Spiritual background for GENESIS 37    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 4661. Before the preceding chapter the explication was continued of what the Lord foretold concerning the last time of the church, and there was unfolded what He foretold by the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13). After this follows another parable that of the servants to whom the man going into a far country gave talents, to one five, to another two, and to another one, that they might trade therewith; and of these servants he who received five talents gained by them five more, he who received two also gained by them two, and he who received the one hid it in the earth. As this parable involves almost the same things as the parable of the ten virgins, I may pass on to explain the concluding part of the same chapter, which in the letter is as follows:-

AC 4662. When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come ye blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was a hungered, and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me to drink; I was a stranger, and ye gathered Me; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee a hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee to drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and gathered Thee? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left had, Depart from Me ye cursed into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was a hungered, and ye gave Me not to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me not to drink; I was a stranger, and ye gathered Me not; naked, and ye clothed Me not; [sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not]. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee a hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal (Matt. 25:31-46).

AC 4663. One who is unacquainted with the internal sense cannot but think that these words were spoken by the Lord of some last day, when all in the whole world will be gathered before Him, and will then be judged; and also that the procedure of the Judgment will be just as is described in the letter, namely, that He will set those who are to be judged on the right hand and on the left, and will speak to them as in the parable. But one who is acquainted with the internal sense, and who has learned from other passages in the Word that the Lord judges no one to eternal fire, but that everyone judges himself, that is, casts himself into it; and who has also learned that the Last Judgment of everyone is when he dies, may know in some measure what these words involve in general. And one who from the internal sense and from correspondence knows the interior meaning of the words, may know what they specifically mean, namely, that in the other life everyone receives a reward in accordance with his life in the world,

[2] Those who vaunt the salvation of man through faith alone, cannot explain these words in any other way than by saying that what the Lord said of works means the fruits of faith, and that He mentioned them merely for the sake of the simple, who are unacquainted with mysteries. But even according to their opinion it would still follow that the faults of faith are what make man blessed and happy after death. The fruits of faith are nothing else than a life in accordance with the precepts of faith; consequently a life in accordance with these precepts saves, but not faith without life; for after death man carries with him all the states of his life, so that he is such as he has been in the body. For instance: one who in the life of the body has despised others in comparison with himself, in the other life also despises others in comparison with himself; one who in the life of the body has regarded the neighbor with hatred, also in the other life regards the neighbor with hatred; one who in the life of the body has acted deceitfully toward his companions, in the other life also acts deceitfully toward his companions; and so in other instances. Everyone retains in the other life the nature which he has acquired in the life of the body; and it is known that a man‘s nature cannot be cast out, and that if it is cast out, nothing of life remains.

[3] It is for this reason that only works of charity are mentioned by the Lord; for he who is in the works of charity, or what is the same, in a life of faith, is capable of receiving faith, if not in the body, yet in the other life; but one who is not in the works of charity, or in a life of faith, is by no means capable of receiving faith, either in the body or in the other life. For evil does not accord with truth, but the one rejects the other; and if those who are in evil speak truths, they speak them from the lips, and not from the heart, and thus evil and truths are still very far apart.

AC 4664. But what is involved in the internal sense in these things which the Lord here says concerning the Last Judgment, that is, concerning the last judgment of everyone after death, is too much to be unfolded before this chapter, and therefore will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be unfolded in order before the chapters which follow.


AC 4791. The tongue affords entrance to the lungs, and also to the stomach, thus it represents as it were the court to spiritual and celestial things--to spiritual because it ministers to the lungs and thence to the speech, to celestial because it ministers to the stomach, which supplies food to the blood and heart. That the lungs correspond to spiritual, and the heart to celestial things, may be seen above (n. 3635, 3883-3896). Wherefore the tongue corresponds in general to the affection of truth, or to those in the Grand Man who are in the affection of truth, and afterwards in the affection of good from truth; and therefore they who love the Word of the Lord, and desire there from the knowledges of truth and of good, belong to this province; but with the difference that there are some who belong to the tongue itself, some to the larynx and the trachea, some to the throat, some to the gums, and some to the lips; for there does not exist even the least thing in man with which there is not correspondence. That they who are in the affection of truth belong to this province as understood in a wide sense, has often been granted me to experience, and this by manifest influx from them, now into the tongue, and now into the lips; and it has also been given me to converse with them, and to observe that there are some who correspond to the interiors of the tongue and of the lips, and others to the exteriors. The operation of those who receive with affection exterior truths only, and not interior, but without rejecting the latter, I felt not into the interiors of the tongue, but into the exteriors.

