Spirits and Men

Some Essays on the
Influence of Spirits upon Men,
as Described in the
Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
By
Hugo Lj. Odhner
THE ACADEMY BOOK ROOM·
Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania
1960
COPYRIGHT 1958 AND 1960 BY
THE ACADEMY OF THE NEW CHURCH
First printing 1958, 500 copies
Second printing 1960, 500 copies
PRINTED IN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY
LANCASTER PRESS, INC., LANCASTER, PENNA.
CONTENTS
PAGE
Acknowledgments
I The Knowledge of the Afterlife 1
II Spirits and Men 7
III The Danger of Open Communication with Spirits 20
IV Our Spiritual Guardians 42
v Spirits and Human States 63
VI Spiritual Associations 75
VII Influx and Persuasion 87
VIII Influx and Cupidity 101
IX Enthusiastic Spirits 112
x Spiritual Causes of Fortune 124
XI "Cuticular Spirits" and "Sirens" 131
XII Dreams 138
XIII General Influx 152
XIV Influx and Disease 171
xv Mental Causes of Illness 185
XVI Spiritual Sources of Health 205
XVII Angelic Intermediacy in Divine Revelation 211
Subject Index
AC
AE
AR
Can.
Char.
CL
CLJ
Coro.
DLW
Dom.
DP
DV
EU
SMem.
HD
HH
Infl.
Inv.
LJ
LJ post.
Lord
Love
9Q
SD
SDmin.
TCR
WE
Wis.
1 Econ.
2Econ.
Fibre
R. Psych.
Docu.
KEY TO REFERENCES
Cited Works by Emanuel Swedenborg
Arcana Coelestia
Apocalypse Explained
Apocalypse Revealed
Canons of the New Church
Doctrine of Charity
Conjugial Love
Continuation of the Last Judgment
Coronis
·Divine Love and Wisdom
De Domino
Divine Providence
De Verbo
Earths in the Universe
Five Memorable Relations
New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine
Heaven and Hell
Influx, or Intercourse of Soul and Body
Invitation to the New Church
The Last J udgment
The Last Judgment (posthumous)
The Doctrine concerning the Lord
On the Divine Love
Nine Questions concerning the Trinity
The Spiritual Diary
The Spiritual Diary Minor
The True Christian Religion
The Word Explained (Adversaria)
On the Divine Wisdom
Economy of the Animal Kingdom, Part I
Economy of the Animal Kingdom, Part II
Economy of the A1Jimal Kingdom, Part III
The Rational Psychology
Documents concerning Swedenborg (R. L. Tafel)
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A large part of the material used in the following essays
was originally collected for some doctrinal addresses given
before audiences in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, some twenty
years ago. Chapter IV is based on an article published in
New Church Life in May 1932. With reference to the chap-
ters on Disease, Doctor Marlin W. Heilman and Doctor
Robert Alden made several kind suggestions. And the Rev-
erend W. Cairns Henderson has acted as my valued con-
sultant in the preparation of the manuscript for the press.
Selected references to the Writings of Emanuel Sweden-
borg have been inserted as footnotes for the convenience of
those who might wish to consult our sources on specific
points ; and a list of abbreviations used to designate various
cited works of Swedenborg is given at the beginning of the
volume.
Since the subjects of the chapters intertwine, a certain
amount of reiteration could not be avoided except at the sacri-
fice of clarity. The book is submitted in its present form-
with many references--in the hope that it may encourage its
readers to further studies of the unique testimony of Sweden-
borg about the relationship of the two worlds and the connec-
tion of the spirit with the body. Its publication by the Book
Room of the Academy of the New Church adds to the many
debts which the author owes to his Alma Mater.
HUGO LJ. ODHNER
May 1958
I
"In My Father's house
are many tnatisiotis. If it
were tiot so I would have
told you. I go to prepare
a place for you.''
John 14: 2
The Knowledge of the Afrerlife
Few deny that man has a mind as well as a body. And
since time immemorial it has been felt-in a parallel fashion-
that there is an unseen realm of spiritual life, the abode of
souls, the real home of the human mind, beyond or within
the material world.
But in this pragmatic century any mention of a "spiritual
world" will likely cause embarrassment or misgivings unless
t_he reference is simply to the familiar haunts of our own
mind. Even from Christian pulpits the doctrine of man's
immortality is often spoken of only in apologetic whispers.
And when the more conservative among the clergy speak at
a funeral, it is only to announce in dolorous tones that the
departed will sleep in the grave until a mythical day of gen-
eral resurrection. Nothing is said of the bourne to which
the deceased has departed, nor of the life-functions which
might now become his, or the spiritual treasures which he
takes with him. Since the churches are silent, it is not sur-
prising to find a credulous multitude who draw a confused
comfort from the report of mysterious and unusual happen-
ings which they interpret as interventions by the spirits of
the dead in our human affairs.
Nor is it any wonder that the respectable scientist shies
off from the study of such a field-wherein fact and fancy
seem to intertwine. When the imagination has once   e e ~
aroused, a less cautious mind may easily overstep the evi-
1
2
SPIRITS AND MEN
dence. Even science has bred a fiction of its own, and there
has been a recrudescence of a specific brand of popular lit-
erature which solemnly gathers hearsay evidence not only
about apparitions and "poltergeists" who play noisy havoc
in haunted houses and spirits who at will assume "ecto-
plastic" bodies, but about space-wanderers in "flying saucers"
which defy gravity and dematerialize in a moment!
Such fantasies are enough to discourage sober minds from
an acceptance of inconclusive claims. Yet the failure to
prove the presence of spirits by' sensual demonstrations does
in no wise disprove the existence of a spiritual world which
influences our lives intimately and in orderly ways, but which
by its very nature eludes experimental approach. And al-
though there is much self-delusion, and much trickery and
deception among the so-called "mediums" who claim contact
with spirits, there is also evidence at hand to show that m   n ~
kind is still confronted with unsolved problems and that there
are undiscovered depths within the human mind itself which
transcend our rational analysis. Empirical science has not
given any satisfying explanation even of the ordinary proc-
esses of our thought, memory, and emotion. Nor can it with
any surety deny the visionary experiences of many who assert
thaf they have "seen spirits."
Revelations about the Spiritual Wodd
Besides all this ; Can we ignore the testimony of all the
prophets, philosophers, saint$ and seers, many of whom we
still reckon among the most enlightened of men, and who not
only sincerely believed in guardian spirits but whose ·eyes
were at times open to glimpses o.f the world of the hereafter?
Did not our Lord Himself confirm the age-long c.onviction
~ f mankind when He said, "In My Father's house are many
mansions. If not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE AFTERLIFE 3
place for you"? Yet He also intimated that the time was
not yet ripe to speak openly of the mysteries of the kingdom
of heaven. He could speak of them only in parables. "These
things have I spoken unto you in proverbs," He said, "but
the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in
proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father" (John
16: 25). "When the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide
you into all truth" (John 16: 13).
The promise of such an explicit revelation was fulfilled in
an unexpected way. It was granted to Emanuel Sweden-
borg, the Swedish savant and philosopher of the eighteenth
century, to become a citizen of two worlds for a period of
twenty-seven years. Inspired by the Spirit of Truth he was
given to write down his experiences gathered during his
intercourse with spirits and angels in the spiritual world,
and to publish the truth about the afterlife, lest the spirit
of denial which was already then beginning to rule the
worldy-wise should also corrupt the simple in heart and the
simple in faith.
1
Only a Divine revelation could disclose to
our race the truth about heaven and hell. At the same time
Swedenborg, after diligent study of the Sacred Scriptures,
was inspired to find its internal or symbolic meaning which
accorded in every part with the doctrine known to the
angels ill heaven.
Doctrinal Preliminaries
Since the present little book may find its way into the
hands of readers who are not familiar with the doctrines of
the New Church, it seems well at the outset to review some
of the leading truths which New Church readers take for
granted. These teachings, which must be postulated if we
are to understand the Scriptures rationally and explain the
1HH 1
4
SPIRITS AND MEN
phenomena of the mind and of nature, may be summarized
as follows:
1. The Divine purpose in creation is to provide a heaven
from the human race.
2. Man is a spirit or mind clothed, while on earth, with
a material body.
3. There are two distinct worlds-a material world in
which men live as to their bodies, and a spiritual world
where angels and spirits dwell. The spiritual world is
substantial, yet independent of what we know as "space"
and "time" -which are properties of nature.
4. The spirit or mind of man is immortal. At death he
lays aside his material body, never again to assume it.
5. No angels were created directly into the spiritual
world, nor did any spiritual beings exist before the crea-
tion of mankind. The spiritual world contains a heaven
and a hell, both of which consist of the spirits of men who
have been born on some earth in the vast universe. There
are no angels, spirits, or devils who were not born as men.
6. Between heaven and hell there is a "world of spirits,"
which is the realm or state into which all spirits pass
immediately after death to prepare f?r their chosen heaven
or for their chosen hell. When evil becomes predominant
in this intermediate realm, it is ordered by a general "last
judgment." The final of these judgments- symbolically
predicted in the Book of Revelation-took place in the
year 1757.
7. The inhabitants of the spiritual world constantly ex-
ert an influence on the human race on earth analogous to
the influence which a man's own spirit exerts on his body.
8. Nonetheless the two worlds are utterly separate in
appearance and invisible to each other, lest the freedom
of man or the progress of spirits be disturbed.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE AFTERLIFE 5
9. It is therefore disorderly and injurious for men to
seek open intercourse with spirits, and it is also forbidden
for spirits to seek to obsess men.
10. The only legitimate way to learn about the afterlife
is through the teachings of Divinely appointed prophets
and seers : "If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the
dead" (Lu. 16 : 31). The doctrines given through Swe-
denborg constitute a final revelation granted for the sake
of the restoration of a true Christian religion or a New
Church.
The title of our book does not imply any claim that it
covers all the relations of spirits and men. Nor is it our
purpose here to describe the spiritual world or to define the
nature of the soul and its life. But in the voluminous Writ-
ings of Swedenborg we have an inexhaustible field of infor-
mation about the arcana of the spiritual world "from things
seen and heard" and about the laws which govern the impact
of that world upon our lives. . There, also, are shown the
different angelic influences which succeed each other as man
advances along the path of regeneration.
What we here wish to stress is that man's character is
finally formed by the spiritual influences which he invites
from the unseen world. It is often claimed that man is
merely a product of his heredity and his environment. But
while the parental strain determines the initial form of his
mind and the more active loves and abilities with which he
starts in life ; and while his surroundings are at first pre-
determined and certainly limit his opportunities for knowl-
edge and usefulness ; yet within the range of these two factors
of heredity and environment man exercises a choice which
gradually builds within him a character quite individual and
free. For as to his mind he moves in a spiritual environ-
6
SPIRITS AND MEN
ment which always corresponds to his own states of mind.
The ability of man to become responsible for his own inner
character and final destiny is due to the fact that he can-in
freedom and according to his reason---choose what kind of
spirits shall inspire his thoughts, purposes, and decisions.
Although he feels at all times as if he were moved by his
own affections, his spirit is actually held, unknowingly, in
an equilibrium between influences from heaven and from hell,
and is motivated either by the affections of angels or by the
lusts of evil spirits. He does not live from himself. He is
only a receptacle of a life which originates from God but
which is mediated by the souls, good and evil, who inhabit
the spiritual world.
And the purpose of the following essays is to examine
some of the manifold ways in which our lives are moulded
for good or ill by the influx of these invisible agencies.
II
"What is man that Thou
art mindful of him?"
Psalm 8 : 4
Spirits and Men
Faith and Superstition
The ages preceding the dawn of the New Church were
steeped in superstition. Every graveyard was peopled wit.h
spectres. The Devil made his appointments with witches and
wizards, and ministers of the church solemnly cooperated with
panicky magistrates to prevent unlawful intercourse with
spirits. Diseases were often treated by exorcism-by driving
the obsessing demons away.
Today most of us sneer at superstitions. And when we
of the New Church nevertheless proclaim our faith in the
proximity and influence of the spirit-world, there are those
who sneer at us.
But true faith is a very different thing from superstition.
Superstition wishes to assign to tpe supernatural all unknown
causes of natural happenings and evades reasonable explana-
tions. It lacks authority. It creates fear rather than under-
standing. It advances elusive claims to special sanctity or
unusual enlightenment which some will capitalize for their
own gain or repute. It leads not towards freedom and charity
and social progress, but to a slavery to forms and castes, and
often ·engenders distrust and persecution.
Superstition does not draw its origin from Divine revela-
tion, but is conceived from human anxieties and undue ambi-
tions while it is mothered by ignorance. It is not satisfied
with the revealed knowledge ii.nd shows .a lack of faith in the
Lord's omnipotent laws.
But over against Superstition stands Skepticism, which
7
8
SPIRITS AND MEN
proudly spurns admitting the existence of any invisible factors
in life except the purely physical. Not unlike a company of
physicians of whom Swedenborg speaks in one of his memor-
able relations, and who claimed to have cured the pains of
conscience by mustard-plasters and cupping-glasses, many
skeptics now explain all unusual mental states as mere symp-
toms of digestive disorders, wrong diet, or glandular de-
ficiencies, and deny any other cause for crime than physical
appetites and social maladjustments.
2
A rational faith in the interdependence of the inhabitants
of the spiritual world and those of the natural, and in the
normal but unconscious communion of spirits and men, stands
free from both superstition and skepticism. Such a rational
faith is derived solely from Divine revelation. Yet it is also
founded on the primary testimony of man's own consciousness
-that he is essentially a spiritual being, a free thinking mind,
although he is clothed by a body of carefully selected material
substances which in many ways limit the expression of his
mental powers. Nor can any authentic experience upset our
faith in the continual operation of the spiritual world-the
proper world of human minds and living forces-into the
world of nature. Without any hesitation we can postulate,
and challenge any one to disprove, that life does not inhere in
matter but inflows from an inner source. Indeed it is beyond
the scope of science ever to deny that-ultimately-matter is
derived from life.
The mode by which the Lord created the universe is a
subject far afield from our present discussion. Still it must
be premised that the spiritual can act upon the natural, that
the mind can be present in the body, and that there can be an
influx of !_he life ~ f   s ~ s into men living on earth. And this
because the world of matter is created and sustained by the
Lord mediately through the spiritual world.
3
The natural
2 TCR 665 s Can., God iv
SPIRITS AND MEN 9
originates from the spiritual, as an effect is produced from its
cause! The material world is therefore an "open world"
which constantly receives a formative influx from the
world. It is the spiritual world which-as the soul of the
mechanical universe-imposes patterns and forms and at
length moulds material substances to its own purposes, imag-
ing its own forms in the forms of living organisms, whether
plants or men. Only when the necessity of this is seen and
acknowledged, can our faith in the existence of the spiritual
world become rational.
Faith, to be rational, must be calm. It must not ·be based
in hysteria or upon passing moods, or on the testimony of
purely exceptional and questionable phenomena ; nor on re-
search conducted in darkened chambers. Faith must see the
operation of the soul upon the body and of spiritual things
upon natural, not as a mechanical process or as a transfer of
energy from one physical realm to another, but as the be-
stowal of the qualities of life upon visible things of  
which, -so far astheir substance and motions are con-
cerned, are dead. Such a bestowal of qualities takes place,
we conceive, by what the Writings call "infllix." The spir-
inml does not act upon matter as do physical forces;  
it bestQ__v.,'.s_ qualities.
When the Writings expound the doctrine that the life of
God is mediated for human minds by the spiritual world, or by
the spirits and angels there, they are not discussing the cur-
rents of natural energy which fashion corpuscular matter and
course through the bodies of men, but the transmission of hu-
man qualities-of good and evil-qualities which make the
natural activities of one man vastly different from those of
another; different throughout, different in intention, different
in mode, different in effect. The things of dead, elemental
nature have attributes, dimensions, conditions, motions. But
•TCR 280: 8
10
SPIRITS AND MEN
in a strict sense, nature has no qualities, no "states" of life.
Its only state is one of death. Its only quality is its inertia,
its lack of any power to change its state. All    
·life in nature is borrowed from the spiritual world. In plants
and ;;; animals we see added that is not of nature,
somethirig which gives an appearance not of blind motion but
of purposeful change--a conatus or endeavor, an. appearance
of aspiration, will, and freedom.
Human Freedom
In man, this freedom becomes self-conscious. He is sensi-
tive to the qualities of life. He is subject to various states
and attitudes, and feels that he can to an extent determine
them. He can choose between right and wrong. He cannot
change his natural environment of a sudden, although this
also will yield somewhat to his will. But in the inner realm
of his spirit he feels himself above the conditions of nature,
feels himself part of a free world in which he can will and
think as he pleases; and for what he does in that world he
feels responsibility.
But even in his mind man is not utterly free. His natural
mind is built up out of elements drawn from heredity and from
education, from early impressions and unconscious influences.
Is he solely accountable for all the changes within his mind-
all the suggestions and impulses of his inner world? If he
were, it not be a terrible responsibility-beyond his
power to bear? One moment of impulse could determine his
entire spiritual destiny-one decision might send him into
anguish forever- if that were so! And if thus determined,
he would no longer be free to change his general state.
Even spiritual freedom is therefore governed. most care-
fully by the Lord. The Lord leads man gently into his free-
dom. Even the spirit of man has to be surrounded by re-
SPIRITS AND MEN
11
straining conditions and circumstances. Its freedom has to
be limited to a few things, tested. Its bounds have to be let
out gradually, his states have to change by degrees.
Therefore it is provided, that man's spirit should be sur-
rounded with attendant spirits, good and evil, through whom
the influx of life may be accommodated so that his choice and
his responsibility can be particularized and limited to his
capacity at each moment. It is of Divine mercy that this is
so; otherwise man could never be saved, but he would plunge
himself into hell with the first evil choice. Instead of being
at once introduced into the responsibility for hi§
destiny, he is therefore gradually introduced into a choice
between particular states, or between the delights offered by
particular spirits, good and evil. He is not made responsible
for the state of his whole mind at once.
This, then, is the explanation of the many shifting and
contradictory states of a man. He is held in an equilibrium
between go2<!_ evil   He is given liis-chance
to change his general state, by countless particular oppor-
tunities of choice. His spiritual freedom is doled out to him
"piecemeal," and from his moments of choice, a series of free
decisions, his character is built up and gradually matures, and
becomes able to enter an ever wider choice, a more intelligent
freedom.
This is, of course, illustrated by the gradual way in which
one acquires freedom in natural affairs in youth and adult
age. Parents, teachers, masters or employers will give the
youth more freedom, more autonomy, so far as he can be
trusted to understand what he is actually committing himself
to. But when it is seen that he does not yet have any real
insight into a situation or into the consequences of his actions,
but is blinded by prejudice or simply borne away by impulsive
desires, so far his freedom is-if possible-prudently with-
held by wise governors.
12
SPIRITS AND MEN
spirit of man is therefore   and responsible only
he the situation in which he is, and
feels himself free to choose. In orcferthat -this may be the
case, the Lord so orders the lives of men and spirits, that men
should not sensibly feel th€ presence of spirits, or their influx
into his mind. If vve felt our will as the -will of - another
prompting us we would not feel free-whether the prompting
were good or evil. Yet at the same time, if we were never
able to know how the case actually is, we would be able
to realize the nature of our choice. From doctrine wa are
therefore taught about the functions of the spirits who are
with us; so that we may see the importance of om choice, the
inward nature of our responsibility, the fact that in our con-
sent or resistance to various states, suggestions, desires, and
moods, we are in fact turning either towards heaven or
towards hell.
Man's Dependence on Spirits
It is therefore revealed as a truth in the Gospel, that man
can do nothing except it be given him from above. And this
general truth is in the Writings filled in with infinite particu-
lars which show that man cannot lift hand or foot or think the
least idea from his own will or understanding: for his will
and understanding are vessels responsive to the spheres of
spirits and angels. Swedenborg, in order that he might be
instructed, was brought into a state in which he perceived the
of spirits, yet-by a miracle:--was at the same time
not deprived of freedom.
5
He then received "the clearest ex-
perimental proof that all human thought, will, and action are
directed determinatively by the Messiah alone"; that there
was "not even the least of thought that did not sensibly in-
flow" from spirits who were themselves also "ruled as passive
6191
SPIRITS AND MEN 13
powers" by the Lord. The spirits sensibly ruled the very
movements of his body; convincing him that what appears to
be our own deeds is the doing-or rather the willing-of
spirits.
