Spiritual background for GENESIS 48    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 6307. That there is an influx from the spiritual world through angels and spirits into the affections and thoughts, has been given me to know so manifestly by the experience of many years, that nothing can be more manifest. I have felt the influx, not only as to the thoughts, but also as to the affections and when evils and falsities were flowing in, I was given to know from what hells they came; and when goods and truths, from what angels. This experience has consequently become so familiar to me that at last I have been able to know whence came everyone of my thoughts and affections; and nevertheless my thoughts have been just like those which I had before.

AC 6308. This influx is effected by means of spirits and angels. The order of the influx is that evil spirits first flew in, and the angels disperse their action. That there is such an influx the man does not perceive, because his thought is kept in freedom by means of the equilibration between these two influxes, and because he does not attend to such things nor could the evil know if they did attend, because with them there is no equilibrium between evil and good. But they who are in good can know it; and they also know from the Word that there is something within which fights against the evil and falsity with them, and that the spiritual man fights against the natural; thus the angels, who are in man’s interiors and in his spiritual things, against the evil spirits who are in his exteriors and in his natural things; and it is also from this that the church is called militant. But the evil which flows into the thought from the evil spirits, does the man no harm if he does not receive it; but if he receives it and transfers it from the thought into the will, he makes it his own; and he then goes over to the side of the infernal spirits, and withdraws from the angels of heaven. This is what the Lord teaches when He says that the things which enter into a man do not make him unclean; but the things which go out of him, because these go forth from the heart, that is, from the will (Mark 7:14-23).

AC 6309. I have spoken with good spirits about the internal and the external man, saying that it is wonderful that few within the church believe (although they know it from the Word) that there is an internal man, distinct from the external, when yet they might know this from a slight daily inspection of their own thought and will, namely, from the fact that they often think interiorly otherwise than they do exteriorly; and what they think exteriorly, they let out into speech, into their faces, and into act; but not so what they think interiorly, for this they deeply hide, as is customary with dissemblers, hypocrites, and the deceitful. They who are in good may know this from the fact that they think they ought not to do so and so, rebuking themselves from which it can be seen that there is an interior man, separate from the exterior. But the reason why they do not attend to this, or if they do attend do not perceive it is that they make life consist in the body; and also that when they immerse the whole thought in bodily and worldly things, insight into such subjects perishes, and even belief that the fact is so. This also it has been given me to know from experience. When I was in any heavenly idea, and dropped into thought about worldly and earthly things, instantly heavenly things perished so absolutely as scarcely to be acknowledged. The reason is that the things of the light of heaven become darkness when they fall into those which belong to the light of this world; for in themselves these two lights are contrary to each other. In order however that they may not be contrary, man is regenerated, and is also elevated from sensuous toward interior things; and in so far as he is elevated from sensuous things, so far he abandons evils and falsities. But he cannot be elevated unless he is in the good of faith and of life.

AC 6310. The interiors of man are distinct according to degrees by means of derivations, and according to these degrees are also the lights. The internal sensuous, which is nearest the sensuous things of the body, has the most gross light. This light it has been given me to discern by much experience, and I have noticed that whenever I sank into this light, falsities and evils of many kinds presented themselves, and even things scandalous against heavenly and Divine things, besides things filthy and foul. The reason is that this light rules in the hells, and by means of it chiefly do the hells flow into man. When a man is in this light, his thought is in nearly the same light as that in which is his external sight, and is then almost in the body. Men who are in this light are to be called the Sensuous, for they do not think beyond the sensuous things of the body. What is beyond these they neither perceive nor believe, believing only that which they see and touch. In this light are they who have not at all cultivated things interior, living in neglect and contempt of all things rational and spiritual; and in this light are especially the avaricious and adulterers, and they who have lived in mere pleasures and in disgraceful idleness, and who consequently think what is filthy, and often what is scandalous, about the holy things of the church.

AC 6311. In the light just referred to are as before said the bells, and in it also are some who are not so evil, that is, who have not been avaricious, adulterous, or voluptuous, but who have come into this light because they have not cultivated their rational. It was given me early one morning to see these spirits in a kind of twilight; they appeared in a public place, in crowds, carrying bags in which were crude materials, weighing them, and carrying them away. come sirens were at that time not far off, and I heard them saying that they desired to be there, because they saw men with their eyes. For as sirens have been more adulterous than others, and also in opposition to all heavenly and spiritual things, they cannot see other spirits, except such as are in sensuous light, because they themselves are of the same character.

