resources to disclose my opinion on this question, what the soul is and what its nature is. No one thinks of the soul as anything but something pure, which can be likened to ether or air or wind, the vital principle in which derives from the faculty of reason, which man has to a higher degree than animals. I have based this opinion on the fact that, when a person expires, he is said to breathe out or give up his soul or spirit. As a result too a soul which goes on living after death is believed to be a breath of this kind, containing the life of thought which is called the soul. What else could the soul be? But because I have heard people from the gallery asserting that the question what the soul is and what its nature is, is not beyond the understanding, but within its scope and purview, I beg and beseech you to disclose yourselves this everlasting secret.'

[9] The elders in the gallery here looked at the headmaster, who had set the question. He understood from their nods that they wanted him to go down and tell them the answer. So he at once got down from the platform, and passing through the auditorium took the chair, and holding up his hand said: 'Please listen to me. Is there anyone who does not believe the soul to be the most intimate and subtle essence of a person? But what is essence without form but a figment of the imagination? The soul then is a form, but what sort of form I will tell you. It is the form of all the parts of love and all the parts of wisdom. All the parts of love are called affections, and all the parts of wisdom are called perceptions. The perceptions as a result of and so together with the affections make up a single form containing countless parts but arranged in such order and so cohering that they can be called a unity; and they can be called a unity, because nothing can be taken away from it or added to it, if it is to be a unity. What is the human soul but such a form? All the parts of love and all the parts of wisdom are the essentials of such a form, and in the case of a person these essentials are in his soul, and from his soul in his head and body.

[10] 'You are called spirits and angels; and you believed in the world that spirits and angels were like puffs of wind or particles of ether, and so minds of higher or lower degree. Now you see clearly that you are truly, really and actually people, who in the world lived and thought in a material body; and you knew that it is not the material body that lives and thinks, but the spiritual substance in that body. This you called the soul, whose form you did not know; yet now you have seen it and go on seeing it. You are all souls, about whose immortality you have heard, thought, talked and written so much; and since you are forms of love and wisdom coming from God, you cannot ever die. The soul then is a human form, from which nothing can be taken away, and to which nothing can be added, and it is the inmost form of all the forms throughout the body. Since the forms which are outside receive from the inmost both essence and form, you are therefore souls, just as you appear to be to your sight and to ours. In short, the soul is the real person because it is the inmost person; its form therefore is the human form in full perfection. But it is not life, but is the nearest receiver of life from God, and so God's dwelling.'

[11] This speech was greeted by many with applause, but there were some who said, 'We must think about this.' I then went home, and suddenly there appeared above that high school, in place of the previous atmospheric display, a shining cloud without any stripes or rays fighting one another. This cloud penetrated the roof and coming inside lit up the walls. I was told that they saw things written on them, among which was this:

Jehovah God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Gen. 2:7.

This section is repeated from CL 315.

TCR 625. The fifth experience.

Once when I was meditating on the Lord's second coming, there suddenly appeared a beam of light, so powerful as to dazzle my eyes. So I looked up, and saw the whole heaven above me full of light; and from east to west I heard a long series of voices glorifying God. An angel came close and said: 'This is the glorifying of the Lord on account of His coming, uttered by the angels of the eastern and western heavens.' Nothing was heard from the southern or northern heavens but a polite murmur.

Since the angel could hear everything, he told me first that this glorifying and praising of the Lord was taken from the Word. Then he said: 'Now in particular they are glorifying and praising the Lord with the words spoken by the prophet Daniel.

You have seen iron mixed with common clay, but they will not hold together. But in those days the God of the heavens will cause a kingdom to rise which shall not perish for ever. It will shatter and consume all these kingdoms, but will stand itself for ever.' Dan. 2:43, 44.

[2] After this I heard what sounded like singing, and yet further away to the east I saw a gleam of light more brilliant than before. I asked the angel what was the glorifying taking place there. He said it was what Daniel described:

I was watching in the visions of the night and I saw the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. To him were given dominion and the kingdom and all peoples and nations will worship him. His dominion will be a dominion for ever, which will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not perish. Dan. 7:13, 14.

