Heaven and its Wonders and Hell
by Emanuel Swedenborg
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The city lieth foursquare, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth; and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs; the length, the breadth, and the height are equal (21:16).

Because "the New Jerusalem" here signifies a new church these measures signify the things of the church, "length" its good of love, "breadth" truth from that good, "height" good and truth in respect to degrees, "twelve thousand furlongs" all good and truth in the complex. Otherwise, how could there be said to be a height of twelve thousand furlongs, the same as the length and the breadth? That "breadth" in the Word signifies truth is evident from David:-

Jehovah, Thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy, Thou hast made my feet to stand in a broad place (Psalm 31:8).

Out of straitness I called upon Jah; He answereth me in a broad place (Psalm 118:5). Besides other passages (as in Isaiah 8:8; and in Habakkuk 1:6). So in all other cases.

198. From all this it can be seen that although there are spaces in heaven as in the world, still nothing there is reckoned in accordance with spaces but in accordance with states; and in consequence spaces there cannot be measured as in the world, but can be seen only from the state and in accordance with the state of the interiors there.{1}

{Footnote 1} In the Word length signifies good (n. 1613, 9487). "Breadth" signifies truth (n. 1613, 3433, 3434, 4482, 9487, 10179). Height signifies good and truth in respect to their degrees (n. 9489, 9773, 10181).

199. The primary and veriest cause of this is that the Lord is present with everyone in the measure of his love and faith,{1} and that it is in accordance with the Lord's presence that all things appear near or far away, for it is from this that all things in the heavens are determined. Also it is through this that angels have wisdom, for it is through this that they have extension of thought and through this a sharing of all things in the heavens; in a word, it is through this that they think spiritually, and not naturally like men.

{Footnote 1} The conjunction and presence of the Lord with the angels is according to their reception of love and charity from Him (n. 290, 681, 1954, 2658, 2886, 2888, 2889, 3001, 3741-3743, 4318 4319, 4524, 7211, 9128).


What the form of heaven is can be seen in some measure from what has been shown in the preceding chapters; as that heaven is like itself both in its greatest and in its least divisions (n. 72); that consequently each society is a heaven in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 51-58); that as the entire heaven reflects a single man, so each society of heaven reflects a man in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 59-77); that the wisest are at the center, and the less wise are round about even to the borders, and the like is true of each society (n. 43); and that those who are in the good of love dwell from the east to the west in heaven, and those who are in truths from good from the south to the north; and the same is true of each society (n. 148, 149). All this is in accord with the form of heaven; consequently it may be concluded from this what this form is in general.{1}

{Footnote 1} The entire heaven in respect to all angelic societies, is arranged by the Lord in accordance with His Divine order, since it is the Divine of the Lord with the angels that makes heaven (n. 3038, 7211, 9128, 9338, 10125, 10151, 10157). Concerning the heavenly form (n. 4040-4043, 6607, 9877).

201. It is important to know what the form of heaven is, because not only is all affiliation there in accordance with it, but also all mutual communication, and in consequence of this all extension of thoughts and affections, and thus all the intelligence and wisdom of angels. From this it follows that each one there is wise just to the extent that he is in the form of heaven, and is thus a form of heaven. It makes no difference whether you say in the form of heaven, or in the order of heaven, since the form of any thing is from its order and in accordance with its order.{1}

{Footnote 1} The form of heaven is a form in accordance with the Divine order (n. 4040-4043, 6607, 9877).

202. Let us consider first what is meant by being in the form of heaven. Man was created both in the image of heaven and in the image of the world; his internal in the image of heaven, and his external in the image of the world (see above, n. 57); and in the image means the same thing as in accordance with the form. But as man by the evils of his will and consequent falsities of thought has destroyed in himself the image of heaven, that is, the form of heaven, and in place of it has brought in the image and form of hell, his internal is closed up from his very birth; and this is why man is born into pure ignorance, while animals of every kind are not. And that man may have the image of heaven or form of heaven restored to him he must be taught the things that pertain to order; since form, as has been said, is in accord with order. The Word contains all the laws of Divine order, for its precepts are the laws of Divine order; therefore to the extent that man knows these and lives in accordance with them his internal is opened and the order or image of heaven is there formed anew. This makes clear what is meant by being in the form of heaven, namely, that it is to live in accordance with those things that are in the Word.{1}

{Footnote 1} Divine truths are the laws of order (n. 2447, 7995). Man is a man to the extent that he lives in accordance with order, that is, to the extent that he is in good in accordance with Divine truths (n. 4839, 6605, 6626). All things of Divine order are gathered up in man and he is from creation Divine order in form (n. 4219, 4220, 4222, 4223, 4523, 4524, 5114, 6013, 6057, 6605, 6626, 9706, 10156, 10472). Man is not born into good and truth, but into evil and falsity, that is, into the opposite of Divine order, and consequently into pure ignorance; and for this reason he must needs be born anew that is, be regenerated, which is effected by means of Divine truths from the Lord, that he may be introduced into order (n. 1047, 2307, 2308, 3518, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10283, 10284, 10286, 10731). When the Lord forms man anew, that is, regenerates him, He arranges all things in him in accordance with order, which means, into the form of heaven (n. 5700, 6690, 9931, 10303).

203. So far as any one is in the form of heaven he is in heaven, and is, in fact, a heaven in the least form (n. 57); consequently he is to the same extent in intelligence and wisdom; for as has been said above, all the thought of his understanding and all the affection of his will extend themselves on every side into heaven in accord with its form, and wonderfully communicate with the societies there, and these in turn with him.{1} [2] There are some who do not believe that thoughts and affections really extend themselves around about them, but believe that they are within them, because whatever they think they see within in themselves, and not as distant; but such are greatly mistaken. For as the sight of the eye has extension to remote objects, and is affected in accordance with the order of the things seen in that extension, so the interior sight, which is that of the understanding, has a like extension in the spiritual world, although not perceived by man, for the reason given above (n. 196). The only difference is that the sight of the eye is affected in a natural way, because it is affected by the things in the natural world, while the sight of the understanding is affected in a spiritual way, because by the things in the spiritual world, all of which have relation to good and truth; and man's ignorance of this is because of his not knowing that there is any light that enlightens the understanding; and yet without the light that enlightens the understanding man could not think at all (of which light see above, n. 126-132). [3] There was a certain spirit who believed that his thought was from himself, thus without any extension outside of himself and communication thereby with societies outside of him. That he might learn that this was not true his communication with neighboring societies was cut off, and in consequence, not only was he deprived of thought but he fell down as if lifeless, although tossing his arms about like a new-born infant. After a while the communication was restored to him, and then as it was gradually restored he returned into the state of his thought. [4] When other spirits had seen this they confessed that all thought and affection, and in consequence, everything of life, flow in in accordance with communication, since everything of man's life consists in his ability to think and be moved by affection, or what is the same, in his ability to understand and will.{2}

{Footnote 1} Everyone in heaven has communication of life, which may be called its extension into angelic societies round about, according to the quantity and quality of his good (n. 8794, 8797). Thoughts and affections have such extension (n. 2470, 6598-6613). They are united and separated in accordance with the ruling affections (n. 4111).

{Footnote 2} There is only one Life, from which all, both in heaven and in the world, live (n. 1954, 2021, 2536, 2658, 2886-2889, 3001, 3484, 3742, 5847, 6467). That life is from the Lord above (n. 2886-2889, 3344, 3484, 4319, 4320, 4524, 4882, 5986, 6325, 6468-6470, 9276, 10196). It flows into angels, spirits, and men, in a wonderful manner (n. 2886-2889, 3337, 3338, 3484, 3742). The Lord flows in from His Divine love, which is such that what is its own it wills should be another's (n. 3472, 4320). For this reason life appears to be in man, and not flowing in (n. 3742, 4320). Of the joy of angels, perceived and confirmed by what they told me, because of their not living from themselves but from the Lord (n. 6469). The evil are unwilling to be convinced that life flows in (n. 3743). Life from the Lord flows in also with the evil (n. 2706, 3743, 4417, 10196). But they turn good into evil, and truth into falsity; for such as man is such is his reception of life illustrated (n. 4319, 4320, 4417).

204. But let it be understood that intelligence and wisdom vary with everyone in accordance with this communication, those whose intelligence and wisdom are formed out of genuine truths and goods having communication with societies in accordance with the form of heaven; while those whose intelligence and wisdom are not formed out of genuine truths and goods, and yet out of what is in accord therewith, have a broken and variously coherent communication, since it is not with societies that are in a series in which there is a form of heaven. On the other hand, those that are not in intelligence and wisdom, because they are in falsities from evil, have communication with societies in hell; and their extension is determined by the degree of their confirmation. Let it also be known that this communication with societies is not such a communication with them as is clearly perceptible to those there, but is a communication with what they really are, which is in them and flows from them.{1}

{Footnote 1} Thought pours itself into societies of spirits and of angels round about (n. 6600-6605). Still it does not move or disturb the thoughts of the societies (n. 6601, 6603).