6
Yet a man is free so far as he can decide what spirits
shall attend him !
Spirits who use man as a subject in this manner are not
aware that they are with man. Such a spirit "knows so little
of the man that he is not even aware that the man is anything
distinct from himself." Man is thus nothing in the eyes of
spirits. And if they knew him-as they did Swedenborg-
they might chide him with "being nothing" or at best an in-
animate machine. Meanwhile the man all the time supposes
himself to be living and thinking and the spirits to be
"nothing !"
7
In his Diary Swedenborg tells that, despite the fact that
he could not make the least little motion of his body from
himself, yet at the same time there was insinuated into him a
faculty of choice in whatever he did. Spirits then supposed
that he might have acted otherwise. But it was shown them
that as a matter of fact the circumstances and the spiritual in-
fluxes had conspired and led Swedenborg to what he had
(afterwards) decided to do; and also that they themselves
had effected nothing from themselves but were subjects of
other spirits and societies in an unending chain. It then
seemed to these spirits that, if so, they were "nothing" ; and
they were unwilling to admit this. But Swedenborg insisted
that this was indeed true; still, it was enough for them that
they seemed· to themselves to be able to think, speak, and act
as from themselves, and to be their own. What more did
they want ?8 -
Surprisingly, Swedenborg instructed some spirits that only
when they acknowledge that they are nothing, can they begin
6
WE 1147, 943
8
SD 2464, 2465, 4100
7
SD 3633
14
SPIRITS AND MEN
to be something. Nor was it enough to know or say that one
is nothing; one must believe it.
9
"Such is the equilibrium of
all in the universal heaven, that one is moved by another,
thinks from another, as if in a chain; so that not the least
thing can [occur from itself] ; thus the universe is ruled by the
Lord, and indeed with no difficulty !"
10
But when some spirits were unable to tolerate the expres-
sion "that they were nothing," the seer consoled them by say-
ing that "they are always something, but that something is
from the Lord."
11
And it is the same with man : "Unless the
Lord saw the man to be something," the whole world of spirits
would see him as nothing-or as an inanimate thing. He is
"something-not a mere idea of being !"
1 2
And this some-
thing is something of reception. Man cannot control the ex-
periences that come to him: but he can receive or reject, react
affirmatively or negatively.   re-
g<!rding himself as nothing.13 The celestials kno; this.
They know that to attribute anything to themselves, except
reception, is of evil. No doubt this is involved in the Lord's
saying : "Your speech shall be Yea, yea, Nay, nay ; whatsoever
is more than these, cometh of evil!"
The Non-appropriation of Evil
Evil has no power over one who in sincerity of faith be-
  be n otlllng !
14
- - --
How vitally important and practically effective this truth
of faith is, may be judged from the doctrine which describes
how evil enters into man. Evil is continually infused by un-
clean spirits into man's thoughts, and is as constantly dis-
pelled by the angels. This does not actually harm man.
9
SD 2043£, 2060, 2467, 2671: 2
10 SD 2466
11
SD 4100
1 2 np 46 : 3, 308: 2, 309
13
SD 2520
H SD 4067, 4228
SPIRITS AND MEN
15
"Not that which enters the mouth defileth a man," but that
which proceedeth from the heart! It is by detention in the
thought and by consent and afterwards by act and enjoyment
that evil enters into the will.
15
If so, it is appropriated to
man-imputed to him as his. But the reason that it is appro-
( priated to a man is that the man believes and persuades him-
\ self that he thinks and does this from himself. He identifies
himself with it-and so takes sides with the evil. Believing
tJ1at it is his own, all his self-pride uphold;-it ;nd defef!_ds it.
The evil was not produced by man! Evil spirits-the
whole network of hell-produced it, infused it, and subtly
made man to feel as if he did it from himself. "If man be-
lieved as the case really is, then evil would not be appropriated
to him, but good from the Lord would be appropriated to him;
for then, immediately when evil flows in, he would think that
it was from evil spirits with him; and when he thought this
angels would avert and reject it. For the influx of angels is
into that which a man knows and believes and not into what
man does not know and does not believe."
16
If an evil is appropriated it can be removed only by the
arduous and long road of self-examination and of actual re-
pentance. But here we are shown an easier way! Shown
how to shun evils before they become man's own or before
they become actual or confirmed; shown how faith defends
men from evil! And if a man really   that the good
that prompts him inflows from the Lord through heaven, he is
thereby freed from any self-righteous reflection on his own
act-a thought which would poison the good which he has
received and turn it into the evil of merit and the pride and
the contempt of others that follow in its wake.
he and be_!!ef that all our affections, emotions,
and moods are the actual results of the presence of spirits,
15
AC 6204 1s AC 6206, 761, 3743, 6324£,
DP 320
16
SPIRITS AND MEN
good or evil, m_J§t a watchman mJ!st !:!ever slum-
ber. This faith-that good- inflows from heaven and that
evil inflows from hell, and that man, except for reception, is
"nothing"-must be firmly fixed in definite knowledge. And
to the New Church the knowledge is given in a vast body of
information about spirits of all types and classes. From the
instruction given in the Writings we_ may perhaps also gather
information as to !_o say     !_o _the
produce various evil that captivate us ; as to how we
can to some extent modify or change these states into which
we fall--or rather withdraw from them by degrees.
Choice versus Freedom
Man's spirit is free. Yet it is bound up with the states
of the men and spirits around him. No one can deny that our
thoughts and affections are influenced by the men of the
society with which we are associated in the work and
pleasures. Even the church undergoes its cycles of common
states, its temptations, its progression in which all take part.
Even angelic societies whose uses are intertwined by mar-
velous modes experience common states, recurrent mornings,
noons, and evenings; for each af!.gel is a center for the influx
of all others.u
Man's spirit is free, but never independent! It cannot
alter its general spiritual environment by any sudden decision,
any more than a man in the world can change the face of na-
ture. The speed of the growth of the mind and of the pro-
gression of a man's spirit is not measured by the fixed time
which is associated on earth with the clock and the calendar
and the orbit of the planets. Yet spiritual states have their
durations-require a preparation and a gradual growth, have
their own cycles, rhythms, and climaxes which cannot be cir-
1 r SD 4-090, 605Be, AC 4225, 2057: 2
SPIRITS AND MEN
17
cumvented. And the development of the state of one spirit
often waits upon that of another, for it depends upon the pro-
gressions of the society of which he is a part.
How men's spirits are affected by the spirits who live in
the world of spirits is seen from the state before the coming
of the Lord, when no flesh could have been saved unless the
spirits of that world had been reduced into order. And his-
tory repeats itself. For Swedenborg notes that in his day tht\.
whole world of spirits had become evil, and therefore it could
not but be that mankind should become worse through the
nearer influx of hell. The good inflowing from the Lord
availed less and less, until man could hardly be bent to any
genuine good.
18
A general judgment then became inevitable; and it took
place in the world of spirits in the year 1757.
19
Its result
was to restore spiritual freedom. Men and spirits had been
in spiritual captivity-had been in states which they could not
alter or change. The progression of their spiritual life of
reformation and regeneration had been arrested because they
had been intricately entangled with evil spirits from whom
they had no power to separate.
It is not to be thought that men living before the last judg-
ment ·dil!l not have free agency in spiritual things. All men
have free choice, then as now. In the issues which they dis-
cerned from time to time they had their choice. But freedom
implies more than choice. It implies that one should be free
to follow out one's choice, to progress according to the choice,
and find and enter into the delights of his ruling love. In-
teriorly, all salvable spirits in this world and in the "lower
earth" of the other life had made a choice of good as -over
against evil. Yet they were so much a part of the perverted
world of spirits that they could not shake off their infesters
is SD 4285, 4286, 2180 19 AR preface, TCR 772, LJ
and CLJ passim
18
SPIRITS AND MEN
who stole their delight in spiritual good and truth, insinuated
unhappiness, destroyed cooperation, induced obscurity and
confusion as to what was right and wrong, and prevented
them from finding their way to heaven-or to the true uses of
heavenly life.
The freedom to progress requires an ability to perceive
interior truths. It was this new freedom that was "restored"
when the Lord ordered the world of spirits by His redemptive
work.
20
The ordering was done by separating the spirits
there according to their various qualities, so that spirits in
different spiritual states might be seen in contrast, in their
true colors, or-in the light of heaven.
The light of Divine truth which brought about the judg-
ment and reduced the spiritual world into order is still present
in that world; and that Divine light is spreading also into this
world of ours, through the teachings of the Writings of the
New Church. It is the same light. It passes "not through
spaces, like the light of ilie world, but through the affections
and perceptions of truth."
21
It affects, and tends to dis-
tinguish and order, the spirits who are with us. We would
surmise that it also orders the things which go on- subcon-
sciously-within man's thinking; and thus ensures the free
operation of the rational faculty with men, for good or for evil.
But consciously and directly it reaches us in the Writings.
The teaching is, therefore, that after the last judgment (when
the group of spirits which the Apocalypse calls "the Dragon"
was cast down), "there was light in the world of spirits. . . .
A similar light also then arose with men in the world, from
which they have a new enlightenment."
22
The Writings are shedding a new light on all the states
through which men pass on earth. They also disclose the
character of the spirits who are responsible for our moods of
2
0 LJ 73, 74 22 CLJ 30
21
CLJ 14
SPIRITS AND MEN
19
sadness, temptation, melancholy, enthusiasm, rashness, con-
fusion. They give us a knowledge by which to judge wisely
how far we can resist such states, and how far they should be
left to the Divine providence. It is our purpose to consider
this new approach to a rational and spiritual life thus opened
to the New Church. But before we enter upon this task it is
necessary to recount the perils which· attend any mortal effort
to break open the gates of the unseen world.
III
"Regard not them that
hav e familiar spirits,
neither seek after wizards
to be defiled by them. I
am I ehovah your God."
Leviticus 19 : 31
The Danger of Open Communication
with Spirits
Sensual Thought about the Afterlife
Despite the official teachings of the churches, few men in
Christendom believe that they will live after death.
23
Few
believe that there are spirits with them, or "even that there are
any spirits." The chief reason assigned for this prevalent
condition is that at this day there is no faith, because genuine
charity is lacking.
24
So testify the Writings.
Belief is more than a mere lame assent. There are few
who would not give a superficial assent to the possibility, nay
the probability of human survival after death. But only those
believe who live in the full conviction and consciousness that
this earthly existence is but a preparation for eternal life.
Among the winds of doctrine that blow across the world,
one of the chilliest is this fallacy that nothing is real beyond
the world of matter and that the grave marks the end of all
our hopes. It looks back to childhood with nostalgia as the
halcyon time of one's life, when one could still live in blessed
fancies. It robs manhood and even parenthood of any genuine
delight, leaving only the struggle for bread and social posi-
tion. It saves up for old age only the dried crusts of memory
and a final disillusionment.
Perhaps it might be doubted that so few, in their actual
2a AC 5006: 4 24 AC 5849
20
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 21
life, are motivated by a belief in another world. And fortu-
nately "few" is an elastic word ! Yet compared to the time
of Swedenborg, to whom this scarcity of faith was revealed,
this our day presents on the surface an even bleaker picture
of spiritual desolation. Religious hopes are pushed to the
side in modern life, where the mind is instead preoccupied
with so many concerns for the improvement of the mechanism
of natural existence that there i.s room for little else. Natural
life has become an end in itself. The art of living gracefully
and in comfort here on earth is dignified as the height of
achievement, ranking above the wisdom of spiritual charity.
And though many find that the art of "getting along" requires
them to conform to customs and to belong to a church, to
profess a creed and to give to some philanthropic cause, yet
what meditative thought do they ever give to the question of
eternal life, unless they are confronted by the shock of death
to kin or companion?
How empty life must seem for those who think of death
as the termination of everything, and those whose only sure
hope of immortality lies in the size of their grave-stones or
the survival of their names. The thoughts of those who at-
tend the funeral of a friend are usually directed to natural life,
in tribute to his virtue or accomplishment ; yet his death stands
out as an object lesson that all is vanity. For before the
thought of an afterlife most men's minds recoil with a deep
discomfort, a pathetic realization of ignorance and doubt,
which the formal confessions of their churches cannot dispel.
At such times those who are bereaved grope about for com-
fort, and their minds are somewhat more ready than usual to
seize upon either truth or falsity if it will but relieve their
sadness and apprehension. Their hearts may be hardened and
embittered and they may sternly dismiss the possibility of the
soul's survival. But others may feel a desperate desire for
some confirmation that the dead still live, or will live; may
22
SPIRITS AND MEN
seek for something of a purpose in this endless waste of hu-
man lives, and for an ordered scheme and goal in the other-
wise futile struggle of existence.
Even so, people are wont to think sensually about the life
beyond the grave. Even when the teachings of the New
Church are presented, the imagination often kindles only to
the descriptions of the objective appearances of heaven which
seem to fulfil some of our beautiful wish-thoughts, while the
real fact is forgotten that all things in the eternal world are
spiritual. Swedenborg's revelations of the afterlife have in-
deed had a tremendous influence quite apart from the New
Church, and have colored the thoughts of millions. But when
first broached, our doctrine about heaven usually meets only
with an interested tolerance and a politely suppressed wonder
that we seem so sure about it all. For to the average person
in Christendom nothing is very sure. There are few cham-
pions of definite views of the afterlife, although you often meet
with the complacent philosophy that no one church has a
monopoly in matters of truth, and that there may be some
truth in all religions, however contradictory. And so the pul-
pits in most churches avoid preaching against falsities; per-
haps on the principle that those who live in glass houses should
not throw stones, but also because "church-goers" absorb far
more of their spiritual food from prevailing spheres of thought
-from opinions which are dished out promiscuously in maga-
zines and books or offered in casual conversations-than from
their own church.
A certain saving measure of common sense has to a large
part modified the orthodox teachings of Protestants that the
dead sleep in the grave until the Day of Doom and the general
resurrection. Hamlet's reverie recurs: "To die: to sleep-
perchance to dream. For in that sleep of death what dreams
might come. . . . " The idea has found favor that the spirit
-waiting for the final judgment-is somewhere consciously
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 23
alive. But his state during this interval between death and
judgment is a matter of speculation. Whether he flits amid
dark space as a luminous etherial body which possibly might
haunt mortals below ; or whether memory might through some
fourth dimension reconstruct a dreamlife in which the con-
sequences of error are punished according to poetic justice ;
or whether the soul, released, lives on as a flame of life await-
ing a new incarnation! What does it matter, men ask, if we
cannot know for sure?
The doctrine of the Roman Catholics is couched more
definitely. It states that the soul is committed to heaven or to
hell immediately after death, although even a penitent person
must make up for his omissions by sufferings in the fires of
purgatory; and later-at the last judgment---each soul will
join its body in a material resurrection on a reconstructed
earth.
Sensual thought about heaven places its reality in material
things. It pictures a place-whether this earth, purified by
fire, or some central star-in which the blessed should gat):ier
in refined and sexless material bodies; perhaps a place presided
over by a race of "angels" created before earth ever was. It
pictures heaven as a place of sensual rewards. The quality
of men's ideas of what they expect heaven to be is described
in the work on Conjugial Love, where it is told how novitiate
spirits were cured of their persuasions as to the various
imaginary joys in which they believe eternal bliss to consist:
paradisal delights, feasting, conversations, wealth and power,
or perpetual glorifications and ecstatic songs of praise; or-
as some thought- mere admission into the sphere of heaven.
25
Ignorance about man's state after death naturally breeds
fantasies. Lack of any rational teaching encourages the
imagination to roam at will. Heaven becomes merely the ful-
filment of the cravings thwarted on earth, the satisfaction of
25
CL 2-10
24
SPIRITS AND MEN
natural affections, such as we see instanced in the mythologies
among the heroes of Valhalla or, for the more philosophically
minded Greeks, a submersion into the memories of earthlife,
as was the fate imagined for the brooding shades of the Under-
world. The idea of real spiritual uses and of delights of
charity and wisdom is seldom given any stress or significance
in connection with such imaginary heavens. Nor is the con-
cept of God's justice purified from questionable ethics-for
most of the "orthodox" doctrines give little chance of salva-
tion except to the elect few. But whatever ideas about heaven
they have been offered, men in these distracting times of ours
have found it increasingly difficult to believe, in the afterlife
at all merely upon the say-so of the churches. They have de-
manded proofs in personal experience by which to confirm the
very existence of spirits, if not of angels. And like every
church in the past, so the Christian Church began from olden
times to give birth to various irresponsible sects which par-
ticularly catered to such a desire and purported to furnish
sen.sual proofs of the presence of spirits.
Ancient and Modem Spiritism
Divine revelation has consistently warned against this at-
tempt of man to pry open the gates of the unseen world.
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after
wizards ... "- it was written in the Mosaic law. "There
shall not be found among you any one . . . that useth divina-
tion, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or
a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard,
or a necromancer .... "
26
Such were to be punished with
death. But this prohibition soon proved to be ineffective.
Israel could not resist the pressure of the combined supersti-
tions of the East! Even Saul, after banishing all sorcerers,
2e Lev. 19: 31, 20: 6, 27, Deut. 18: 9-14
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 25
succumbed to the temptation and sought counsel of the ghost
of Samuel. But Isaiah later warned against witchcraft when
he proclaimed, "When they shall say unto you, Seek unto
them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep
and mutter: Should not a people seek unto their God? For
the living unto the dead? To the Law and to the Testimony!
If they speak not according to this word, it is because there
is no light in them."
21
The Lord while on earth constantly refused the testimony
of evil spirits as he drove them out of those who were "pos-
sessed." And in one of His parables He cites Abraham as
refusing to send Lazarus back into the world to warn the
five brethren of the rich man; saying, "If they hear not Moses
and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one
rose from the dead."
28
But even at that time angels, un-
solicited, appeared to men in vision. And in the early days
of Christianity, the Christian Fathers were careful to warn
their followers against trusting spirits. John wrote in his
epistle, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits
whether they are of God. . .. Any spirit that confesseth not
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God. . . . "
29
But the early Christian "gift of prophecy" inadvertently paved
the way for incantations and sorcery, and in medieval times
the belief in the afterlife was accompanied by a dread of ghosts
and ghouls that haunted the cemeteries, and of fantastic vam-
pires and of elemental spirits that could control the wild forces
of nature unless curbed by magical formulas or exorcised by
the prayers and solemn rites of the church. Within the pale
of the church, priests and "saints" were subject to visions and
revelations, while unauthorized mystics and seers claimed in-
tercourse with the unseen world. The hysteria which marked
the great witch-trials even on the American continent was but
2
7Jsa. -g: 19, 20
29
r John 4: l, 3
2s Luke 16 : 19-31
26
SPIRITS AND MEN
an indication of the insanities to which men laid themselves
open by illicit attempts to communicate with spirits and thus
invite obsession.
After the last judgment in 1757, there came something of
a lull in the efforts to seek intercourse with spirits. It be-
came frowned upon as superstitious, and although the same
abuses continued, outstanding instances became rarer. And
then, towards the middle of the nineteenth century, there
sprang up a new movement towards its revival in a more
respectable garb and in more "scientific" form: a movement
which goes under the name of Modern Spiritualism. This
was supposedly a research into occult phenomena by empirical
methods.
Although claiming continuity with the work of seers,
prophets and mystics of all previous ages and denying any
kinship to sorcerers and magi, the partisans of this movement
date its practical beginning with the "Rochester spirit-
rappings" in 1848, when the Fox family heard knocks and
noises which they ascribed to spirits who answered their ques-
tions according to a pre-arranged code. Children at that time,
the Fox sisters later toured this country and England to dis-
play their peculiar spirit-telegraphy. And although one of
them publicly disavowed her own part in these phenomena as
so much fake, the movement had gathered too ~ e   t momen-
tum to be stopped. People were eager to believe the mar-
velous, and many soon discovered themselves also to be "sen-
sitives"; found that they could serve as "mediums" for spirits
who then "controlled" them. Once estab1ished as mediwns,
they could draw profitable audiences of ardent believers; and
from time to time for the next fifty years the free publicity
given these mediums was tremendous. In 1884 unsubstan-
tiated claims were made of many million "adherents" in Amer-
ica. It was claimed by spiritists that the world of the departed
had long been seeking for this means of coming into contact
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 27
with mortals, and that now spirits were crowding the air and
descending to inaugurate a new era in which unbelief would
be wiped out.
