Spiritual background for GENESIS 19previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page
AC 2310. The Internal Sense of the Word has already been many times treated of; but I am aware that few can believe that there is such a sense in everything of the Word, not only in the prophetical, but also in the historical parts. That there is such a sense in the prophetical parts can more easily be believed, because in them there is not so connected a series of things, and there are also strange expressions in them, from which every one may conjecture that they contain within them some secret meaning. But that there is also such a sense in the historical parts, does not so easily appear, both because this has hitherto come into no one‘s mind, and because the historical parts are such as to keep the attention fixed on themselves, and thereby to draw away the mind from thinking that anything of a deeper nature is there stored up; and also because the historicals are truly such as related.
 Nevertheless no one can fail to infer that within these parts of the Word also there is what is heavenly and Divine, and which does not shine forth; first, from the fact that the Word was sent down by the Lord through heaven to man, and therefore differs in its origin (and what the nature of this origin is, and that it is so different and distant from the literal sense as not even to be seen, and consequently not acknowledged, by those who are merely worldly, will be shown by many things in what follows); secondly, from the fact that the Word, being Divine, has not been written for man only, but also for the angels with man, in order that it might serve not only for use to the human race, but also for use to heaven; and that in this way the Word is a medium uniting heaven and earth. This union takes place by means of the church, and in fact by means of the Word in the church, which is for this reason such as it is, and is distinguished from all other writing.
 As regards the historical parts specifically, unless they in like manner contained Divine and heavenly things in a sense abstracted from the letter, they could never be acknowledged by anyone who thinks more deeply to be the inspired Word, even as to every jot. Would anyone say that the abominable affair of Lot’s daughters, treated of at the end of this chapter, would be related in a Divine Word? or Jacob‘s peeling rods and making the white appear, and placing them in the watering-troughs, that the flock might bear partly-colored, speckled, and spotted young? besides many other things in the rest of the books of Moses, of Joshua, the Judges. Samuel, and the Kings, which would be of no importance, and in regard to which it would be a matter of indifference whether they were known or not known unless they enfolded deeply within them a secret Divine meaning. If it were not for this, they would differ in no respect from other historical narratives, which have sometimes been so written that they seem more effective.
 As the learned world is unacquainted with the fact that Divine and heavenly things lie hidden even within the historical parts of the Word, were it not for the holy veneration for the books of the Word which has been unpressed upon them from childhood, they would be quite ready to say in their hearts that the Word is not holy except solely from that fact; when yet it is not from that, but because there is within it an internal sense which is heavenly and Divine, and which causes it to unite heaven with earth, that is, angelic minds with human minds, and thereby these latter with the Lord.
AC 2311. That the Word is of such a nature, and that it is in this way distinct from all other writing, may be seen also from the fact that not only do all the names signify actual things (n. 1224, 1264, 1876, 1888), but all the words also have a spiritual sense; and they thus signify another thing in heaven from what they do on earth, and this most constantly, in both the prophetical and the historical parts. When these names and words are set forth in their heavenly sense in accordance with their constant signification in the whole Word, there comes forth an internal sense which is the angelic Word. This twofold sense of the Word is circumstanced as are the body and the soul; the literal sense is like the body, and the internal sense is like the soul; and as the body lives by means of the soul, so does the literal sense by means of the internal sense. Through the internal sense the Lord’s life inflows into the literal sense, in accordance with the affection of him who is reading it. Hence it is evident how holy is the Word, although it does not appear so to worldly minds.
CONCERNING MAN‘S MEMORY WHICH REMAINS AFTER DEATH, AND THE RECOLLECTION OF WHAT HE HAD DONE IN THE LIFE OF THE BODY
AC 2469. Scarcely anyone has yet known what every man has two memories, one exterior and the other interior; and that the exterior memory is proper to his body, but the interior memory to his spirit.
AC 2470. Man, while living in the body, can scarcely be aware that he has an interior memory, because the interior memory then acts almost as one with his exterior memory; for the ideas of thought of the interior memory flow into the things in the exterior memory as into their vessels, and the two are there conjoined together. It is as when angels and spirits are speaking to a man; for then the ideas of the former, by which they converse with each other, flow into the words of the man’s language, and so conjoin themselves with them that the spirits know no otherwise than that they are speaking the man‘s own language; when yet the ideas are theirs, and the words into which they flow are the man’s; on which subject I have often spoken with spirits.
AC 2471. These two memories are entirely distinct from each other. To the exterior memory, which is proper to man while he is living in the world, pertain all the words of languages, also the objects of the outer senses, and also the knowledges that belong to the world. To the interior memory pertain the ideas of the speech of spirits, which are of the inner sight, and all rational things, from the ideas of which thought itself comes into existence. That these two classes of things are distinct from each other, man does not know, both because he does not reflect upon it, and because he is in corporeal things, from which he cannot then so far withdraw his mind.