AC 4792. As food and nourishment correspond to spiritual food and nourishment, therefore taste corresponds to the perception and affection of this food. Spiritual food is knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, for from these, spirits and angels live and are nourished, and they desire and have appetite for them just as men who are hungry desire and have appetite for food. Hence appetite corresponds to this desire. And wonderful to say, from this food they grow to maturity; for little children who die appear in the other life no otherwise than as little children, and also are such as to understanding; but as they increase in intelligence and wisdom, they appear not as little children, but as advancing in age, and at last as adults. I have conversed with some who had died in infancy, and were seen by me as young men, because they were then intelligent. From this it is evident what spiritual food and nourishment are.

AC 4793. As the taste corresponds to the perception and affection of knowing, understanding, and growing wise, and as the life of man is in this affection, therefore no spirit or angel is permitted to flow into man’s taste, for this would be to flow into the life which is proper to him. Yet there are roaming spirits of the infernal crew, more pernicious than others, who because they had accustomed themselves in the life of the body to enter into man‘s affections for the purpose of doing harm, in the other life also retain this desire, and strive in every way to enter into man’s taste, and when they have entered into it they possess his interiors, that is, the life of his thoughts and affections, for as before said they correspond, and things which correspond act as a one. Very many at this day are possessed by these spirits; for there are at this day interior obsessions, but not as formerly exterior ones.

[2] Interior obsessions are effected by such spirits, and their quality may be seen if attention is paid to the thoughts and affections, especially to the interior intentions, which men fear to manifest, and which are so insane in some that unless they were restrained by external bonds, such as honor, gain, reputation, the fear of death and of the law, they would more than the obsessed rush into murder and robbery. Who and of what quality those spirits are who obsess the interiors of such men may be seen above (n. 1983).

[3] In order that I might know how this is, they were permitted to attempt to enter into my taste, which they endeavored to the utmost of their power to do; and I was then told that if they penetrated quite into the taste they would possess the interiors also, for the reason that the taste depends on these interiors by correspondence. But this was permitted only to the end that I might know how the case is with the correspondence of the taste; for they were instantly driven away from there.

[4] These pernicious spirits try especially to loose all internal bonds, which are the affections of what is good and true, and of what is just and fair, fear of the Divine law, and a sense of shame in doing harm to society and to one‘s country; and when these internal bonds are loosed the man is obsessed by such spirits. When they are not able to get into the interiors by persistent endeavor, they try to do so by magical arts, of which there are many in the other life wholly unknown in the world; and by means of them they pervert the memory-knowledges in the man, and apply those only which favor their foul desires. Such obsessions cannot be avoided unless the man is in the affection of good, and hence in faith in the Lord.

[5] It was also shown how they were driven away. When they thought that they were penetrating toward the interiors of the head and brain, they were conveyed along by excrementitious passages, and thence toward the externals of the skin; and they were then seen to be cast into a ditch full of liquid filth. I was informed that such spirits correspond to the dirty little pits in the outermost skin, where scall arises; thus that they correspond to scall.

AC 4794. A spirit, or man after death, has all the senses that he had while he lived in the world, namely, sight, hearing, smell, and touch; but not taste, but instead of it something analogous which is adjoined to the sense of smell. The reason why he has not taste is that he may not he able to enter into the taste of man and thus possess his interiors; also that this sense may not turn him away from the desire of knowing and of being wise, thus from spiritual appetite.

AC 4795. From all this it is evident why the tongue is assigned a double office, namely, the office of aiding in speech, and that of aiding in nourishment. For in so far as it aids in nourishment it corresponds to the affection of knowing, understanding, and being wise as to truths; for which reason also wisdom (sapientia) and being wise (sapere) are so called from relish (sapor); and in so far as it aids in speech, it corresponds to the affection of thinking and producing truths.

AC 4796. When angels present themselves to the sight, all their interior affections appear clearly and shine forth from the face, so that the face is an external form and representative image of them. It is not permitted in heaven to have any other face than that of one’s affections. Those who simulate another face are cast out from the society. From this it is evident that the face corresponds to all the interiors in general, both to man‘s affections and to his thoughts, or to what is of his will and to what is of his understanding. Hence also in the Word by "face" and "faces" are signified affections; and by the Lord’s "lifting up His faces" upon anyone, is signified that He pities him from Divine affection, which is of love.

AC 4797. The changes of state of the affections appear to the life in the face of angels. When they are in their own society they are in their own face, but when they come into another society their faces are changed according to the affections of good and truth of that society; and yet the genuine face is as a plane, which is recognized in these changes. I have seen the successive variations according to the affections of the societies with which they were communicating, for every angel is in some province of the Grand Man, and thus communicates generally and widely with all who are in the same province, though he himself is in the part of that province to which he properly corresponds. I have seen that they varied their faces by changes from one limit of affection to another; but it was observed that the same face in general was retained, so that the ruling affection always shone forth with its variations, and thus the faces of the whole affection in its extension were shown.