The particular accomplishments which spirits learned to
perform included the power to give messages about dead
friends, through the voice or pen of the medium; to write on
covered slates; to lift bouquets of flowers from room to room,
blow trumpets and beat tambourines without human aid ; to
suspend the laws of gravity, lifting people or chairs or tables
into the air ; and finally-but more rarely-to materialize
themselves in a substance ("ectoplasm") which perspired from
the body of the medium so that they could become tangible
and visible, and even be kissed and photographed and engaged
in conversation.
The spirits (or the mediums) were unwilling to participate
in most of these phenomena except amidst small groups of
affirmative friends, and an extra-ordinary preference was
shown for dark rooms and closed cabinets. Yet several
prominent scientists, like Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver
Lodge, W. F. Barrett and Charles Richet, were converted to
a belief in the genuiness of some of the phenomena. In many
lands some society for psychical research now gathers and
sifts the evidence presented by alleged mediums and others,
and so far as is possible, some of their learned investigators
have imposed almost fool-proof conditions upon their experi-
ments. One fact, however, is universally admitted: that al-
most every "physical" medium has been proved at some time
to have cheated by producing the desired phenomena by clever
trickery. This is variously explained by spiritualists: first
of all they admit that the spirits who use the medium are quite
apt to encourage deception, since they retain human failings;
secondly, they concede that a medium whose powers are ex-
hausted and abused, will naturally be reluctant to admit it; and
28
SPIRITS AND MEN
thirdly, the genuine adherents disown all responsibility for
professional exhibitionists,
The societies and laboratories established for psychical re-
search and "parapsychology" make it their task to investigate
all proffered claims to extra-sensory perception, telepathy,
precognition, clairvoyance, psycho-kinesis, etc., as well as al-
leged occurrences of "materializations" and poltergeists.
Most of such studies are conducted quite apart from any re-
ligious inferences. Within the small group of learned men
who confess themselves baffled by some of the experiments,
many are inclined to explain their results as due to physical
and mental powers within man, hitherto not understood. Cer-
tain psychologists have indeed suggested that some echo of
man might survive death, not as an individual but as a part
of an interpersonal psychic field perhaps capable of contact
with the living.* But the hope of spiritualists to convince
the world of the survival of the dead has not been fulfilled.
To most people, the clever accomplishments of the mediums
are a nine-days wonder soon dismissed. And the vapid mes-
sages of cheer from the other world which the seances pro-
duced have been so. ambiguous and valueless that they spoke
poorly for the intelligence of the departed. Confused pratings
that suggest marvelous revelations to come-but which never
come--hold the attention of the devotee. People soon recog-
nized that an atmosphere of unbounded credulity was basic
to the spiritistic movement. Its organized cults have
dwindled in membership, although it has uncounted adherents
and sympathizers among the laity and even the clergy of
various denominations, and its beliefs and practices are shared
by several strange sects that dabble in occultism.
As a religion, spiritualism is of course founded on a sifting
out of certain common elements within the contradictory
*Professor Gardner Murphy,
"Field Theory and Survival," in
Jounial of the American Society
for Psychical Research, Oct. 1945.
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 29
"revelations" of the mediums and the "automatic writers."
This means that they honor the Lord, but usually only as a
great medium and a lofty spirit; they place the Bible among
a number of other messages from above; they picture the spir-
itual world as a realm of unending progress, with redemption
possible for evil spirits also--who, they say, are merely "un-
developed"; and they reject the idea of any resurrection of
the material body. One organization encourages belief in
astrology, palmistry, prophecy, and the interpretation of
dreams. Another believes in elemental spirits, and has chosen
as its emblem the pond lily which shoots up from the mud
"through putrid waters," yet evolves beauty and purity. But
all encourage the seeking of sensual proofs of the soul's sur-
vival.
The opposition to Spiritualism comes mainly from the
Roman Catholic Church, from many literalistic sects, from
some of the clergy of more conservative churches, from most
scientists and from skeptics everywhere. Each group has
reasons of its own, either doctrinal or pragmatic, for resisting
the movement. But as is usual in such opposition, each-in
denouncing the spiritistic movement-also rejects the funda-
mental truths which that movement has misused and per-
verted. An instance of this is seen in the attitude of some
physicians who from their studies of the psychopathic wards
have contracted the habit of regarding all extraordinary hu-
man states as abnormal and due to mental disorder. Such
men are not content to condemn the practice of spiritism be-
cause of its ill effects on the nervous system of its victims :
they also regard all claims to spiritual intercourse as the re-
sult of a disordered mind and would classify even the visions
of the prophets and disciples as sensory hallucinations due to
paranoia, paraphrenia, or other forms of disease. Such an
attitude, born from a preconceived denial of the existence of
a spiritual world, precludes all further understanding of the
30
SPIRITS AND MEN
distinctions between the orderly means by which, in the Lord's
providence and according to His protecting laws, the spiritual
world could at times of need be opened to allow prophets and
seers to serve as instruments of a Divine revelation, and the
disorderly enterprises by which men seek to pry into the un-
seen world and by which spirits seek to dominate and obsess
human minds when these are diseased or voluntarily submis-
sive.
Swedenborg and Modern Spiritualism
In several works on the history of modern spiritualism,
considerable space is given to Emanuel Swedenborg, who has
been labeled as "the foremost mystic and seer of modern
times" or as "the father of our new knowledge of supernal
matters." "When the first rays of the rising sun of spiritual
knowledge fell upon the earth they illumined the greatest and
highest human mind before they shed their light on lesser men.
That mountain peak of mentality was this great reformer and
clairvoyant medium, as little understood by his own followers
as ever the Christ has been. . . . In order fully to understand
Swedenborg one would need to have a Swedenborg brain, and
that is not met with once in a century." So writes Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, lately the leading champion and biographer of
the movement. His words are flattering to Swedenborg; but
not to the New Church, which-he says-"has allowed itself
to become a backwater instead of keeping its rightful place as
the original source of psychic knowledge."
30
It would seem that Conan Doyle, delving into clues for the
solution of the final mystery, himself lacked the Swedenborg
brain. For the theology of the New Church and the dis-
so Arthur Conan Doyle, M.D.,
LLD., The History of Spiritual-
ism, 2 vols. (New York: George
H. Doran Company, 1926), I, pp.
11, 12, 20. See also J. Arthur
Hill, Spiritualism, Its History,
Phenomena and Doctrine (Cas-
sell and Co., Ltd, 1918)
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 31
closure of the spiritual sense of the Word, which were the net
result of Swedenborg's revelations, are not of any comfort to
the spiritistic movement. But in spite of this side of Sweden-
borg's work, Doyle hails "the immense store of information
which," he says, "God sent to the world through Swedenborg.
Again and again they have been repeated by the mouths and
the pens of our own Spiritualistic illuminates."
30
To the eyes of New Church readers this admission un-
wittingly reveals more than was intended. For when spirits
do speak to men, it is spirits who are of his own religion or
who adopt his ideas; they can only "confirm whatever the
man has made a part of his religion; thus enthusiastic spirits
confirm in a man all that pertains to his enthusiasm; Quaker
spirits all things of Quakerism; Moravian spirits all things of
Moravianism, and so on." This is said to show that it is un-
true "that man might be more enlightened . . . if he had di-
rect revelation through speech with spirits and angels."
31
Spirits who speak with a man speak only from his affections
and according to his thoughts and knowledge. This provision
is made to preserve man's freedom even when he tries to
squander it by offering himself as the dupe of evil spirits.
The only real information that has been given to men since
known history began comes, of course, from the Word and
now especially from the Writings of Swedenborg. And some
of this knowledge, mixed with all manner of superstition, con-
torted by Christian traditions and modified by wishful think-
ing and hoax, has found a fruitful soil in the imagination of
many a spiritist. At the seance, this welter of information is
present in the mind either of the medium or the questioner.
So far as there is any clarity in the supposed answer, it comes
indirectly from the Writings. Nothing new-nothing which
in the slightest adds to the comprehension of the life and order
of the spiritual world-has ever been furnished by the "wiz-
a1 AE 1182: 4, DV 29
32
SPIRITS AND MEN
ards that peep and mutter." The futility of seeking open in-
tercourse with spirits is abundantly clear from the paucity of
the results.
Possibility of the Intercourse of Spirits and Men
There are many powers latent within man that are not well
understood. Far above our conscious thought there is an in-
terior memory in which all that we have experienced resides
in perfect detail, although beyond our ability to recollect. In
known cases, as for instance in hypnotic sleep, the astonishing
contents of this memory may be divulged or become active as
"subconscious intellection," as "automatic writing," or as som-
nambulency. That spirits can operate this memory of man
is clear from our dreams and may lie behind the emergence
of a "split personality."
There is also a possibility that people who are united in
bonds of kinship or affection may at times convey their
thoughts or fears to each other at a distance by what is called
"telepathy." There is attested evidence that in rare cases
visual ideas may similarly be communicated by "clairvoy-
ance." It is told of Swedenborg that when at Gothenburg he
was able to report on the progress of a fire raging near his
house in Stockholm (Docu. 273). Seemingly the prophet
Elisha was clairvoyant when he told the king of Israel the
plans of the Syrians (2 Kings 6: 12). That such unusual oc-
currences are caused by the communication existing between
associated spirits is not unlikely.
But it is also well to note that many of the claims of mod-
ern mediums go directly counter to what is taught us in the
Writings. There is indeed an influx of the spiritual world
into the natural, and it is by this influx that all organic growth,
vegetable and animal, takes place. Destructive organisms,
such as noxious pests, are-we are taught--('.reations that re-
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 33
ceived their contorted forms from the influx of the hells into
corresponding substances on earth.
32
But this influx is not
any materialization of the evil spirits; it is merely an activity
of the spheres of the hells. There is no conjunction of the
two worlds except by the mediation of man, that is, by man's
mind.
33
We find no ground in the Writings for a belief that
spirits can move the objects of earth or sky without the agency
of the human body, or that they can materialize, whether
through a man or separately. Since biblical times, Jews and
Christians have thought that angels appeared by suddenly as-
suming material bodies when they were seen by prophets or
apostles. Before his full enlightenment, Swedenborg also en-
deavored to reconcile such a belief with his conception of the
nature of the soul, suggesting that by the omnipotence of God
a spirit might be clothed with a temporary embodiment from
materials present in the atmospheres.
34
But in the inspired
Writings we read this disavowal: "It is believed in the Chris-
tian world that angels have assumed human bodies and have
thus appeared to men ; but they did not assume them, but the
eyes of the man's spirit were opened, and so they were seen."
85
The explanation is simple and reasonable. For man is
created with spiritual senses as well as with natural senses.
He possesses a body of matter held together by physical forces
-by electromagnetic and gravitational fields of force. But
these fields of force are ruled, unified, disposed and directed
by a soul or spirit, and thus by a spiritual purpose and a super-
conscious wisdom which is far above our comprehension. In
fact, the spirit is the real man, and is organized far more in-
tricately than the body. It is indeed a spiritual body3
6
which
is endowed with spiritual senses and thus with the power to
p ~ r   e i v e knowledge--to see spiritual objects, "see" truths,
32DLW 343
33 HH 112, AC 3702, 4042
34 R Psych. 523, WE 1457
85
Dom. 14
3
6
TCR 583
34
SPIRITS AND MEN
civil, moral and spiritual, and to feel and recognize mental
states and sense the relations of all the things which compose
his spiritual environment. These things are seen by the un-
derstanding more clearly than physical objects are seen by the
bodily eyes. But ordinarily they are sensed by us only as
abstractions, as thoughts, imaginations and logical relations.
Yet if "the eyes of a man's spirit were opened," he would see
beyond the contents of his own memory. He would see the
spirits and angels immediately present with him, and see these
in their own spiritual and mental environment which in every
detail would be descriptive of their character and state. All
men are thus equipped for actual vision into the spiritual
world.
37
And if men were in the perfect state of the celestials,
as Providence had intended, angels and men could openly
dwell together without harm.
88
Swedenborg distinctly claimed that such intercourse as his
own with spirits was not miraculous. "These revelations,"
he wrote, "are not miracles, since every man as to his spirit is
in the spiritual world without separation from his body in the
natural world; but I with a certain separation, but only as to
the intellectual part of my mind. . .. "
89
He claimed no
uniqueness in being able to converse with spirits, but noted
that the type and the marvelous extent of these revelations
surpassed even the visions of the men of the Golden Age ; for
they remained in natural light while Swedenborg was granted
to be in spiritual light and in natural light at the same time.
Such intercourse had never before been known in history, and
-taken in connection with the manifestation of the Lord in
person to Swedenborg and the revelation of the spiritual sense
of the Word-was "superior to any miracles."
40
In the Most
Ancient Church, direct or immediate revelations were given
through open intercourse with angels, and there was no need
sr AC 69 s0 Inv. 39, Coro., Miracles v .
. ss SD 2541£, AC 125 ~
 
Inv. 52, 43, 44, 39
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 35
for a written Word.
41
This is indeed the mode of revelation
on other earths also, because of the genius of their inhabit-
ants.42 But when our race, through the eating of the fruit of
knowledge came into its peculiar external and scientific genius,
this way of communicating with heaven was closed. Instead,
the Word of God was given through appointed prophets whose
spiritual senses were opened ;
4 3
and by means of this Word,
written and preserved for all ages, men could be reformed
through rational things of doctrine. Indeed, the Writings
abound in statements to the effect that no one is reformed by
visions and by speech with the dead, because such things
compel.
44
Visions
Something should here be added concerning the visions
which were permitted to the prophets and others whose spir-
itual senses were opened so that they could perceive events
which occurred in the spiritual world.
The fact that those who are infirm in mind and indulge
much in fancies are apt to become subject to hallucinations,
does not mean that genuine visions have never been granted.
Pathological symptoms-such as manic-depressive delusions
and schizophrenia and hallucinations- are only perversions of
man's normal faculties and are due to "spirits who by means
of fantasies induce appearances which seem to be real."
People with visionary tendencies may thus-like credulous
children-see monsters behind the trees of the forest or con-
vert shadows into ghosts.
45
But genuine visions are the actual seeing of "such things
in the other life as have real existence."
46
They are seen by
41
DV 27, AC 3432 44 DP 134, HH 309
•2 AC 7802, 7804, 10632, 10380ff 4G SD 1752, DP 13-f
4S Num. 24: 15 seq., II Kings 46 AC 1970
6; 17
36
SPIRITS AND MEN
the eyes of the spirit, either by day or night.
47
Such were the
visions of the prophets who saw not only various representa-
tives shown in the spiritual world and containing Divine
arcana, but saw the spirits themselves and heard their speech.
The men of the Most Ancient Church were instructed by
such heavenly visions, for they were given to know their inner
meaning.
48
The Hebrew prophets, and John at Patmos, had
such real or Divine visions significant of the thoughts and
affections of angels, but understood them not.
4 9
Some of the
prophets were actually possessed by spirits; like Saul, who
spoke and acted in a state of trance.
50
Others exercised their
own discretion, and spirits spoke to their inner h&aring.n
When in "vision" the prophets were not in the body, but "in
the spirit."
52
As was foretold in Daniel, prophetic visions· of
whatever kind were discontinued after the Christian dispensa-
tion had begun.
63
The Divine visions which the Lord from childhood had in
His Human on earth were most perfect, because "He had a
perception of all things in the world of spirits and in the
heavens, and had an immediate communication with
J ehovah."
54
Swedenborg also experienced certain visions. But his
normal state, he tells us, was not one of vision as usually
understood or one of "trance." But what he saw, heard and
felt in the spiritual world was experienced in full wakefulness
of body.
65
And like the "Divine visions" seen by the prophets,
Swedenborg's explorations in the other world were for the
sake of his being instructed by the . Lord. The Scriptures
were not revealed in a state of vision, but were "dictated by
41 AC 6000, 1975, DP 134
48 AC 125, 1122
49 AE 575 : 2, AR 7, 36, 229e
50 AC 6212, SD 2022, 2282
61 AC 6212
62 Lord 52, DP 134
63 Dan. 9 : 24, 12 : 9, DP 134
54 AC 1584, 1784, 1786
&s. AC 1885, CLJ 35, TCR 157,
cp WE 1351, 1353
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 37
the Lord to the prophets by a living voice."
56
In the case of
Swedenborg, the Lord instructed him through spiritual sight,
but the Heavenly Doctrine and the internal sense of the Word
were given him by a dictation into the interiors of his rational
mind, with varying degrees of perception, while he read the
Word.
57
A type of diabolical visions can be induced by "enthusiastic
spirits." This is produced by the "magic" of hell, and it dis-
torts the truth, as was the case with the lying prophets men-
tioned in the book of Kings.
58
The spirits who cause such
visions are now separated and restrained in their hells.
59
The Writings have now made unnecessary any private
revelations or visions. Divine or prophetic visions are no
longer provided and would not be understood if they were.
Diabolical visions are severely restricted by spiritual laws.
And there remain now only fantastic visions, which are "mere
delusions of an abstracted mind."
60
Warnings against Seeking Speech with Spirits
"Nevertheless, conversation with spirits is possible, though
rarely with the angels of heaven; and this has been granted to
many for ages back."
61
And human nature is such that those
who have only had fantastic visions are inclined to boast about
them and exaggerate them to gain the ear of an audience.
62
Speech with spirits "is rarely permitted, because it is perilous.
. . . Some who lead a solitary life occasionally hear spirits
speaking to them, and without danger." A spirit may thus
come to a man and communicate some words ; but still it is not
permitted the man to speak with him mouth to mouth, lest the
56 AR 36, AC 7055 : 3, HH 254
s1 AC 6597, 6608, 5171, SD
4820, TCR 779, DV 5, 6. See
chapter XVI!
58 DP 134, AE 575: 2, I Kings
22: 23
59
SD 1756
60
DP 134
61 DP 135, comp. HH 253
62 SD 1752
38
SPIRITS AND MEN
spirit should come to realize that he is with a man.
63
There-
fore a spirit who addresses a man is permitted to speak "only
a few words; and they who speak by the Lord's permission
never say anything that takes away the freedom of reason, nor
do they teach. For the Lord alone teaches man, but mediately
by the Word in a state of illustration .... "
64
A man who is in enlightenment from the Lord through a
love of the truths of the Word may sometimes hear the speech
of spirits, but he is never taught by them, but "led" with every
precaution for his freedom.
65
This speech may be perceived
by such men as a kind of "response by vivid perception in their
thought or by a tacit speech therein, and rarely by open
speech ; and it is to the effect that they should think and act
as they will and as they are able, and that he who acts wisely
is wise and he who acts foolishly is foolish; but they are never
instructed what to believe and what to do. . . . They who are
taught by influx what to believe or what to do are not taught
by the Lord nor by any angel of heaven, but by some en-
thusiastic spirit .. . who leads them astray."
66
Those who desire to be instructed by spirits "do not realize
that it is conjoined with peril to their soul !"
67
Only evil
spirits come to the summons of man :
"When spirits begin to speak with a man he ought to
take heed lest he should believe anything whatever from
them; for they say almost anything! They fabricate
things and lie. . . . If they were permitted to describe
what heaven is . . . they would tell so many lies-and
this with solemn affirmations-that a man would be
amazed. Therefore when spirits are speaking, I have not
been permitted to have faith in the things they related.
a3 HH 249
64 DP 135, 172
65
AE 1183
66
DP 321 : 3
e1 AE 1182, HH 456: 3
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 39
For they have a passion for inventing; and whenever a
subject comes up in conversation they think they know it
and give their opinions-one after another-one in one
way and another in another, quite as if they knew! And
if a man then listens and believes, they press on and de-
ceive and seduce in diverse ways. For example, if they
were permitted to talk about things to come. . . . "
68
And they can impersonate others so that they even deceive
themselves that they are some one else! "Let those who
speak with spirits beware, therefore, lest they be deceived
when the spirits say that they are those whom they have
known and who have died. For ... when like things are
called up in the memory of man and so are represented to
them, they think that they are the same persons."