AC 2472. Hence it is that men while living in the body cannot speak with each other except by means of languages distinguished into articulate sounds, that is, into words, and are unable to understand one another unless they are acquainted with these languages, for the reason that their speech is from the exterior memory, whereas spirits speak with each other by means of a universal language distinguished into ideas such as are of thought itself, and thus they can have converse with any spirit whatever, of whatever language and nation he had been while in the world, for the reason that their speech is from the interior memory. Into this language comes every man immediately after death, because he comes into this memory, which, as before said, is proper to his spirit (n. 1637, 1639, 1757, 1876).
AC 2473. The interior memory immeasurably surpasses the exterior, and is relatively as are some myriads to one, or as light is to darkness; for myriads of the ideas of the interior memory flow into a single thing of the exterior memory, and there present a general obscure something. Hence all the faculties of spirits, and still more those of angels, are in a more perfect state, that is, both their sensations, and their thoughts and perceptions. In what way the interior memory excels the exterior, may be seen from examples. When a man calls to remembrance any other man whose quality is known to him from the intercourse of many years, whether a friend or an enemy, that which he then thinks about him is presented as one obscure thing; and this because he is thinking from the exterior memory. But when the same man has become a spirit, and calls the other to remembrance, that which he then thinks about him is presented as to all the ideas which he had ever conceived concerning him; and this because he is then thinking from the interior memory. And so it is with everything: the thing itself about which anyone has known many things presents itself in the exterior memory as a single general thing; but in the interior memory it presents itself as to all the particulars about which he has ever acquired for himself an idea in respect to that thing; and this in a wonderful form.
AC 2474. All things whatever that a man hears and sees, and by which he is affected, are, unknown to the man, insinuated as to ideas and ends into his interior memory; and they remain in it, so that not anything perishes; although the same things are obliterated in the exterior memory. Such therefore is the interior memory that there are inscribed on it all the single, nay, the most singular things that the man has ever thought, spoken, and done; nay, even those which have appeared to him as but a shade, with the minutest particulars, from his earliest infancy to the last of old age. The memory of all these things the man has with him when he comes into the other life, and he is successively brought into full recollection of them. This is his Book of Life, which is opened in the other life, and according to which he is judged. Men can scarcely believe this, but yet it is most true. All the ends, which to him have been in obscurity, and all the things he has thought; together with everything that from these he has spoken and done, down to the smallest point, are in that Book, that is, in the interior memory, and whenever the Lord grants, are made manifest before the angels as in clear day. This has several times been shown me, and has been attested by so much experience that not the least doubt remains.
AC 2475. As yet no one knows what is the state of souls after death in respect to the memory. From much and daily experience of many years, it has been given me to know that after death a man loses nothing whatever of what has been in his memories, whether in the exterior or in the interior memory; insomuch that nothing can possibly be thought of so small or so minute that the man does not have it with him; so that after death he leaves nothing whatever behind him except his bones and flesh, which, while he lived in the world, were not animated from themselves, but from the life of his spirit, which was his purer substance annexed to the things of the body.
AC 2476. But as regards man‘s exterior memory, the case is this: He has all things of it with him both in general and in particular; but he is not then allowed to use this memory, but only the interior memory. The reasons are many; the first being that which has been stated, namely, that from the interior memory one can speak and hold intercourse in the other life with all in the universe. The second is, that this memory is proper to the spirit and is adapted to the state in which it then is; for exterior things that is, those of memory-knowledge, of the world, and of the body-are adapted to man and correspond to his state while he is in the world and the body; but interior things-that is, things rational, spiritual, and celestial-are adapted and correspond to his spirit.
AC 2477. I once heard spirits speaking together of the fact that whatever is adopted as a principle, no matter what it may be, can be confirmed by innumerable things, until at length, to the man who has confirmed himself, it appears entirely true even though false; and that men can be more easily persuaded of a falsity than of a truth. In order that they might be convinced of this, it was proposed to them that they should think and speak together on the point as to whether it is useful to spirits to use the exterior memory (for spirits converse on such subjects in a manner far surpassing man’s belief, or even conception, but each one in accordance with his affection). The spirits who were in favor of corporeal and worldly things confirmed the proposition in question by many reasons, such as that in this way they would have lost nothing, but would be men after death equally as before; that in this way they could come again into the world through man; that the delight of life is in the exterior memory; and that in no other faculty and endowment are there intelligence and wisdom; besides many other reasons by which they confirmed themselves in their principle, until it appeared to them true.