AC 6312. As the hells are in this sensuous light, therefore unless a man is elevated out of it, he must needs perish. He is elevated by means of the good of faith. There are also hells which are in a more subtle sphere, where are they who have been inwardly malignant, and have devised many arts for depriving others of their goods, and have contrived many treacherous plans in order to obtain dominion. But it was observed that this sphere flows into the external sensuous sphere, and this at the back where are the involuntary things of man. Hence the sensuous sphere is so strong.

AC 6313. When a man is being elevated toward interior things, he comes out of the gross sensuous light into a milder light, and at the same time is withdrawn from the influx of scandalous and filthy things, and is brought nearer to the things that belong to what is just and fair, because nearer to the angels who are with him, thus nearer to the light of heaven. This elevation from sensuous things was known to the ancients, even to the Gentiles, and therefore when the lower mind is withdrawn from sensuous things, their wise men said that it comes into interior light, and at the same time into a tranquil state, and into a kind of heavenly bliss; and from this they also concluded that the mind is immortal. Man is capable of being elevated still more interiorly, and the more interiorly he is elevated, the clearer is the light into which he comes; and at last he comes into the light of heaven, which light is nothing else than wisdom and intelligence from the Lord. The three heavens are distinguished in no other way than according to elevations toward interior things, thus also according to degrees of light; the third heaven, being in inmost things, is in the greatest light, thus in a wisdom which far surpasses the wisdom of the lower heavens.

AC 6314. As it is with light, so also it is with the heat which is man‘s vital heat. This vital heat does not in the slightest degree derive its origin from’ the heat which is from the sun of this world but from spiritual heat, which is love, and which proceeds from the Lord: the angels have this heat. Hence so far as man is in love, so far he is in vital beat. The body, however, is in the heat of the world, and so is the interior sensuous; but the vital heat flows into this heat and vivifies it. The purities and the grossnesses of this heat are circumstanced in the same way as are the lights. It is this heat which is meant by the holy fires in the Word, and therefore by these fires are there signified heavenly loves. But in the opposite sense it is this heat which is meant by the fires of hell, and therefore by these fires in the Word are signified infernal loves and their cupidities.

AC 6315. A man who in his earthly life has been elevated from sensuous things by means of the good of faith, is alternately in sensuous and in interior light; when he is in worldly cares, in company where external things flourish, and in pleasures, he is in sensuous life; in this state he shuns and is also averse to speaking and thinking about God, and about the things that belong to faith; and if he were then to speak and think on these subjects, He would make light of them, unless at the moment he were to be elevated by the Lord toward interior things. When the same man is not in worldly things, but in interior light, he thinks from what is just and fair and if he is in a still more interior light, he thinks from spiritual truth and good. He who is in the good of life is elevated from one light into the other; and into the more interior light in an instant when he begins to think evilly; for angels are near him. This has been given to know by much experience, because I have frequently perceived the elevations, and at the same time the changes of state in respect to the affections, and in respect to the thoughts.

AC 6316. It will surprise you to hear that a great part of the learned are sensuous. The reason is that they have acquired their knowledge merely for the sake of reputation, in order that they may be promoted to honors and thereby to gain, but not with a view to become wise; for all the sciences in the learned world are means of becoming wise, and also means of becoming insane. When the learned are raised to honors, they afterward live sensuous more than the simple; and they then believe it to be the part of simplicity to attribute anything to the Divine, and not to prudence and nature, and everything else to chance.

AC 6317. There were spirits with me who when they had lived in the world were called learned. They were let into the state of thought in which they had been when in the body, and their thought about spirits was communicated to me, which thought was of such a nature that they could never be brought to believe that a spirit enjoys any sensation; and everything else they had thought about spirits or souls after death was devoid of all quality. The reason was that they had made life consist in the body, and by means of matters of knowledge and of philosophy had confirmed themselves against the life of the spirit or soul after death; and thereby had closed interior things against themselves in such a manner that they could not possibly be elevated into them. After they had confirmed themselves against the things that belong to the life after death, if the veriest truths had then been told them, they would have treated them like the blind who see not, and like the deaf who hear not; and some of them would ridicule them; and this in exact proportion to their belief in their own pre-eminent wisdom. But the unlearned, who have been in the good of faith, are not of this character, for they have not confirmed themselves against the things of the church by means of any matters of knowledge and philosophy, and therefore their perception is broader and clearer; and because they have not closed interior things they are capable of receiving goods and truths.

