Spiritual background for GENESIS 14    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 1634. It is known from the Word of the Lord that many persons formerly spoke with spirits and angels, and that they heard and saw many things that are in the other life; but that afterwards heaven was as it were shut, insomuch that at the present day the existence of spirits and angels is scarcely credited, and still less that any one can speak with them; for men regard it as impossible to speak with the unseen, and with those whose existence they in their hearts deny. But as of the Lord’s Divine mercy I have now for some years been permitted to hold converse with spirits and angels almost continually, and to be in companionship with them as one of themselves, I may now relate what it has been given me to learn concerning their speech with one another.

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

AC 1636. How difficult it is for men to be brought to believe in the existence of spirits and angels, and still more that any one can speak with them, has been evidenced to me by the following example. There were certain spirits who when they lived in the body had been among the more learned, and had then been known to me (for I have spoken with nearly all with whom I was acquainted during their bodily life, with some for several weeks, with others for a year, exactly as if they had been living in the body). These spirits were once brought into a state of thought similar to that which they had while they lived in the world: in the other life this is easily done. The inquiry was then suggested, whether they believed that any man can speak with spirits. They then said, in that state, that it was a phantasy to believe any such thing; and this they asserted very persistently. From this it was given to know with how much difficulty a man can be brought to believe that any speaking with spirits is possible to man, for the reason that men do not believe in the existence of spirits, and still less that they are themselves to come among them after death. And at this these same spirits then wondered greatly; and yet they were among the more learned, and had spoken much in public concerning the other life, and concerning heaven and the angels; so that this might have been thought to be most fully known to them as a matter of memory-knowledge, especially from the Word, where it is frequently met with.

AC 1637. Among the wonderful things in the other life is the fact that the speech of spirits with a man is in his native tongue, which they speak as readily and skillfully as if they had been born in the same land, and had been brought up with the same language; and this whether they are from Europe, from Asia, or from any other part of the globe. The case is the same with those who lived thousands of years ago, before the language in question had come into existence. The spirits indeed know no otherwise than that the language in which they speak with a man is their own, and that of their native land. The case is the same with other languages in which the man is skilled; but beyond these languages, the spirits cannot utter a syllable of any language, unless to do this is given them by the Lord immediately. Even little children who had died before they had been taught any language, speak in the same way.

[2] But the reason is that the language with which spirits are familiar is not a language of words, but is a language of ideas of thought; and this language is the universal of all languages; and when they are with a man, their ideas of thought fall into the words that are in the man, and this in a manner so correspondent and fitting that the spirits know no otherwise than that the words themselves are theirs, and that they are speaking in their own language; when yet they are speaking in that of the man. I have occasionally spoken with spirits concerning these matters. All souls, as soon as they enter into the other life, are endowed with the gift of being able to understand the speech of all who are in the whole world, precisely as if it were their native tongue, for they perceive whatever a man thinks. They are endowed with other faculties also that are still more excellent. Hence it is that souls, after the death of the body, can converse and associate with all, of whatever region or language they may have been.

AC 1638. The words which they speak, that is, which they call up or bring forth from the man’s memory, and suppose to be their own, are well chosen and clear, full of meaning, distinctly pronounced, and applicable to the subject; and, wonderful to say, they know how to choose the words better and more promptly than the man himself; and as has been shown, they are even acquainted with the various significations of the words, and instantly apply them, without any premeditation, for the reason, as before said, that the ideas of their language flow solely into words that are fitting. The case with this is nearly like that of a man who speaks without any thought of the words he is using, being simply in the meaning of the words; then, in accordance with the meaning, his thought falls readily and spontaneously into words; the inner meaning is that which calls forth the words. In such an internal meaning, only one still more subtle and excellent, does the speech of spirits consist; and through this a man communicates with spirits, although he is unaware of it.

AC 1639. The speech of words, as has been said, is the speech proper to man, and in fact to his corporeal memory; but the speech of ideas of thought is the speech of spirits, and in fact of the interior memory, which is the memory of the spirit. Men are not aware that they have this memory, because the memory of particulars, or of material things, which is corporeal, is everything, and obscures the interior memory; when yet without the interior memory, which is proper to his spirit, man cannot think at all. From this memory I have often spoken with spirits, thus in their own language, that is, by ideas of thought. How universal and copious this language is, may be seen from the fact that every word contains an idea of great extension; for it is well known that the single idea of a word may be set forth by many words; and this is still more true of the idea of one whole subject, and still more so of the idea of a number of such subjects, which can be brought together into one compound idea that still appears as simple; from which may be seen what is the quality of the natural speech of spirits among themselves, and by means of which speech man is conjoined with spirits.