69
"These
things make evident the danger in which a man is who speaks
with spirits or who manifestly feels their operation."
70
Such warnings against seeking sensual proof for the exist-
ence of spirits should suffice for any New Church man. Yet
from the beginning, the temptation to explore the other world,
as Swedenborg did, or to call upon its powers of influx il-
licitly, has threatened the New Church. A few instances may
be cited.
71
In 1786, a French society of "Illuminati" was
formed by Abbe Pernety, which mixed New Church doctrine
with spiritism and Freemasonry. Similar ideas, in milder
forms, such as the practice of "animal magnetism" and the
healing of the sick by exorcising spirits, brought an early end
to a genuine New Church movement in Stockholm about 1790.
68 SD 1622
69 SD 2860£, 2687
10 AE 1182, Docu. n. 246; Let-
ters and Memorials of Emanuel
Swedenborg (Swed. Sc. Ass'n
1955), pages 533, 534.
71 See C. T. Odhner, Annals of
the New Church, vol. I (Bryn
Athyn, Pa., 1904) ; and Mar-
guerite Beck Block; The New
Church i11 the New World (New
York : Henry .Holt and Co.,
1932)
40
SPIRITS AND MEN
In 1817, James Johnston, a simple-minded working man be-
longing to the Salford New Church in England, began to
receive visions in which Abraham and other "arch-angels"
dictated nonsense which has been published in his spiritual
"Diary." In 1846, Ludwig Hofaker, who had edited and
translated some of the Writings, died of insanity after harm-
ing the New Church in Germany by advocating spiritistic
theories and practices. In 1844, Mr. Silas Jones, with the
sanction of a leading New Church minister, conducted a spirit-
istic circle in Brooklyn, profanely mixing sorcery and
astrology with New Church rites. In 1859, Thomas Lake
Harris, who had ostensibly embraced the New Church after
megalomaniac adventures with spiritism on this continent,
visited England and almost succeeded in turning the Sweden-
borg Society there into an agency for spiritistic propaganda,
converting, with his strange charm and marvelous eloquence,
William White, the Swedenborg biographer, and Dr. J. J.
Garth Wilkinson, a most profound student of the Writings;
causing the latter to descend into the Hades of Harrisism for
an interval of some years during which he produced verses by
spirit-dictation. Harris's career ended in scandal and dis-
grace.
But it is not enough to say that the New Church, like many
other worthy movements, must have its "lunatic fringe." For
throughout the years the recurrent defense of spiritistic prac-
tices in several New Church journals has shown that
temptation to find a sensual approach to the spiritual world is
- -- --=--------==--------- -------
likely to come wherever the faithful study of the Heavenly
Doctrine is neglected, or where a secret or open desire is har-
bored to abandon the arduous way of redemption which the
Lord offers to - are of the spirit; al-church. This
  through and reason,
through the discipline of self-compulsion- and loyalty to- t he
truth. It is a difficult road, but one which is necessary for
OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH SPIRITS 41
our race and genius, that is, for all those whose hearts must
confess to being subject to hereditary and actual evils.
The temptation is to think that we do not need to walk that
road, to think that we have attained to a celestial state and may
ignore the discipline of doctrine and can rely on our own
power the onslaughts of the _h<:_!!s and on our_in-
dis_cernment to kn_ow   when we meet him.
But let us humbly recognize that "the Lord enters into man
through no other than an internal way, which is through the
Word and doctrine and preachings from the Word."
72
This
way does not lead downward to a dependence on the senses
and its innumer;tl;ie fallacies, but up to the rational mind where
alone a man is free to see the spiritual things
their light.
12 DP 131
IV
"The a11gel of the Lord
eiicampeth round about
them that fear Him, and
delivereth them.
Psalm 34: 7
Our Spiritual Guardians
Angelic Mediations
At creation, as recorded in the book of Genesis, God said,
"Let us make man in our image after our likeness." Some
have been disturbed by this wording, which suggests that
many Divine creators might have been at work. And the
Hebrew word for God is Elohim, which is a plural construc-
tion. It is a "plural of eminence" used for the one God; but
only when. the Divine truth is referred to, for truth displays
the manifold powers and aspects of God. Many Divine laws
concurred in man's creation. The same word, elohim, is how-
ever used also for the false gods of the nations and even for
the angels and prophets who receive Divine truths. 7
3
And in
the spiritual sense, the six days of creation describe the process
of man's regeneration, the name Elohim being used to indicate
that in regenerating man the one God acts through innumer-
able agencies, and that it is through the ministry of angels that
He leads, awakens, governs, and disposes man's spiritual life
and thus bestows upon him the truly human qualities which
are meant by the image and likeness of God.
74
The inmost soul of man, or the human internal, is indeed
not affected by this angelic ministry. For it is, in degree, far
above the angelic heavens and is acted upon only by the Lord
whose life inflows into it by an immediate way.
75
But as to
1s See John 10: 34 and Psalm 75 AC 1999: 3, 4; Infi. 8, LJ
82 25: 6
74
AC 50, 300
42
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
43
. the interiors of his spirit or mind, and as to his ruling love and
its inner thought which does not fall within the consciousness
of man himself, he dwells in a society of heaven or of hell.
76
And as to his natural, or what is the same, his rational mind
and its conscious thought and will, man is-in all but realiza-
tion-an inhabitant of the world of spirits.
77
The body of man is under the general influx of heaven.
It is in the order of its creation and governed by the soul.
Spirits are not adjoined to man's body,
78
and do not affect its
life and its states directly; nor do they have any part in the
expression of our thought and will in speech and act; for this
influx of the mind into the body follows orderly laws outside
of the control of either men or spirits.
79
Spirits do however "inflow" into what is thought and con-
sciously desired by man. Their hidden operations are what
make possible man's conscious life and affection, and manifest
themselves in us as impulses, imaginations and reasonings.
The angels, on the other hand, act upon man's interiors, and
produce no perceptible effects in man's mental life. For their
influx is "tacit." It o e ~ not stir up material ideas or object-
memories ;
80
but is directed to man's ends or inner motives,
which are not consciously articulated in man's mind, but which
are none the less efficient and secretly powerful.
81
The angels
also rule and regulate the evil spirits who are near a man,
generally without the knowledge or perception of these
spirits.
82
Guardian Angels
The revelations of the Second Advent lay bare the mag-
nificent order of the spiritual empire of the Lord, in which the
10 AC 3644, 10604: 5, DP 307:
2, 278b: 6, TCR 14, CL 530: 2
11 HH 430, AC 5854
78 See chapter XIV
1
9
AC 5862, 5990; HH 296.
See chapter XIII
80 AC 6209
81
AC 5854
44
SPIRITS AND MEN
Lord correlates the finite wills of all men, spirits, and angels,
and holds them in mutual freedom, under the rule of a law
which is able to guarantee a sense of "as-of-one's-self" life to
every living being on every plane, yet is able to weave their
uses together for the creation of a glorious form wherein the
happiness of each one is reflected to all and that of all to each.
To every man the Lord has assigned two guardian angels,
one celestial and one spiritual.
82
This is not an arbitrary
number. It results from the fact that man's will and under-
standing, at every stage of life, each have a ruling state and
quality which responds to that particular influx which is most
kindred to it. And each angel in heaven also instinctively
seeks that ultimate expression for his life which most closely
corresponds to his love. For life descends to ultimates. Yet
the angel does not desire to descend to the level of merely ex-
ternal human life, or to face again the imperfections of earthly
conditions, such as are reflected in man's outward thinking.
He dwells with man in the community of those spiritual riches
of the internal man with which man's supraconscious thought
is stored; which include not only childhood "remains" of
innocence, but all the later states of faith and worship which
abide where moth and rust do not corrupt.
In this life, man is not conscious of his spiritual treasures,
or of the brilliant wealth and glory that is concealed within
his vague spiritual perceptions. They come to him only as
the stirring of something of charity, or as occasional enlighten-
ment and delight in truth.
83
The spir_itual thought of man
flows into his natural thought, which in turn clings to his
memory. With Swedenborg, the case was indeed different.
With him, by a Divine provision, a certain separation took
place between the thought of his spirit and the thought of his
body. And he could therefore perceive the presence of the
s2 SD 3525 83DLW 252
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
45
angels and spirits who were with him; which is not possible
to ordinary men.
84
It is not possible for guardian angels to see the man with
whom they are, although they know when they are with a
man. To lead and moderate his affections, and to modify and
bend them in various directions as far as man's free will per-
mits, is indeed ·one of the specific functions of angelic serv-
ice. 8 5 The angels observe if any new hells are opened; and
if man brings himself into any new evil, they close those hells
as far as man suffers it. They dissipate foreign or strange
influxes which may tend to harm man, calling forth goods
and truths from man's mind to combat the evil put forth by
the wicked spirits; and they are vigilant every moment in
regard to man's safety.
86
They attentively and continually
notice what the evil spirits and genii with man are intending
and attempting, and they feel great joy when they perceive
that their service has made it possible to remove some evils
and to lead man nearer heaven.
87
These angels, or angelic spirits, were seen by Swedenborg
"near the head" of man. Yet it does not appear that they
visualize the man. Unless they reflect, they think no other-
wise than that they are the man-but the interior man, the
man as to his interior thought which man does not yet con-
sciously realize. If they reflect, they are able to discern that
they are angelic spirits,
88
and have been with a man; even as
we know that some impulse we feel came from spirits. But
the angelic spirits consciously perform the use of extending
the Lord's protection to man. And the union at the time is
intimate : they dwell in the man's affections,
89
live themselves
into his inmost unconscious life, and feel the utmost sympathy
with all the good thoughts which thence issue into man's mind.
a. Coro., Mir. v, HH 246
85 AC S.992, HH 39
86
AC 5992
81 AC 5980, 5992, HH 391
8
8 SD 3525
SD HH 391
46
SPIRITS AND MEN
They consider man as a brother and even defend his faults
against too intensive self-criticism; or, on the other hand, they
may keep him within sight of his evils.
90
Yet angelic spirits are not aware of what man is doing or
thinking in the externals of his thought. For their sphere is
that of the interior memory.
91
And especially is this the case,
Swedenborg notes, at this day when angels cannot have any
direct conjunction with man.
92
The angels therefore have an
ardent longing that the kingdom of God Messiah might come
so that a closer conjunction might be brought about between
them and mankind.
93
In most ancient times, as still on certain other earths,
spirits were at times able to communicate openly with men
and converse with them. The spirit is then reduced to the
state in which he was when on earth; his external memory is
aroused so that he assumes again the whole complex of his
former natural thought ; and then the interior sight of the man
is opened, and they appear to each other as if both were men
together.
94
In such a way angels appeared to the prophets.
But at this day such vision is rarely given, Jest men be com-
pelled to belief. On the other hand, even today, those men
who think abstractedly from the body, while in meditation,
interior reflection, or sustained abstruse ideas, are sometimes
seen as to their spirits in their own society in the spiritual
world.
95
There such are easily distinguished from other
spirits; "for they go about meditating and in silence, not
looking at others and apparently not seeing them ; and as soon
as any spirit addresses them, they vanish."
96
90 AC 761, 2890
01 SD 206, AC 2473, 2477
92
HH 593
93
SD 206
94
AC 10751
95 HH 438, SD 4769
96
HH 438
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
47
Swedenborg's Testimony
Because Swedenborg thought profoundly, he would, like
other men, normally have appeared at times in societies of
angelic spirits. But the peculiar state of Swedenborg was
such that he could maintain himself in independent abstract
thought and thus consciously converse with spirits and enjoy
spiritual sensation even while in bodily wakefulness.
When his spiritual thought was not abstracted from the
thought of material objects he was invisible to the angelic
spirits. For material objects cannot be reproduced as such
in the spiritual world; and the ideas of such objects in time
and space cannot be expressed by the universal spiritual lan-
guage. But when he became "in the spirit"-that is, when
material ideas were separated from his spiritual thought (and
only those material ideas which were in entire correspondence
with the spiritual ideas were at all active)-then he became
visible to the spirits, could perceive their wisdom, and con-
sociate with them as one of themselves. It was thus that
Swedenborg could explore the heavens and live the life of
angels and spirits. It was thus that the treasures of the
spiritual sense of the Word, and every Divine arcanum, could
be conveyed to his mind and be grasped in enlightenment and
later, under Divine inspiration, could be written in rational
natural language, "clear as crystal" (DV 6) .
But Swedenborg's mission also gave him an opportunity
to instruct angels about their relation to men. We do not
imagine that when he visited some heaven he reduced all the
angels there into the state of that class of angelic spirits who
"are with men" and are called "guardian angels." Still,
Swedenborg was sometimes allowed to direct his spiritual
thought into natural thought, and thus-by way of experiment
-show approximately the change which occurs when angelic
spirits are with men.
48
SPIRITS AND MEN
Thus it is told how certain angelic spirits, when they re-
tired from Swedenborg into their own spiritual society, came
into a spiritual state and into supereminent ideas of spiritual
thought and into the understanding of spiritual speech and
writing which conveyed this thought most accurately and
fully.
97
But when they returned to Swedenborg, they found
themselves to have come into his natural state and were en-
tirely unable to express their spiritual ideas or to understand
the speech or writing of heaven: but they could now think only
in terms of Swedenborg's thoughts or, rather, converse with
each other by his ideas and speak to him only by the natural
languages that he knew. In other words, from their ordinary
state as angelic spirits they had been reduced to attendant
spirits, by their directing their attention to his thoughts which
were conjoined to his natural memory. Yet they were still
able to converse openly and consciously with Swedenborg as
a person, for he was in a state widely different from that of
other men, and was obviously a different individual from them.
Some of these spirits actually accompanied him to his home,
and as he began to write they could see through his mind a
moth which was walking on his papcr.
97
This is not possible
to our attendant spirits.
The State of an Attendant Spirit
From these incidents it is very clear that our guardian
angels are--for the sake of their use--reduced into a state
resembling man's. Angels principally inflow into the interior
thought which a man is unable to perceive within himself be-
cause it is in the realm of ends and is not articulated to his
conscious reflection. This interior thought they assume as
their own, implying an accommodated state not comparable
to angelic wisdom itself. Since it is true of all angels that
97 CL 326-329, comp. DV, chap. iii.
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
49
their common basis must be the human race on earth ;
08
and
since man is the plane upon which the thoughts of the angels
rest; it might perhaps seem strange that angels attendant upon
man are reduced into man's own general state. For if this is
so, whence comes the progress of the heavens?
The answer must be that the angels have access to man-
kind as a general basis even when not serving a use as man's
guardians. And it is indeed said that the particular spiritual
beings who "are with men" are not from heaven or from hell,
but are spirits who as yet await their judgment or final
preparation.
99
But such statements do not contradict the
principle elsewhere laid down, that spirits who are with men
can indeed be from hell or from heaven. If from hell, they
must be such as are not confined there but who--not having
been as yet fully vastated-have emerged into the world of
spirits for a more complete vastation and are thus in the state
of the world of spirits, or in something of a natural-rational
state. In the case of angelic guardians, they-whether spirits
or angels-must also be reduced into the state of man' s natural
thought and life. And the general rule may thus be seen that
the guardian spirits with man are all emissaries or representa-
tives of some spiritual society either in heaven or in hell. In
other words, they are "subject-spirits."
100
If all angels were reduced into a state attuned to that of
man, it would defeat the purpose of influx and guardianship.
Instead the Lord provides that each angelic society should act
upon man through intermediates. These may be spirits in
the world of spirits into one of whom the angels of the society
concentrate their thought, and whom they inspire with their
own illustration and power so that he may act for them and
from them. Or else, one of the members of that society serves
98 LJ 9, SD 5190
09 AE 537, DLW 140, AC 5852,
HH 600
loo AC 4403, 5983- 5989, 5852,
HH 601, AR 816 : 2, SD 5529,
3632e, comp. 4461
50
SPIRITS AND MEN
as an emissary and subject. In either case the subject acts
and speaks and thinks from the society ; he thinks nothing
from himself, although he feels entirely as if he did so from his
own choice and his own thought. The greater the numbers
in a society who thus "turn themselves" to some spirit and
direct their "intuition" into him, the greater power and clarity
does this spirit possess.
101
Through these particular spirits the currents of life and
illustration are directed to the varied states of man, so as to
stir particular states in his mind, without rousing the whole
dormant will of the proprium. For his will, from heredity
and birth, is entirely evil in tendency. His will is a malforma-
tion which can receive only the life of hell. If there should
be a sudden excitation of the whole of this life, all would be
over with man. He would be submerged in a flood of passion
and fantasy; and heavenly influx would be impossible.
The Lord has ordained otherwise. He has provided that
man's native life shall not suddenly exhibit all its hideous
potentialities, but that it shall be revealed only little by little
while earth-life progresses--aroused only so far as it can be
comprehended by conscious thought. In other words, the
Lord has provided that there shall be no general influx into the
conscious part of the mind, but that man's responsible life
shall be carried on in the understanding by states of thought
and will that develop gradually; and that all the forces of the
spiritual world shall have their representatives near man and
shall balance each other's influence, and so leave man in free-
dom.
The Number of Our Attendant Spirits
In general, each man has four attendant spirits. Two
angelic spirits are present. The o t h   ~ arethe subjects-
101 AC 5987
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
51
respectively-of the hell of "genii" and the hell of "satanic
spirits." These four are generally invisible to each other,
with the exception that the good spirits see the evil spirits
wicked_ they seeITo
them see the man with whom they are, but only his affec-
tions.103
The intimacy of these spirits with man's whole mind may
be seen from the revealed fact that the spirits near to man
think that they are the man and, if evil, are unwilling to admit
that they are no longer living in the body, although this could
easily be shown them if they were willing to reflect.
104
The
appearances upon which their self-deception rests are indeed
strong. For such spirits, while they are near man, possess
or assume his whole memory ! Angelic spirits would assume
his whole interior memory; other spirits his exterior mem-
ory106 with all his past, with his whole personality, his active
self; yet all this without disturbing man's feeling of self-life
and freedom in the least. Nothing of a spirit's own natural
memory is permitted to be active. Spirits forget themselves
and their own natural past, lest confusion should result in
man's mind by their communicating their memories to him.
Several spirits, forgetting their own identities, may at the same
time suppose themselves to be the man, and yet man be hap-
pily oblivious of their illusions !1°
0
Each spirit would then
take, from the mazes of man's memory, all that harmonizes
with his own affection, and man may thus find himself torn
by opposing delights. But all the   because
they thus identify man's mind with their own, act as his
friends.
107
Spirits generally do not remain long with a man but are
102 AC 6189, HH ?.07, AC 5848,
5983, 904
10a AC 1880, 5470, 5849
104 AC 6192, HH m
105
SD 3104
1oa AC 6194, SD 3525
101 SD 2852, 796£, 4716, AC
6192, 6200
52
SPIRITS AND MEN
always changing according to man's advance in age or state.
A striking exception to this rule is suggested in the teaching
that death does not separate coajpgial ·partners, "since the
spirit of the deceased dwells continually with the spirit of
the one not yet deceased, and this even until the death of the
other, when they meet again and reunite, and love each other
more tenderly than before, because in the spiritual world."
108
But that the partner is always in the state typical of an at-
tendant spirit is not said, and in no wise follows.
From a certain relation we judge that these four special
attendants, or at least one among them, may be the same for
a long time. In the presence of Swedenborg, and through his
memory, spirits could sometimes become aware with what
men they were closely consociated. Such consociate spirits
resemble their earthly alter ego, sometimes even as to dress.
One such spirit declared that he <:!:JUld upderstand clearly all
that the man he attended said, but that the man could not
ulllerstanCI the· things he,tl1e spirit, said. Another admitted
that he thought and spoke from a certain man on earth as the
man did from him.
109
But this realization was exceptional,
due to Swedenborg's presence.
Without an associate spirit with an to his
own, and thence perceptions of a like kind, a mlln could not
think analytically, rationally or spiritually.
110
attendant
spirits may take on the man's whole memory or only a part,
and remain with the man as long as they represent a general
state. As the man advances from childhood, both his angelic
guardians and his infernal attendants are changed. In in-
of the celestial type, including infant spirits, are
with him and insinuate innocence. In childhood, spirits of
th.e natural heaven are close, instilling an affection of knowing.