AC 6318. There are also men who are more than sensuous, namely, corporeal, and are those who have wholly confirmed themselves against the Divine, and have ascribed all things to nature, and thus have lived without any regard for what is just and fair, except only in the outward form. These being inwardly like brute animals (although outwardly they appear like men) are more than sensuous, and in the other life appear to themselves and others as if they were corporeal. They have been seen by me in front near the right foot, rising up out of the deep, very hairy, and as it were rough and gross; and when they had risen up there appeared the semblance of a sword banging over their heads. I spoke with them, and they said it appeared to them exactly as if they were in the body.

AC 6319. As regards the influx of angels with a man, it is not an influx of such thoughts as the man then has, but is according to correspondences; for the angels are thinking spiritually, whereas the man perceives this naturally; thus with the man the spiritual things fall into their correspondents, consequently into their representatives. For example, when a man speaks of bread, of seedtime, of harvest, of fatness, and the like, the thought of the angels is then about the goods of love and of charity; and so forth. I once dreamed a common dream, and when I awoke, I related all from beginning to end. The angels said that all things coincided exactly with those which they had spoken of among themselves; not that these were the same as I had dreamed, but things corresponding and representative, and it is the same in every single thing. I afterward talked with them about influx. Objects, however, such as a man sees with his eyes, do not appear before the spirits who are with the man, neither are words heard such as the man hears with the ear, but such as the man is thinking. That thought is wholly different from speech, is evident from the fact that man thinks in a moment more than he can utter in half an hour, because he thinks abstractedly from the words of language. From this may in some measure be known the nature of the intercourse of the soul with the body, namely, that it is such as is the influx of the spiritual world into the natural world; for the soul or spirit of man is in the spiritual world, and his body is in the natural world: thus it is according to correspondences.

AC 6320. When the angels flow in, they adjoin affections also, and the very affections contain innumerable things within them; but of these innumerable things only a few are received by the man, in fact those only which are applicable to the things which are already in his memory. All the other things of the angelic influx encompass them, and keep them as it were in their bosom.

AC 6321. That there is angelic influx, and that without it man cannot live, has been given to know by experience. There are malignant spirits who have devised arts for hindering the angelic influx, but only in part. With me also they were permitted to do this, to the end that I might know from experience that the case is so. In proportion as they hindered the influx, the life of the thought fluctuated, and at last was the same as it is with those who are falling into a swoon. But I was instantly restored, and those spirits were cast down into their hell. They appeared to the left, in the plane of the crown of the head, where at first they were in concealment.

AC 6322. It is according to all appearance that the external senses, as the sight and hearing, flow into the thought, and excite ideas there; for it appears that objects, and also speech, move the senses, first the external, and then the internal senses. But this appearance, however strong, is nevertheless a fallacy for what is external, being gross and material, cannot flow into and move what is internal, which is pure and spiritual: this is contrary to nature. It is the internal sense, that is, the sense of the spirit itself, which sensates through the external sense, and disposes the external sensory to receive objects according to its dictates; and therefore the sensories (as for instance the sensory of sight, or the eye) instantly accommodate themselves to all objects in accordance with the nature of these; which would not take place in the sensories unless there were an influx from within. For all the fibers and appendages, which are very numerous about every sensory or organ of sense, are in an instant determined suitably to the quality of the object; nay, into the organ itself there is instantly imparted a conformable state. I have often heard among spirits a discourse about this appearance, and it was as often replied by angels that influx by no means takes place from externals into internals, but always from internals into externals; and that this is according to order, contrary to which there can be no influx. Two or three times I have seen spirits separated from an angelic society because they had believed from the appearance that there exists an influx from externals into internals; thus that influx is physical and not spiritual. The reason of their separation was that according to this notion it might have been concluded that the hells, which are in externals, can flow into the heavens, which are in internals; and it might also have been concluded that the influx of life is not from the Lord, when yet everything of life flows in from Him, because He is in the inmost, and relatively to Him all things are external.

AC 6323. That within the good of love which flows in from the Lord through angels is all truth, which truth would become manifest of itself if man lived in love to the Lord and in love toward the neighbor, is evident not only from the things that take place in heaven, but also from those which take place in lower nature; and from the latter, because they are in plain sight, I may draw some illustrations.