205. There is an affiliation of all in heaven in accordance with spiritual relationships, that is, relationships of good and truth in their order. It is so in the whole heaven; so in each society, and so in each house. Because of this angels who are in like good and truth recognize each other, as relatives by blood and marriage do on the earth, precisely as if they had been acquainted from infancy. The good and truth in each angel, which constitute his wisdom and intelligence, are affiliated in like manner; they recognize each other in like manner, and as they recognize each other they join themselves together;{1} and in consequence those in whom truths and goods are thus joined in accordance with a form of heaven see things following one another in series, and how they cohere widely round about; but those in whom goods and truths are not conjoined in accordance with the form of heaven do not see this.

{Footnote 1} Good recognizes its truth, and truth its good (n. 2429, 3101, 3102, 3161, 3179, 3180, 4358, 5704, 5835, 9637). In this way good and truth are conjoined (n. 3834, 4096, 4097, 4301, 4345, 4353, 4364, 4368, 5365, 7623-7627, 7752-7762, 8530, 9258, 10555). This is effected by influx from heaven (n. 9079).

206. In each heaven there is such a form, and in accordance with it the angels have communication and extension of thoughts and affections, and thus in accordance with it they have intelligence and wisdom. But the communication of one heaven with another is different, that is, of the third or inmost with the second or middle, and of this with the first or outmost. But the communication between the heavens should not be called communication but influx. About this something shall now be said. That there are three heavens distinct from each other can be seen above in its own chapter (n. 29-40).

207. That between one heaven and another there is influx but not communication can be seen from their relative position. The third or inmost heaven is above, the second or middle heaven is below, and the first or outmost heaven is still lower. There is a like arrangement in all the societies in each heaven, for example, some dwell on elevated places that appear like mountains (n. 188); on the top of which those of the inmost heaven dwell; below these are the societies of the second heaven, below these again the societies of the outmost heaven. The same is true every where, both in elevated places and in those not elevated. A society of a higher heaven has no communication with a society of a lower except by correspondences (see above, n. 100); and communication by correspondences is what is called influx.

208. One heaven is joined with another, or a society of one heaven with the society of another, by the Lord alone, both by direct and by mediate influx, directly from Himself, and mediately through the higher heavens in order into the lower.{1} As the conjunction of the heavens by this inflowing is from the Lord alone there is a most careful precaution against any angel of a higher heaven looking down into a society of a lower heaven and talking with any one there; for the angel is thus immediately deprived of his intelligence and wisdom. The reason of this also shall be told. As there are three degrees of heaven, so each angel has three degrees of life, those in the inmost heaven having the third or inmost degree open, while the second and first degrees are closed; those in the middle heaven have the second degree opened and the first and third closed; and those in the lowest heaven have the first degree opened and the second and third closed. Consequently, as soon as an angel of the third heaven looks down into a society of the second heaven and talks with any one there his third degree is at once closed; and as his wisdom resides in that degree, if that is closed he is deprived of his wisdom, for he has none in the second or first degree. This is what is meant by the words of the Lord in Matthew:

He that is on the housetop, let him not go down to take what is in his house; and he that is in the field, let him not turn back to take his garment (24:17, 18).

And in Luke:

In that day he that shall be on the housetop and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away; and he that is in the field let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife (17:31, 32).

{Footnote 1} There is direct influx from the Lord and mediate influx through heaven (n. 6063, 6307, 6472, 9682, 9683). There is a direct influx of the Lord into the minutest parts of all things (n. 6058, 6474-6478, 8717, 8728). Of the mediate influx of the Lord through the heavens (n. 4067, 6982, 6985, 6996).

209. No influx is possible from the lower heavens into the higher, because this is contrary to order; but there is influx from the higher heavens into the lower. Moreover, the wisdom of the angels of a higher heaven surpasses the wisdom of the angels of a lower heaven as a myriad to one; and this is another reason why the angels of a lower heaven cannot converse with those of a higher heaven; and in fact when they look towards them they do not see them, the higher heaven appearing like a cloudy something over their heads. But the angels of a higher heaven can see those in a lower heaven, although if permitted to talk with them they would lose their wisdom, as has been said above.

210. The thoughts and affections as well as the speech of the angels of the inmost heaven are never perceived in the middle heaven, because they so transcend what is there. But when it pleases the Lord there is seen in the lower heavens from that source something like a flame, and from the thoughts and affections in the middle heaven there is seen in the outmost heaven something luminous, and sometimes a cloud glowing white and variegated. From that cloud, its ascent, descent, and form, what is being said there is in some measure known.

211. From all this it can be seen what the form of heaven is, namely, that it is the most perfect of all in the inmost heaven; in the middle heaven it is also perfect, but in a lower degree, and in the outmost heaven in a degree still lower; also that the form of one heaven has its permanent existence from another by means of influx from the Lord. But what communication by influx is cannot be understood unless it is known what degrees of height are, and how they differ from degrees of length and breadth. What these different degrees are may be seen above (n 38).

212. When it comes to the particulars of the form of heaven and how it proceeds and flows, this not even the angels can comprehend. Some conception of it can be gained from the form of all things in the human body, when this is scanned and investigated by an acute and wise man; for it has been shown above, in their respective chapters, that the entire heaven reflects a single man (see n. 59-72) and that all things in man correspond to the heavens (n. 87-102). How incomprehensible and inexplicable that form is is evident only in a general way from the nervous fibers, by which each part and all parts of the body are woven together. What these fibers are, and how they proceed and flow in the brain, the eye cannot at all perceive; for innumerable fibers are there so interwoven that taken together they appear like a soft continuous mass; and yet it is in accord with these that each thing and all things of the will and understanding flow with the utmost distinctness into acts. How again they interweave themselves in the body is clear from the various plexuses, such as those of the heart, the mesentery, and others; and also from the knots called ganglions, into which many fibers enter from every region and there intermingle, and when variously joined together go forth to their functions, and this again and again; besides like things in every viscus, member, organ, and muscle. Whoever examines these fibers and their many wonders with the eye of wisdom will be utterly bewildered. And yet the things seen with the eye are few, and those not seen are still more wonderful because they belong to an inner realm of nature. It is clearly evident that this form corresponds to the form of heaven, because all the workings of the understanding and the will are within it and are in accordance with it; for it is in accordance with this form that whatever a man wills passes spontaneously into act, and whatever he thinks spreads through the fibers from their beginnings even to their terminations, which is the source of sensations; and inasmuch as it is the form of thought and will, it is the form of intelligence and wisdom. Such is the form that corresponds to the form of heaven. And from this it can be known that such is the form in accordance with which every affection and thought of angels extends itself, and that so far as the angels are in that form they are in intelligence and wisdom. That this form of heaven is from the Divine Human of the Lord can be seen above (n. 78-86). All this has been said to make clear also that the heavenly form is such that even as to its generals it can never be completely known, thus that it is incomprehensible even to the angels, as has been said above.


As heaven is divided into societies, and the larger societies consist of some hundreds of thousands of angels (n. 50), and all within a society, although in like good, are not in like wisdom (n. 43), it must needs follow that governments exist there, since order must be observed, and all things of order must be guarded. But the governments in the heavens differ; they are of one sort in societies that constitute the Lord's celestial kingdom, and of another sort in the societies that constitute His spiritual kingdom; they differ also in accordance with the functions of the several societies. Nevertheless, no other government than the government of mutual love is possible in the heavens, and the government of mutual love is heavenly government.

214. Government in the Lord's celestial kingdom is called righteousness because all in that kingdom are in the good of love to the Lord from the Lord, and whatever is from that good is called righteous. Government there belongs to the Lord alone. He leads them and teaches them in the affairs of life. The truths that are called truths of judgment are written on their hearts; everyone knows them, perceives them, and sees them;{1} and in consequence matters of judgment there never come into question, but only matters of righteousness, which belong to the life. About these matters the less wise consult the more wise, and these consult the Lord and receive answers. Their heaven, that is, their inmost joy, is to live rightly from the Lord.

{Footnote 1} The celestial angels do not think and speak from truths, as the spiritual angels do, because they have from the Lord a perception of all things of truth (n. 202, 597, 607, 784, 1121, 1384, 1398, 1442, 1919, 7680, 7877, 8780, 9277, 10336). In respect to truths the celestial angels say, Yea, yea, or Nay, nay; but the spiritual angels reason about them whether they are true or not (n. 2715, 3246, 4448, 9166, 10786, where the Lord's words, Let your speech be Yea, yea, Nay, nay; what is beyond these is from evil (Matt. 5:37). are explained).

215. In the Lord's spiritual kingdom the government is called judgment; because those in that kingdom are in spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbor, and that good in its essence is truth;{1} and truth pertains to judgment, as good pertains to righteousness.{2} These, too, are led by the Lord, but mediately (n. 208); and in consequence they have governors, few or many according to the need of the society in which they are. They also have laws according to which they live together. The governors administer all things in accordance with the laws, which they understand because they are wise, and in doubtful matters they are enlightened by the Lord.