Besides this they praise the Lord with these words from Revelation:

To Jesus Christ be glory and strength. Behold, He comes with clouds. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. I, John, heard this from the Son of Man from the midst of the seven lampstands. Rev. 1:5-13; 22:8, 13,

Also with the words of Matthew 24:30, 31.

[3] I looked again to the east of heaven, and the light was growing from the right; the brightness spread into the expanse of sky to the south, and I heard a sweet sound. I asked the angel what glorifying of the Lord was taking place there. He said it was with these words from Revelation:

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; and I saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride for her husband. And I heard a mighty voice out of heaven saying: Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them. And the angel spoke with me and said: Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the spirit onto a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem. Rev. 21:1-3, 9, 10.

Also with these words:

I, Jesus, am the bright star of the morning; and the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And He said, I am coming soon. Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus. Rev. 22:16, 17, 20.

[4] After this and more I heard a general glorifying from the east of heaven to the west, and also from the south to the north. I asked the angel what this was. He said it was these words from the Prophets:

Let all flesh know that I am Jehovah your Saviour and your Redeemer. Isa. 49:26.

Thus spoke Jehovah, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, Jehovah Zebaoth, I am the first and the last, and there is no God beside me. Isa. 44:6.

On that day it will be said, Behold, this is our God, whom we have awaited to free us. He is Jehovah, whom we have awaited. Isa. 25:9.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way for Jehovah. Behold, the Lord Jehovih comes in strength. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. Isa. 40:3, 5, 10, 11.

A child is born for us, a son is given to us, whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, God, Hero, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Isa. 9:6.

Behold, the days will come when I shall raise up for David a righteous shoot, who will reign as king. And this is his name, Jehovah our righteousness. Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:15, 16.

Jehovah Zebaoth is his name and the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. He will be called the God of the whole earth. Isa. 54:5.

On that day Jehovah will be king over the whole earth; on that day Jehovah will be one, and His name one. Zech. 14:9.

On hearing and understanding this my heart leaped for joy and I went home rejoicing; and there I came back from the state of the spirit into that of the body, in which state I wrote down these things I had seen and heard.

This section is repeated with slight modification from CL 81.

TCR. 399. (3) Love in general. 1. The very life of man is his love, and as his love is such is his life, such even is the whole man; but it is the dominant or ruling love that makes the man. This love has many loves subordinate to it which are derivations from it; and while these are in appearance different loves, yet they are everyone included in the dominant love, and with it form one kingdom. The dominant love is like the king and head of the others; it directs them, and through them as mediate ends it looks to and is intent upon its own end (which is the first and last of all), and this both directly and indirectly.

[2] 2. What belongs to the dominant love is what is loved above all things. That which man loves above all things is constantly present in his thought, because it is in his will and constitutes his veriest life. For example, one who loves wealth above all things, whether money or possessions, is constantly studying how to acquire it, is inmostly delighted when he gets it, and inmostly grieved when he loses it. His heart is in it. He who loves himself above all things is mindful of himself in every least thing, thinks about himself, talks about himself, acts in his own behalf, for his life is the life of self

[3] 3. What a man loves above all things is his end; that he looks to in all things and in every single thing. In his will it is like the latent current of a river, which draws and bears him away even when he is doing something else, for it is that which influences him. This it is that one man searches out and discovers in another, and thereby either controls him or acts with him

[4] 4. Man is wholly such as is that which is dominant in his life. By this he is distinguished from others; according to it his heaven is formed if he is good, and his hell if he is evil; it is his very will, his very own [proprium], and his very nature, for it is the very being [esse] of his life. This cannot be changed after death, for it is the man himself.

[5] 5. Everything that gives delight, satisfaction, and happiness to anyone is wholly from his dominant love, and is in accordance with it; for that which he loves man calls delightful because he feels it to be so. What he thinks about and yet does not love, he may also call delightful, but it is not the delight of his life. The delight of a man's love is to him good, and what is undelightful is to him evil.

