Spiritual background for GENESIS 10previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page
CONCERNING THE MOST ANCIENT CHURCH, WHICH WAS CALLED MAN, OR ADAM
AC 1114. Angels and spirits, or men after death, when permitted by the Lord, can meet all whom they have known in this world, or whom they have heard of--whomsoever they desire--can see them as present, and can converse with them. Wonderful to say, they are at hand in a moment and are most intimately present; so that it is possible to converse not only with friends, who usually find one another, but also with others that have been respected and esteemed. By the Divine mercy of the Lord it has been granted me to converse not only with those whom I had known when they lived in the body, but also with those of especial note in the Word; also with those who were of the Most Ancient Church, which was that called "Man," or "Adam," and with some who were of the subsequent churches, in order that I might know that by the names in the first chapters of Genesis churches are meant; and also that I might know what was the character of the men of the churches of that time. The accounts therefore that follow are what it has been given me to know about the Most Ancient Churches.
AC 1115. They who were of the Most Ancient Church, which was called Man, or Adam, and were celestial men, are very high above the head, and dwell together there in the greatest happiness. They said that others rarely come to them, except some at times, as they expressed it "from the universe;" and that they were on high above the head not because they were of a lofty spirit, but in order that they might govern those who are there.
AC 1116. Dwellings were shown me of those who were of the second and third posterities of this Most Ancient Church. They are magnificent, extending to a great length, and diversified with beautiful colors of bright crimson and azure blue. For the angels have most magnificent dwellings, such as cannot be described, as I have often seen. To their eyes so real is their appearance that nothing can be more real. But whence such real appearances come, will be shown of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter. They live in an aura, so to speak, of resplendent pearly and sometimes of diamond-like light. For there are wonderful auras in the other life, of inexpressible variety. They greatly err who do not believe that such things exist there, and indefinitely more than any one ever could or can conceive. They are indeed representative, like the things sometimes seen by the prophets but yet are so real that they who are in the other life hold them to be real, and the things which are in the world to be relatively unreal.
AC 1117. They live in the most intense light. The light of this world can scarcely be compared to that in which they live. That light was shown me by a light as of same that as it were streamed down before my eyes; and they who were of the Most Ancient Church said that the light is such with them, but still more intense.
AC 1118. There was shown me by a certain influx which I cannot describe, what the nature of their speech was when they lived in this world-that it was not articulate, like the vocal speech of our time, but tacit; and was produced not by external but by internal respiration. It was also granted me to perceive the nature of their internal respiration-that it advanced from the navel toward the heart, and so through the lips, without sound; and that it did not enter into the ear of another and strike upon what is called the drum of the ear by an external way, but by a certain way within the mouth, in fact by a passage there which is now called the Eustachian tube. And it was shown me that by such speech they could much more fully express the sentiments of the mind and the ideas of thought than can possibly be done by articulate sounds, vocal words, which likewise are directed by the respiration, but external. For there is nothing in any word that is not directed by applications of the respiration. But with them this was done much more perfectly, because by the internal respiration; which, from the fact that it is interior, is at once far more perfect, and more applicable and conformable to the very ideas of thought. Besides, they also conversed by slight movements of the lips, and correspondent changes of the face; for being celestial men, whatever they thought shone forth from their faces and eyes, which were varied conformably. They could by no means put on an expression of countenance different from that which was in agreement with their thoughts. Simulation, and still more deceit, was to them a monstrous iniquity.
AC 1119. It has been shown me to the life how the internal respiration of the most ancient people silently flowed into a kind of external and thus tacit speech, perceived by another in his interior man. They said that this respiration varied with them, according to the state of their love and faith in the Lord. They gave also as a reason that it could not be otherwise, be. cause they had communication with heaven; for they respired with the angels in whose company they were. Angels have a respiration to which internal respiration corresponds; and it likewise varies with them. For when anything befalls them which is contrary to love and faith in the Lord, their respiration is restrained; but when they are in the happiness of love and faith, their respiration is free and full. There is something like this also with every man, but in accordance with his corporeal and worldly loves and also with his principles. When anything opposes these, there is a restriction of the respiration; and when they are favored, the respiration is free and full. These, however, are variations of external respiration. But concerning the respiration of the angels, of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter.
AC 1120. It has also been shown that the internal respiration of the men of the Most Ancient Church, which was from the navel toward the interior region of the breast, in the course of time, or in their posterity, was changed, and receded more toward the back region, and toward the abdomen, thus more outward and downward; and that at length, in the last posterity of that church, which existed immediately before the flood, scarcely anything of internal respiration remained; and when at last there remained none of this in the breast, they were suffocated of their own accord; but that in some, external respiration then began, and with it articulate sound, or the language of spoken words. Thus with the men before the flood the respiration was in accordance with the state of their love and faith; and at last, when there was no love and no faith, but a persuasion of falsity, internal respiration ceased; and with this, the immediate communication with angels, and perception.
