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1114. CHAPTER 10.
CONCERNING THE MOST ANCIENT CHURCH, WHICH WAS CALLED MAN, OR ADAM
Angels and spirits, or men after death, when permitted by the Lord, can meet all
whom they have known in this world, or whom they have heard of-whomsoever they
desire-can see them as present, and can converse with them. Wonderful to say,
they are at hand in a moment and are most intimately present; so that it is
possible to converse not only with friends, who usually find one another, but
also with others that have been respected and esteemed. By the Divine mercy of
the Lord it has been granted me to converse not only with those whom I had known
when they lived in the body, but also with those of especial note in the Word;
also with those who were of the Most Ancient Church, which was that called
"Man," or "Adam," and with some who were of the subsequent churches, in order
that I might know that by the names in the first chapters of Genesis churches
are meant; and also that I might know what was the character of the men of the
churches of that time. The accounts therefore that follow are what it has been
given me to know about the Most Ancient Churches.
1115. They who were of the Most Ancient Church, which was called Man, or Adam,
and were celestial men, are very high above the head, and dwell together there
in the greatest happiness. They said that others rarely come to them, except
some at times, as they expressed it, "from the universe;" and that they were on
high above the head not because they were of a lofty spirit, but in order that
they might govern those who are there.
1116. Dwellings were shown me of those who were of the second and third
posterities of this Most Ancient Church. They are magnificent, extending to a
great length, and diversified with beautiful colors of bright crimson and azure
blue. For the angels have most magnificent dwellings, such as cannot be
described, as I have often seen. To their eyes so real is their appearance that
nothing can be more real. But whence such real appearances come will be shown of
the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. They live in an aura, so to speak, of
resplendent pearly and sometimes of diamond-like light. For there are wonderful
auras in the other life, of inexpressible variety. They greatly err who do not
believe that such things exist there, and indefinitely more than anyone ever
could or can conceive. They are indeed representative, like the things sometimes
seen by the prophets; but yet are so real that they who are in the other life
hold them to be real, and the things which are in the world to be relatively
1117. They live in the most intense light. The light of this world can scarcely
be compared to that in which they live. That light was shown me by a light as of
flame that as it were streamed down before my eyes; and they who were of the
Most Ancient Church said that the light is such with them, but still more
1118. There was shown me by a certain influx which I cannot describe, what the
nature of their speech was when they lived in this world-that it was not
articulate, like the vocal speech of our time, but tacit; and was produced not
by external but by internal respiration. It was also granted me to perceive the
nature of their internal respiration-that it advanced from the navel toward the
heart, and so through the lips, without sound; and that it did not enter into
the ear of another and strike upon what is called the drum of the ear by an
external way, but by a certain way within the mouth, in fact by a passage there
which is now called the Eustachian tube. And it was shown me that by such speech
they could much more fully express the sentiments of the mind and the ideas of
thought than can possibly be done by articulate sounds, or vocal words, which
likewise are directed by the respiration, but external. For there is nothing in
any word that is not directed by applications of the respiration. But with them
this was done much more perfectly, because by the internal respiration; which,
from the fact that it is interior, is at once far more perfect, and more
applicable and conformable to the very ideas of thought. Besides, they also
conversed by slight movements of the lips, and correspondent changes of the
face; for being celestial men, whatever they thought shone forth from their
faces and eyes, which were varied conformably. They could by no means put on an
expression of countenance different from that which was in agreement with their
thoughts. Simulation, and still more deceit, was to them a monstrous iniquity.
1119. It has been shown me to the life how the internal respiration of the most
ancient people silently flowed into a kind of external and thus tacit speech,
perceived by another in his interior man. They said that this respiration varied
with them, according to the state of their love and faith in the Lord. They gave
also as a reason that it could not be otherwise, because they had communication
with heaven; for they respired with the angels in whose company they were.