In youth, spirits of   subjects of the secortd heaven,
108
CL 321
1
0
9
TCR 137
110 TCR 380: 3 '
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
53
are his guardians. And in old age there attend, if man per-
mits, spirits of wisdom and mature innocence, who communi-
cate with the third heaven.
111
Yet more remotely there are hosts of other spirits, good
and evil, who make temporary use of the shifting ideas of man's
memory and arouse in him passing delights and tentative affec-
tions, without so fully identifying themselves with the man.
In this variety man finds a freedom of choice, and his thoughts
are through them extended to new societies in heaven or in
hell.
112
Every moment there passes a swift flow of such spir-
itual associates- like specific radio-currents to which our mind
is t uned in-to inspire, maintain and enrich the colorful pro-
cession of our thoughts, evoking old memories, suggesting new
connections of one idea with another, inducing new moods of
courage or dismay, and kindling flashes of new perceptions.
People whose thoughts are fixed upon sensual objects have
few spirits with them,
113
while with men whose ideas are more
interiorly active and are constantly "multiplied and divided,"
there are obviously very many more associations made with
spirits, good or evil.
114
With those who think abstractly there
are therefore many spirits in constant flux.
115
But it is inti-
mated that those who are led more according to spontaneous
order-as for instance children in their innocence-need fewer
spirits to govern them than do most adults. Adults, who act
from prudence and are apt to resist the truths of faith more
stubbornly, require a greater force of spirits to reform them.
116
The orderly tlung is for these spirits to be adjoined when man's
affections are stirred. But there are also "strange influxes"
from are not invited by man's real   but
induce moods of sadness, melancholy or homcsickness.
117
111 HH 295, AC 5342
112 AE 1093 : 2-5
11s SD 160
m AC 6610-6612
nu SD 160, comp. AE 1092: 3,
1093 : 2
116
SD 2839
117
AC 6202
54
SPIRITS AND MEN
Such nostalgia seemingly results from spirits who fail to leave
man when his state changes, but become attached to the idea
of certain places and objects and induce the man to return to
them at least in thought. Our guardia_n angels then have the
task of driving such spirits away, by concerrtrating- 111STrrterest
on some use and bending his affections towards spiritual
things.
Spirits Rest on Symbols
Spirits find their resting-place with man in the "ultimates"
of his mind-that is, in external signs and symbols which are
indications of his inner purposes and loves. To avoid con-
fusion and to prevent strange and unwanted influxes,
has to order his life by self-imposed habits and established
externals of worship and morality. The object of -allthe
sacraments, rites, blessings, and institutions of the church is
to help to introduce our spirit into heavenly societies. Bap-
tism is a most example. For is not its avowed pur-
pose to transfer a man into the society of his faith-into the
company of souls who rejoice in the heavenly doctrine and
who can protect him against "wandering spirits?" Is not the
Holy Supper a means for introducing our spirit  
and a sealing (in the sight of all spirits) of our 4esire to
come the children of God. Is not every good habit of worship
and piety, of order and cleanliness, of industry and courtesy,
an ultimate protection against strange spirits who would in-
sinuate fantasies, doubts, and conflicts and thus harm our de-
votion to the uses which we have freely assumed? Inaugura-
tion into the priesthood ensures-so far as the candidate per-
mits-the guardianship of societies which love the _priestly use
and the salvation of souls, and w1iidrencourage interior prog-
ress in this use.   marriage, and priestly blessings
of all kinds have within them the same intent-to assure an
interior progress by with our heavenly
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
SS
In each case, these ceremonies are marked by acts
or procedures which set the person apart, not only the eyes
f
of men but also to the minds of spirits.- Spirits do not see the
man baptized, but the memory of the act inheres as a 12<:.rn2a-
)
nent and ineradicable basis of association with spirits of his
fai,!_h, and as a fulcrum for the presence of angelic societie.s.
The impress of the rite in the extern;tl memory is made a
bol for the celestial and spiritual "remains" and for the det?p
stirti!1gs of charity and faith which at the time are insin-
uated in the_ interior memory-a memory which is forever ex-
empt from any infesta:tIQ; by evil spirits. The knowledge of
baptism becomes the center for a gathering group of ideas
open to spiritual influx. The Writings aid us to become
aware of the spiritual significance and effect of our external
acts, customs and decisions. The real issues of our life have
to do with the question as to what unseen spiritual associates
we invite to linger and in    
our thought, and our heart. And spirits are associated with
our minds by many seemingly inconsequential and trifling cir-
cumstances, which yet have deep symbolic significance. Even
as a world of emotion can be stirred up in us _by Jhe sight of a
rose Or a child's toy, so spfr1ts see--in the objective things of
our memory_---:-great depths of associated meanings which h;:ve
immense importance for them and hence for us. This is the
basic reason for correspondential rituals.
The mind is ritualistic. We ·a.re compelled to resort to
ritual to compensate for the fact that we do not fully compre-
hend the simplest elements of our own thought. We recall
an object, and may have to be content to recollect that it once
suggested a world of particular meanings-meanings which
we ourselves now have forgotten and cannot fathom or
explain ! But the spirits with us-they understand ! They
cause a host of "such things as were adjoined" to be lifted up
around our material idea of the object, as an undulating sphere
56
SPIRITS AND MEN
of associated ideas. By such "spiritual wings" the inner
meaning of the object is elevated from the grave of the memory
into what we call "consciousness." "Thereby man has apper-
ception of a thing."
118
In other words, without spirits we could not be humanly
conscious--could not interpret our memories into meanings.
Our words and memory images would be without sense or im-
port unless there were spirits who can, by their peculiar power
\ and prerogative, see and gather all the implications and arouse
{ all the thoughts and delights that are interiorly attached to
these dead symbols. Their prerogative is to see spiritual rela-
tions-!_o see the   with its complex roots and
branches. Even with the help of his attendant spirits, man
can see only the vaguest generals.11
8
It is thus clear that a man can think and will only together
with the spirits who are with him.
119
The teaching that
"spirits and men are in each other's thoughts and affec-
tions"120 is countered by another which shows that "ev_£Ey-
thing of thought and affection flows in through s irits and
angcls/ '
121
by a third, which states that men and spirits-" are
not conjoined as to thoughts, but as to affections,''
122
and by a
fourth, which tells that spirits do not introduce thoughts into
man, but only affections.
123
It is indeed the affection of the spirit which flows in. But
so far as this affection iS\in accord with man's interior affec-
tion which is built up from his free choice, it can also flow into
his understanding and manifest itself there as perception and
thought. Man is active as to memory-idP_as; the spirit is
active as to the affection which carries its own
me aning within it; and so the two act as one, man and spirit
in one mental act which each senses as his own.
11s AC 6200, 6319: 2
119 AC 5861
1 20 AC 5853
121 AC 6191
122
TCR 607
12a HH 298
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
57
Man as a Plane for Spirits and Angels
The evidence · presented in the Writings concerning the
relationships of spirits and men is very complex and extensive,
and as it is largely descriptive in character, it leaves room for
uncertainties and for various interpretations. Thus it is the
general doctrine that "angels and spirits cannot be separated
from men" ;
124
yet their life is in effect quite independent as
far as all appearances go. We are convinced that angels are
not always in the need of assuming some man's interior mem-
ory as their own, any more than all spirits need to identify
themselves definitely with man's personality and natural
memory.
Angels who are not assigned particular men are at
greater liberty to use the memories of many men at the same
time for their basis. "Many men can at the same time serve
as a plane for one angel," we read. "The Lord so arranges
that what is absent in one may be [found] another; He also
composes one thing from many, so that it may still serve
simultaneously for a plane."
125
And if mankind were defi-
cient, it would be   for the natural memories of spirits
to be sufficiently activated/ so as to become a fulcrum and plane
for angelic ideas.
128
J.rt'fact, things from the memory of an
intelligent man may serve for such a plane whether he be
thinking about them or about other things, or even while he
is asleep. Whatever in the memory of mankind and of spirits
might correspond to an angel's active affection can be called
into use as a reflective basis for his heavenly perceptions-as
if the whole human race lay before him as an open book, in
order that no impediments may prevent his progress into ever
greater wisdom.
125
mAE 1207
128
SD 2755
m SD 5617, 797
58
SPIRITS AND MEN
But a special widening of the vision of the angels occurs
when men on earth read the Word reverently. For the natu-
ral thoughts of the man are then not so limited or so colored
by his own states as ordinarily. He is in Divine ultimates.
And the angels with him then "pay no attention whatever to
. . . those things which are in the thought of the man at the
time he reads it," nor to those things which are in the sense
of the letter; but only to the interiors of the Word, from the
man.121
Angels in this state "take delight in the man because of
the wisdom which then flows through the Word to them."
But this approbation of the man is an afterthought.
128
They
are not aware of the man. They are perhaps reading the
Word as it exists in its spiritual form in heaven, and the
things within the Word appear to them "as if they thought
them from themselves"-appear presented before their eyes
"in a celestial and spiritual manner, with innumerable rep-
resentatives, in the light of life."
129
The question might be raised as to what would happen if
the race on some earth in the universe should perish-which
is a possibility as 1 result of man's freedom to separate him-
self from the Divjlie and to rush into unchecked wickedness
and race suicide;despite the Lord's intervention.
130
The an-
swer is given that the heavens from the inhabitants of that
earth would then be "transferred" to rest on the minds of
men on some other planet.
131
It was to prevent such a con-
tingency that the Lord came in the flesh and that the written
Word was provided as a perpetual ultimate.
132
121 SD 5607
128 AC 9152, SD 5610 and con-
text
129 AC 2551 : 2, DV 45
130 LJ 10
131
AE 726: 7
1a2 AC 9400, SD 4376, EU 113ff
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
59
Angelic Perception of Our Word
There are two groups of teachings about the way in which
human states affect the angels and qualify their wisdom.
On the qne hand it is said that the angels are in greater clear-
ness as to the spiritual sense "when little children are reading
the Holy Bible" or when the reader "pays no attention fo the
things he reads and has no perception of them." Then "the
sense and perception of those things are elevated to the angels
more distinctly than when the natural human mind is also
active."
133
And the general doctrine is given, that when the
Word is read by men who are in the life of faith, the spiritual
things of the continuous internal sense "lie open to the angels
. . . even if they who read do not attend to its meaning."
And the Jews, when in states of external holiness, could also
be a means by which the Word was presented before the
angels; for the correspondences communicate, whatever the
quality of the person who reads, if only he acknowledges the
Word to be Divine.
131
"Alt the wisdom of the angels is given
by means of the Word, since in its internal and inmost sense
it is the Divine wisdom, which is communicated to the angels
through the Word when this is read by men and when it is
thought from. . .. "
13
S
It would seem that man's wisdom and understanding do
not necessarily have any part in limiting the angelic percep-
tions. What is more essential to angelic illustration_ seems
to be the quiescence and silencing of our natural imagination
and the states of our proprium. Then the angels can use us
for a reflecting plane, and can see the interiors of the Word
of God in its own glory and light.
But it is otherwise when the angels become our guardians.
They then accommodate themselves ·to the particular spiritual
1
33
SD 895, Z435
1HAC 3480e
185
SD 5187- 5190
60
SPIRITS AND MEN
things, be they few or many, which we have appropriated un-
consciously within our interiors. They are then performing
a use; and a use implies certain temporary sacrifices, which
eventually are rewarded by still ampler delights. Our most
loftly intellectual states are usually not reached in the midst
of our uses. A teacher, for instance, must at times enter into
the deeper perceptions of his subject by further studies in his
field, and he then feels a delight of wisdom. Afterwards he
accommodates himself to others and speaks, so far as possible,
in their terms, in order that he may convey his message to
them. He is not then in the delight of wisdom, but in the
delight of his use ; and his illustration is very much affected
by the response to his efforts, and the reception which he
meets will finally make for a conjunction of thought between
teacher and pupils.
Thus it is quite comprehensible that there should be a
difference of illustration with the angels when they "are with
men"-a difference due to the different qualities of the per-
sonal states of the meri. "As are the ultimates, so are the
primaries."
136
'Concerning this we read:
"If the men who are reading the Word or thinking or
preaching from the Word, are wise, then the angels do
not know it, but still the wisdom of their thought falls into
them ( i lia) as into its plane, . . . and they are entirely
unaware that it so happens.
"Angels have told me thatthey are sometimes in great
wisdom, sometimes in less, sometimes in clarity, so,me-
times in obscurity; and that their thoughts are variously
directed to the quarters, now this, now that; and that they
are in greater dearness or obscurity according to the di-
  that they are [then] not turned tci themselves,
1ss SD 5608, comp. AC 5857
OUR SPIRITUAL GUARDIANS
61
but to man; and that thence they know that [they are
turned] to the human race where such things are to which
they are determined. They said that they have this from
much expeFience; and that when [they are turned] to
those things which are in my thought from the Heavenly
Doctrine, they are then in greater clearness than other-
wise."1a1
We may therefore understand how the changes of state
with the angels are based upon their uses to each other and
to men; how the wisdom of heaven is derived from the Word
when this is read by men ; how the wisdom and delight of
the angels inflow into regenerating men and make it possible
for them also to perceive the depths of the 'Vord so far as
their natural cognitions allow ; and how there is thus a con-
junction of thought and life between angels and men-with a
lifting of man's mind and a gracious accommodation on the
part of the angels.
For this is a part of the angelic use. And thus although,
when man enters with attention and understanding into the
interior meaning of the Word, the perception of the angelic
spirits is in a measure limited by the alien elements that man
may introduce, yet it is better "if man also is at the same time
in light" and thus be conjoined with the angels. The higher
angels-who love others more than themselves-gladly per-
form this use. But angelic spirits of a lower order may, at
times, instinctively snatch away man's illustration and delight,
by failing to enter fully into their use as guardian angels.
138
If man's mind is furnished with light from the Heavenly
Doctrine-and if he loves the Lord and holds evils in aversion
--be will not demand so great accommodation or sacrifice of
illustration on the part of his angelic guardians. The angels
137 SD 5609, 5610 las SD 4242-4249
62
SPIRITS AND MEN
can then retain great wisdom, and will-in all but appearance
--<:onsociate their conscious thought with the as yet ineffable
depths of the man's thought, in a common enlightenment.
139
This is the manner in which heaven and earth may again be
conjoined through the Word.
t39 AC 3316 : 3, HH chap. xxxiv
v
"My name is Legion, for
we are many."
Mark 5: 9
Spirits and Human Stares
The World of Spirits after the Last Judgment
After the Last J udgment, the spirits who are in the "world
of spirits," or-what is much the same-the spirits who attend
man more nearly, are reduced into such an order that they
cannot for long arrest the progress of a novitiate spirit, that
is, cannot for long evade judgment nor for long hinder him
from entering either heaven or hell.
This new order makes it impossible for false religions to
establish permanent strongholds in the spiritual world, as was
often the case before the last judgment. Spirits from each
religion do, as fonnerly, flock together, and engage in common
life and worship. But their doctrines and principles of life
are   challenged, their societies are repeatedly
broken the individual spirits are separately judged
soon after their death. Within about thirty years, each spirit
has passed through the three states of the world of spirits, and
enters his heaven or his hell.*
, This new order is referred to, when it is stated that in the
year 1770, on the nineteenth day of June, after the True
Christian Religion had been written out, the Lord sent His
twelve disciples into all parts of the spiritual world, proclaim-
ing the gospel that "the Lord Jesus Christ reigneth."
140
A new light came into the world of spirits.
141
For
*See LJ 64
141
CLJ 30
ao TCR 791, 4, 108
63
64
SPIRITS AND MEN
whereas spiritual truth had before been revealed to men and
spirits only in the forms of natural and moral truth, as in the
New Testament, the second advent of the Lord was a revela-
tion of Divine truth in the forms of rational ideas and in terms
of open doctrine. Thenceforth all judgment took place on
the basis of rational thought, and this penetrates through all
possible human disguises and makes impossible any evasion,
any hiding of evil motives behind external piety or by a nomi-
nal adherence to church bodies and their symbolic . creeds.
This new law of judgment, which produced a new order in
the world of spirits, is now eternal. "Of His kingdom there
shall be no end." The Lord governs the spirits of that world
and-from His will, His good pleasure, His leave or His per-
mission142-assigns what spirits shall remain in the Inter-
mediate State and who shall attend each man.
The spirits now in the world of spirits are being prepared
for judgment and are thus destined either for heaven or for
hell. And some of these spirits surround the spirit of every
man living on earth, and act upon him according to their own
particular genius and state. Man is free to -choose between
good and evil, and as he does so, he receives influences from
spirits who accord with his choice. But he still has near him
- the opposite type of spirit. And, moreover, his choice does
not extend very widely or deeply. If he shuns some sugges-
tion or intention of evil that is formulating itself in his con-
scious mind, this may indeed cause that certain evil spirits no
longer take any pleasure in the things then active in his mind,
and thus remove themselves for the time being. But it does
not mean that he has changed his whole spiritual association,
his mental state, or his mood. Such a general change is
achieved very gradually. It involves many things over which
man can have no control.
m SD 892, 2296
SPIRITS AND HUMAN STATES
65
Spirits and Man's Progressive States
We may see this in connection with adolescence. An in-
fant is attended, in general, by spirits and angels of a celestial
type-and no exertion on the part of the infant or his parents
can change this general fact, and its resulting states. We
cannot hasten growth. We can disturb it somewhat, by un-
wise treatment; but we cannot stop it nor accelerate it. The
same applies to later ages: spiritual angels and spirits, and
then natural ones, come by degrees to dominate the child's
spiritual environment and thus influence his states. No
choice of man's can change this orderly progression of general
states, although at each moment particular states may be
changed as if of man's will.
143
The Lord rules these progressions by means of angels and
spirits. If the Lord should remove the spirits proper to such
states, man would perish. If He removed all evil spirits from
man, man would die-for his natural heredity is in the per-
verse form of self-love, and requires for its nutriment or life
the mediating presence of some evil spirits.
144
Only gradu-
ally can these be displaced by good spirits. In the meantime
they must be controlled or kept in the external order which is
proper to society.
It is the same with the adu!t. He is free to choose be-
tween good and evil when he .·discerns that he is faced by a
clear choice: if he evades his. clear responsibility, it means
that he is choosing evil. On the other hand, he often feels
himself captivated by a mood, a state which he can hardly
understand _and cannot shake off. He becomes conscious of
a   in his mind, a sense of obscurity, confusion, dis-
couragement, or unhappiness. He- can sometimes see its
causes, but usually he does not. If he sees its natural causes,
14
a HH 295 144 AC 4563 : 2, 5854 : 3, HH
293
66
SPIRITS AND MEN
he might find a way out, a remedy which he may regard as
orderly and good, or at least such that it does not lead into
worse states. But if he is wise, he sees that the natural cause
of a state is never the whole cause ! That there is something
intangible and spiritual which is beyond any sudden remedy;
something which cannot be changed or removed "except by
prayer and fasting"--except by the Lord's help.
The appearance is, of course, that our various moods are
the results of our physical states of health or disease, weari-
ness, penury or struggle, lack of proper food or pleasure or
of mental stimulus or companionship. Many people unhap-
pily married seek to reach an elusive bliss by divorce and re-
marriage, only to find that the source of their unhappiness
still pursues them. It is not their conditions that are at fault,
but their state and attitude. Others seek increased wealth or
comfort as an assurance of content. Certainly the restoration
of health or fortune does produce remarkable changes in a
man's perspective. Still, these physical blessings do not by
themselves give happiness. They give the natural man a
sense of well-being and self-sufficiency. And the Lord knows
that some can stand such blessings without detriment to their
spiritual states. But a complete natural satisfaction-if alone
-is apt to hold a man enthralled in externals, while he be-
comes somnolent as to his soul and evasive of all spiritual
issues.
Happiness-eventual, eternal happiness--cannot be gained
except by the struggles of the mind against evils or sins. It
is not reached unless man undergoes spiritual temptations.
For it is only by temptations that the spiritual environment
of the man's spirit is radically changed. It is only by tempta-
tions that new and different groups of spirits can become
associated with man, and a new spiritual orientation be ac-
complished. The result of a temptation-period is a general
change of state, and with this, of course, there is the appear-
SPIRITS AND HUMAN STATES
67
ance of a new freedom, a freedom to progress, to come nearer
to the heaven of one's final destiny.