{Footnote 1} Those in the spiritual kingdom are in truths, and those in the celestial kingdom are in good (n. 863, 875, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 1555, 2256, 4328, 4493, 5113, 9596). The good of the spiritual kingdom is the good of charity towards the neighbor and this good in its essence is truth (n. 8042, 10296).

{Footnote 2} In the Word "righteousness" is predicated of good, and "Judgment" of truth therefore "to do righteousness and judgment" means good and truth (n. 2235, 9857). "Great judgments" means the law of Divine order, thus Divine truths (n. 7206).

216. As government from good, which is the kind of government that exists in the Lord's celestial kingdom, is called righteousness; and government from truth, which is the kind of government that exists in the Lord's spiritual kingdom, is called judgment, so the terms "righteousness and judgment" are used in the Word when heaven and the church are treated of, "righteousness" signifying celestial good, and "judgment" spiritual good, which good, as has been said above, is in its essence truth, as in the following passages:

Of peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David and upon His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it in judgment and in righteousness from henceforth and even to eternity (Isaiah 9:7).

By "David" here the Lord is meant;{1} and by "His kingdom" heaven, as is evident from the following passage:

I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as King, and shall deal intelligently and shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land (Jer. 23:5).

Jehovah is exalted, for He dwelleth on high; He hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness (Isaiah 33:5). "Zion" also means heaven and the church.{2}

I, Jehovah, doing judgment and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight (Jer. 9:24).

I will betroth thee unto Me forever, and I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness and judgment (Hosea 2:19).

O Jehovah, in the heavens Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God, and Thy judgments are like the great deep (Psalm 36:5, 6).

They ask of Me the judgments of righteousness, they long for an approach unto God (Isaiah 58:2). So in other places.

{Footnote 1} By "David" in the prophetic parts of the Word, the Lord is meant (n. 1888, 9954).

{Footnote 2} In the Word "Zion" means the church, and specifically the celestial church (n. 2362, 9055).

217. In the Lord's spiritual kingdom there are various forms of government, differing in different societies, the variety being in accord with the functions performed by the societies; and the functions of these are in accord with the functions of all things in man to which they correspond. That these are various is well known, the heart having one function, the lungs another, the liver another, the pancreas and spleen another, and each sensory organ another. As in the body these organs perform various services, so there are various services pertaining to the societies in the Greatest Man, which is heaven for the societies there correspond to these organs. That there is a correspondence of all things of heaven with all things of man may be seen in its own chapter above (n. 87-102). But all these forms of government agree in this, that they look to the public good as their end, and in that good to the good of the individual.{1} And this is so because everyone in the whole heaven is under the auspices of the Lord, who loves all, and from Divine love ordains that there shall be a common good, from which each individual shall receive his own good. Each one, moreover, receives good according as he loves the common good; for so far as he loves the common good he loves all and everyone; and as that love is love of the Lord he is to that extent loved by the Lord, and good comes to him.

{Footnote 1} Every man and every community, also one's country and the church and in the universal sense the kingdom of the Lord, is a neighbor, and to do good to these from love of good in accordance with their state is to love the neighbor; that is, the neighbor is the good of these, which is the common good that must be consulted (n. 6818-6824, 8123). Civil good also, which is justice, is a neighbor (n. 2915, 4730, 8120-8123). Therefore charity towards the neighbor extends itself to all things and each thing of the life of man; and loving good and doing good from love of good and truth, and also doing what is just from a love of what is just in every function and in every work, is loving the neighbor (n. 2417, 8121-8124).

218. From all this it can be seen what the governors there are, namely, that they are such as are preeminent in love and wisdom, and therefore desire the good of all, and from wisdom know how to provide for the realization of that good. Such governors do not domineer or dictate, but they minister and serve (to serve meaning to do good to others from a love of the good, and to minister meaning to see to it that the good is done); nor do they make themselves greater than others, but less, for they put the good of society and of the neighbor in the first place, and put their own good last; and whatever is in the first place is greater and what is last is less. Nevertheless, the rulers have honor and glory; they dwell in the midst of the society, in higher position than the rest, and also in magnificent palaces; and this glory and honor they accept not for the sake of themselves but for the sake of obedience; for all there know that they have this honor and glory from the Lord, and on that account should be obeyed. This is what is meant by the Lord's words to His disciples:

Whosoever would become great among you let him be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you let him be your servant; as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister (Matt. 20:27, 28).

He that is greatest among you let him be as the least, and he that is chief as he that doth minister (Luke 22:26).

219. Also in each house there is a like government in a lesser form. In every house there is a master and there are servants; the master loves the servants and the servants love the master, consequently they serve each other from love. The master teaches how they ought to live, and tells what is to be done; the servants obey and perform their duties. To perform use is the delight of everyone's life. This shows that the Lord's kingdom is a kingdom of uses.

220. Also in the hells there are governments, for without governments they could not be kept in restraint; but the governments there are opposite to the governments in the heavens; they are governments of the love of self. Everyone there wishes to dictate to others and to be over others. They hate those that do not favor them, and make them objects of their vengeance and fury, for such is the nature of the love of self. Therefore the more malignant are set over them as governors, and these they obey from fear.{1} But of this below, where the hells are treated of.

{Footnote 1} There are two kinds of rule, one from love towards the neighbor the other from love of self (n. 10814). From the rule that is from love towards the neighbor flow all goods and all happinesses (n. 10160, 10814). In heaven no one desires to rule from the love of self, but all desire to minister, which means to rule from love to the neighbor; this is the source of their great power (n. 5732). From rule from the love of self all evils flow in (n. 10038). When the loves of self and the world had begun to prevail men were compelled to subject themselves to governments as a means of security (n. 7364, 10160, 10814).


Divine worship in the heavens is not unlike in externals Divine worship on the earth, but in internals it is different. In the heavens, as on the earth, there are doctrines, preachings, and church edifices. In essentials the doctrines there are everywhere the same; but in the higher heavens they contain more interior wisdom than in the lower. The preachings are in harmony with the doctrines; and as they have houses and palaces (n. 183-190), so they have also church edifices, in which there is preaching. Such things exist in heaven, because the angels are being perfected continually in wisdom and love. For they possess, as men do, understanding and will; and both their understanding and their will are capable of being continually perfected, the understanding by means of truths of intelligence, and the will by means of the goods of love.{1}

{Footnote 1} The understanding is receptive of truth, and the will of good (n. 3623, 6125, 7503, 9300, 9930). As all things have relation to truth and good, so everything of man's life has relation to understanding and will (n. 803, 10122). Angels are perfected to eternity (n. 4803, 6648).

222. But essential Divine worship in the heavens does not consist in going to church and hearing preaching, but in a life of love, charity, and faith, in accordance with doctrine; preachings in churches serve solely as means of instruction in matters of life. I have talked with angels on this subject, and have told them that it is believed in the world that Divine worship consists solely in attending church, listening to the preaching, observing the sacrament of the Supper three or four times a year, and performing other acts of worship according to the requirements of the church; also devoting special times to prayers, and at such times, behaving devoutly. The angels said that these are outward acts that ought to be done, but are of no avail unless there is an internal from which they proceed, which is a life in accordance with the precepts that doctrine teaches.

223. That I might learn about their meeting in places of worship, I have been permitted at times to attend and to hear the preaching. The preacher stands in a pulpit at the east. Those who are in the light of wisdom more than others sit in front of him; those who are in less light sit to the right and left of these. There is a circular arrangement of the seats, so that all are in the preacher's view, no one so sitting at either side as to be out of his view. At the entrance, which is at the east of the building and on the left of the pulpit, those stand who are being initiated. No one is permitted to stand behind the pulpit; when there is any one there the preacher becomes confused. It is the same if any one in the congregation dissents; and for this reason the dissenter must needs turn away his face. The wisdom of the preachings is such as to be above all comparison with the preachings of this world, for those in the heavens are in interior light. The church edifices in the spiritual kingdom are apparently built of stone, and those in the celestial kingdom of wood; because stone corresponds to truth, and those who are in the spiritual kingdom are in truth, while wood corresponds to good, and those in the celestial kingdom are in good.{1} In that kingdom the sacred edifices are not called churches but houses of God. In that kingdom they are without magnificence; but in the spiritual kingdom they are more or less magnificent.

{Footnote 1} "Stone" signifies truth (n. 114, 643, 1298, 3720, 6426, 8609, 10376). "Wood" signifies good (n. 643, 3720, 8354). For this reason the most ancient people, who were in celestial good, had sacred buildings of wood (n. 3720).

224. I have also talked with one of the preachers about the holy state in which those are who listen to the preaching in the churches. He said that everyone is pious, devout, and holy in harmony with his interiors, which pertain to love and faith, for holiness itself is in love and faith, because the Divine of the Lord is in them. He also said that he did not know what outward holiness is apart from love and faith; and when he thought about it he said that perhaps it is something counterfeiting holiness in outward appearance, either conventional or hypocritical; and that such holiness is kindled and sustained by spurious fire from the love of self and the world.