AC 1640. I have been enabled to perceive distinctly not only what was said to me by spirits, but also where they were when speaking; whether above the head, or below; whether at the right hand, or at the left; at the ear, or at some other point near or within the body; at what distance, whether greater or less. For they spoke with me from the various places or positions in which they were, according to their position in the Grand Man, that is, according to their state.

[2] I have also been enabled to perceive when they were coming, and when they were going away, and whither, and how far; also whether they were many or few; besides other things; and also from their speech to perceive their quality, for from their speech, in like manner as from their sphere, it is plainly manifest of what genius and of what natural disposition they are; also of what persuasion and what affection; so that if they are deceitful, even if there is no deceit while they are speaking, still the generic and specific character of their deceitfulness is perceived from every word and idea; and so with all other malignities and cupidities; so that there is no need of much exploration, for there is an image of the spirit in every word and idea.

[3] It is also perceived whether the idea of their speech is closed, or is open also what is from themselves, what from others, and what from the Lord. This is much the same as it is with a man‘s countenance, from which, without a word, it is often known whether there is present dissembling, or deceit, or gladness, or cheerfulness natural or affected, whether there is friendliness from the heart, whether modesty, and also whether there is insanity; sometimes also the same is apparent from the tone of the man’s speech. Why then should not this be the case in the other life, where the perception greatly exceeds such apperception? Indeed, before a spirit speaks, it is known from the thought alone what he intends to say; for thought flows in with greater rapidity than speech.

AC 1641. Spirits in the other life converse among themselves as men do on earth; and they who are good, with all familiarity of friendship and love, as I have frequently heard; and this in their own speech, by which they express more in a minute than a man can in an hour. For their speech, as before said, is the universal of all languages, being by means of ideas, the primitives of words. They speak upon subjects with such acuteness and perspicuity, by so many series of reasons following one another in order, and exercising persuasion, that if a man knew of it he would be astounded. They join persuasion and affection to their discourse, and thus give it life.

[2] Sometimes also they discourse by means of simultaneous representations before the sight, and thus to the life. As for example: let the discourse be about shame, whether it can exist without reverence: among men this cannot be discussed except by means of many reasonings from evidence and examples, and still it remains in doubt; but with a spirit all would be done within a minute, by means of the states of the affection of shame varied in their order, and by means of those of reverence also; thus by perceiving the agreements and the disagreements, and at the same time beholding them in the representatives adjoined to the speech; from which they forthwith perceive the conclusion, which thus flows of itself from the disagreements thus reduced to agreement. So in all other cases. Souls come into this faculty directly after death; and good spirits then love nothing more than to instruct those who are newly arrived, and the ignorant.

[3] The spirits themselves are not aware that they speak with one another with speech of such surpassing excellence, and that they are furnished with an endowment so preeminent, unless it is given them by the Lord to reflect upon it; for this mode of speaking is natural to them, and is then inherent. The case in this respect is the same as it is with a man when he fixes his mind on the meaning of things, and not on the words and the mode of speaking, in that, without reflection, he sometimes does not know what kind of speech he is making use of.

AC 1642. This then is the speech of spirits; but the speech of angelic spirits is still more universal and perfect; and the speech of angels is more universal and perfect still. For there are three heavens, as before said the first is where good spirits are, the second is where angelic spirits are, and the third is where angels are. The perfections thus ascend, as from exterior things to things more interior. To use a comparison for the sake of illustration, it is almost like hearing relatively to sight, and sight relatively to thought; for what the hearing can receive through speech in an hour, can be presented before the sight in a minute, as, for example, a view of plains, palaces, and cities and all that can be seen by the eye in many hours, can be comprehended by the thought in a minute. In such a ratio does the speech of spirits stand to the speech of angelic spirits, and the speech of angelic spirits to the speech of angels; for angelic spirits distinctly comprehend more in one idea of speech or thought, than spirits by several thousand; and so it is with angels in comparison with angelic spirits. How then must it be with the Lord, from whom is all the life of affection, thought, and speech, and who alone is the Speech, and the Word!

