Spiritual background for GENESIS 39    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 4954. In the prefatory remarks to the preceding chapter, the Lord‘s words in (Matthew 25:31-33), concerning the Judgment upon the good and the evil were unfolded (n. 4807-4810). There now come to be unfolded the words which there follow in order, namely:--

Then shall the king say to 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 hungry, and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me 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 (Matthew 25:34-38).

AC 4955. What these words involve in the internal sense will appear from what follows. Be it known in the first place that the works here enumerated are the very works of charity in their order. This no one can see who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word, that is, who does not know what is meant by giving the hungry to eat, giving the thirsty to drink, gathering the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and coming unto those who are in prison. He who thinks of these acts from the sense of the letter only, infers that they mean good works in the external form, and that there is nothing secret in them beyond this; and but there is something secret in each of them, which is Divine, because from the Lord. But the secret is not at this day understood, because at this day there are no doctrinals of charity; for ever since men have separated charity from faith, these doctrinals have perished, and in place of them the doctrinals of faith have been invented and received, which do not at all teach what charity is and what the neighbor. The doctrinals existing among the ancients taught all the genera and all the species of charity, and also who the neighbor is toward whom charity is to be exercised, and how one is the neighbor in a different degree and in a different respect from another, and consequently how the exercise of charity varies in its application toward different persons. They also grouped the neighbor together into classes, and assigned them names, calling some the poor, needy, miserable, afflicted; some the blind, lame, halt, and also fatherless and widows; and others the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, bound, and so on; thus knowing what duty they owed toward one and toward another. But as before said these doctrinals perished, and with them the understanding of the Word, insomuch that no one at this day knows otherwise than that by the "poor," the "widows," and the "fatherless," in the Word, none other are meant than they who are so called; in like manner here by the "hungry," the "thirsty," the "strangers," the "naked," the "sick," and those who are "in prison;" when yet by these charity is described such as it is in its essence, and the exercise of it such as it must be in its life.

AC 4956. The essence of charity toward the neighbor is the affection of good and truth, and the acknowledgment of self as being evil and false; yea, the neighbor is good and truth itself, and to be affected by these is to have charity. The opposite to the neighbor is evil and falsity, which are held in aversion by one who has charity. He therefore who has charity toward the neighbor is affected by good and truth, because they are from the Lord, and holds in aversion what is evil and what is false because these are from self; and when he does this, he is in humiliation from self-acknowledgment, and when he is in humiliation, he is in a state of reception of good and truth from the Lord. These are the characteristics of charity which in the internal sense are involved in these words of the Lord: "I was hungry, and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me 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." That these words involve such things, no one can know except from the internal sense. The ancients, who had the doctrinals of charity, knew these things; but at this day they appear so remote that everyone will wonder at its being said that these things are within. Moreover the angels who are with man perceive these words no otherwise, for by the "hungry" they perceive those who from affection desire good; by the "thirsty," those who from affection desire truth; by a "stranger," those who are willing to be instructed; by the "naked," those who acknowledge that there is nothing of good and of truth in themselves; by the "sick," those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but evil; and by the "bound," or those who are "in prison," those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but falsity. If these things are reduced into one meaning, they signify what has been stated just above.

AC 4957. From all this it is evident that there were Divine things within everything the Lord said, although to those who are in merely worldly things, and especially to those who are in bodily things, His words appear to be such as any man might say. Nay, they who are in bodily things will say of these and all other words of the Lord, that they have not so much grace, and therefore not so much weight, as the discourse and preaching of those of the present age who speak with eloquence and learning; when yet their discourse and preaching are like the husk and chaff in comparison with the kernel and grain.

AC 4958. That "to hunger" is from affection to desire good, is because bread" in the internal sense is the good of love and of charity, and "food" in general is good (n. 2165, 2177, 3478, 4211, 4217, 4735). "To thirst" is from affection to desire truth, because "wine" and also "water" denote the truth of faith. It is so with "wine," (n. 1071, 1798); and with "water," (n. 2702). A "stranger" is one who is willing to be instructed, (n. 1463, 4444). That the "naked" means one who acknowledges that there is nothing of good or truth in himself, the "sick" one who acknowledges that he is in evil, and the "bound," or he that is "in prison," one who acknowledges that he is in falsity, is plain from the many passages in the Word in which they are mentioned.

AC 4959. The reason why the Lord says these things of Himself is that He is in those who are such, and therefore He also says: "Verily I say unto you, In so far as ye have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it to Me" (Matthew 25:40, 45).