225. All the preachers are from the Lord's spiritual kingdom; none are from the celestial kingdom. They are from the spiritual kingdom because the angels there are in truths from good, and all preaching must be from truths. There are no preachers from the celestial kingdom because those who are there are in the good of love, and they see and perceive truths from good, but do not talk about them. But although the angels in the celestial kingdom perceive and see truths there are preachings there, since by means of preachings they are enlightened in the truths that they already know, and are perfected by many truths that they did not know before. As soon as they hear truths they acknowledge them and thus perceive them; and the truths they perceive they love, and by living in accordance with them they make them to be of their life, declaring that living in accordance with truths is loving the Lord.{1}

{Footnote 1} Loving the Lord and the neighbor is living in accordance with the Lord's commandments (n. 10143, 10153, 10310, 10578, 10645, 10683).

226. All preachers are appointed by the Lord, and have therefrom a gift for preaching. No others are permitted to preach in the churches. They are not called priests, but preachers. They are not called priests because the celestial kingdom is the priesthood of heaven; for priesthood signifies the good of love to the Lord, and those in the celestial kingdom are in that good; while the spiritual kingdom is the kingship of heaven, for kingship signifies truth from good, and those in the spiritual kingdom are in that truth (see above, n. 24).{1}

{Footnote 1} Priests represented the Lord in respect to the Divine good, kings in respect to Divine truth (n. 2015, 6148). Therefore, in the Word a "priest" signifies those who are in the good of love to the Lord, and the priesthood signifies that good (n. 9806, 9809). A "king" in the Word signifies those who are in Divine truth, and therefrom kingship signifies truth from good (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044).

227. The doctrines with which their preachings are in accord all look to life as their end, and none look to faith separate from the life. The doctrine of the inmost heaven is more full of wisdom than the doctrine of the middle heaven, and this more full of intelligence than the doctrine of the outmost heaven; for in each heaven the doctrines are adapted to the perceptions of the angels. The essential of all doctrines is acknowledging the Divine Human of the Lord.


That the angels possess power cannot be comprehended by those who know nothing about the spiritual world and its influx into the natural world. Such think that angels can have no power because they are spiritual and are even so pure and unsubstantial that no eye can see them. But those who look more interiorly into the causes of things take a different view. Such know that all the power that a man has is from his understanding and will (for apart from these he is powerless to move a particle of his body), and his understanding and will are his spiritual man. This moves the body and its members at its pleasure; for whatever it thinks the mouth and tongue speak, and whatever it wills the body does; and it bestows its strength at pleasure. As man's will and understanding are ruled by the Lord through angels and spirits, so also are all things of his body, because these are from the will and understanding; and if you will believe it, without influx from heaven man cannot even move a step. That this is so has been shown me by much experience. Angels have been permitted to move my steps, my actions, and my tongue and speech, as they pleased, and this by influx into my will and thought; and I have learned thereby that of myself I could do nothing. I was afterwards told by them that every man is so ruled, and that he can know this from the doctrine of the church and from the Word, for he prays that God may send His angels to lead him, direct his steps, teach him, and inspire in him what to think and what to say, and other like things; although he says and believes otherwise when he is thinking by himself apart from doctrine. All this has been said to make known what power angels have with man.

229. But so great is the power of angels in the spiritual world that if I should make known all that I have witnessed in regard to it it would exceed belief. Any obstruction there that ought to be removed because it is contrary to Divine order the angels cast down or overthrow merely by an effort of the will and a look. Thus I have seen mountains that were occupied by the evil cast down and overthrown, and sometimes shaken from end to end as in earthquakes; also rocks cleft asunder to their bottoms, and the evil who were upon them swallowed up. I have seen also hundreds of thousands of evil spirits dispersed by angels and cast down into hell. Numbers are of no avail against them; neither are devices, cunning, or combinations; for they see through them all, and disperse them in a moment. (But more may be seen on this subject in the account of The Destruction of Babylon.) Such power do angels have in the spiritual world. It is evident from the Word that they have like power in the natural world also when it is permitted; for instance, that they have given to destruction entire armies; and that they brought on a pestilence from which seventy thousand men died. Of this angel it is said:

The angel stretched out his hand against Jerusalem to destroy it but Jehovah repented Him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough, now stay thy hand. And David saw the angel that smote the people (2 Samuel 24:16, 17);

besides other passages. Because the angels have such power they are called powers; as in David:

Bless Jehovah, ye angels, mighty in power (Psalm 103:20).

230. But it must be understood that the angels have no power whatever from themselves, but that all their power is from the Lord; and that they are powers only so far as they acknowledge this. Whoever of them believes that he has power from himself instantly becomes so weak as not to be able to resist even a single evil spirit. For this reason angels ascribe no merit whatever to themselves, and are averse to all praise and glory on account of any thing they do, ascribing all the praise and glory to the Lord.

231. It is the Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord that has all power in the heavens, for the Lord in heaven is Divine truth united to Divine good (see n. 126-140). To the extent that angels are receptions of this truth they are powers.{1} Moreover each one is his own truth and his own good because each one is such as his understanding and will are. The understanding pertains to truth because everything of it is from truths, and the will pertains to good because everything of it is from goods; for whatever any one understands he calls truth, and whatever he wills he calls good. From this it is that everyone is his own truth and his own good.{2} Therefore so far as an angel is truth from the Divine and good from the Divine he is a power, because to that extent the Lord is in him. And as no one's good and truth are wholly like or the same as another's, since in heaven, as in the world, there is endless variety (n. 20), so the power of one angel is not like the power of another. Those who constitute the arms in the Greatest Man, or heaven, have the greatest power because such are more in truths than others, and into their truths good flows from the entire heaven. Moreover, the power of the whole man passes into the arms, and by means of these the whole body exercises its powers. It is for this reason that in the Word "arms" and "hand" signify powers.{3} Sometimes on this account a naked arm is seen in heaven so powerful as to be able to break in pieces everything in its way, even though it were a great rock on the earth. Once it was moved towards me, and I perceived that it was able to crush my bones to atoms.

{Footnote 1} Angels are called powers and are powers from their reception of Divine truth from the Lord (n. 9639). Angels are recipients of Divine truth from the Lord and on this account are sometimes called "gods" in the Word (n. 4295, 4402, 7268, 7873, 8192, 8301, 9160).

{Footnote 2} A man or an angel is his own good and his own truth, thus his own love and his own faith (n. 10298, 10367). He is his own understanding and his own will, for everything of life is there from; the life of good is from the will, and the life of truth is from the understanding (n. 10076, 10177, 10264, 10284).

{Footnote 3} The correspondence of the hands, arms, and shoulders, with the Greatest man or heaven (n. 4931-4937). In the Word, "arms" and hands signify power (n. 878, 3091, 4932, 4933, 6947, 10019).

232. It has been shown above (n. 137) that the Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord has all power, and that angels have power to the extent that they are receptions of Divine truth from the Lord. But angels are so far receptions of Divine truth as they are receptions of Divine good, for truths have all their power from good, and none apart from good. So, too, good has all its power through truths, and none apart from truths. Power springs from the conjunction of these two. The same is true of faith and love; for it is the same whether you say truth or faith, since everything of faith is truth; also it is the same whether you say good or love, since everything of love is good.{1} The great power that angels have by means of truths from good is shown also from this, that when an evil spirit is merely looked at by the angels he falls into a swoon, and does not appear like a man, and this until the angel turns away his eyes. Such an effect is produced by the look of the eyes of angels, because the sight of angels is from the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is Divine truth (see above, n. 126-132). Moreover, the eyes correspond to truths from good.{2}

{Footnote 1} All power in heaven is the power of truth from good, thus of faith from loves (n. 3091, 3563, 6423, 8304, 9643, 10019, 10182). All power is from the Lord, because from Him is every truth of faith and every good of love (n. 9327, 9410). This power is meant by the keys given to Peter (n. 6344). It is Divine truth going forth from the Lord that has all power (n. 6948, 8200). This power of the lord is what is meant by "sitting at the right hand of Jehovah" (n. 3387, 4592, 4933, 7518, 7673, 8281, 9133). The right had means power (n. 10019).

{Footnote 2} The eyes correspond to truths from good (n. 4403-4421, 4523-4534, 6923).

233. As truths from good have all power, so falsities from evil have no power at all;{1} and as all in hell are in falsities from evil they have no power against truth and good. But what power they have among themselves, and what power evil spirits have before they are cast into hell, will be told hereafter.

{Footnote 1} Falsity from evil has no power, because truth from food has all power (n. 6784, 10481).


Angels talk with each other just as men do in the world, and on various subjects, as on domestic matters, and on matters of the civil state, and of moral, and spiritual life. And there is no difference except that their talk is more intelligent than that of men, because it is from more interior thought. I have been permitted to associate with them frequently, and to talk with them as friend with friend, and sometimes as stranger with stranger; and as I was then in a state like theirs I knew no otherwise than that I was talking with men on the earth.