AC 1643. The speech of angelic spirits is beyond comprehension so that it will be treated of in few words, and only that kind which is called representative. The subject of the discourse is itself presented representatively in a wonderful form, which is withdrawn from the objects of sense, and is varied by means of the most pleasant and beautiful representatives in ways innumerable, with a continual influx of affections from the happy current of mutual love inflowing through the higher heaven from the Lord; from which influx each and all things are as it were alive. Each subject is thus presented, and this through continuous series. Not one single representative in any series can possibly be described to the understanding. These are the things that flow into the ideas of spirits but to them they are not apparent, except as something general that flows in and affects them, without their having a distinct perception of the things that are distinctly perceived by the angelic spirits.

AC 1644. There are very many evil spirits of an interior kind, who do not speak as spirits do, but are also in the beginnings of ideas, and are thus more subtle than other spirits. There are many such spirits but they are completely separated from the angelic spirits, and cannot even approach them. These more subtle evil spirits likewise art their ideas to objects and things in an abstract way, but to such as are filthy; and in them they represent to themselves various things of a filthy nature; and they involve their ideas in such things. They are as it were silly. Their speech was made known to me, and was also represented by the unclean dregs from a vessel; and the intellectual element of their speech was represented by the hinder parts of a horse, whose forward parts did not appear; for in the world of spirits the intellectual is represented by horses. But the speech of angelic spirits was represented by a maiden of graceful carriage, becomingly attired in a robe of white, that was neatly fitted to a kind of vest.

AC 1645. But the speech of angels is ineffable, far above the speech of spirits, for it is above that of angelic spirits, and is not intelligible in any way to man so long as he lives in the body. Nor can the spirits in the world of spirits form any idea of it, for it is above the perceptive power of their thought. This speech of angels is not of things represented by any ideas like those of spirits and angelic spirits; but it is a speech of ends and of the derivative uses, which are the primaries and the essentials of things. Into these are angelic thoughts insinuated, and are varied there with indefinite variety; and in each and all things of that speech there is an inward and happy delight from the good of mutual love from the Lord, and a beautiful and delightful one from the truth of faith from that good. Ends, and the uses from them, are as it were most delicate recipients, and are the delightful subjects of unnumbered variations; and this by means of celestial and spiritual forms that are beyond comprehension. In these they are kept by the Lord, for the Lord‘s kingdom is simply a kingdom of ends and uses; and for this reason also the angels who are with a man attend to nothing else than the ends and uses, and elaborate nothing else from the man’s thought. All other things, which are ideal and material, they care nothing for; because these are far below their sphere.

AC 1646. The speech of angels sometimes appears in the world of spirits, thus before the interior sight, as a vibration of light. or of resplendent Same; and this with variation according to the state of the affections of their speech. It is only the general things of their speech, as regards the states of affection, and which general things originate in numberless distinct things, that are thus represented.

AC 1647. The speech of the celestial angels is distinct from that of the spiritual angels, and is even more ineffable and inexpressible. The celestial and good things of ends are what their thoughts are insinuated into, and they are therefore in happiness itself; and, wonderful to say, their speech is far more abounding, for they are in the very fountains and origins of the life of thought and of speech.

AC 1648. There is a speech of good spirits, and also of angelic spirits, which is a simultaneous speech of many, especially in circles or choirs, concerning which of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter. The speech in choirs has often been heard by me; it has a cadence (labens), as if in rhythm. They have no thought about the words or ideas, for into these their sentiments flow spontaneously. No words or ideas flow in which multiply the sense, or draw it away to something else, or to which anything artificial adheres, or that seems to them elegant from self, or from self-love, for such things would at once cause disturbance. They do not inhere in any word; they think of the sense; the words follow spontaneously from the sense itself. They come to a close in unities, for the most part simple; but when in those which are compound, they turn by an accent to the next. These things are the result of their thinking and speaking in society; hence the form of the speech has a cadence in accordance with the connection and unanimity of the society. Such was once the form of songs; and such is that of the Psalms of David.

AC 1649. Wonderful to say, this kind of speech, possessing the rhythmical or harmonic cadence of songs, is natural to spirits. They speak so among themselves, although they are not aware of it. Immediately after death souls come into the habit of speaking in this way. I have been initiated into the same, and it has at last become familiar. The reason their speech is of this nature, is that they speak in society, which for the most part they are not aware of: a very clear proof that they are all distinguished into societies, and that consequently all things fall into the forms of the societies.

AC 1650. A continuation concerning the speech of spirits, and its diversities, will be found at the end of this chapter.