AC 5050. At the end of the preceding chapter (n. 4931-4953), it was shown from experience who in the Grand Man or heaven belong to the province of the hands, of the arms, and of the feet; and it will now be shown what are the societies in heaven or the Grand Man to which the loins correspond, and also the members adhering to the loins, which are called the members of generation. In general, be it known that the loins and the members adhering to them correspond to genuine conjugial love, and consequently to the societies in which are those who are in this love. They who are in these societies are more celestial than others, and more than others live in the delight of peace.

AC 5051. In a quiet dream I saw some trees planted in a wooden receptacle, one of which was tall, another lower, and two were small. The lower tree delighted me very greatly, and all the while a very pleasant rest, such as I cannot express, affected my mind. On awaking from sleep I conversed with those who induced the dream. They were angelic spirits (n. 1977, 1979), and they told me what was signified by what I had seen--that it was conjugial love, the tall tree signifying the husband, the lower tree the wife, and the two small ones the children. They told me further that the very pleasant rest which affected my mind indicated what pleasantness of peace those have in the other life who have lived in genuine conjugial love. They added that such are those who belong to the province of the thighs next above the knees, and that those who are in a still more pleasant state belong to the province of the loins. It was also shown that this province communicates through the feet with the soles and the heels. That this is so, is plain from that great nerve in the thigh which sends forth its branches not only through the loins to the members of generation (which are the organs of conjugial love), but also through the feet to the soles and the heels. It was also then discovered what is meant in the Word by the hollow and the nerve of the thigh which was put out of joint in Jacob, when he wrestled with the angel (Gen. 32:25, 31, 32); (n. 4280, 4281, 4314-4317).

[2] I afterward saw a great dog, such as that called Cerberus by ancient writers, with a frightful open mouth; and I was told that such a dog signifies a guard to prevent man‘s passing over from heavenly conjugial love to the love of adultery, which is infernal; for heavenly conjugial love exists when a man together with his wife, whom he loves most tenderly, and with his children, lives content in the Lord. From this he has in this world an inward pleasantness, and in the other life heavenly joy; but when he passes from this love into the opposite, and finds in this a delight that seems to him heavenly, although it is infernal, then such a dog is presented as a guard lest there should be a communication between these opposite delights.

AC 5052. The Lord insinuates conjugial love through the inmost heaven, the angels of which are in peace beyond all others. Peace in the heavens is comparatively like springtime n the world, which renders all things joyous, for in its origin peace is the celestial itself. The angels who are in the inmost heaven are the wisest of all, and from their innocence they appear to others as infants, for they love infants much more than do their fathers and mothers. They are present with infants in the womb, and through them the Lord cares for the feeding and full development of the infants therein; thus they have charge over those who are with child.

AC 5053. There are heavenly societies to which correspond all and each of the members and organs allotted to generation in both sexes. These societies are distinct from others, just as this province in man is quite distinct and separate from the rest. The reason why these societies are celestial, is that conjugial love is the fundamental love of all loves (n. 686, 2733, 2737, 2738). It also excels the rest in use, and consequently in delight; for marriages are the nurseries of the whole human race, and are also the nurseries of the Lord’s heavenly kingdom; for heaven is from the human race.

AC 5054. They who have loved infants most tenderly, as for instance such mothers, are in the province of the womb and the organs round about, namely, in the province of the neck of the womb and of the ovaries; and they who are there are in a life most sweet and soft, and are in heavenly joy beyond others.

AC 5055. But what and of what quality those heavenly societies are which belong to the several organs of generation, it has not been given me to know; for they are too interior to be comprehended by anyone who is in a lower sphere. They bear relation to the uses of these organs, which uses are hidden, and are far from ken, for the reason (which also is of Providence) that such things, in themselves most heavenly, may not suffer injury by filthy thoughts of lasciviousness, of whoredom, and of adultery, which are excited in very many persons at the bare mention of these organs. For this reason I may relate some of the more remote things that I have seen.