 But others then thought and spoke from the opposite principle, knowing that what they said was true, because it was from Divine order. They said that if spirits were permitted to use the exterior memory they would then be in similar imperfection as before, when they were men; that by so doing they would be in gross and obscure ideas, in comparison with those who are in the interior memory; and thus would not only become more and more foolish, but would also descend, and not ascend; thus would not live eternally for to immerse themselves again in worldly and corporeal things would be to give themselves again into a state of death. They said also that if spirits were permitted to use the exterior memory the human race would perish; for every man is directed by the Lord through angels and spirits and that if spirits were to flow into man from the exterior memory, he could not think from his own memory, but only from that of the spirit; thus man would come to be no longer in the enjoyment of his own life and his own freedom, but would be obsessed (the obsessions of former times being nothing else); besides other reasons.
AC 2478. In order that I might know how the case is as to man‘s not being able to think from his own memory if spirits flowed in from their exterior memory, it has been permitted two or three times that this should be done; and I then knew no otherwise than that that was mine which was not mine, but a spirit’s; and that I had thought things before which I had not thought; and this I was not able to perceive until they withdrew.
AC 2479. A certain newly arrived spirit was indignant that he did not remember many things which he knew in the life of the body, grieving on account of the delight which he had lost, and with which he had been very greatly pleased. But he was told that he had lost nothing at all, and that he knew everything he had known; but that in the other life it is not permitted to draw forth such things; and that it is sufficient that he is now able to think and speak much better and more perfectly, without immersing his rational as before in dense, obscure, material, and corporeal things which are of no use in the kingdom into which he has now come; and that the things which were in the kingdom of the world had been left behind; and that he now has whatever conduces to the use of eternal life; and that thus and not otherwise can he become blessed and happy; thus that it is a result of ignorance to believe that in the other life intelligence perishes with the disuse of the corporeal memory; when yet the case is that in so far as the mind can be withdrawn from sensuous or corporeal things, so far is it elevated to spiritual and heavenly things.
AC 2480. Seeing that men after death are in the interior memory (which has belonged to their rational) therefore those who in the world have been pre-eminently skilled in languages, cannot call forth even one syllable of them; and they who have been pre-eminently versed in the sciences cannot call up anything of their knowledges, and are sometimes more stupid than others. But whatever they have imbibed by means of the languages, or of the sciences, this they bring forth into use, because it has formed their rational. The rational they had so procured is that from which they think and speak. He who has imbibed falsities by means of the languages and sciences, and has confirmed himself in them, reasons from nothing but falsities; but he who has imbibed and confirmed truths, speaks from the truths. It is the affection itself which gives life--the affection of evil which gives life to falsities, and the affection of good which gives life to truths. Every one thinks from affection, and no one without affection.
AC 2481. That men after death, that is, spirits, have lost nothing whatever of the things which belong to their external or corporeal memory; but that they retain all things of it (that is to say, they retain the whole of it), although it is not permitted to bring forth from it the particulars of their life, has been given me to know from much experience, as may be seen from what follows. Two persons whom I had known during their life in the body, and who had been enemies to each other, met; and I heard one describing the character of the other with many circumstances, and also telling what opinion he had had of him, repeating an entire letter that he had written to him, and many other things in series which were particulars, and that belonged to the exterior memory; all of which the other acknowledged, and at which he was silent.
AC 2482. I heard a certain one upbraiding another, in that he had kept back his property, and had not restored it; and this together with circumstances that were of the exterior memory, until the other was ashamed. I also heard the other replying, and rehearsing the reasons why he had done it; all of which were worldly particulars.
AC 2483. A certain woman was let into the state in which she had been in the world when she had plotted a misdeed; and then all the details of her thoughts, and of her conversation with another female, came out as into clear day. A certain female belonging to the crew of the Sirens, because she persisted in denying that she had been such in the life of the body, was let into the state of her corporeal memory; and then her adulteries and shameless deeds, which while she lived had been known to scarcely anyone, were laid open and were recounted in series, almost to hundreds: where she had been; with whom she had committed adultery; what she then plotted; and all these as much to the life as if in open day; thus was she convicted. Such things are brought forth when anyone desires to exculpate himself from having been such; and indeed to the life, with every circumstance.
AC 2485. A certain one was with me whom I had not known during his life in the body. When I inquired whether he knew whence he was, he did not know; but by means of the interior sight he was led by me through the cities where I had been, and at length through the city from which he was, and then through its streets and squares, all of which he recognized, and at length into the street where he had dwelt; and if I had been acquainted with the houses, and how they were situated, I should have been able to know his house.
AC 2486. That men have with them everything of the corporeal memory, both in general and in particular, has frequently been made evident to me from those with whom I had been acquainted during their life in the body, in that when I spoke with them they recognized everything they had done while I was present, and which they had then spoken and thought. From these and many other experiences, it has been given me to know for certain that a man carries with him into the other life all things of the exterior or corporeal memory.