AC 1757. The speech of spirits with man, as before said, is effected by words; but the speech of spirits among themselves, by ideas the originaries of words, such as are the ideas of thought; these however are not so obscure as are man‘s ideas while he lives in the body, but are distinct, like those of speech Human thought, after the decease of the body, becomes more distinct and clear; and the ideas of thought become discrete, so as to serve for distinct forms of speech; for obscurity has been dissipated together with the body; and so the thought-being liberated from the shackles in which it was as it were entangled, and consequently from the shade in which it was involved-becomes more instantaneous; and hence the mental view, perception, and utterance of each thing is more prompt.

AC 1758. The speech of spirits is diverse: each society or family of spirits, and even every spirit, can be distinguished from others by their speech (much as is the case with men), not only by the affections which make the life of the speech and which fill or give impulse to the words, and by the accents, but also by the tones, and by other characteristics not so easily described.

AC 1759. The speech of celestial spirits cannot easily flow into the articulate sounds or words that appertain to man; for it cannot be suited to a word in which there is anything that sounds harshly, or in which there is a rough doubling of consonants, or in which there is an idea that is derived from memory-knowledge; on which account they rarely flow into the speech otherwise than by affections which, like a flowing stream or a gentle breeze, soften the words. The speech of spirits who are intermediate between the celestial and the spiritual is sweet, Flowing like the gentlest atmosphere, soothing the recipient organs, and softening the words themselves; it is also rapid and sure. The flow and the pleasantness of the speech come from the fact that the celestial good in their ideas is of this character, and there is nothing in the speech that dissents from the thought. All the sweet harmoniousness in the other life comes from goodness and charity. The speech of the spiritual also is flowing, but is not so soft and gentle. It is chiefly these who speak.

AC 1760. There is also a flowing speech of evil genii; yet it is so only to the outward hearing; but inwardly it is grating, because from a pretense of good, and no affection of it. There is also a speech of these genii that is devoid of the flowing character, in which the dissent of the thoughts is perceived as something that silently creeps along.

AC 1761. There are spirits who do not inflow in a stream-like manner, but by vibrations and movements to and fro, as it were in lines, and more or less sharp. The same inflow not only with the speech, but also with the reply. They are those who from many causes reject the interior things of the Word; looking upon man as their tool, and as of little account; and caring for themselves alone.

AC 1762. There are spirits who do not speak, but who have expressed the sentiments of their mind by changes induced on my face, and have presented their ideas so vividly that their thought was thus made manifest as it were in a form. This was done by changes about the region of the lips, passing thence to the face; also about the eyes, while they were communicating the interior sentiments of their mind; around the left eye when they were communicating truth and affections of truth, and around the right eye when communicating good and affections of good.

AC 1763. I have also heard a simultaneous speech of many spirits speaking together, that undulated like a roll, and flowed into the brain in varying directions. Also a speech of certain spirits that terminated in a quadruple movement, as if to the tone and sound of men threshing. These spirits are separated from others. They induce a pain in the head, as if from the suction of an air-pump. Some have been heard who spoke with a sonorous voice, but as if within, in themselves but still it came to the hearing as speech.

[2] Others who spake by a belching forth of the words as from the belly; these are such as wish to give no attention to the sense of a thing, but are forced to speak by others. I have heard some who spoke with a rough or cracked sound; these apply themselves to the left side, under the elbow; also to the left external ear. Some I heard who could not speak aloud, but as if they had a cold; these belong to the class of those who by insinuations into the delights of others worm out their secrets for the purpose of doing harm.

[3] There are spirits of low stature, who, although few, speak like a great multitude, with a sound like thunder; they were heard above the head, and I thought that there was a multitude but one of them came to me at the left side beneath the arm, and spoke in the same way with a thundering voice; he also moved away, and did the same. Whence such spirits come, will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be told elsewhere. But these kinds of speech are comparatively rare. It is a remarkable fact that what is said in these various ways is heard as loudly and sonorously by one whose interior organs of hearing are opened, and also by spirits, as are sounds and the speech of men on earth; but they are not heard at all by one in whom these organs are not opened.

AC 1764. Once also spirits conversed with me simply by representatives shown before the sight, by representing flames of various colors; lights clouds rising and falling; small houses and platforms for speaking of different kinds; vessels; persons variously dressed, and many other things, which were all significative; and merely from these it could be known what they desired to convey.

AC 1765.

AC 1766.

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