235. Angelic speech, like human speech, is distinguished into words; it is also audibly uttered and heard; for angels, like men, have mouth, tongue, and ears, and an atmosphere in which the sound of their speech is articulated, although it is a spiritual atmosphere adapted to angels, who are spiritual. In their atmosphere angels breathe and utter words by means of their breath, as men do In their atmosphere.{1}

{Footnote 1} In the heavens there is respiration, but it is of an interior kind (n. 3884, 3885) from experience (n. 3884, 3885, 3891, 3893). There are differing respirations there, varying in accordance with their states (n. 1119, 3886, 3887, 3889, 3892, 3893). The evil are wholly unable to breathe in heaven, and they are suffocated if they go there (n. 3894).

236. In the entire heaven all have the same language, and they all understand one another, to whatever society, near or remote, they belong. Language there is not learned but is instinctive with everyone, for it flows from their very affection and thought, the tones of their speech corresponding to their affections, and the vocal articulations which are words corresponding to the ideas of thought that spring from the affections; and because of this correspondence the speech itself is spiritual, for it is affection sounding and thought speaking. [2] Any one who gives any thought to it can see that all thought is from affection which pertains to love, and that the ideas of thought are the various forms into which the general affection is distributed; for no thought or idea is possible apart from affection-the soul and life of thought is from affection. This enables angels to know, merely from another's speech, what he is-from the tone what his affection is, and from the vocal articulations or words what his mind is. The wiser angels know what the ruling affection is from a single series of words, for that affection is what they chiefly attend to. [3] It is known that each individual has a variety of affections, one affection when in joy, another when in grief, another when in sympathy and compassion, another when in sincerity and truth, another when in love and charity, another when in zeal or in anger, another when in simulation and deceit, another when in quest of honor and glory, and so on. But the ruling affection or love is in all of these; and for this reason the wiser angels, because they perceive that love, know from the speech the whole state of another. [4] This it has been granted me to know from much experience. I have heard angels disclosing the character of another's life merely from hearing him speak. They also said that from any ideas of another's thought they could know all things of his life, because from those ideas they know his ruling love, in which are all things in their order. They know also that man's book of life is nothing else.

237. Angelic language has nothing in common with human languages except certain words that are the sounds of a specific affection; yet this is true not of the words themselves but of their sounds; on which subject something will be said in what follows That angelic language has nothing in common with human languages is evident from the fact that angels are unable to utter a single word of human language. This was tried but they could not do it, because they can utter nothing except what is in entire agreement with their affections; whatever is not in agreement is repugnant to their very life, for life belongs to affection, and their speech is from their life. I have been told that the first language of men on our earth coincided with angelic language because they had it from heaven; and that the Hebrew language coincides with it in some respects.

238. As the speech of angels corresponds to their affection, and their affection belongs to their love, and as the love of heaven is love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor (see above, n. 13-19), it is evident how choice and delightful their talk must be, affecting not the ears only but also the interiors of the mind of those who listen to it. There was a certain hard-hearted spirit with whom an angel spoke. At length he was so affected by what was said that he shed tears, saying that he had never wept before, but he could not refrain, for it was love speaking.

239. The speech of angels is likewise full of wisdom because it proceeds from their interior thoughts, and their interior thought is wisdom, as their interior affection is love, and in their speech their love and wisdom unite. For this reason their speech is so full of wisdom that they can express in a single word what man cannot express in a thousand words also the ideas of their thought include things that are beyond man's comprehension, and still more his power of expression. This is why the things that have been heard and seen in heaven are said to be ineffable, and such as ear hath never heard nor eye seen. [2] That this is true I have also been permitted to learn by experience. At times I have entered into the state in which angels are, and in that state have talked with them, and I then understood everything. But when I was brought back into my former state, and thus into the natural thought proper to man, and wished to recall what I had heard I could not; for there were thousands of things unadapted to the ideas of natural thought, and therefore inexpressible except by variegations of heavenly light, and thus not at all by human words. [3] Also the ideas of thought of the angels from which their words spring are modifications of the light of heaven, and the affections from which the tones of the words spring are variations of the heat of heaven, the light of heaven being Divine truth or wisdom, and the heat of heaven the Divine good or love (see above, n. 126-140); and the angels have their affection from the Divine love, and their thought from the Divine wisdom.{1}

{Footnote 1} The ideas of angels, from which they speak, are expressed by wonderful variegations of the light of heaven (n. 1646, 3343, 3993).

240. Because the speech of angels proceeds directly from their affection, and the ideas of their thought are the various forms into which their general affection is distributed (see above, n. 236), angels can express in a moment what a man cannot express in half an hour; also they can set forth in a few words what has been expressed in writing on many pages; and this, too, has been proved to me by much experience.{1} Thus the angels' ideas of thought and the words of their speech make one, like effecting cause and effect; for what is in the ideas of thought as cause is presented in the words as effect, and this is why every word comprehends in itself so many things. Also all the particulars of angelic thought, and thus of angelic speech, appear when presented to view like a thin wave or circumfluent atmosphere, in which are innumerable things in their order derived from angelic wisdom, and these enter another's thought and affect him. The ideas of thought of everyone, both angel and man, are presented to view in the light of heaven, whenever the Lord pleases.{2}

{Footnote 1} Angels can express by their speech in a moment more than a man can express by his in half an hour; and they can also express things that do not fall into the expressions of human speech (n. 1641-1643, 1645, 4609, 7089).

{Footnote 2} The innumerable things contained in one idea of thought (n. 1008, 1869, 4946, 6613-6618). The ideas of man's thought are opened in the other life, and what they are is presented to view to the life (n. 1869, 3310, 5510). What their appearance is (n. 6601, 8885). The ideas of angels of the inmost heaven present an appearance of flamy light (n. 6615). The ideas of angels of the outmost heaven present an appearance of thin white clouds (n. 6614). An angelic idea seen, from which there was a radiation towards the Lord (n. 6620). Ideas of thought extend themselves widely into the societies of angels round about (n. 6598-6613).

241. The speech of angels of the Lord's celestial kingdom resembles the speech of the angels of His spiritual kingdom, but it is from more interior thought. Celestial angels are in good of love to the Lord, and therefore speak from wisdom; while spiritual angels are in the good of charity towards the neighbor, which in its essence is truth (n. 215), and therefore speak from intelligence, for wisdom is from good, and intelligence is from truth. For this reason the speech of celestial angels is like a gentle stream, soft, and as it were continuous; but the speech of spiritual angels is slightly vibratory and divided. The speech of celestial angels has much of the tones of the vowels u and o; while the speech of spiritual angels has much of the tones of e and i;{1} for the vowels stand for tone, and in the tone there is affection, the tone of the speech of angels corresponding to their affection, as has been said above (n. 236); while the vocal articulations, which are words, correspond to the ideas of thought which spring from affection. As the vowels are not essential to a language, but serve by means of tones to elevate the words to the various affections according to each one's state, so in the Hebrew tongue the vowels are not expressed, and are also variously pronounced. From this a man's quality in respect to his affection and love is known to the angels. Also in the speech of celestial angels there are no hard consonants, and it rarely passes from one consonant to another without the interposition of a word beginning with a vowel. This is why in the Word the particle "and" is so often interposed, as can be seen by those who read the Word in the Hebrew, in which this particle is soft, beginning and ending with a vowel sound. Again, in the Word, in Hebrew, it can in some measure be seen from the words used whether they belong to the celestial class or the spiritual class, that is, whether they involve good or truth. Those involving good partake largely of the sounds of u and o, and also somewhat of a, while those involving truth partake of the sounds of e and i. Because it is especially in tones that affections express themselves, so in human speech, when great subjects are discussed, such as heaven [caelum] and God [Deus], those words are preferred that contain the vowels u and o; and musical tones, whenever such themes are to be expressed, rise to the same fullness; but not when less exalted themes are rendered. By such means musical art is able to express affections of various kinds.

{Footnote 1} [As these vowels are pronounced in European language. — Tr.]

242. In angelic speech there is a kind of symphony that cannot be described;{1} which comes from the pouring forth and diffusion of the thoughts and affections from which speech flows, in accordance with the form of heaven, and all affiliation and all communication in heaven is in accordance with that form. That angels are affiliated in accordance with the form of heaven, and that their thoughts and affections flow in accordance with it may be seen above (n. 200-212).

{Footnote 1} In angelic speech there is a symphony with harmonious cadence (n. 1648, 1649, 7191).

243. Speech like that in the spiritual world is inherent in every man in his interior intellectual part; but man does not know this, because this speech does not with man, as with angels, fall into words analogous to affection; nevertheless this is what causes man, when he enters the other life, to come into the same speech as spirits and angels, and thus to know how to speak without instruction.{1} But more on this subject hereafter.