[2] Brute animals are impelled to action in no other way than by means of the loves and the affections of these into which they have been created and afterward born; for every animal is carried whither his affection and love draw it; and this being so, they are also in all matters of knowledge that ever belong to their love; for they know from a love resembling conjugial love how to come together, cattle after their kind, and birds after their kind; birds know how to build their nests, lay their eggs, brood upon them, hatch their young, and how to feed them, and this without any instruction, merely from the love which resembles conjugial love, and from love toward their offspring, which loves have implanted in them all these matters of knowledge. In like manner they know what things to eat for food, and how to seek them. And, what is more wonderful, bees know how to seek their food from flowers of various kinds, and also to gather the wax with which they make their cells, wherein first they deposit their offspring, and then store up food; they also know how to provide for the winter; not to mention very many other things. All these matters of knowledge are included in their loves, and dwell there from their earliest origin. Into these they are born, because they are in the order of their nature into which they were created; and thereafter they are moved by a general influx from the spiritual world.

[3] If man were in the order into which he was created, namely, in love toward the neighbor, and in love to the Lord (for these loves are proper to man), he above all animals would be born not only into matters of knowledge, but also into all spiritual truths and celestial goods, and thus into all wisdom and intelligence; for he is able to think of the Lord, and to be conjoined with Him through love, and thus to be elevated to what is Divine and eternal, which is not possible to brute animals. Thus in the supposed case man would be directed by no other than general influx from the Lord through the spiritual world. But as he is not born into order, but contrary to his order, he is therefore born into ignorance of all things; and for this reason it has been provided that he may afterward be reborn, and thus come into as much of intelligence and wisdom as he receives of good, and of truth through good, in freedom.

AC 6324. Spirits who reason much in the other life have little perception of what is true and good, and therefore they cannot be admitted into interior angelic societies; for nothing of intelligence can be communicated to them there. These spirits also have reasoned among themselves about the influx of all thoughts and affections, and said, If this be so, no one can become guilty and suffer the penalty of any fault." But they received for answer that if a man would believe as the case really is, namely, that all that is good and true is from the Lord, and all that is evil and false is from hell, he then could not become guilty of any fault, nor could evil be imputed to him; but because he believes that it is from himself, he appropriates evil to himself, for this is the effect of his faith; and in this way evil adheres and cannot be separated from him; nay, such is man that he would be indignant if anyone should say that he thinks and wills from others, and not from himself.

AC 6325. It is an eternal truth that the Lord rules heaven and earth, and also that no one besides the Lord lives of himself, consequently that everything of life flows in - the good of life from the Lord, and the evil of life from hell. This is the faith of the heavens. When a man is in this faith (and he can be in it when he is in good), then evil cannot be fastened and appropriated to him, because he knows that it is not from himself, but from hell. When a man is in this state, he can then be gifted with peace, for then he will trust solely in the Lord. neither can peace be given to any others than those who are in this faith from charity; for others continually cast themselves into anxieties and cupidities, whence come disquietudes. Spirits who desire to direct themselves, suppose that this would be to lose their own will, thus their freedom, consequently all delight, thus all life and its sweetness. This they say and suppose, because they do not know how the case really is; for the man who is led by the Lord is in freedom itself, and thus in delight and bliss itself; goods and truths are appropriated to him; there is given him an affection and desire for doing what is good, and then nothing is more delightful to him than to perform uses. There is given him a perception of good, and also a sensation of it; and there is given him intelligence and wisdom; and all these as his own; for he is then a recipient of the Lord‘s life. It is known in the learned world that the principal cause and the instrumental cause act together as a one: man, being a form recipient of the Lord’s life, is an instrumental cause, and the life from the Lord is the principal cause. This life is felt in the instrumental cause as of it, when yet it is not of it.

AC 6326. There was a philosopher who ranked among the more celebrated and sane, and who died some years ago, with whom I have spoken about the degrees of life in man, saying that man consists of mere forms for receiving life, and that one form is more interior than another, but that one has come into existence and subsists from another; also that when the lower or exterior form is dissolved, the higher or interior form still lives. It was further said that all operations of the mind are variations of the form, which variations in the purer substances are in such perfection that they cannot be described; and that the ideas of thought are nothing else; and that these variations take place according to the changes of the state of the affections. How very perfect are the variations in the purer forms may be concluded from the lungs, which fold themselves variously and vary their forms according to every expression of speech, and to every note of a tune, and to every motion of the body, and also to each state of thought and affection; and what then must be the case with interior things, which, in comparison with so large an organ, are in the greatest perfection. The philosopher confirmed what was said, and declared that such things had been known to him when he lived in the world, and that the world should apply philosophy to such uses, and should not be intent on mere forms of words and disputes about these, and thus labor in the dust.

AC 6327. A continuation will be found at the end of the following chapter.

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