AC 5056. A certain spirit from another earth was with me (of which spirits from other earths of the Lord‘s Divine mercy I shall speak elsewhere), and he anxiously begged me to intercede for him, that he might come into heaven. He said that he was not aware of having done what is evil, except that he had rebuked the inhabitants of that earth (for there are spirits who chide and chastise those who do not live rightly, who also will be described when I speak of the inhabitants of other earths). He added that after chiding he instructed them. He then talked with as it were a broken voice, and he could move one to pity. But I could only reply that I could give him no help, and that admission into heaven is of the Lord alone, but that if worthy he might hope. He was then sent back among upright spirits from his own earth; but these said that he could not be in their company, because he was not such as they were. Yet because with intense longing he importuned to be let into heaven, he was sent into a society of upright spirits of this earth; but these also said that he could not remain with them. In the light of heaven he was of a black color; but he himself said that he was not of a black, but of a murrhine color.

[2] I was told that they are such in the beginning who are afterward received among those who constitute the province of the seminal vesicles; for in these vesicles is collected the semen with its proper serum with which it is combined and thereby rendered fit, after it has been emitted, to be resolved in the neck of the womb, and thus to be serviceable for conception; and there is in such a substance an endeavor and as it were a longing to perform a use, thus to put off the serum with which it is clothed. Something similar showed itself in this spirit. He came again to me, but in vile clothing, and said that he was burning to come into heaven, and that he now perceived that he was fit for it. I was given to tell him that perhaps this was an indication that he would soon be received. He was then told by angels to cast off his garment; and in his longing he cast it off so quickly that scarcely anything could be quicker. By this was represented the nature of the ardent desires of those who are in the province to which the seminal vesicles correspond.

AC 5057. A large mortar was seen, and standing by it a man with an iron instrument, who from phantasy seemed to himself to pound men in that vessel, torturing them in direful ways. This he did with great delight, which was communicated to me, that I might know the quality and intensity of it in those who are of this nature. It was an infernal delight. I was told by angels that such was the ruling delight with the posterity of Jacob; and that they perceived nothing more delightful than to treat the nations with cruelty, to expose them when slain to be devoured by wild beasts and birds, to cut them alive with saws and axes, to make them pass through the brick-kiln (2 Sam. 12:31), and to dash their little children together and throw them away. Such things were never commanded, nor were they ever permitted except to those the nerve of whose thigh was out of joint (n. 5051). Such spirits dwell under the right heel, where are adulterers who are also cruel.

[2] It is therefore surprising that anyone should ever have believed that that nation was chosen more than others; and from this also many confirm themselves in the idea that the life effects nothing, but that election, and hence reception into heaven, is of mere mercy, whatever the life may have been; when yet everyone from sound reason may see that to think in this way is contrary to the Divine, for the Divine is mercy itself, and therefore if heaven were of mere mercy without regard to the life, everybody would be received. To thrust down anyone into hell to be tormented there, when it would be possible to receive him into heaven, would be unmercifulness and not mercy; and to elect one in preference to another would be injustice, and not justice.

[3] Wherefore they who have believed and have confirmed themselves in the idea that some are elected, and the rest not, and that admission into heaven is of mere mercy, without regard to the life, are told (as I have several times heard and seen) that heaven is never denied by the Lord to anyone, and that if they desire they may know this from experience. For this purpose they are taken up into some society of heaven where are those who have lived in the affection of good, or in charity; but being evil, as soon as they come there they begin to be tormented and to be inwardly tortured, because their life is contrary; and when the heavenly light appears, they appear in it like devils, almost devoid of human form, some with the face sunk in, some like grates of teeth, and some monstrous in other ways. Thus they abhor themselves, and cast themselves down headlong into hell, and for them the deeper the better.

AC 5058. There was also a certain person who in the world had been a man of position, and who was then known to me, although not as to his inner quality; but in the other life, after some revolvings of the state of his life, it became evident that he was deceitful. When he had been for some time among the deceitful in the other life, and had suffered hard things there, he desired to be separated from them. I heard him then saying that he desired to come into heaven; and he too had believed that reception is of mere mercy. But he was told that if he got there he could not stay there, and that he would be tormented like those who in the world are in the death agony. Nevertheless he insisted, and was therefore admitted into a society consisting of the simple good who are in front above the head; but as soon as he arrived he began to act craftily and deceitfully, according to his life. The result was that within an hour the good in that society, who were simple, began to lament, saying that he took away from them their perception of good and of truth, and consequently their delight, thus destroying their state. Then some light from the interior heaven was admitted, in which he appeared as a devil, with the upper part of his nose loathsomely furrowed with a foul wound. He also began to be inwardly tortured; and when he felt this, he cast himself down into hell. From this it is plain that it is not election and reception from mercy, but the life, that makes heaven; nevertheless all things of the life of good and of the faith of truth are from mercy given to those who receive mercy in the world; and with these there is reception from mercy, and they are those who are called the "elect" (n. 3755, 3900).