AC 2487. I have been instructed that regarded in itself the exterior memory is simply something organic formed from the objects of the senses--specially those of the sight and of the hearing--in the substances which are the beginnings of the fibres; and that according to the impressions from these objects are effected variations of form, which are reproduced; and that these forms are varied and changed according to the changes of the state of the affections and persuasions. Also that the interior memory is in like manner organic, but purer and more perfect, being formed from the objects of the interior sight; which objects are disposed into regular series, in an incomprehensible order.
AC 2488. Before I had been instructed by living experience, I had supposed, as do others, that no spirit could possibly know the things in my memory and in my thought; but that they were solely in my possession, and were hidden. But I can assert that the spirits with man know and take note of the smallest things of his memory and thoughts; and this much more clearly than the man himself; and that the angels know and take note of the ends themselves, how they bend themselves from good to evil, and from evil to good; and of many more things than the man knows; such as those which he has immersed in his delights, and thus as it were in his nature and disposition; for when this is done such things no longer appear, because he no longer reflects upon them. Let no man therefore any longer believe that his thoughts are hidden, and that he is not to render an account of his thoughts, and of his deeds according to the degree and the quality of the thoughts that have been in them; for the deeds have their quality from the thoughts, and the thoughts from the ends.
AC 2489. The things of the interior memory manifest themselves in the other life by a certain sphere, from which the quality of spirits is known at a distance, that is, what is their affection, and what their opinions. This sphere comes forth from the activity of the things in the interior memory. Concerning these spheres see (n. 1048, 1053, 1316, 1504).
AC 2490. As regards the interior memory the case is this: There are retained in it not only all and each of the things the man from his infancy has ever seen and heard, and those he has thought, spoken, and done; but also those which he sees and hears, and which he thinks, speaks, and does, in the other life. But this takes place with a difference. They who are in the persuasion of falsity and the cupidity of evil imbibe and retain all things that are in agreement therewith, for they enter in as water does into a sponge. All other things do indeed also flow thereto, but are retained so slightly that they scarcely know that they are anything. But they who are in the faith of truth and the affection of good retain all things which are true and good, and are thereby being continually perfected. Hence it is that they can be instructed, and that they are instructed in the other life.
AC 2491. There are spirits whose origin shall of the Lord‘s Divine mercy be spoken of elsewhere, who relate to the interior memory. These wander about in bands, and in wonderful ways elicit whatever others know, and whatever they hear they communicate to their companions.
AC 2492. The nature of the memories is sometimes presented to view in the other life, in forms to be seen there alone. (Many things are there presented to the sight, which in the case of men fall only into the ideas). The exterior memory is thus presented to view as a callosity; the interior memory as a medullary substance such as is in the human brain. From this circumstance it is possible to know of what quality the spirits are. With those who in the life of the body have fostered the memory alone, and so have not cultivated their rational, the callosity appears hard, and striated within. With those who have filled the memory with falsities, it appears as if made of hair and shaggy, and this from the disorderly mass of things. With those who have fostered the memory for the sake of the love of self and of the world, it appears conglutinated and indurated. With those who have desired to penetrate into Divine arcana by things scientific, and especially by things philosophical, and who would not believe until persuaded by means of these things, it appears dark, and of such a nature as to absorb the rays of light, and turn them into darkness. With those who have been deceitful and hypocrites, it appears as if bony and of ebony, reflecting the rays of light. But with those who have been in the good of love and the truth of faith, such a callosity does not appear; because their interior memory transmits the rays of light into the exterior memory, in the objects or ideas of which--as in their basis or as in their ground--the rays are terminated, and find there delightful receptacles. For the exterior memory is the ultimate of order, in which spiritual and heavenly things are softly terminated and reside when there are goods and truths therein.
AC 2493. I have spoken with the angels concerning the memory of things past, and the consequent anxiety regarding things to come; and I have been instructed that the more interior and perfect the angels are, the less do they care for past things, and the less do they think of things to come; and also that from this comes their happiness. They say that the Lord gives them every moment what to think, and this with blessedness and happiness; and that they are thus free from cares and anxieties. Also, that this was meant in the internal sense by the manna being received daily from heaven; and by the daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer; and likewise by the instruction not to be solicitous about what they should eat and drink, and wherewithal they should be clothed. But although the angels do not care for past things, and are not solicitous about things to come, they nevertheless have the most perfect recollection of past things, and the most perfect mental view of things to come; because in all their present there are both the past and the future. Thus they have a more perfect memory than can ever be thought of or expressed.
AC 2494. When men who are in love to the Lord and in charity toward the neighbor are living in the world, they have with themselves and in themselves angelic intelligence and wisdom, but stored up in the inmosts of their interior memory; which intelligence and wisdom cannot possibly appear to them until they put off corporeal things. Then the memory of particulars (spoken of above) is put to sleep; and they are awakened into the interior memory, and successively afterwards into the angelic memory itself. previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page