[2] And what is more wonderful, the changes of affections from infancy even to adult age were also shown by means of variations of the face, and it was given me to know how much of infancy it had retained in adult age, and that this was the human itself of it. For in an infant there is innocence in external form, and innocence is the human itself, for into it as into a plane flow love and charity from the Lord. When man is being regenerated and becoming wise, the innocence of infancy, which was external, becomes internal. It is for this reason that genuine wisdom dwells in no other abode than innocence (n. 2305, 2306, 3183, 3994); also that no one can enter heaven unless he has something of innocence, according to the Lord‘s words,

"Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens" (Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:15).

AC 4798. Evil spirits may also be known from their faces, for all their cupidities or evil affections are inscribed on their faces, and it may also be known from their faces with what hells they communicate; for there are very many hells, all distinct according to the genera and species of the cupidities of evil. Their faces in general when seen in the light of heaven are almost without life, some being ghastly like those of corpses, some black, and others monstrous; for they are the forms of hatred, cruelty, deceit, and hypocrisy. But in their own light and among themselves they appear otherwise, from phantasy.

AC 4799. There were spirits with me from another earth whose faces were different from the faces of the men of our earth, being prominent, especially about the lips, and moreover free. I conversed with them about their manner of living, and the state of conversation among them. They said that they converse with one another chiefly by variations of the face, especially by variations about the lips; and that they express their affections by the parts of the face which are about the eyes, so that their companions can fully comprehend thence both what they are thinking and what they are willing. They endeavored also to show me this by means of an influx into my lips, by means of various foldings and bendings round about them. But I could not receive the variations, because my lips had not been initiated from infancy into such things; and yet by the communication of their thought I could perceive what they said. But that speech in general can be expressed by the lips was evident to me from the manifold series of muscular fibers folded into one another in the lips, which if they should be unfolded, and thus should act openly and freely, would be able to present there many variations which are unknown to those in whom these muscular fibers lie compressed.

[2] That the speech of these people was of such a nature is because they are incapable of simulation, or of thinking one thing and looking another. For they live together in such sincerity that they conceal nothing at all from their companions, it being instantly known what they are thinking and willing, what is their quality, and also what they have been doing; for the acts performed by those who are in sincerity are in the conscience; and thus their interior expressions of countenance, that is, their minds, can be discriminated by others at first sight.

[3] They showed me that they do not force the face, but let it forth freely, otherwise than is the case with those who from youth have been accustomed to simulate, that is, to speak and act differently from what they think and will. The face of the latter is contracted, so as to be ready to vary itself as cunning suggests. Whatever a man wishes to conceal contracts his face, which from being contracted is expanded when anything seemingly sincere is feignedly put forth.

[4] While I was reading in the Word of the New Testament concerning the Lord, the spirits now described were present, and also some Christians, and it was perceived that the latter cherished inwardly stumbling blocks against the Lord, and also that they desired to tacitly communicate them. Those who were from another earth wondered at their being of such a quality, but it was given to tell them that in the world they had not been such in mouth but in heart; and that there were also some who, though of this quality, had preached the Lord, and were then able by the zeal of feigned piety to move the common people to sighs and sometimes to tears, not in the least communicating what was in their hearts. At this they were amazed in that there could be such a disagreement of interiors and exteriors, or of thought and speech, and then said that they were entirely ignorant of such a disagreement, and that it was impossible for them to speak with their mouth and show in their face anything not in accordance with the affections of the heart; and that were it otherwise they would be torn asunder and would perish.

AC 4800. Very few can believe that there are societies of spirits and of angels to which all the things in man correspond; also that the more societies there are, and the more in a society, the better and stronger is the correspondence; for in unanimous numbers there is strength. In order that I might know that this is so, it was shown how they act and flow into the face, how into the muscles of the forehead, into those of the cheeks, and into those of the chin and throat. Those who belonged to this province were permitted to flow in, and then every particular was varied according to their influx. Some of them also conversed with me, but they did not know that they were assigned to the province of the face; for to what province they are assigned is unknown to spirits, but not to angels.

AC 4801. A certain one conversed with me who at the time that he lived in the world had more than others known the exterior truths of faith, but still had not led a life in conformity with the precepts of faith; for he had loved himself only, and had despised others in comparison with himself, and had believed that he would be among the first in heaven; but because he was of such a quality he could not have any other opinion of heaven than as of a worldly kingdom. When in the other life he found that heaven was entirely different from what he had conceived it to be, and that those were chief who had not set themselves above others, especially those who had believed that they were unworthy of mercy, and thus that according to their merits they were the last, he was very indignant, and rejected the things that in the life of the body had been of his faith. He was continually endeavoring to do violence to those who were in the province of the tongue. It was granted me clearly to perceive his effort for several weeks, and hence also to know who and of what quality are those who correspond to the tongue, and who they are that are opposed to them.