AC 5059. When those have approached me who have lived in what is contrary to conjugial love--that is, in adulteries--they always injected pain in the loins, more or less severe according to the life of adulteries which they had lived; from which influx also it has been evident that the loins correspond to conjugial love. The hell of these is under the hinder part of the loins, beneath the buttocks, where they dwell in filth and excrements; and these things are delightful to them because in the spiritual world they are in correspondence with these pleasures. But more will be said about these spirits, when of the Lord’s Divine mercy I come to speak of the hells in general and in particular.

AC 5060. Who they are that correspond to the testicles, was in like manner evident to me from those who are in what is contrary to conjugial love, and who inflict pain on the testicles; for when societies operate they act upon those parts and those members of the body to which they correspond--heavenly societies by a gentle, sweet, delightful influx; and infernal ones, who are in what is contrary, by a severe and painful influx. But their influx is perceived by those only whose interiors have been opened, and who thereby have received perceptible communication with the spiritual world. They who are in what is contrary to conjugial love and who inflict pain on the testicles, are those who ensnare by love, friendship, and kind offices. When such spirits approached me they desired to speak with me in private, being exceedingly fearful lest anyone should be present, for this had been their character in the life of the body; and being such then, they are such in the other life also, because everyones life remains with him.

[2] There arose from the region about Gehenna somewhat aerial and inconspicuous. It was a company of such spirits, but though there were many in it, it afterward appeared to me as only one spirit hampered with bandages, which however he seemed to himself to remove, whereby was signified that they desired to remove obstacles; for in such a manner do the thoughts and efforts of the mind appear representatively in the world of spirits, and when they appear, it is instantly perceived what they signify. Afterward it seemed as if there came forth from his body a little snow-white spirit, who drew near to me, by which was represented their thought and intention--that they desired to assume a state of innocence, so that no one might suspect their real character. When he came to me, he let himself down toward the loins, and seemed to wind himself as it were about both of them, whereby was represented that they desired to exhibit themselves in chaste conjugial love; afterward he seemed to wind himself about the feet in spiral coils, whereby was represented that they desired to insinuate themselves by such things as are delightful in nature. At last that little spirit became almost invisible, by which was represented that they desire to lie wholly concealed.

[3] I was told by angels that such insinuation belongs to those who seek to ensnare in conjugial love, that is to say, those who in the world have insinuated themselves with the end to commit adultery with wives, by speaking chastely and sanely about conjugial love, by caressing the children, by praising the husband in every possible way, so as to be believed to be friendly, chaste, and innocent, when yet they are deceitful adulterers. Their quality was also shown me, for after these things had been done, that little snow-white spirit became visible, and appeared dusky and very black, and also very deformed; and he was cast out into his hell, which was deep under the middle part of the loins. There they dwell in the foulest excrements; and they are also among the robbers there who bear relation to the general involuntary sense (n. 4327). I afterward conversed with such spirits, and they were surprised that anyone should make adultery a matter of conscience, that is, that from conscience he would not lie with another‘s wife when allowed; and when I talked with them about conscience, they denied that anyone has conscience. I was told that such spirits are for the most part from Christendom, and seldom from other parts of the world.

AC 5061. By way of corollary I may add this memorable circumstance. There were some spirits who had long lain concealed, shut up in a peculiar hell, from which they could not break out. I sometimes wondered who they were. One evening they were let out, and then was heard from them a very tumultuous noise of murmurs, which continued a long time; and when opportunity was given, I heard from them scoffings against me, and perceived that they desired and were endeavoring to come up and destroy me. I asked the angels the reason of this; and they said that during their lifetime these persons had hated me, although I had never harmed them; and I was instructed that when such spirits merely perceive the sphere of the person whom they have hated, they breathe his destruction; but they were sent back into their own hell. From this it is evident that those who have hated each other in the world meet in the other life, and attempt many evils against each other, as has often been granted me to know by other examples. For hatred is opposite to love and charity, and is an aversion, and as it were a spiritual antipathy; and therefore the moment that such spirits perceive in the other life the sphere of the person against whom they have borne hatred, they come as it were into a fury. It is plain from this what is involved in the Lord’s words in (Matthew 5:22-26).

AC 5062. A continuation concerning correspondence with the Grand Man will be found at the end of the following chapter.

previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page