[6] 6. There are two loves, from which, as from their very fountains, all goods and truths spring; and there are two loves from which all evils and falsities spring. The two loves from which are all goods and truths are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, while the two loves from which are all evils and falsities are the love of self and the love of the world. When the two latter loves are dominate they are entirely opposite to the two former.

[7] 7. The two loves from which are all goods and truths, which, as has been said, are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, constitute heaven in man, for these rule in heaven; and because they constitute heaven in man they also constitute the church in him. The two loves from which are all evils and falsities, which, as has been said, are the love of self and the love of the world, constitute hell in man, for they rule in hell; and consequently they destroy the church in man.

[8] 8. The two loves from which are all goods and truths, which, as before said, are the loves of heaven, open and form the internal, spiritual man, because they reside there, but the two loves from which are all evils and falsities, which, as before said, are the loves of hell, when they predominate, close and destroy the internal spiritual man, and render man natural and sensual according to the extent and nature of their dominion over him.

TCR 400. (4) Love of self and love of the world in particular. 1. The love of self is wishing well to oneself only, and not to others except for the sake of self, not even to the church, one's country, any human society, or to a fellow citizen; it is also doing good to them solely for the sake of one's own reputation, honor, and glory; and when these are not perceived in the good done to others, saying in one's heart, "What matters it? Why should I do this? What will I gain by it?"-and so leaving it undone. This makes evident that he who is in the love of self does not love the church, or his country, or society, or his fellow citizen, or anything truly good, but only himself and his own.

[2] 2. Man is in the love of self, when he has no regard for the neighbor in what he thinks and does, thus no regard for the public, still less for the Lord, but only for himself and those who belong to him, and therefore does everything for the sake of himself and those who belong to him, or if for the public's sake, it is for appearance only, or if for the neighbor, it is to obtain his favor.

[3] 3. It is said, for the sake of himself and those who belong to him; for he who loves himself loves also those who belong to him, who are especially his children and grandchildren, and in general all who make one with him, whom he calls his own. Loving these is loving himself, for he regards them, as it were, in himself, and himself in them. Among those whom he calls his own are also included all who praise, and honor, and pay court to him. All others he indeed looks upon with his bodily eyes as men, but with the eyes of his spirit he scarcely regards them otherwise than as specters.

[4] 4. That man is in the love of self, who despises his neighbor in comparison with himself, and who regards his neighbor as an enemy if he does not favor him and does not venerate and pay court to him. Still more in the love of self is he who for these reasons hates his neighbor and persecutes him; and still more he who on this account burns with revenge against him and desires his destruction. Such at length love to be cruel.

[5] 5. The nature of the love of self can be made clear by comparison with heavenly love. Heavenly love is loving uses for the sake of the uses, or goods for the sake of the goods which a man does for the church, his country, human society, and the fellow citizen. But he who loves these for his own sake, loves them only as he loves his household servants, because they serve him. From this it follows that he who is in the love of self, wishes the church, his country, society, and his fellow citizens to serve him, instead of his serving them; he places himself above them, and them beneath himself.

[6] 6. Again, so far as anyone is in heavenly love, which is loving uses and goods and having a heartfelt delight in promoting them, so far he is led by the Lord, because that is the love in which the Lord is, and which is from Him. But so far as anyone is in the love of self, so far he is led by himself, and so far is led by what is his own [proprium]; and man's own is nothing but evil, for it is his inherited evil, which is loving oneself more than God and the world more than heaven.

[7] l. Moreover, the love of self is such, that so far as the reins are given to it, that is, so far as external bonds are removed, which are fear of the law and its penalties, of the loss of reputation, honor, wealth, office, or life, so far it rushes on until its desire is not only to rule over the whole world, but also over heaven, and even over God Himself. There is nowhere any limit or end to it. This lurks in everyone who is in the love of self, although it is not apparent before the world, where it is held in check by the reins and bonds just mentioned; and any such man, when the impossible blocks his way, remains quiet until the possible comes about. Because of all this the man who is in such a love is not aware that such an insane and limitless cupidity lurks within him. Nevertheless, that it is so, no one can help seeing in rulers and kings, to whom there are no such reins and bonds and impossibilities, who rush on and subjugate provinces and kingdoms, and so long as they are successful, aspire to unlimited power and glory. And still more is it visible in those who extend their dominion into heaven, and transfer to themselves the whole of the Lord's Divine power. These continually desire more.