Spiritual Temptations
The state of temptation is not to be confused with the act
of choice. In choice, man is active from a conscious freedom
granted.by the Lord. In temptation, man feels relatively pas-
sive, from lack of freedom to progress. Even during tempta-
tion, man is interiorly free
145
and acts from the love already
established with him, and as it were combats as of himself,
cooperating with the good spirits who oppose the evil spirits
who attend him. But he does not feel free. He is in anxiety,
suffering, feels himself surrounded by his own evils and falsi-
ties as by mighty walls ; scandals and doubts are insinuated
against goods and truths ; so that there is an apparent shutting
up of his interiors, and of the capacity of thinking from his
own faith and willing from his own love. His interior love
is hemmed in-it cannot find a restingplace in his conscious
mind.
146
Nevertheless, when the temptation has passed its climax
of despair, the general state of man is changed. He feels a
new peace, a unity of mind, a consolation that perhaps there
may be salvation, after all. This feeling comes not from any
reflection upon the good things he !Jlay have done, but from
a . realization that evil comes from- evil spirits whose main ob-
ject is to discourage man and make his own cooperative ef-
forts seem useless. When man admits that his efforts indeed
are in vain, and that the victory must be from the Lord, then
the temptation is soon over.
The fact that good is from the Lord alone, does not imply
that man should fold his hands and wait for influx. In
temptation man must fight-:--urged by the necessity of the
145 HD 200 140 HD 196
68
SPIRITS AND MEN
moment. If he does not fight it means that there is no heav-
enly love within him to resist the onslaught of evil. He then
gives in to the delights which the infesting spirits seek to in-
stil, and they remain with him and consolidate their position
in his mind.
Man must fight for the love and the faith which he seems
in danger of losing. He must fight from the knowledge and
affection of truths and goods, (rather than from himself, or
from pride in what he believed as his state of good) . And
he prays to the Lord for deliverance, for a change of state.
Yet often the Lord does not hear the prayers that are offered
during temptations !
147
Prayer to the Lord is a powerful means of changing a
man's particular state, or aiding man to choose aright in clear
issues and matters that lie waiting for his conscious decision.
But general states involve too many elements that are beyond
man's scrutiny. He must wait for the Lord. The tempta-
tion must run its course, the state of the spiritual society from
which the infestation originates, must be judged. And this
takes time.
Nor is the time wasted. For man is not ready for the
new state, is not ready for the extension of his freedom. His
progress is held back in mercy. Man may have free choiCe:
but- fortunately-the Lord rules the circumstances.
Man's mind is very complex. Each idea of his thought
has hidden connections wrtnall his past states, long forgotten.
But to the spirits and angels who are with him, all these states
are available as bases of their own perceptions. Thus man's
thoughts and affections extend unbeknownst into societies
both in the world of spirits and in heaven; yea, also in hell.
The Lord governs man's mind by ruling these societies and
controlling their emissaries or "subject spirits." Man may
long to change an unpleasant state, but if this is to be done,
141 AC 8179
SPIRITS AND HUMAN STATES
69
the Lord must change or re-order and gradually transplant
the deep-lying roots of his whole being, one by one.
148
How States Are Changed
Much, however, is still left for man to do. Whether he
is conscious of it or not, he is continually changing his par-
ticular states--every moment of his life. So, for instance, he
often seeks some recreation to change his mood. He is so
busy changing his states that he seldom reflects that he is
doing it. And certainly he is quite unaware that by so doing
he is also "changing spirits."
Ordinarily, the spirits who are affected by his sudden
changes are those associated with the surface, the superficial
ripples, of his mind. Yet all his changes of state have their
roots in the world of spirits, and occur according to spiritual
laws. A man who, visiting friends at a distance, feels a cer-
tain homesickness, is quite unaware that some of the spirits
who are with him are attached to the idea of objects and things
which are not so sharply in his mind while he is away from
home. If he returns home, the nostalgia ceases.
Here, indeed, we meet with an important law which gov-
erns the presence of spirits with man. Swedenborg records
that after he had been lotJ.i in one room, he could better com-
mand his ideas there ~   in some strange room. A certain
tranquillity was induced among the spirits attending him,
when he was in his own familiar surroundings. He noted
the fact that "spirits wish to have their ideas connected with
a place"; their ideas, which are spiritual, are in themselves
not determined, defined, terminated, or limited, without space
or structure, and this is provided for them in the material
ideas which are available in the men with whom they are.H
9
Every one knows that the crucial changes of our thought
14s AE 1174: 2 149 SD 3605, 3608ff, 3753
70
SPIRITS AND MEN
and thus the determination of the important trends of external
events are often clearly occasioned by trivial things. We
might see a certain book on a shelf. We might stop to pick
up a paper flying in the breeze. Our whole earthly career
may turn on such a chance-event, on certain coincidences, in
themselves trivial. But spiritual doctrine makes us realize
that there is no "chance"; that the Divine Providence, in
order to be universal, must also be most detailed, in every
single thing, in the fall of a sparrow, in the turn of a page, or
the twist of the dice. If the Divine government is in all
things, it must see and rule things as a whole, somewhat in
the manner that the soul rules the body. All the states of
human consciousness, whether in this life or the next, must
-in some way-be a unit, an interdependent whole, a coop-
erative scheme in which each state contributes its distinctive
element to every other.
Thus it should be realized that angels (of each heavenly
degree) , spirits (interior and external) , and men, all have
their own distinctive function in that spiritual world the out-
skirts of which man senses in what he calls his "mind."
After some reflection, few would deny that the crowning
purpose of creation lies in the development of the human
mind. Many would also see that in the mind, the gifts of
created nature are turned to eternal uses ; and that we truly
live, not in the physical world, but in our mental world, in our
states, our thoughts, our moods of consciousness. It is also
evident that the mind is formed largely by means of the senses
and especially by the experience of sight and hearing. Ob-
jects, images, enter through the physical organs of the body
into the interiors of the brain and nervous system. There
they are given an interpretation, a meaning, a value ; in each
man, the same object may be given a different value, accord-
ing as it has been associated with some previous mental state
of delight or pain. A rare stamp is by some discarded into
SPIRITS AND HUMAN STATES
71
the wastebasket, while by a collector it becomes cherished as
a symbolic center of his own small world of ideas and delights.
Children hug objects to their bosoms which to adults are
utterly meaningless. Lovers attach a sentiment to a withered
rose, perhaps, and the sight of one sends the echoes of past
states trembling through the chambers of their hearts! In
adult life, we have inexplicable aversions to, or preferences
for, certain colors, or melodies, or names, or objects; having
long forgotten why, or what they stand for in our slumbering
past. Perhaps we never knew; but the instinctive association
was caused by spirits who were once with us.
It should not be so incredible, then, when Swedenborg tells
us in his Diary that certain spirits with him pressed him to
use one certain tea-cup; others another; that some spirits had
one of his bound journals as their special ultimate, while other
spirits chose another ! They were particular about what gar-
ments he wore. It sounds childish, this preference, until we
realize that our own minds work in the same way. We are,
in the state in which we are on earth, utterly lost without
ultimates of thought. We wish to be surrounded by objects
which bring a memory that is cherished or a field of ideas that
stimulates certain delights. We -attach strange values to
things that are valueless in themselves.   s ~ In dreams we may
sometimes suffer tortures because of tlie impending loss of
something utterly trivial.
Spirits are in a different situation after death. For many
good reasons, their natural memory-the chronological record
of their earthly experience, fixed in space-time imagery, or
as material ideas-is gradually closed and becomes quiescent.
Otherwise they could not progress into interior states, into
thought which is spiritual and not bound to the imagery of
spatial objects.
Yet spirits newly risen instinctively hunger for the objects
i&0 SD 3753, 3608--3610, 3605
72
SPIRITS AND MEN
which by them were vested with symbolic importance. With
these they wish to clothe their thought. To them they look
as a source of past states of delight, as a stimulus to fields of
ideas and affections. And they find plenty of such objects in
the natural thought of man: for man's _mind unconsciouslyj s
a art of the spiritual realm-a realm where space does not
intervene;-;nd. where idei"s are transmitted between all who
are in common states of affection. "Into whatsoever state a
man comes, spirits with whom a like passion had been domi-
nant in their life-time"
151
attach themselves to the material
ideas and sensory memories of his mind, and give meaning to
these things, so that man can-according to his state-sense
them, understand them, interpret their life-value, their pos-
sible mental worth.
This law of spiritual association is of course the under-
lying principle of all symbolic ritual as was shown in a former
chapter. But it also operates in our most ordinary life.
Spirits and the Objects of Man's Thought
Spirits have the peculiar power to lead man to fix his
attention u on such ultimates of thought as please them, i.e.,
they run through all the possiQ!e stat es of his mind in a
moment until they find something familiar to them, and then
they come into their own life. Sometimes, when spirits thus
fix man's reflection on objects, they create trouble for a man ;
they cause accidents, break his line of thought, cause worries,
deliriums and even insanities.
152
They are not aware of the
man, however, but believe that they think from themselves.
Evil spirits love tQ__fix his mind on objects which to the man
are invested ~ i t h a ~ t h e   forbidden, or with sugges-
tions of disease, cruelty, monstrosity, stagnation, hatred,
pride, disorder, excrementitious or la! civious things, or filthy
151
SD 1928
_152 SD 4224, 3624-3628
SPIRITS AND HUMAN STATES
73
language. Indeed, it may indeed in this sense be true that
cleanliness-mental cleanliness--is next to godliness. There
is a s here of s irits even around the words we use, spirits
of holiness, zeal and use; or spirits or contempt, of obscenity,
of impatience and cruelty.
That spirits seek for evil ultimates which to
!h_eir states is illustrated and symbolized by the called
Legion, who---on being driven out of the man at the Gadarene
shore-fled into the herd of swine.
153
A change even of a word may change the spirits who are
with us, Swedenborg reports.
154
And here the power of man
to change his states, enters in. That power is not from him-
self. He is kept in freedom by the· fact that no one spirit, or
no one group of spirits, can totally dominate him, as long as
he is in this world. Nor can there now be any such corporeal
obsessions by spirits as we read of in the Gospel. Fo..! the
Lord ho ds in freedom, throu h p2esence of a_ngels.
Even the wisdom of angels-finds its basic focus and
point in material ideas such as are with man, a:nd espeeially
in the sense of the letter of the Word. But the values which
angels attach to such ultimates is not the same as that which
good spirits would see, or still less what man sees. Man sees
mostly material uses for objects he beholds. Spirits see
more interior delights an.cl uses, suitable to their life and their
ideas. But angels see the spiritual and celestial uses and
meanings of each object. In their eyes, man's material ideas
and scientifics are valued and endowed with meaning so far
as they are "open even to the Lord" and thus contain a sphere
of charity and faith, wisdom and love to the Lord.* In the
ideas man has derived from the Word they see Divine uses,
Divine eternal values ; yea, they see the presence of the Lord
Himself. And therefore our attending angels imbue the ob-
  Mk 5: 1-20, Luke 8 : 26-40 "'AC 99, 8456e, 8513, 8868 : 3
l H SD 4143
74
SPIRITS AND MEN
jects in man's memory-world with new values and thus new
uses. , They instil into man a delight in the interior implica-
tions of the things of man's thought, and if man receives this
delight through them, evil spirits depart.
Swedenborg records in his Journal of 1744 that in one of
his struggles against infesting spirits who sought to obsess
his mind he finally found refuge by fixing his gaze on a piece
of wood, and from this his thought was led to the wood of the
cross, and then to the thought of the Lord. By a shift of
attention, he thus broke the hold of the evil spirits upon his
mind.155
A normal, wholesome life implies a variety of experiences,
and changing states. The Lord therefore ordains for us a
life of. active uses, by which the objects which we see and
remember are associated with useful values, states of charity
and service to others, to society and to the church. Evil
spirits who love idleness put a value on things merely so far
as they favor our self-indulgence.
But the Lord also ordains that the Divine Word shall be
with men, so that by means of its Divinely ordered field and
sequence of material ideas-historicals, propheticals, and
parableS--the angelic, hosts may have their own ultimates
with men. Every word, every natural idea in the Scripture
possesses a spiritual value and meaning for the angels. If
we habitually read the Word in reverence, we invite ever new
groups of angelic societies into our mind ; and we are thus led
to travel an orderly road in the pilgrimage of our spirit
towards heaven; to progress under the Lord's own protection
through the many stages of life.
156 Jour. 121
VI
Spiritual Associations
"Are they not all minis-
tering spirits, sent forth
to minister f 9r them who
shall be heirs of salva-
tion?"
Hebrews 1: 7
Heredity and Human Types
Nothing is more plain than the fact that men differ as to
the general state of their minds. "Many men, many minds."
But there are also resemblances. All infants and adolescents
are in states which are characteristic of their general age.
Those of the same race incline to show a common genius.
Teachers, laborers, lawyers, business men, show certain traits
of mind and attitudes typical of their profession or work.
And, besides ~ h   s   distinctions, all individuals may be classi-
fied according to temperaments, seemingly inborn yet fol-
lowing no known law of heredity.
Students have therefore observed that every nation or
large society includes some people who are predominantly
instinctive in their reactions, others who are imaginative and
easily influenced by suggestion, others who possess specula-
tive and perhaps fanatical tendencies, and some who are criti-
cal, analytic, calculating, or reflective. According to another
classification, we find those who are characterized by intellect,
those in whom the will is a prominent trait, and those who are
action-types, whether they be dull and slow, or excitable and
impulsive.
These observed types are seldom pure, and the classes
overlap-fortunately. For no one type is perfect in and by
itself. The Writings-amplifying the Lord's saying that in
the Heavenly Father's house there are many mansions--teach
75
76
SPIRITS AND MEN
that every type of mind is accommodated within the Grand
Human Form of the Divine economy: even as many types of
cells and tissues are needed to make the human body com-
plete. These types are classified, on the one hand, as be-
longing to a celestial genius, a spiritual genius, and-in a sense
-a natural genius: and, in addition, their diversity is made
more complex as men cultivate and develop some one of the
degrees of the natural mind--either the sensual-scientific, or
the imaginative, or the moral and rational.
Men can modify but not essentially alter the hereditary
temperaments of their natural minds. By regeneration, a
man can also receive the Lord's gift of spiritual life in a more
and more interior form, and thus the Lord will open within
him the degrees of the spiritual mind, which places him in the
spiritual or celestial degree of his heaven. But the basic type
of his natural mind, the result of heredities and of the social
environment, is only to some extent modified by his choosing,
and remains to qualify the general state of his spirit. His
natural mind is formed, under the auspices of the Divine pro-
vidence, largely without man's help, as a vessel receptive of
life. He changes its particular states, but not its general state
or type. After all, it is only a vessel, a tool for a deeper life.
And therefore, in heaven, the natural mind of an angel be-
comes as it were transparent from the spiritual within.
166
If we should ask wherein lies the permanence of a racial
type, such as the Chinese or the Semitic, we might receive
many answers. The scientist would labor to explain about
the strange process of meiosis or reductive division, whereby
the hereditary factors in sperm and ovum are varied while
the persistent characteristics of the species are preserved.
The New Church scientist would wish to allow for gradual
changes even in the germ plasm, in each generation-although
156
SD 2158
SPIRITUAL ASSOCIATIONS
77
he might stress that the observable changes of the cell could
be responsible only for the physical and not for the spiritual
inheritance, which latter cannot be traced according to any
Mendelian "laws." The New Church theologian would be
particularly interested in three facts. One is, that hereditary
evils, although accumulating, do not seem greatly to alter the
type of face or of mind, to judge from the pictures on the
palaces of ancient Egypt and the stories of the Old Testa-
ment. The second is, that our doctrines intimate that evils
of heredity can be modified by a change of religion and by
regenerate life. The third is, that life is not inherent in the
transmitted germ-plasm, but inflows from the spiritual world.
What a man inherits from his parents is only a vessel of
life : but a vessel so ordered that it receives a certain type of
influx, or receives life mediated by certain groups of angels
and spirits. It is in the inflowing life that the reality of
heredity lies: or, in the spirits and angels which mediate life
for the receiving vessel. So far as some other type of life
could be received by the germ-plasm, or by the inner organics
of the child and man, so far another type of mind (and even
of body) would result ! This is the reason that heredities
can be altered by the life of religion: for is the only
power deeply reorder the spirits and angels abol!t a
  or change such a general state as that Of a-;- inherited
disposition.
157
General states-states rooted in wide groups of societies
in the spiritual world-can be changed only by the Lord
whose Providence works through ultimate conditions in this
world and thus upon all spirits and angels. And the process
is slow because the deeper evils of heredity can be modified
only with m<m who are capable of sustaining spiritual tempta-
tions. It is therefore inevitable that , the general states
m CL 202, 203, TCR 103, AC 8550
78
SPIRITS AND MEN
through which the human race has passed should survive as
characteristic traits of disposition, and should crop out in dif-
ferent combinations of hereditary types, each having their
roots in different combinations of societies in the spiritual
world. It is of Providence that certain forms of mind should
be inclined to each other, while others should repel each
other. Heredities combine, strengthen or counterbalance
each other. Thus are formed races and nations and psy-
chological groups, each receiving the gift of life in a different
manner. Behind the choice of a man and the consent---0r
refusal---0f a maid, there lie hidden invisible issues that flamed
vast ages ago, and the decision involves the compatibility of
the spiritual uses of societies in the other world.
The Divine truth is one and indivisible. It is the one
essential reality behind creation. It exists as Law, spiritual
law and natural law. This law is one, the same for all,
whether men differ about it or not. In the Writings, the
Divine law is stated in the form of doctrine adapted to ra-
tional comprehension. But that law, the one Divine truth,
is older than the Writings, older than the Scriptures. It is
eternal-the Word which was in the beginning.
The Divine truth is one. Yet there have been many re-
ligions on earth. An incomplete census taken in 1956 of
sixty-eight million reported church-adherents in the United
States of America records one hundred and fourteen religious
organizations, most of them with varied doctrines. A de-
nomination generally represents a general state, which has
taken from various sources whatever religious truth that state
is adapted to receive, and has rejected any truth which it is
not able to admit: and in place of rejected truth there usually
come falsified truth and a contorted perception of the whole.
The same holds true of each individual man. His re-
ligious perception is according to his state. He sees only one
phase of the Divine truth at a time. He is not to blame for
SPIRITUAL ASSOCIATIONS
79
this: although he may be to blame for some particular states
in which his perception is thus obscured-states which he may
have invited. He is not responsible for general states.
When a child he cannot be expected to see with the mind of
an adult. If he was born and raised a Protestant, or a gen-
tile, he cannot see the truth as the New Church man sees it.
As a man grows up, he passes through many general
states. His faith is at first imitative and blindly literalistic.
Later, his faith becomes imaginative, emotional, perhaps en-
thusiastic. Afterwards, it turns critically upon itself, becomes
analytic and at length rational. At each stage there are
truths which cannot be received : at least he cannot see them
except in a symbolic way, or only in their most general form.
Religion means different things for different ages as well as
for different races.
Some years ago a psychologist suggested that since each
religion fills the need of some special mood or instinct, we
should really, in our progression through life, change our re-
ligion at each stage. He also classified various religions as
especially satisfying to certain psychological types. This man
was a pessimist as to religion. He believed that creeds were
only wish-thoughts, that no one could ever contact the one
and indivisible Divine truth. The New Church man of
course knows that human states limit the reception of that
Divine truth. But he also knows that all normal and orderly
human states can receive something of that Divine truth with-
out rejecting the rest, and that a true religion has in it that
which can guide and feed these normal states without en-
couraging what is disorderly and evil: i.e., without stooping
to falsehoods or fantasies.
Universality of the New Church
The New Church is a religion of universal application.