AC 1121. I have been informed by sons of the Most Ancient Church concerning the state of their perception, that they had perception of all things that belong to faith, almost as have the angels with whom they had communication; for the reason that their interior man, or spirit, by means also of the internal respiration, was joined to heaven; and that love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor are attended with this; for man is thus conjoined with angels through their veriest life, which consists in such love. They said that they had the law written upon them, because they were in love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor; and such being the case, whatever the laws prescribe was in agreement with their perception, and whatever the laws forbid was contrary to it. Nor did they doubt that all laws, human as well as Divine, are founded in love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and regard these as their fundamental. Wherefore, as they had this fundamental in them, from the Lord, they could not but know all things that were from it. They believe too that those who live in the world at this day, who love the Lord and the neighbor, have also the law written upon them, and are acceptable citizens everywhere on earth, as the same are in the other life.
AC 1122. I have been further informed that the men of the Most Ancient Church had most delightful dreams, and also visions, and that it was insinuated into them at the same time what they signified. Hence their paradisal representations, and many other things. The objects of the external senses therefore, which are earthly and worldly, were nothing to them; nor had they any perception of delight in them, but only in what they signified and represented; and therefore when they looked at earthly objects they did not think about them at all, but only about the things which they signified and represented, which were most delightful to them; for they were such things as are in heaven, from which they see the Lord Himself.
AC 1123. I have conversed with the third generation of the Most Ancient Church, who said that in their time, when they lived in the world, they expected the Lord, who would save the whole human race; and that it was then a common saying among them that the seed of the woman would tread down the serpent‘s head. They said that from that time the greatest delight of their life was to procreate offspring; so that their sweetest deliciousnesses were to love their consort for the sake of offspring, which they called most delightful deliciousnesses and most delicious delights, adding that the perception of these delights and deliciousnesses was from influx out of heaven, because the Lord was to be born.
AC 1124. There were near me some of the posterity that lived before the flood-not of those who perished, but of those who were somewhat better than they. At first they flowed in gently and imperceptibly enough; but it was given me to perceive that inwardly they were evil, and that they inwardly acted contrary to love. There exhaled from them a sphere of the odor of a dead body, so that the spirits who were around me fled away. They imagined themselves to be so subtle that no one would perceive what they thought. I spoke with them about the Lord, as to whether or not they had expected Him, as their fathers did. They said that they had represented the Lord to themselves as an old man, holy, with a gray beard; and also that they became holy from Him, and in like manner bearded; whence arose such veneration for beards among their posterity. They added that now also they are able to adore Him, but from themselves. But then an angel came, whose presence they could not endure.
AC 1125. It has also been granted me to converse with those who were of the church called "Enosh," concerning which in (Genesis 4:26). Their influx was gentle, and their conversation unassuming. They said that they live in charity with one another, and perform offices of friendship to others who come among them But it was evident that their charity was the charity of friendship. They live quietly, as good citizens, and do no injury to any one.
AC 1126. There appeared to me a narrow room; and the door being opened a tall man came into view, clothed in white, the whiteness being intense. I wondered who he was, and was told that a man clothed in white signified those who were called "Noah," who were the first of all of the Ancient Church, which was the church after the flood; and that they were thus represented because they were few.
AC 1127. It has been granted me to converse with those of the Ancient Church, or of the church after the flood, who were called "Shem." They inflowed gently through the region of the head into the region of the breast, toward the heart, but not to the heart. The quality of spirits can be known from their influx.
AC 1128. There appeared one veiled over as with a cloud., about whose face were many wandering stars, which signify falsities. I was told that such were the posterity of the Ancient Church when it began to perish, especially among those who instituted worship by sacrifices, and by images.
AC 1129. Some account of the antediluvians who perished follows at the end of this chapter.
CONCERNING THE ANTEDILUVIANS WHO PERISHED
AC 1265. At some height above the head there were a number of spirits who inflowed into my thoughts and kept them as it were bound, so that I was in very much obscurity. They pressed heavily upon me. The spirits about me were likewise held as it were bound by them, so that they could scarcely think, except that which inflowed from those spirits, and this to such a degree as to excite their indignation. It was said that the spirits in question were of those who had lived before the flood; but not of those called Nephilim, and who perished, for they were not so strongly persuasive.
AC 1266. The antediluvians who perished are in a certain hell beneath the heel of the left foot. There is a kind of misty rock with which they are covered, that is projected from their direful phantasies and persuasions, and by which they are separated from the other hells, and are kept away from the world of spirits. They are in the continual effort to rise out of it, but cannot get beyond the effort; for they are of such a nature that if they should come into the world of spirits, they, by their direful phantasies and the exhalations and venom of their persuasions, would take away the faculty of thinking from all the spirits they met, except the good. And unless the Lord, by His coming into the flesh, had liberated the world of spirits from this nefarious crew, the human race would have perished; for no spirit could have been with man, and yet if spirits and angels are not with man, he cannot live a moment.