{Footnote 1} There is spiritual or angelic speech belonging to man, though he does not know it (n. 4104). The ideas of the internal man are spiritual, but during his life in the world man perceives them naturally, because he then thinks in what is natural (n. 10236, 10237, 10551). Man comes after death into his interior ideas (n. 3226, 3342, 3343, 10568, 10604). Those ideas then form his speech (n. 2470-2479).

244. In heaven, as has been said above, all have one speech; but it is varied in this respect, that the speech of the wise is more interior and more full of variations of affections and ideas of thought, while the speech of the less wise is more external and less full; and the speech of the simple is still more external, consisting of words from which the meaning is to be gathered in the same way as when men are talking to one another. There is also speech by the face, terminating in something sonorous modified by ideas. Again, there is speech in which heavenly representatives are mingled with the ideas, and go forth from ideas to sight. There is also speech by gestures that correspond to affections, and represent things like those expressed by their words. There is speech by means of the generals of affections and the generals of thoughts. There is speech like thunder; besides other kinds.

245. The speech of evil and infernal spirits is likewise natural to them because it is from affections; but it is from evil affections and consequent filthy ideas, to which angels are utterly averse. Thus the modes of speaking in hell are opposite to those of heaven; and in consequence evil spirits cannot endure angelic speech, and angels cannot endure infernal speech. To the angels infernal speech is like a bad odor striking the nostrils. The speech of hypocrites, who are such as are able to feign themselves angels of light, resembles in respect to words the speech of angels, but in respect to affections and consequent ideas of thought it is the direct opposite. Consequently, when the inner nature of their speech is perceived as wise angels perceive it, it is heard as the gnashing of teeth, and strikes with horror.


Angels who talk with man do not talk in their own language, nor in any language unknown to man, but in the man's own language, or in some other language with which he is acquainted. This is so because when angels speak with man they turn themselves to him and conjoin themselves with him; and this conjunction of angel with man causes the two to be in like thought; and as man's thought coheres to his memory, and this is the source of his speech, the two have the same language. Moreover, when an angel or a spirit comes to a man, and by turning to him is conjoined to him, he so enters into the entire memory of the man that he is scarcely conscious that he does not himself know whatever the man knows, including his languages. [2] I have talked with angels about this, and have said that perhaps they thought that they were addressing me in my mother tongue, since it is so perceived; and yet it was I and not they that spoke; and that this is evident from the fact that angels cannot utter a single word of human language (see n. 237); furthermore, human language is natural and they are spiritual, and spiritual beings cannot give expression to any thing in a natural way. To this they replied that they are aware that their conjunction with the man with whom they are speaking is with his spiritual thought; but because his spiritual thought flows into his natural thought, and his natural thought coheres to his memory, the language of the man and all his knowledge appear to them to be their own; and that this is so for this reason, that while it is the Lord's pleasure that there should be such a conjunction with and sort of insertion of man into heaven, yet the state of man is now such that there can no longer be such conjunction with angels, but only with spirits who are not in heaven. [3] When I talked about this with spirits also they were unwilling to believe that it is the man that speaks, insisting that they spoke in man, also that man's knowledge is their knowledge and not the man's knowledge, consequently that everything that man knows is from them. I tried to convince them by many proofs that this is not true, but in vain. Who are meant by spirits and who are meant by angels will be told further on when the world of spirits is treated of.

247. There is another reason why angels and spirits conjoin themselves so closely with man as not to know but that what is man's is their own, namely, that there is such conjunction between the spiritual world and the natural world in man that the two are seemingly one. But inasmuch as man has separated himself from heaven the Lord has provided that there should be angels and spirits with each individual, and that man should be ruled by the Lord through these. This is the reason for such close conjunction. It would have been otherwise if man had not separated himself; for in that case he might have been ruled by the Lord through the general influx from heaven, without spirits and angels being adjoined to him. But this subject will be specially considered in what follows when the conjunction of heaven with man is treated of.

248. The speech of an angel or spirit with man is heard by him as audibly as the speech of man with man, yet by himself only, and not by others who stand near; and for the reason that the speech of an angel or spirit flows first into a man's thought, and by an inner way into his organ of hearing, and thus moves it from within; while the speech of man with man flows first into the air and by an outward way into his organ of hearing, and moves it from without. Evidently, then, the speech of an angel or spirit with man is heard within him; but as the organs of hearing are thus equally moved, the speech is equally audible. That the speech of an angel or a spirit flows down from within even into the ear has been made clear to me by the fact that it flows also into the tongue, causing a slight vibration, but without any such motion as when the man himself by means of the tongue forms the sound of speech into words.

249. But at the present day to talk with spirits is rarely granted because it is dangerous;{1} for then the spirits know, what otherwise they do not know, that they are with man; and evil spirits are such that they hold man in deadly hatred, and desire nothing so much as to destroy him both soul and body, and this they do in the case of those who have so indulged themselves in fantasies as to have separated from themselves the enjoyments proper to the natural man. Some also who lead a solitary life sometimes hear spirits talking with them, and without danger; but that the spirits with them may not know that they are with man they are at intervals removed by the Lord; for most spirits are not aware that there is any other world than that in which they live, and therefore are unaware that there are men anywhere else; and this is why man is not permitted to speak with them in return. If he did they would know. Again, those who meditate much on religious subjects, and are so intent upon them as to see them as it were inwardly within themselves, begin to hear spirits speaking with them; for religious persuasions, whatever they are, when man dwells upon them by himself and does not adapt them to the various things of use in the world, penetrate to the interiors and rest there, and occupy the whole spirit of the man, and even enter into the spiritual world and act upon the spirits there. But such persons are visionaries and enthusiasts; and whatever spirit they hear they believe to be the Holy Spirit, when, in fact, such spirits are enthusiastic spirits. Such spirits see falsities as truths, and so seeing them they induce not themselves only but also those they flow into to believe them. Such spirits, however, have been gradually removed, because they began to lure others into evil and to gain control over them. Enthusiastic spirits are distinguished from other spirits by their believing themselves to be the Holy Spirit, and believing what they say to be Divine. As man honors such spirits with Divine worship they do not attempt to harm him. I have sometimes talked with them, and the wicked things they infused into their worshipers were then disclosed. They dwell together towards the left, in a desert place.

{Footnote 1} Man is able to talk with spirits and angels; and the ancient people frequently talked with them (n. 67-69, 784, 1634, 1636, 7802). In some earths angels and spirits appear in human form and talk with the inhabitants (n. 10751, 10752). But on this earth at this day it is dangerous to talk with spirits, unless man is in true faith, and is led by the Lord (n. 784, 9438, 10751).

250. But to speak with the angels of heaven is granted only to those who are in truths from good, especially to those who are in the acknowledgment of the Lord and of the Divine in His Human, because this is the truth in which the heavens are. For, as it has been shown above, the Lord is the God of heaven (n. 2-6); it is the Divine of the Lord that makes heaven (n. 7-12); the Divine of the Lord in heaven is love to Him and charity towards the neighbor from Him (n. 13-19); the whole heaven in one complex reflects a single man; also every society of heaven; and every angel is in complete human form, and this from the Divine Human of the Lord (n. 59-86). All of which makes evident that only those whose interiors are opened by Divine Truths, even to the Lord, are able to speak with the angels of heaven, since it is into these truths with man that the Lord flows, and when the Lord flows in heaven also flows in. Divine truths open the interiors of man because man was so created as to be in respect to his internal man an image of heaven, and in respect to his external an image of the world (n. 57); and the internal man is opened only by means of Divine truth going forth from the Lord, because that is the light of heaven and the life of heaven (n. 126-140).

251. The influx of the Lord Himself into man is into his forehead, and from that into the whole face, because the forehead of man corresponds to love, and the face corresponds to all his interiors.{1} The influx of spiritual angels into man is into his head every where, from the forehead and temples to the whole part that contains the cerebrum, because that region of the head corresponds to intelligence; but the influx of celestial angels is into that part of the head that contains the cerebellum, and is called the occiput, from the ears all around even to the neck, for that region corresponds to wisdom. All the speech of angels with man enters by these ways into his thought; and by this means I have perceived what angels they were that spoke with me.

{Footnote 1} The "forehead" corresponds to heavenly love, and consequently in the Word signifies that love (n. 9936). The "face" corresponds to the interiors of man, which belong to thought and affection (n. 1568, 2988 2989, 3631, 4796, 4797, 4800, 5165, 5168, 5695, 9306). The face is formed to correspondence with the interiors (n. 4791-4805, 5695). Consequently the "face," in the Word, signifies the interiors (n. 1999, 2434, 3527, 4066, 4796).