AC 4802. There are also spirits who though evil still in some measure admit the light of heaven and receive the truths of faith, so that they have come perception of truth. They also eagerly receive truths, yet not for the purpose of living according to them, but that they may glory in seeming more intelligent and sharp-sighted than others; for the intellect of man is such that it can receive truths, and yet truths are not appropriated to any but those who live according to them. Unless man’s intellect were such he could not be reformed.

[2] They who in the world have been of such a quality, that is, have understood truths and yet have lived a life of evil, are in the other life also of this quality, but there abuse their capacity to understand truths in order to acquire dominion; for they know there that by means of truths they have communication with come societies of heaven, and consequently that they can be with the evil and have power; for in the other life truths have power in them; but because their life is evil they are in hell.

[3] I have spoken with two persons who had been such in the life of the body, and they wondered at their being in hell, when yet they had had a persuasive belief in the truths of faith. But they were told that the light with them by which they understood truths was a light like that of winter in the world, in which objects appear in their beauty and colors equally as in the light of summer; but that nevertheless in this winter light all things are torpid, and nothing pleasant and gladsome is produced; and that as their end of understanding truths had been glorying, and consequently self, therefore when the sphere of their ends exalts itself toward the interior heavens to the angels there, by whom ends only are perceived, it cannot be endured, but is rejected; and that for this reason they are in hell.

[4] It was added that formerly such persons were pre-eminently called serpents of the tree of knowledge, because when they reason from the life they speak against truths; and moreover that they were like a woman with a lovely face, and a noisome odor, and who wherever she goes is therefore rejected from societies. Moreover when in the other life such persons come to angelic societies they actually have a foul smell, and this even they themselves perceive as soon as they approach those societies. From this also it is evident what faith is without a life of faith.

AC 4803. It is worthy of mention, being wholly unknown in the world, that the states of good spirits and of angels are continually changing and perfecting, and that they are thus raised into the interiors of the province in which they are, and so into nobler functions; for in heaven there is a continual purification, and so to speak new creation; but still the case is such that no angel can possibly attain absolute perfection even to eternity. The Lord alone is perfect; in Him and from Him is all perfection. They who correspond to the mouth are continually desiring to speak, for in speaking they find their greatest pleasure. When they are being perfected they are reduced to this--that they do not speak anything but what is of service to their companions, to the common good, to heaven, and to the Lord. The delight of so speaking is enhanced with them in the degree of the loss of the desire to regard themselves in their speech, and to seek wisdom from their own.

AC 4804. There are very many societies in the other life that are called societies of friendship. They are composed of those who in the life of the body preferred to every other delight that of conversation, and who loved those with whom they conversed, not caring whether they were good or evil, provided they were entertaining; and thus who were not friends to good or to truth. They who have been such in the life of the body are such also in the other life, in which they associate solely from the delight of conversation. Many such societies have been with me, but at a distance, being seen chiefly a little to the right above the head. That they were present it was given me to note by a torpor and dulness, and by a privation of the delight in which I was, the presence of such societies inducing these effects. For wherever they come they take delight away from others, and wonderful to say, they make it their own; for they turn away the spirits who are with others, and turn them to themselves, whereby they transfer another‘s delight to themselves; and as they are on this account troublesome and injurious to those who are in good, they are therefore kept away by the Lord, lest they should come near to the heavenly societies. From this it was given me to know how much injury friendship occasions man as to his spiritual life if the person and not good is regarded; everyone may indeed be friendly to another, but still he should be most friendly to what is good.

AC 4805. There are also societies of interior friendship which do not take away another’s external delight and divert it to themselves, but take away his internal delight or blessedness, arising from the affection of spiritual things. These societies are in front to the right close above the lower earth, and some of them a little higher. I have several times conversed with those who were below; and then those who were above inflowed in general. In the life of the body their nature was such that they loved from the heart those who were within their common fellowship, and also embraced one another with brotherly affection. They had believed that they only were living and in the light, and that those who were outside of their society were comparatively not living and not in the light; and because they were of such a quality they also thought that the Lord‘s heaven consists solely of those few.

[2] But it was given to tell them that the Lord’s heaven is immense, and that it consists of every people and tongue, and that all are there who have been in the good of love and of faith; and it was shown that there are those in heaven who relate to all the provinces of the body both as to its exteriors and as to its interiors; but that if they aspired beyond the things which correspond to their life, especially if they condemned others who were outside of their society, they could not have heaven; and that in this case their society is a society of interior friendship, which as before said is of such a nature that when they approach others they deprive them of the blessedness of spiritual affection; for they regard them as not being the elect, and as not living; and when this thought is communicated, it induces sadness, which however according to the law of order in the other life returns to themselves.

AC 4806. A continuation concerning Correspondence with the Grand Man will be found at the end of the following chapter.

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