It is adaptable to the needs of all states. It must provide
80
SPIRITS AND MEN
leadership and instruction for all normal human types, and
provide uses-spiritual uses-for all and benefits for every
age. Yet it does not cater to morbid states. The New
Church cannot satisfy the neurotic demands of those who
would feed on the sensational, or be maintained in the good
life only by the thought that they are 'chosen of God' or by
some religious frenzy or some special earthly reward. It can-
not encourage the "escapers" who retreat as recluses from
worldly duties or social obligations. Nor can it be content-
like so many-to substitute a moral life for a spiritual! It
cannot permit the individual to evade responsibility by placing
the power of salvation or the_prerogative of truth-seeking in
the hands of priests. It cannot pretend that rituals are more
than gates to the spiritual life. It avoids appealing to merely
natural affections in men, although realizing their place and
value. For the New Church seeks rationally to restore the
balance, the normal state of mind in which truths and uses
can be seen in their progressive aspects, so that there is no
false sophistication which contemptuously rejects ancient
( truths, nor any idolatry of traditio,ns just because they are
old,; no_ s.!_agl!ation; no disproportionate emphasis which shall
sidetrack the people of the Church into such temperamental
eddies as are represented by the many denominations of .the
present day.
The growth of mankind required that there should have
been true religions in the past which were sufficient to the
needs of those times. The Most Ancient Church, the An-
cient Church, and the Christian, were, each in their day of
flower, true religions. Yet they were of a preparatory char-
acter, and do not reach to all the nonnal states of a mankind
fully matured. It is in a manner true that our race, as it
grew into new states, did change its religion. And so, in the
New Church, we go back to the true religions of the past for
the needs of those progressive states which every man ex-
SPIRITUAL ASSOCIATIONS
81
periences as he grows up. The body of Divine revelation
through which we receive instruction and where we see the
presence of the Lord, is the Word of the Old Testament, the
New Testament, and the Writings. We teach our younger
children the stories of Creation and of the Flood-symbolic
truth, which is truth to them. We give the next age the
Commandments and the moral truth as accommodated to the
Hebrews-an adaptation of the laws of charity that they can
understand, a lesson in justice and obedience. The parables
and the morality of the Gospels are particularly adapted to
the state of puberty. And in adolescence, the gradual in-
troduction to the Writings commences. The internal sense,
the angelic Word, is then grasped as doctrine, first as to rela-
tively external and general teachings, but gradually as to the
more interior. In the Writings heavenly truths, natural, spir-
  and celestial, are laid open, and each take
what serves to feed his state, according to the capacity and
elevation of his thought.
Each successive stage of life thus has its religion! Yet
the religions of childhood, youth, and age, are the same, com-
prised within the one Divine truth; indivisible, yet such that
it accommodates itself to all ages and types and states.
It is for this reason that the Heavenly Doctrine, the spir-
itual sense of the Word which is now revealed in the Writ-
ings, can in the spiritual world become a source of light to all
natio_!!s, that is, to spirits ofallt ypes. - Yet;Jar
as falsities of religion have been deeply impressed by accus-
tomed life on earth, the light of truth can be received cmly in
a very partial way. The whole spiritual world is ordered-
society after society- according to the ways and degrees in
which the light of Divine truth is received in the understand-
ing and in life. There are heavens formed from those in all
nations and religions, past .and present, Gentile and Christian.
Such heavens are in varying degrees of spiritual light. But
82
SPIRITS AND MEN
central to all is the New Christian Heaven, where the Word
is the source of all doctrine and light. There are spirits in
the world of spirits, from all types and states, whose light is
relatively obscure or clear or shifting. There are also--
formed out of the evil in all religions and nations-many hells
where spiritual light is absent just in proportion to the evil
states which they confirmed within themselves ; and the light
of fantasy takes its place, a sensual lumen in which all things
appear distorted and confused. For evil sE_i_rits see things in
the light of their ambitions and wishes;
see themselves a:-s wise, they see their own states 'as
orderly every   as insane-until the light of
heaven is let in to dispel their fantasY.
Now all the life artd thought that man has, comes from the
spiritual world, through such spirits as are with him. His
menta_!__light which should give clarity to his ideas, is obscure
or bright to his spiritual associations. He will be
in a state of spiritual illustration - rtlle 15 closely associated
with the New Christian Heaven where the Lord is fuJly re-
vealed in His Divine Human.
158
But so far as he departs
from the societies of spirits who communicate with this
heaven, so far his mind is dimmed as to all spiritual things,
although it may still be quite clear and indeed brilliant in
worldly affairs.
The New Church on earth is established that it may be
associated with the New Christian Heaven and partake of its
spiritual illustration. Indeed, the New Heaven is the internal
whence alone the New Church can increase.
158
The New
Church can grow only in proportion to its conjunction with
the New Heaven. And therefore the Lord, who rules all
things from primes through ultimates, has provided means
for this conjunction. The conjunction itself is that of love
and for these alone conjoin. But the means of the
i5s AR 547, AE 732, 759: 4, Docu. n. 234, TCR 784
SPIRITUAL ASSOCIATIONS
83
conjunction are ultimates in the minds of men, ultimates of
thought which will have meaning and special value to those
spirits who are associated with the New Christian Heaven.
The Power of Baptism
The Lord has ordained two sacraments, Baptism and the
Holy Supper, as the ultimates of all spiritual order with men.
Order is the opposite of confusion. Order calls for distinc-
tions. There would be no real freedom in a state of confu-
sion. This is the reason why all in the spiritual world are
distinguished according to their religions. Moreover, all of
the same religion are arranged into societies according to af-
fections of love to God and to the neighbor-and their op-
posites. "On the distinct arrangement there, the preserva-
tion of the whole universe depends !"
169
It is of order, also, that spirits of alien religions-such as
the Mohammedan and those of idolaters-should not apply
themselves to the infants or children of Christians and infuse
into them an inclination for such religions, and thus draw
them away and alienate them from Christianity. For this
would be to distort and destroy spiritual order and would
create utter confusion and internal conflict in the mind of the
child, preventing any orderly development of progressive
states. And what holds true with infants, is true also with
adults.
By Baptism a sign is placed upon a man that he belongs
to the church. The experience of the baptismal rite-the
promises of the man or, with the child, of his parents, the
sensation of the water, the words of the sacred text, the sign
of the cross, the act of benediction by the laying on of hands
-enters deeply into the memory, and (whether consciously
or unconsciously) remains there indelibly to color every idea
159 TCR 678, 680
84
SPIRITS AND MEN
which the mind later comes to entertain. This connection of
ideas is seen by every spirit at his first approach to man. By
virtue of the correspondence of water, and of washing, to
truth and especially the truth of repentance, baptism becomes
the in the mind for spirits who are being instructed
in tru!h and who in the other life are being introduced into
the doctrine and life of the New Heaven. It becomes a sign
in the spiritual world, that the man is of Oiristians. And
the spirit of man is therefore, by this sacrament, inserted
among societies and congregations there "according to the
quality of the Christianity in him or around him (extra
ilium) ."
160
Not the water, or the act alone, constitutes the Baptism:
but the intention associated with the act. No spirit is a wit-
ness to the act itself. But spiri.tual beings who are with us
see th.e associated thoughts in the minds of the one baptized
and of the priest and witnesses-:-see all the ideas which have
ever been adjoined to the idea of the ritual itself. If priest
and witnesses adjoin the ideas of a Trinity of Divine Persons,
of a vicari.ous atonement by sufferings, or of a salvation by
faith only, then the act of baptism effects an introduction-
in this world and among spirits-:into the assembly of those
who so. believe. But if the ritual arouses in priest and wit-
nesses the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the one God, and
if the ideas that are associated are from the Heavenly Doctrine
and thus conjoined with an aclrnowledgment of the Lord's
second advent, then it makes for an.introduction into the New
Jerusalem, into the New Oiurch and the New Heaven. The
memory of the baptism will be the lasting focus of all these
suggested ideas : all will be recalled to spirits whet). the bap-
tism is recalled; and all are invitations to such spirits to be
with the man, a cloud c;>f unseen   and there will be
1eo TCR 680e
SPIRITUAL ASSOCIATIONS
85
a connection established between all the new experiences that
the man absorbs and the initial ideas centering around the
material fact of baptism. Such spirits are a protective sphere
around the man, keeping him in the general state of his own
religion.
The baptismal ceremony as such is only a natural event.
Our remembrance of it is centered about the material ideas
of the water, the washing, the cross. But, as was noted pre-
viously, Swedenborg testifies that while a man thinks, his
material ideas are as it were in the midst of a wave of such
things as are adjoined in the memory-all that was ever
known on the subject; and thus the full thought, not the mate-
rial idea, is apparent to the spirits about him. Swedenborg
likens that surrounding wave of associations to spiritual wings
by which the thing thought of is elevated out of the memory,
and is endowed with meaning and value.
161
And something
of this is interiorly meant when the Lord said to Moses, about
the exodus from Egypt: "I bare you on eagle's wings, and
brought you unto Myself"; and the same is suggested when
He lamented: "How often would I have gathered thy children
together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her
wings, and ye would not !"
162
By Baptism the Lord does gather His children together
under the protective sphere of the New Heaven. This sphere
is a sphere of spiritual thought and affection. It guards, but
does not compel. It aids, through our spiritual associates, to
ward off alien spirits. At any time we are free to break away
from its gentle gyres, and-by focussing our life and thought
on ultimates that are opposed to it, on falsities or on things
that are symbolic of evil-we can enter by degrees into other
spiritual connections, if these are more accordant with our
161 AC 6200 162 Exod. 19: 4, comp. Matt.
23 : 37, Isa. 40: 31, Rev. 12: 14
86
SPIRITS AND MEN
life's delight. But so far as we freely allow the sphere of the
New Heaven to be with us, there is freedom also to progress
in accordance with our choice; there is a leading into greater
illustration, spiritual clarity, and wisdom; there is the possi-
bility of the more and more interior fulfilment of what Bap-
tism involves, the realization of the meaning of the new order
of the spiritual world, and of the truth that the Lord reigneth.
VII
Influx and Persuasion
"When the unclean spirit
is gone out of a man,
he walketh through dry
places seeking rest ... "
Matthew 12: 43
The Spiritual State of Christendom
It is revealed in the Writings that the first Christian
Church, founded on the Gospels, has reached its consumma-
tion, judgment, and end.
163
This pronouncement is not a
judgment on individuals nor on specific societies in this world.
But it is a Divine warning that religion has now reached the
stage of decline predicted by the Lord in the twenty-fourth
chapter of Matthew-a state when, "because iniquity shall
abound, the love of many shall wax cold" ; a state when spir-
itual enlightenment and progress are generally impossible.
This situation came about by degrees, because in the course of
centuries the evils of men allowed false doctrines to creep in
and be enthroned in Christendom : doctrines about three Di-
vine persons which are but three gods, and about a vicarious
atonement by Christ's blood; doctrines about the Pope's vicar-
ship and of priestly powers to dispense salvation; doctrines
about a salvation by faith without charity or change of life;
doctrines which all pose as sacred mysteries into which the
human understanding was forbidden to enter.
From early Christian times such falsities came to usurp the
place of the Word through which communion with heaven
can alone be effected. The serene light of Divine revelation
was not allowed to shine in the minds of men. Its message of
spiritual faith and charity was covered over with a contorting
1es AR 750, Coro., Sum.
87
88
SPIRITS AND MEN
shroud of perversions. Human interpretations and pagan
superstitions ruled in the church-falsities which became
powerful tools for confirming ambition and cruelty and for
attracting the presence and influx of evil spirits; until at last
there were "no other than false churches"* and communica-
tion with the heavens was cut off. In the spiritual world
evil spirits came to dominate over the simple good among
Christian souls, and the "last judgment" could no longer be
delayed.
In the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg a new Divine
revelation was provided which exposes and discredits the
falsities which, like a leaven, had soured all the teachings of
the New Testament. The modern world, since the last judg-
ment, has little courage left to defend these false dogmas.
Yet they are still accepted by untold millions and are officially
taught in schools and seminaries of Ch!'is!ian_s_ect-s.-And
where they are no longer insisted on, many new falsities and
denials, worse than the old, have sprung up--and these tend
to divert men's minds from any acknowledgment of the Deity
of Christ and the holiness of the Word of God.
Even while the Christian denominations grow in the num-
ber of their nominal adherents, Christian     lost
its living office to serve as a medium of C?!liu_pcti_on with
rema!_nmg_ m its external wors_!J.ip, as the Jews do
in theirs, in whose worship it is well known that there is
nothing of charity and faith, that is, nothing of the church."
164
Like the unclean spirit of the parable, a falsity may return
under the guise of seven others worse than itself; even as the
theological dogma of predestination has come back to haunt
us in the more formidable aspect of materialistic determinism.
Whether still vindicating the age-worn creeds or whether
preaching the social gospels of the humanists and vaguely ad-
•Inv. 38
164 AC 1850
INFLUX AND PERSUASION
89
vancing various opposing political cure-alls, the Christian
Church has lost its central place in the spiritual world.
  p i ~ i t s come- i ~ t o th7 other "life from Christendom as into a
strange world for the life of which their doctrines have not
prepared them.
So far as any one is still persuaded in the teachings of the
old church, he will attract to himself the spirits who are in the
same falsities or who can for the time adopt his beliefs and
ideas. And there are multitudes of such spirits in the world
of spirits even at this day. It is true that they are no longer
) permitted to establish powerful societies there, nor is any one
\ spirit able to maintain himself in the "world of spirits" for
l more than about thirty years.
165
Still, there have to be spirits
of every religion and every general faith there, to minister to
their like on earth. And this will be possible as long as men
{
adhere to such beliefs on earth.
166
If uncongenial spirits
were associated with a man, he would fall into a state of con-
tinuous sadness and disquietude. If angels or spiri_ts closely
associated with a man as much as converse together about
things contrary to man's faith or life, such sadness would
affect him even fr he was then thinking about something
utterly di:fferent.
167
So far as a man's mind is under the shadow of false per-
suasions his spiritual progress is delayed here on earth and
spiritual illustration is denied him. Although the world of
spirits is now ordered and purged so that the progress of
spirits after their death is quickened-the evil being judged
sooner than formerly and the good .being instructed sooner-
yet on earth the progress is halted so long as man is under the
restraining pull of false .doctrines. And it is only exception-
ally that men can liberate their minds from false beliefs and
come to embrace the truths of the Heavenly Doctrine.
1611 HH 426,' AR 866 101 SD 4644
16
·
6
SD 5408
90
SPIRITS AND MEN
The New Church on earth can therefore grow only very
slowly, and then only from such as are "interiorly affected by
truths," thus from "such as have cultivated their intellectual
faculty and have not destroyed it in themselves by the loves
of self and the world."
168
Natural affections for kindred and
friends form strong bonds which are difficult to sever. Ex-
perience testifies that conversion into the New Church is
usually made easier with a man who is being introduced into
a new environment or come; into ·; radical change of state
through which the spirits with him are also changed; as when
he moves to a new city or country, or enters into the married
state, or comes of age, or comes into an entirely new group of
friends and acquaintances who believe in the Writings. The
intermediation of friendship is also a common aid in such
changes of state.
But the loosening of the hold of false doctrines and social
bonds marks only an external phase of the process which leads
to illustration and association with the New Heaven. The
internal conjunction with heaven and the Lord is by means
of t he word-the word seen no longer through the veils of
falsities, but as it is in itself.
There is no conjunction with heaven through the doctrine
and faith of the old church. But among the simple and sin-
cere in the Christian world there are vast numbers who read
the Word without much reflection upon false doctrines, and
who consequently find in it the simple directions for salvation
-faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and charity to man. And
these, through the Word, are conjoined with spirits
who are being led towards the New Heaven. Indeed, in all
1
religions there are those who are in such simple states-upon
whom the false doctrines of their religiosities have only a
) superficial hold:     evils as and  
religious life, _1:!.Sefulness, and common-sense charity highe_r
108 AR 546f, AE 732
INFLUX AND PERSUASION
91
than "_or!_ho<!oxy." Such are interiorly joined to heavenly
societies, more or less closely according to their states of
innocence. They belong already to t!:!_e invisQ>le kingdom of
God-that vast communion which is called in the Writings
"the Church Universal." These are, after death, led to their
various heavens. And those among them who are moved by
a spiritual affection of truth can be instructed in the Heavenly
Doctrine and be more nearly associated with the New Chris-
tian Heaven. According to the increase of such spirits in
the world of spirits, we are told, will the New Church on
earth be increased: for such spirits are needed to predispose
men of various religious affiliations to receive the truths of
the second advent of the Lord.
169
Spirits and their Use of Man's Memory
The general rule that each man is attended by spirits of
his own faith is based on certain laws governing the relation-
ship of the two worlds. For these worlds are held apart so
that the life of each may be free. As has already been pointed
out, men would not be free if they were sensibly ruled ·by
spirits or were conscious of their presence; and spirits would
not be free to progress into interior states if they were aware
of the men with whom they are or felt ·that they used the
memory of someone else. And in order that the two worlds
might be apart in appearance although mutually conjoined
and dependertt on each other in actual fact, it is necessary that
spirits and men should live consciously on two different planes
and in two different states or mental environments.
When a man becomes a spirit he leaves the material body
with its sense organs which throughout life had enriched his
corporeal memory with constantly new impressions and with
knowledges about the ultimate things of the world. But it is
1eo AE 732
92
SPIRITS AND MEN
ordained that the risen spirit must, as to his thought, be lifted
out of his own corporeal memory, which then becomes quies-
cent and is put to sleep; even as happens with us when we
"forget" or are not thinking actively about some former expe-
rience. The spirit retains his corporeal memory-and all
that is in it. It remains-but is not active. It no longer
plays any active role in his mental life. Unless Swedenborg
happened to be able to supply such information from his own
memory, the spirits with him did not even know what their
names or rank had been in their bodily life! They had for-
gotten, and had no curiosity about it.
170
The lulling of a spirit's external natural memory is not
sudden but gradual; yet it appears to be accomplished only
a relatively few days after death.
171
The Lord may indeed
-by various guarded modes-re-awaken a spirit's particular
earthly experiences at least in part. But this is done only for
the sake of · some spiritual use to be served. In order to
pmgress in his eternal development a spirit must be liberated
from such memories and from the sphere of his own material
ideas which are based on space and time and personal bias.
If this is not done the spirit would be unable to enter into
the spiritual ideas which are proper to the more brilliant and
colorful mental life which he can enjoy after death.
112
Terrible consequences would also threaten mankind if
spirits could actively use their own external memory. Some
spirits told Swedenborg that the human race would then be
liable to perish.
173
For the man would then become aware
of the spirits, and be unable to think from his own memory-
experiences. The memory of the spirits would be confused
with man's own.
114
At the very least man would suffer the
110 SD 2199, AC 3679 : 5, 2479-
2485, 4588, SD min. 4645£, SD
5552
1715 Mem. 5
112 AC 2476-2486, 5858, SD
2989
178
AC 2477
mAC 2478
INFLUX AND PERSUASION
93
not uncommon illusion that he had thought such things before,
a sensation which has led some people to confirm themselves
in the . notion of reincarnation-the persuasion that they lived
on earth before, perhaps centuries ago.
175
Swedenborg makes the comment that the life of a spirit
is happy, that is, happy compared to that of men, and his
faculties of sensation and thought vastly more distinct and
subtle.
176
Man has to eke out his life of thought from a few
very limited experiences and from knowledges gathered with
great labor. Man's affections are clothed with no great
variety in his few knowledges and in his still more scanty
words. His states often fail to mature or develop, because
time and space cut them short. But spirits live an intenser
Jife--for "a spirit no longer subsists on his own basis, but
upon a common basis, which is the human race."
177
Indeed, "man is the ultimate of order . . . and all ideas,
even those of spirits, are terminated in man's memory."
178
The thoughts of spirits eventually terminate and come to rest
in the material ideas, the objects and mental images, of the
men with whom they are associated. The spirits select these
ideas from men without any conscious effort, and each spirit
may be associated with a great many men at the same time, to
complete the terminations of his thought. We should not
take this to mean that the spirit thinks with material ideas
borrowed from men. Unless he belongs to a class of ex-
ceedingly gross spirits
180
he thinks quite apart from space-
time concepts, and takes the material ideas of man only as a
sort of basic symbol for a field of abstract ideas upon which
he loves to dwell.
186
Yet without the basic ultimate of man's
110 HH 256, 298, SD 3285,
3917, AC 5858, 2477£
m SD 2956, 1983, 2548£, 3351,
AC 10758: 4, 5078 : 4, 4622, HH
576
111 LJ 9
118 SD 3022
m SD 5607-5617
180 SD 6049, 4212, AE 654: 2,
EU 38
94
SPIRITS AND MEN
thought, thus without the material ideas, spirits would lose
the whole connective of their thought and almost of their con-
sciousness. Swedenborg tells that when spirits were deprived
of some such material idea as that of place, they seemed to
lose all sense of where they were and promptly vanished from
the sight of other spirits. And they felt as if they had lost
their feet.