252. Those who talk with the angels of heaven also see the things that exist in heaven, because they are then seeing in the light of heaven, for their interiors are in that light; also the angels through them see the things that are on the earth,{1} because in them heaven is conjoined to the world and the world is conjoined to heaven. For (as has been said above n. 246), when the angels turn themselves to man they so conjoin themselves to him as to be wholly unaware that what pertains to the man is not theirs—not only what pertains to his speech but also to his sight and hearing; while man, on the other hand, is wholly unaware that the things that flow in through the angels are not his. Such was the conjunction that existed between angels of heaven and the most ancient people on this earth, and for this reason their times were called the Golden Age. Because this race acknowledged the Divine under a human form, that is, the Lord, they talked with the angels of heaven as with their friends, and angels of heaven talked with them as with their friends; and in them heaven and the world made one. But after those times man gradually separated himself from heaven by loving himself more than the Lord and the world more than heaven, and in consequence began to feel the delights of the love of self and the world as separate from the delights of heaven, and finally to such an extent as to be ignorant of any other delight. Then his interiors that had been open into heaven were closed up, while his exteriors were open to the world; and when this takes place man is in light in regard to all things of the world, but in thick darkness in regard to all things of heaven.

{Footnote 1} Spirits are unable to see through man any thing that is in this solar world, but they have seen through my eyes; the reason (n. 1880).

253. Since those times it is only rarely that any one has talked with the angels of heaven; but some have talked with spirits who are not in heaven. This is so because man's interior and exterior faculties are such that they are turned either towards the Lord as their common center (n. 124), or towards self, that is, backwards from the Lord. Those that are turned towards the Lord are also turned towards heaven. But those that are turned towards self, are turned also towards the world. And to elevate these is a difficult matter; nevertheless the Lord elevates them as much as is possible, by turning the love about; which is done by means of truths from the Word.

254. I have been told how the Lord spoke with the prophets through whom the Word was given. He did not speak with them as He did with the ancients, by an influx into their interiors, but through spirits who were sent to them, whom He filled with His look, and thus inspired with the words which they dictated to the prophets; so that it was not influx but dictation. And as the words came forth directly from the Lord, each one of them was filled with the Divine and contains within it an internal sense, which is such that the angels of heaven understand the words in a heavenly and spiritual sense, while men understand them in a natural sense. Thus has the Lord conjoined heaven and the world by means of the Word. How the Lord fills spirits with the Divine by His look has also been made clear. A spirit that has been filled by the Lord with the Divine does not know otherwise than that he is the Lord, and that it is the Divine that is speaking; and this continues until he has finished speaking. After that he perceives and acknowledges that he is a spirit, and that he spoke from the Lord and not from himself. Because this was the state of the spirits who spoke with the prophets they said that it was Jehovah that spoke; the spirits even called themselves Jehovah, as can be seen both from the prophetical and historical parts of the Word.

255. That the nature of the conjunction of angels and spirits with man may be understood I am permitted to mention some notable things by which it may be elucidated and verified. When angels and spirits turn themselves to man they do not know otherwise than that the man's language is their own and that they have no other language; and for the reason that they are there in the man's language, and not in their own, which they have forgotten. But as soon as they turn themselves away from the man they are in their own angelic and spiritual language, and know nothing about the man's language. I have had a like experience when in company with angels and in a state like theirs. I then talked with them in their language and knew nothing of my own, having forgotten it; but as soon as I ceased to be present with them I was in my own language. [2] Another notable fact is that when angels and spirits turn themselves to a man they are able to talk with him at any distance; they have talked with me at a considerable distance as audibly as when they were near. But when they turn themselves away from man and talk with each other man hears nothing at all of what they are saying, even if it be close to his ear. From this it was made clear that all conjunction in the spiritual world is determined by the way they turn. [3] Another notable fact is that many spirits together can talk with a man, and the man with them; for they send one of their number to the man with whom they wish to speak, and the spirit sent turns himself to the man and the rest of them turn to their spirit and thus concentrate their thoughts, which the spirit utters; and the spirit then does not know otherwise than that he is speaking from himself, and they do not know otherwise than that they are speaking. Thus also is the conjunction of many with one effected by turning.{1} But of these emissary spirits, who are also called subjects, and of communication by means of them, more will be said hereafter.

{Footnote 1} Spirits sent from one society of spirits to other societies are called subjects (n. 4403, 5856). Communications in the spiritual world are effected by such emissary spirits (n. 4403, 5856, 5983). A spirit when he is sent forth, and serves as a subject thinks from those by whom he is sent forth and not from himself (n. 5985-5987).

256. An angel or spirit is not permitted to speak with a man from his own memory, but only from the man's memory; for angels and spirits have a memory as well as man. If a spirit were to speak from his own memory with a man the man would not know otherwise than that the thoughts then in his mind were his own, although they were the spirit's thoughts. This would be like the recollection of something which the man had never heard or seen. That this is so has been given me to know from experience. This is the source of the belief held by some of the ancients that after some thousands of years they were to return into their former life, and into everything they had done, and in fact, had returned. This they concluded because at times there came to them a sort of recollection of things that they had never seen or heard. This came from an influx from the memory of spirits into their ideas of thought.

257. There are also spirits called natural and corporeal spirits. When these come to a man they do not conjoin themselves with his thought, like other spirits, but enter into his body, and occupy all his senses, and speak through his mouth, and act through his members, believing at the time that all things of the man are theirs. These are the spirits that obsess man. But such spirits have been cast into hell by the Lord, and thus wholly removed; and in consequence such obsessions are not possible at the present time.{1}

{Footnote 1} External or bodily obsessions are not permitted at the present time, as they were formerly (n. 1983). But at present internal obsessions, which pertain to the mind, are permitted more than formerly (n. 1983, 4793). Man is inwardly obsessed when he has filthy and scandalous thoughts about God and the neighbor, and is withheld from making them known only by external consideration, which are fear of the loss of reputation, honor, gain and fear of the law and of loss of life (n. 5990). Of the devilish spirits who chiefly obsess the interiors of man (n. 4793). Of the devilish spirits who long to obsess the exteriors of man; that such are shut up in hell (n. 2752, 5990).


As the angels have speech, and their speech consists of words, they also have writings; and by writing as well as by speech they give expression to what is in their minds. At times I have had papers sent to me, traced with written words precisely like manuscripts in the world, and others like printed sheets; and I was able to read them in a like way, but was allowed to get from them only an idea here and there; for the reason that it is not in accordance with Divine order for man to be taught by writings from heaven; but he must be taught by means of the Word only; for it is only by means of the Word that there is communication and conjunction of heaven with the world, thus of the Lord with man. That papers written in heaven were seen also by the prophets is shown in Ezekiel:

When I looked, behold a hand was put forth by a spirit unto me, and a roll of a book was therein which he unrolled in my sight; it was written on the front and on the back (2:9, 10).

And in John:

I saw upon the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back, sealed up with seven seals (Apoc. 5:1).

259. The existence of writings in the heavens is a provision of the Lord for the sake of the Word; for the Word in its essence is Divine truth, and from it is all heavenly wisdom, both with men and with angels; for the Word was dictated by the Lord, and what is dictated by the Lord passes through all the heavens in order and terminates with man. Thereby it is adapted both to the wisdom of angels and the intelligence of men. Thereby, too, the angels have a Word, and read it the same as men do on the earth, and also draw from it their doctrinals, and preach from it (n. 221). It is the same Word; but its natural sense, which is the sense of the letter with us, does not exist in heaven, but only the spiritual sense, which is its internal sense. What this sense is can be seen in the small treatise on The White Horse spoken of in the Apocalypse.

260. A little paper was at one time sent to me from heaven, on which there were a few words only written in Hebrew letters, and I was told that every letter involved arcana of wisdom, and that these arcana were contained in the inflections and curvatures of the letters, and thus also in the sounds. This made clear to me what is signified by these words of the Lord:

Verily I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away, one iota or one tittle shall not pass away from the law (Matt. 5:18).

That the Word in every tittle of it is Divine is known in the church; but just where the Divine lies hid in every tittle has not been known heretofore, and therefore shall be told. In the inmost heaven the writing consists of various inflected and circumflected forms, and the inflections and circumflections are in accordance with the forms of heaven. By means of these angels express the arcana of their wisdom, and also many things that they are unable to express in spoken words; and what is wonderful, the angels know this writing without training or a teacher, it being implanted in them like their speech (see n. 236); therefore this writing is heavenly writing. It is implanted because all extension of thoughts and affections and consequent communication of intelligence and wisdom of the angels proceeds in accordance with the form of heaven (n. 201); and for the same reason their writing flows into that form. I have been told that the most ancient people on this earth, before letters were invented, had such writing; and that it was transferred into the letters of the Hebrew language, and these letters in ancient times were all inflected, and none of them, as at present, were bounded by straight lines. Thus it is that in the Word Divine things and arcana of heaven are contained even in its iotas, points and tittles.