AC 1267. Those of them who obstinately try to emerge from that hell are cruelly treated by their companions; for they are possessed with deadly hatred against all, even against their companions. Their greatest delight consists in holding each other in subjection, and as it were in butchering each other. Those who more resolutely persist in the endeavor to force their way out, are sent down still deeper under the misty rock; for it is their innate crazy ardor to destroy all, that leads them on; hence their efforts to emerge. They wrap all they meet in a cloth, in order to take them captive, and cast them into a certain sea, as it appears to them, or otherwise treat them savagely.
AC 1268. I was led, guarded, toward that misty rock. (To be led to such spirits is not to be led from place to place, but it is effected by means of intermediate societies of spirits and angels, the man remaining in the same place; and yet it appears to him as a letting down). As I came near the rock I was met with a coldness which gripped the lower region of my back. From there I spoke with them about their persuasions, and about what they had believed in the life of the body as regards the Lord. They answered that they had thought much about God, but had persuaded themselves that there is no God, but that men are gods, and thus they themselves were gods; and that they had confirmed themselves in these persuasions by their dreams. Their phantasies against the Lord will be spoken of below.
AC 1269. That I might know still better what kind of men they were, it was permitted by the Lord that some of them should come up into the world of spirits. Before this took place a beautiful child appeared, clothed in shining white raiment; afterwards, in an open doorway, there appeared another child in a green garment; and then two maidservants with white headdresses. But what these things signified was not disclosed to me.
AC 1270. Presently some were let out of that hell; but the Lord made such a disposition by means of intermediate spirits and angels that they could do me no harm. Out of that deep they came in front, and appeared to themselves to be working their way toward the front, as it were through caverns in the rock, and so upward. At last they appeared from above to the left, in order that from there, and thus from a distance, they might inflow into me. I was told that they were permitted to inflow into the right side of the head, but not into the left side; and from the right side of the head into the left side of the chest; but by no means into the left of the head, for if this occurred I should be destroyed, because they would then flow in with their persuasions, which are direful and deadly; whereas if they flowed into the right of the head, and thence into the left of the chest, it would be by means of cupidities. Such is the case with influx.
 Their persuasions are of such a nature that they extinguish all truth and good, so that those into whom they flow can perceive nothing whatever, and after that cannot think; and therefore the other spirits were removed. When they began to flow in I fell asleep. Then while I slept they flowed in by means of cupidities, and this with such violence that if awake I could not have resisted them. In my sleep I was sensible of the vehemence of it, which I cannot describe, save that I afterwards remembered that they tried to kill me by a suffocating afflatus, which was like a terrible nightmare. Then, waking, I observed that they were near me; and when they perceived that I was awake, they fled away to their own place above, and flowed in from thence.
 When they were there they appeared to me as if they were being wrapped up in a cloth, such as was spoken of before (n. 964). I thought they were being thus wrapped up, but it was others whom they were wrapping up. This is effected by means of phantasies; but yet the spirits against whom they thus work by phantasies know not but that they are really being wrapped up. It appeared as if those whom they thus wrapped up rolled down a certain rocky declivity. But those who were thus wrapped up were released and set at liberty. They were spirits who were unwilling to withdraw, and who were thus preserved by the Lord, for otherwise they would have been suffocated-although they would have revived again, but after great suffering. The spirits from that hell then went back by the rocky declivity; and there was heard from thence a sound of boring, as if many great boring instruments were at work; and it was perceived that it was from their intensely cruel phantasies against the Lord that such a sound came. They were afterwards cast down through dark caverns into their hell beneath the misty rock. While they were in the world of spirits, the constitution or order of the sphere there was changed.
AC 1271. After this, there were certain deceitful spirits who desired that these might emerge, and inspired them to say that they were nothing, so that they might steal out. Then a tumult was heard in that hell, as of a great turbulent uprising, which was a commotion among those who desired to force their way out, and therefore it was again permitted that some of them should rise up, and be seen in the same place as the former were. From there, aided by those deceitful genii, they attempted to pour into me their deadly persuasive influence; but in vain, because I was protected by the Lord. Yet I plainly perceived that their persuasive influence was suffocating. They believed themselves to be all-powerful, and able to take away life from every one. And because they believed themselves to be all-powerful, they were thrust down by a little child, at whose presence they tottered and faltered, so that they cried out that they were in anguish, and this so sorely that they betook themselves to supplications. The deceitful spirits were also punished, first being almost suffocated by the antediluvians, and then being glued together, to make them desist from such doings; but after a time they were set free.
AC 1272. It was afterwards shown me how their women were dressed. They wore upon the head a round black hat, projecting turret-like in front, and had a small face, whereas the men were shaggy and hairy. It was shown me also how they gloried in the great number of their children; and that they had their children with them wherever they went, who walked before them in a curved line. But they were told that the brutes also, even the worst, all have a love for their young; and that this is no evidence that there is anything good in them; but that if they had loved children, not from their love of themselves and their own glory, but that human society might be augmented, for the common good; and especially if they had loved them in order that heaven might thereby be multiplied, thus for the sake of the Lord‘s kingdom, then their love for children would have been genuine. previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page