[8] 8. There are two kinds of dominion; one of love towards the neighbor, and another of love of self. These two kinds of dominion are opposites. He who exercises dominion from love towards the neighbor, desires the good of all, and loves nothing better than to perform uses, thus to serve others. Serving others is doing good from good will, and performing uses. Such is his love, and the delight of his heart. Moreover, so far as he is elevated to dignities he rejoices in it, not on account of the dignities, but on account of the uses which he can then perform to a greater extent and in a higher degree. Such is dominion in the heavens. But he who exercises dominion from love of self desires the good of none but himself and his own. The uses he performs are for the sake of his own honor and glory, which to him are the only uses. His end in serving others is that he himself may be served and honored, and may rule. He seeks dignities not for the sake of the goods he may do, but in order that he may gain eminence and glory, and may thereby be in his heart's delight.

[9] 9. His love of dominion remains with everyone after his life in the world; but to those who have exercised dominion from love towards the neighbor there is also entrusted dominion in the heavens, and then it is not they who rule, but the uses and goods which they love; and when uses and goods rule, the Lord rules. But those who in the world exercised dominion from self-love, after their life in the world are made to abdicate, and are reduced to servitude. From all this it is known who these are who are in the love of self. It does not matter what they may seem to be externally, whether haughty or humble, since such things reside in the internal man, and, by most men, the internal man is kept hidden, while the external is trained to counterfeit what belongs to the love of the public and the neighbor, thus the contrary of what is within; and this too is done for the sake of self; for they know that loving the public and the neighbor interiorly affects all men, and that they to that extent gain esteem. This love thus affects men because heaven flows into it.

[10] 10. The evils that prevail with those who are in love of self are, in general, contempt of others, envy, enmity toward those who do not favor them, from which results hostility, hatred of various kinds, revenge, craft, deceit, unmercifulness, cruelty. And where such evils prevail, there is also a contempt of God, and of Divine things, which are the truths and goods of the church. If they honor these things, it is with the lips only, not with the heart. And because such evils are from love of self, like falsities are also from it; for falsities are from evils.

[11] 11. But love of the world is a desire to draw to oneself the wealth of others by any device whatever, to set the heart upon riches, and to permit the world to withdraw and lead one away from spiritual love, which is love towards the neighbor, that is, from heaven. Those are in love of the world who long to draw to themselves the goods of others by various devices, but especially those who wish to do so by craft and deceit, caring nothing for the good of the neighbor. Those who are in that love covet the goods of others, and so far as they do not fear the law and the loss of reputation on account of the gain, they get possession of others' goods, and even plunder them.

[12] 12. But love of the world is not opposed to heavenly love to such a degree as the love of self is, because so great evils are not concealed within it,

[13] 13. This love is manifold. There is a love of wealth as a means of being raised to honors; a love of honors and dignities as means of acquiring wealth; a love of wealth for the sake of various uses that afford worldly pleasure; a love of wealth for the mere sake of wealth, such as the avaricious have; and so on. The end for the sake of which wealth is sought is called the use, and it is the end or use from which love draws its quality; for such as the end is for which anything is done, such is the love; all else serves it as means

[14] 14. In a word, love of self and love of the world are directly opposite to love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor. Consequently love of self and love of the world, such as have just been described, are infernal loves, and these reign in hell, and also constitute hell in man. But love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor are heavenly loves, and these reign in heaven, and also constitute heaven in man.


The Genesis story makes up the first 11 chapters of the Bible. According to Swedenborg these were copied by Moses from the Ancient Word and are written in the language of correspondences or spiritual allegory. This is fully explained and established by Swedenborg's major work Arcana Coelestia or "Heavenly Secrets". Vic Odhner provides a summary of these eleven chapters and their mental-spiritual signficance.



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