261. This writing in characters of a heavenly form is in use in the inmost heaven, the angels of which surpass all others in wisdom. By means of these characters they express the affections, from which thoughts flow and follow in order in accordance with the subject treated of. Consequently these writings, which I have also been permitted to see, involve arcana which thought cannot exhaust. But such writings do not exist in the lower heavens. The writings there resemble the writings in the world, having like characters, and yet they are not intelligible to man, because they are in angelic language; and angelic language is such that it has nothing in common with human languages (n. 237), since by the vowels they express affections, and by the consonants the ideas of thought from the affections, and by the words from these the sense of the matter (see above, n. 236, 241). Moreover, in this writing, which I have also seen, more is involved in a few words than a man can express in several pages. In this way they have the Word written in the lower heavens; but in the inmost heaven in heavenly characters.

262. It is a notable fact that the writings in the heavens flow naturally from their very thoughts, and this so easily that the thought puts itself forth, as it were, and the hand never hesitates in the choice of a word, because both the words they speak and those they write correspond to the ideas of their thought; and all correspondence is natural and spontaneous. There are also writings in the heavens that exist without the aid of the hand, from mere correspondence with the thoughts; but these are not permanent.

263. I have also seen writings from heaven made up of mere numbers set down in order and in a series, just as in writings made up of letters and words; and I have been taught that this writing is from the inmost heaven, and that their heavenly writing (spoken of above, n. 260, 261), when the thought from it flows down, is set forth before the angels of the lower heavens in numbers, and that this numerical writing likewise involves arcana, some of which can neither be comprehended by thought nor expressed by words. For all numbers correspond, and have a meaning, the same as words do, in accordance with the correspondence;{1} yet with the difference that in numbers generals are involved, and in words particulars; and as one general involves innumerable particulars, so more arcana are involved in numerical writing than in literal writing. From this I could see that in the Word numbers as well as words signify things. What the simple numbers signify, as 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and what the compound numbers, as 20, 30, 50, 70, 100, 144, 1000, 10,000, 12,000, and others, may be seen in the Arcana Celestia, where they are treated of. In this writing in heaven, a number is always prefixed on which those following in a series depend as on their subject; for that number is as it were an index to the matter treated of, and from it is the determination of the numbers that follow to the particular point.

{Footnote 1} All numbers in the Word signify things (n. 482, 487, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 6470, 6175, 9488, 9659, 10217, 10253). Shown from heaven (n. 4495, 5265). Composite numbers have the same signification as the simple numbers from which they result by multiplication (n. 5291, 5335, 5708, 7973). The most ancient people possessed heavenly arcana expressed in numbers forming a kind of computation of states of the church (n. 575).

264. Those who know nothing about heaven, and who are unwilling to have any other idea of it than as of something purely atmospherical, in which the angels fly about as intellectual minds, having no sense of hearing or seeing, are unable to conceive that the angels have speech and writing; for they place the existence of everything real in what is material; and yet the writings in heaven have as real an existence as those in the world, and the angels there have everything that is useful for life and useful for wisdom.


The nature of angelic wisdom can scarcely be comprehended, because it so greatly transcends human wisdom that the two cannot be compared; and whatever is thus transcendent does not seem to be any thing. Moreover, some truths that must enter into a description of it are as yet unknown, and until these become known they exist in the mind as shadows, and thus hide the thing as it is in itself. Nevertheless, these truths can be known, and when known be comprehended, provided the mind takes any interest in them; for interest carries light with it because it is from love; and upon those who love the things pertaining to Divine and heavenly wisdom light shines forth from heaven and gives enlightenment.

266. What the wisdom of the angels is can be inferred from the fact that they are in the light of heaven, and the light of heaven in its essence is Divine truth or Divine wisdom; and this light enlightens at the same time their inner sight, or sight of the mind, and their outer sight, or sight of the eyes. (That the light of heaven is Divine truth or Divine wisdom may be seen above, n. 126-133.) The angels are also in heavenly heat, which in its essence is Divine good or Divine love, and from that they have an affection and longing to become wise. (That the heat of heaven is Divine good or Divine love may be seen above, n. 133-140.) That the angels are in wisdom, even to the extent that they may be called wisdoms, follows from the fact that their thoughts and affections all flow in accordance with the heavenly form, and this form is the form of Divine wisdom; also that their interiors, which are recipients of wisdom, are arranged in that form. (That the thoughts and affections of angels flow in accordance with the form of heaven, and consequently their intelligence and wisdom, may be seen above, n. 201-212.) [2] That the angels have supereminent wisdom is shown also by the fact that their speech is the speech of wisdom, for it flows directly and spontaneously from thought, and their thought from their affection, thus their speech is thought from affection in outward form; consequently there is nothing to withdraw them from the Divine influx, and nothing from without such as enters into the speech of man from other thoughts. (That the speech of angels is the speech of their thought and affection may be seen above, n. 234-235.) That the angels have such wisdom is in accord with the fact that all things that they behold with their eyes and perceive by their senses agree with their wisdom, since they are correspondences of it, and thus the objects perceived are representative forms of the things that constitute their wisdom. (That all things seen in the heavens are correspondences with the interiors of angels and representations of their wisdom may be seen above, n. 170-182.) [3] Furthermore, the thoughts of angels are not limited and contracted by ideas from space and time, as human thoughts are, for spaces and times belong to nature, and the things that belong to nature withdraw the mind from spiritual things, and deprive intellectual sight of its proper range. (That the ideas of angels are apart from time and space, and thus less limited than human ideas, may be seen above, n. 162-169 and 191-199.) Again, the thoughts of angels are neither brought down to earthly and material things, nor interrupted by anxieties about the necessities of life; thus they are not withdrawn by such things from the delights of wisdom, as the thoughts of men in the world are; for all things come to them gratuitously from the Lord; they are clothed gratuitously, are fed gratuitously, are housed gratuitously (n. 181-190), and besides this they receive delights and pleasures in the degree of their reception of wisdom from the Lord. These things have been said to make clear why it is that angels have so great wisdom.{1}

{Footnote 1} The wisdom of angels, that it is incomprehensible and ineffable (n. 2795, 2796, 2802, 3314, 3404, 3405, 9094, 9176).

267. Angels are capable of receiving such wisdom because their interiors are open; and wisdom, like every other perfection, increases towards the interiors, thus to the extent that interiors are opened.{1} In every angel there are three degrees of life, corresponding to the three heavens (see n. 29-40)—those in whom the first degree has been opened are in the first or outmost heaven; those in whom the second degree has been opened are in the second or middle heaven; while those in whom the third degree has been opened are in the third or inmost heaven. The wisdom of angels in the heavens is in accordance with these degrees. Therefore the wisdom of the angels of the inmost heaven immeasurably surpasses the wisdom of angels of the middle heaven, and the wisdom of these immeasurably surpasses the wisdom of angels of the outmost heaven (see above, n. 209, 210; and what degrees are, n. 38). There are such differences because the things which are in the higher degree are particulars, and those in the lower degree are generals, and generals are containants of particulars. Particulars compared with generals are as thousands or myriads to one; and such is the wisdom of the angels of a higher heaven compared with the wisdom of the angels of a lower heaven. In like manner the wisdom of the latter surpasses the wisdom of man, for man is in a bodily state and in those things that belong to the bodily senses, and man's bodily sense belongs to the lowest degree. This makes clear what kind of wisdom those possess who think from things of sense, that is, who are called sensual men, namely, that they have no wisdom, but merely knowledge.{2} But it is otherwise with men whose thoughts are raised above the things of sense, and especially with those whose interiors have been opened even into the light of heaven.

{Footnote 1} So far as man is raised up from outward towards inward things he comes into light, that is, into intelligence (n. 6183, 6313). There is an actual elevation (n. 7816, 10330). Elevation from outward to inward things is like elevation out of a mist into light (n. 4598). As outer things in man are farther removed from the Divine they are relatively obscure (n. 6451). Likewise relatively confused (n. 996, 3855). Inner things are more perfect because they are nearer to the Divine (n. 5146, 5147). In what is internal there are thousands and thousands of things that appear in what is external as one general thing (n. 5707). Consequently as thought and perception are more interior they are clearer (n. 5920).

{Footnote 2} The sensual is the outmost of man's life adhering to and inhering in his bodily part (n. 5077, 5767, 9212, 9216, 9331, 9730). He is called a sensual man who judges all things and draws all his conclusions from the bodily senses, and believes nothing except what he sees with his eyes and touches with his hands (n. 5094, 7693). Such a man thinks in externals, and not interiorly in himself (n. 5089, 5094, 6564, 7693). His interiors are so closed up that he sees nothing of spiritual truth in them (n. 6564, 6844, 6845). In a word, he is in gross natural light and thus perceives nothing that is from the light of heaven (n. 6201, 6310, 6564, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6844, 6845). Interiorly he is antagonistic to the things of heaven and the church (n. 6201, 6316, 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949). The learned who have confirmed themselves against the truths of the church come to be such (n. 6316). Sensual men are more cunning and malicious than others (n. 7693, 10236). They reason keenly and cunningly, but from the bodily memory, in which they place all intelligence (n. 195, 196, 5700, 10236). But they reason from the fallacies of the senses (n. 5084, 6948, 6949, 7693).

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