Angels have a respiration to which internal respiration corresponds; and it
likewise varies with them. For when anything befalls them which is contrary to
love and faith in the Lord, their respiration is restrained; but when they are
in the happiness of love and faith, their respiration is free and full. There is
something like this also with every man, but in accordance with his corporeal
and worldly loves and also with his principles. When anything opposes these,
there is a restriction of the respiration; and when they are favored, the
respiration is free and full. These, however, are variations of external
respiration. But concerning the respiration of the angels, of the Lord's Divine
1120. It has also been shown that the internal respiration of the men of the
Most Ancient Church, which was from the navel toward the interior region of the
breast, in the course of time, or in their posterity, was changed, and receded
more toward the back region, and toward the abdomen, thus more outward and
downward; and that at length, in the last posterity of that church, which
existed immediately before the flood, scarcely anything of internal respiration
remained; and when at last there remained none of this in the breast, they were
suffocated of their own accord; but that in some, external respiration then
began, and with it articulate sound, or the language of spoken words. Thus with
the men before the flood the respiration was in accordance with the state of
their love and faith; and at last, when there was no love and no faith, but a
persuasion of falsity, internal respiration ceased; and with this, the immediate
communication with angels, and perception.
1121. I have been informed by sons of the Most Ancient Church concerning the
state of their perception, that they had perception of all things that belong to
faith, almost as have the angels with whom they had communication; for the
reason that their interior man, or spirit, by means also of the internal
respiration, was joined to heaven; and that love to the Lord and love toward the
neighbor are attended with this; for man is thus conjoined with angels through
their veriest life, which consists in such love. They said that they had the law
written upon them, because they were in love to the Lord and love toward the
neighbor; and such being the case, whatever the laws prescribe was in agreement with their perception, and whatever the laws forbid was contrary to it. Nor did they doubt that all laws, human as well as Divine, are founded in love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and regard these as their fundamental. Wherefore, as they had this fundamental in them, from the Lord, they could not but know all things that were from it. They believe too that those who live in the world at this day, who love the Lord and the neighbor, have also the law written upon them, and are acceptable citizens everywhere on earth, as the same are in the other life.
1122. I have been further informed that the men of the Most Ancient Church had
most delightful dreams, and also visions, and that it was insinuated into them
at the same time what they signified. Hence their paradisal representations, and
many other things. The objects of the external senses therefore, which are
earthly and worldly, were nothing to them; nor had they any perception of
delight in them, but only in what they signified and represented; and therefore
when they looked at earthly objects they did not think about them at all, but
only about the things which they signified and represented, which were most
delightful to them; for they were such things as are in heaven, from which they
see the Lord Himself.
1123. I have conversed with the third generation of the Most Ancient Church, who
said that in their time, when they lived in the world, they expected the Lord,
who would save the whole human race; and that it was then a common saying among
them that the seed of the woman would tread down the serpent's head. They said
that from that time the greatest delight of their life was to procreate
offspring; so that their sweetest deliciousnesses were to love their consort for
the sake of offspring, which they called most delightful deliciousnesses and
most delicious delights, adding that the perception of these delights and
deliciousnesses was from influx out of heaven, because the Lord was to be born.
1124. There were near me some of the posterity that lived before the flood-not
of those who perished, but of those who were somewhat better than they. At first
they flowed in gently and imperceptibly enough; but it was given me to perceive
that inwardly they were evil, and that they inwardly acted contrary to love.
There exhaled from them a sphere of the odor of a dead body, so that the spirits
who were around me fled away. They imagined themselves to be so subtle that no
one would perceive what they thought. I spoke with them about the Lord, as to
whether or not they had expected Him, as their fathers did. They said that they
had represented the Lord to themselves as an old man, holy, with a gray beard;
and also that they became holy from Him, and in like manner bearded; whence
arose such veneration for beards among their posterity. They added that now also
they are able to adore Him, but from themselves. But then an angel came, whose
presence they could not endure.
1125. It has also been granted me to converse with those who were of the church
called "Enosh," concerning which in Genesis 4:26. Their influx was gentle, and
their conversation unassuming. They said that they live in charity with one
another, and perform offices of friendship to others who come among them. But it
was evident that their charity was the charity of friendship.* They live
quietly, as good citizens, and do no injury to anyone.
* Swedenborg often uses the term "friendship" in the sense of mere personal and
selfish regard. See Arcana Coelestia, n. 1158:2, 3875:5, 4054, 4804, etc.
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