181
The reality, to spirits, of such material ideas, is illustrated
by the fact that spirits after death inhabit such cities and places
as they had frequented before death : but these cities are
purely spiritual, and thus are based on general states of mind.
They are not exactly like the corresponding cities in this
world, but resemble them, especially as to the streets and well
known public squares. They are of spiritual origin. The
houses therein are "not built as in the world, but rise up in a
moment, created by the Lord."
182
Yet they are usually quite
permanent, and their inhabitants are at home in them for long
periods. If spirits leave the city for good, their houses also
disappear. Swedenborg gives in his journal the following
interesting   "concerning cities in the afterlife arid
concerning the Providence of the Lord in preserving them" :
"There appear to spirits cities similar to the cities in
the world-a London, an Amsterdam, a Stockholm, and
so on. The reason for this is that every man has with
himself spirits who are in the other life, and these possess
the interiors of the man, thus all things of his memory.
They do not, indeed, see the world through his eyes, but
still they are inwardly in it from his ideas. Hence the
ideas of similar houses, buildings, and streets of the cities
appear as if they were the places themselves. . . • Hence
1s1 SD 3753, 3608ff 182 LJ post. 12
INFLUX AND PERSUASION
95
it is that spirits who are with the men of some one city
have the idea of the same city."
183
This throws considerable light on the teaching that "the
angelic mansions are indeed in heaven, and to appearance
separate from the abodes in which men are. And yet they
are with man, in his affections of good and truth."
184
This is
said of the angels, however. And angels do not dwell, as
spirits do, in the material ideas with men, but in more interior
things. Yet the terminations of the spiritual world are in the
ultimates of man's life. It is true that "angels and spirits are
entirely above or outside of nature, and in their own world
which is under another sun." But it is an error to think of
the spiritual world from appearances, as if it were in natural
space, and to imagine angels and spirits as dwelling in the
interiors of nature, in the ether or on the stars, or far away
from men. Where there is no space, there is no distance.
The kingdom of God is within you. "The spiritual world is
where man is and in no wise apart from him."
185
The spirits who are with man live in a real world of spir-
itual substance, but the ultimates of this substantial world
around them is somehow built up from the spiritual forms of
ideas taken from men. The ultimates of the spiritual world
lodge in the natural minds of men, while the interiors of
men's minds are formed from the spiritual world and ac-
cording to its states and its inhabitants. And in this whole
iss SD 5092; comp. 3857, 4716.
The description cited above was
written by Swedenborg about the
time of the last judgment, when
great hordes of gross spirits occu-
pied the world of spirits. Later
he notes that after the j udgment
another arrangement was taking
place in the cities there, and he
intimates that the correspondence
of the spiritual cities to the nat-
ural thenceforth would not be so
"material," "not so direct and
close, but more remote." (SD
5716)
18-l LJ 9
m :PLW 92
96
SPIRITS AND MEN
space-less spiritual world, it is the Lord alone who builds and
creates.
The spirits with a man think spiritually,
18 6
and generally
do not take the material ideas of his thought as standing for
material objects, but as foci and basic symbols for a field of
abstract ideas upon which they dwell. The man, on the
other hand, is only vaguely aware of these clustering asso-
ciations of ideas which the spirits take up with delight as a
part of their own thoughts, imagining that it is all from them-
selves. For spirits do not reflect on the sources of their
thoughts. But the use of these inner fields of suggestion with
man-by spirits who connect them with meanings, allusions,
and values never guessed by man-enriches man's thought
with a sense of pleasure ; so that he actually partakes of the
delight which spirits have in his meagre ideas. And the re-
sult is that he is thus confirmed in the sphere of ideas in which
he is.
Angels when they are present with a man are especially
able to widen his ideas and insinuate a sense of interior value,
profounder meaning, and greater delight into them. When
angels inflow, the Arcana tells us, "it is not an influx of such
thoughts as the man then has, but it is according to corres-
pondences; for the angels are thinking spiritually whereas
the man perceives this naturally. . . . When a man speaJss
of bread . . . the thought of the angels is about the goods of
love .... Objects such as a man sees with his eyes do not
appear before the spirits who are with the man, neither are
words heard such as the man hears with the ear, but such as
the man is thinking .... When the angels inflow, they ad-
join affections also, and the very affections contain innumer-
able things within them. But of these countless things only
a few are received by the man-in fact only those which are
18e Wis. vii. 5, AE 654 : 2
INFLUX AND PERSUASION
97
applicable to the things which are already in the memory.
The remaining things of the angelic influx pass around and
as it were enfold them."
187
Spirits Confirm Man's Persuasions
This brings us back to the important principle that spirits
cannot infuse new persuasions, new truths or new falsities,
into the mind of a man.
188
No angels from the New Heaven
(for instance) can possibly inflow into the minds of mortals and
change their faith, remove their falsities, and introduce truths
in their place. Such angels can act only into men who have
something of faith from the Heavenly Doctrine in their mind;
and the effect of their presence is one of confirming them in
the truths which they have already seen. This was no doubt
implied by Swedenborg when he wrote to Doctor Beyer about
the publication of the True Christian Religion: "I am certain
of this, that after the appearance of the book referred to, the
Lord our Savior will operate both mediately and immediately
towards the establishment throughout the whole of Christen-
dom of a New Church based on this 'theology.' The New
Heaven will . . . very soon be completed . . .'' (April 30,
1771) .
189
The Lord acts immediately from the Writings, and
-so far as these are received-He acts mediately through the
New Heaven.
Spirits have two kinds of life-the life of persuasion and
the life of cupidity. When a spirit is in his persuasions, or in
the thought from some faith which he has confirmed, he ex-
cites for his own use endless confirmations from the memory
of the man with whom he is, and this without man knowing
or feeling it. The spirit, since he cannot use his own cor-
poreal memory,
190
puts on the man's knowledges, beliefs, and
187 AC 6319, 6320
1
88 SD 3782
189 Docu. n. 24SBB
190
SD 3783
98
SPIRITS AND MEN
preconceptions, and assumes the man's experience to be his
own.
191
Swedenborg was often astounded at the incredible
wealth of ideas and arguments which were thus brought up.
192
Things about which the spirit himself had never had any
previous knowledge were at once arrayed with familiar skill
and prudence, cunning and astuteness, as if by instinct !1
93
This has the tendency to confirm the man in his principles, by
increasing his satisfaction with his own opinions. Normally,
a spirit can never contradict a man! If this should occur,
exceptionally, as it did with Swedenborg, spirit and man
would become conscious of each other.
If a man should change his persuasions, then other spirits
quickly apply themselves to him. But man "is not easily
brought to renounce a preconceived persuasion"; "wherefore
it is good for a man not to be persuaded in falsities, but to be
confirmed in truths."
194

Yet man's mind, even when it is enlightened by a true re-
ligion, is a very complex thing which has murky corners into
which his faith has never really penetrated. It has logic-
proof compartments and unexplored jungles where ·his heredi-
tary evils hold sway and various false views, excuses, or stub-
born reservations hold out against the faith which he pro-
fesses. In such distant corners lie hidden all manner of in-
consistencies from past states, undigested information and
old prejudices bolstered by the pride of the proprium. With
the regenerating man these old states are pushed to the sides
more and more until they have little part in his mental life.
But none the less they are easily observed by spirits· who are
in the same kind of rebellious falsities and who eagerly seize
upon them as inviting fields of confirmation.
195
T·hus the
man may be thrown into spheres of doubt and obscurity, and
101 AC 5860, SD 3782£
192 SD 4114£
1sa SD 4115, 2927£
 
9
~ SD 4114i
195
SD 4114i
INFLUX AND PERSUASION
99
so far as his faith in truths is from the heart he will then suffer
anxiety and temptation.
Doubts are of Providence permitted. Certain intellectual
spirits who were prone to reflect and to be stuck in doubts,
complained that faith-the persuasion of faith-could not be
given one in a moment. But it was pG>inted out to them that
man's states are continually changing. What is clearly seen
in one state may become doubtful later on. A sudden per-
suasion may satisfy one state, but it would not be adequate to
answer all the questions of the next state.
196
Faith takes root
by degrees and grows in process of time under the Lord's
direction, like the mustard seed of the· parable. And there
is also another reason why "it is according to the laws of
order that no one ought to be persuaded about truth in a
moment in such a way . . . as to leave no doubt whatever
about it; for the truth which is so impressed becomes persua-
sive truth, and lacks any extension and also any yielding
quality."
197
It becomes hard, bigotted, and not easily ap-
plicable to the diverse duties of life. Therefore, in the spir-
itual world, when a truth is being brought out before good
spirits, a doubt-something opposite-is soon afterwards pre-
sented; so that they might think about it and consider whether
it is so and collect reasons for it, and so bring the truth into
their minds rationally. Only so can the truth be seen in its
varieties of forms and applications, and the real essential
meaning discerned. And this is done by reflection. This
spiritual law was signified in the Word by the notable men-
tion that, after Aaron had cast his rod before Pharaoh and it
had become a serpent, the magicians of Egypt did likewise
with their enchantments.
198
Still, Aaron's rod swallowed up
all the rest.
198 SD 2988
191 AC 7298
198 AC 7298, Exod. 7: 8-13
100
SPIRITS AND MEN
All those laws which govern the influx of the spheres of
spirits into man's mind, have a constant regard for man's
freedom of choice. Only that which is insinuated in full free-
dom remains deeply inscribed on man's being. This is the
reason why thought is not insinuated into man by any spirit.
The spirit inflows with an affection, and it is only when this
affection accords with man's affection that it is received by
man in his thought-his interior thought-and thus tends to
confirm and extend that thought more widely and more pro-
foundly.
The life of a spirit's thought is based upon the general
ideas which are with man as upon a soil or background. But
it is also and equally true that man's entire emotional life
with all its affections, is derived solely from the spirits that
are with him. Few realize how much we are placed under
the control of spirits when we give way to emotional states;
and how these cupidities may then enkindle all manner of
persuasions and fantasies.
VIII
Influx and Cupidity
"So the devils beso1ight
Him, saying, If Thou cast
us out, suffer us to go
away into the herd of
SUtine."
Matthew 8: 31
The Awakening of Hereditary Evils
It is a general doctrine that the life of man's understanding
and thought is constantly stimulated and enriched from the
sensations of his body, or from without, while the life of the
will, or that of his emotions, seems to well up from the depths
of his being, or from within. In other words, truth comes
from without, good comes from within. That which affects
his understanding can be traced to other men and to various
other agencies and sources ; while that which is of his will
seems to originate in himself.
Yet the doctrine shows that even the life of man's emotions
or affections comes to him through media, namely, through
the spiritual world and its many societies. The influx of life
from the Lord is both immediate, into man's soul and essen-
tial human faculties, and mediate. And the mediate influx
from the Lord is through heaven. The Lord rules men
mediately through angelic societies which are in subordination
and mutual dependence. He rules also by lower types of
spirits, good and evil, who are present in endless chains con-
nected with all the particulars of man' s memory, on which his
conscious life is founded.
The infinite operation, or the ordering influx of the Lord,
is not made any the less infinite or less Divine, although it
works through these finite mediations. Yet there are also
things which come to man from the media themselves, that
101
102
SPIRITS AND MEN
is, from angels and spirits: and it is true of this influx that
it fakes color and character from the qualities of the life of
those angels and spirits. The life which the evil spirits vol-
untarily transmit is evil and is felt by man as perverse and
harmful cupidities. It is even true that "the things that come
from the angels themselves" and "accommodate themselves
to the affection of man," "are not in themselves goods, yet
still serve for introducing the goods and truths which are from
the Lord."
199
"There is no good without influx through societies."
200
Nor is there any evil which does not have extension into in-
fernal societies according to the quality and extent of their
evil. All man's affections arise from the influx of spirits.
It is therefore stated that evil spirits induce in man cupidities,
but no persuasions; and that they operate into man through
his affections, and that they excite his evils.
201
But it is
specified that spirits are not allowed to operate into those evils
which are hereditary-as long as such evils are merely latent,
as in infancy. Evil spirits do not venture to introduce any
evil so long as the apparent goods of ignorance hold sway.
Evil spirits are then held in subjection, and merely serve.
But the case is quite different when man has procured evil to
himself by sinful acts, and has acquired a sphere of cupidities
and falsities. Then the evil spirits as it were rebel, and stir
up his evils, and seek to dominate. This is represented by
the rebellion of Sodom against Chedorlaomer.
202
If evil spirits could operate directly into the hereditary
tendencies to evil before these come to man's consciousness,
there could be no salvation for man. For they would then
excite his whole native will, and set loose such an influx of
cupidity that man would perish as with a flood. This actually
100 AC 8728
200 AC 8794
201 SD 4001, 4114ff, 3782£, AC
904
202 Gen. 14, AC 1667£
INFLUX AND CUPIDITY
103
took place with the antediluvian race-the decadent offspring
of the celestial church- which lived at the time of Noah.
Their whole mental life became inundated with passions which
turned their unresisting thought into terrible fantasies.
But the Lord, whenever possible, acted to save the hu-
man race by separating man's understanding from the primal
emotions and thus preventing the evil will from swamping
man's conscious life. This He did by confining to hell all
those evil genii in the spiritual world who operated into man's
hereditary will; and by placing man's conscious -development
in the realm of his understanding. He thus absolved men
from responsibility for their inherited evil will. He permitted
no spirits to dominate any man unless that man had invited
them through actual evils and thereby had taken over con-
scious responsibility for their presence.
What is this 'actual evil,' into which spirits are permitted
to inflow? It is evil which is recognized as such by the un-
derstanding, and yet condoned, excused and defended. If a
man sees an evil as evil, and yet approves it by the under-
standing, he confirms it and appropriates it to himself, and
becomes responsible for it.
203
It becomes clear, therefore, that the evil will is not sud-
denly loosed in man. In childhood, when angels and good
spirits rule,   with its slumbering cupidities and
unanalyzed delights, is however nursed b an influx Ji::om
evil irits; and this in may be and
not perish.
144
At first this is wholly unrecognized by the
child and man. Evil is hidden or only latent, because the
evil spirits serve and do not rule.
204
But as the child emerges
from the state of innocence and becomes selfconscious,
tions of evil from the will gradually extend themselves into
the and there they appearbefore man's judg-
2oa DP 81 204 AC 1667. See footnote 144
104
SPIRITS AND MEN
ment, one by one, as his understanding grows : at first external
evils, many of them from maternal inheritance; and later more
interior evils, derived from the father. If man then should
turn away from these evil affections as they seek to clothe
themselves with knowledges and persuasive reasonings and
symbolic forms in his imagination, evil spirits would have to
stop infesting him-although still remaining to serve in
various ways.
205
In this connection we may understand the statement that
in the temptations of a man of the spiritual church "evil spirits
are associated who excite nothing but his scientifics and ra-
tional things," while "spirits who excite cupidities are entirely
warded off from man."
206
For tpe evils or cupidities of the
native will are not excited, except so far as these are confirmed
in the understanding, or have taken on the form of perverted
knowledge, sordid imaginations, and false principles.
It is the man himself who thus confirms by thought the
cupidity or evil which the spirits infuse, or else refuses to
think from that evil and instead decides to think from the
purer motives that emanate from good spirits.
Imputation and Control of Cupidities
Hereditary evils which have not been made actual are not
imputed as guilt in a man. Neither is a man blamed for evils
which spirits infuse without his knowledge-evils which man
has not recognized as evils, nor confirmed by his understand-
ing. Such evils or cupidities are only of the will, and not of
the understanding.
207
Gentiles and children are not rightly
held responsible for all their behavior-on the principle, "If
ye were blind, ye would have no sin." This does not mean
that such evils do not carry their weight of consequences, but
205 AC 1695: 2, 1749: 2
206 AC 653
207
AC 9069
INFLUX AND CUPIDITY
105
that these miserable consequences are external rather than
internal. With those who are in periodic self-examination
and are in repentance in the matter of certain sins which they
have found in themselves, the law of eternal imputation there-
fore contains the saving clause, that "if they sin from ignor-
ance, or from some very powerful lust, it is not imputed to
them, because they did not propose it to themselves, nor do
they (afterwards) confirm it in themselves" by self-justifica-
tions.208
Certain acts of sudden passion may thus be caused by an
influx of cupidity from spirits in the other life, before a man
finds time to consider rationally how insane they are. Even
in courts of law, such lack of premeditation is considered a
mitigating circumstance, although the crime still remains. If
such crimes were not punished at all, society would dissolve.
If we were simply to condone our own momentary lapses,
we would soon be a prey to evil spirits, a tool in their hands.
For we would then relax the effort to use our God-given
faculty of reason for disciplining our will : and we would re-
vert to the level of beasts, and go back to the state of the ante-
diluvians, whose own will was their only law. And all hell
would rejoice.
Still it is told that good spirits, when angry, have been
known to burst forth into effusions which one would expect
only from the worst. The cause of their anger-Swedenborg
observed-was that they were not admitted to do good.
209
An upright man, when angry, is acting from the external man,
from the proprium. Yet interiorly he feels that his good in-
tention is foiled, or that a good love is assaulted. His anger,
inwardly viewed, is only a zeal to remove obstacles; and to
do this by the brute force of his natural affections, without
consulting the understanding, is often fatal. With the good,
208 TCR 523, CL 529
209 SD 3628
106
SPIRITS AND MEN
this impure zeal does not last for long. It fights, perhaps,
only to "remove those who are in what is false and evil lest
they should injure those who are in what is good and true."
A good soldier exercises mercy after the battle is over. But
a wicked man continues to persecute his foe from hatred and
revenge, and wills evil to all with whom he fights; and his
anger persists and accumulates within and is not ex-
tinguished.
210
It was intimated above that no spirit is allowed to teach
or lead man "except from cupidity."
211
Spirits do not infuse
new thoughts, whether false or true, into any man. But it
is also true, that "the life of cupidities tends to induce per-
suasion"; although man must lend his consent to this.
212
When a man has confirmed some lust, spirits can inflame him
to a high pitch of rage from which his imagination is filled
with fantasies of revenge and murder-insane persuasions
about how   or persecuted he is, thoughts of self-im-
portance and of envy which distort the perspective of his
whole mind. Evil spirits are then in their delight, for such
thoughts exalt their own fantasies with a sense of power and
fulfilment. They cause the man to take delight in these
thoughts, and-unknown to both-the spirits then rule the
man, and hold him so bound that only the Lord can disen-
tangle him.
218
The more a man confirms an evil and takes delight in it
and persuades himself that it is allowable,
214
the more intimate
becomes his conjunction with the sodety in hell which is in
that special evil and in its many fantasies and falsities. In-
deed, he is preparing himself for thaf society in which he will
be a slave after death. A succession of emissaries from that
infernal society are always with him-spirits who for a time
210 AE 693: 2, Char. 166, AC .
4164, 5725, 8598
211 SD 4001
212 SD 4117
21a AC 7501, . SD 4621, 3782
214
DP 81
INFLUX AND CUPIDITY 107
are lifted out of that hell into the world of spirits to rule him.
Or else he is attended by unjudged spirits who are like him.
215
Yet the whole leading of the Divine Providence seeks to
prevent a man from confirming his favorite vices except so
far as he insists. The pressures of daily necessity, the rush of
natural routine, the fact of man's limitations and lack of op-
portunity to enter very deeply into his particular evils, are
all means that tend to mitigate his state, and preserve him
from rushing headlong into his hell. By his everyday life,
his work and his social contacts, he is kept in a state of free-
dom-a state in which other spirits can operate upon him.
Even if he lacks an interior plane of conscience through which
angels can be near him, still good spirits can associate them-
selves with him externally whenever he is not in open evils.n
6
For even a wicked man may have a hereditary good nature
and possess many lovable traits and apparent goods; and he
may have many truths in his understanding. Heaven can
inflow through spirits into his externals, into his regard for
others and into his fear of the law, even though this proceeds
from a dread of losing reputation or life. Thus they hold him
in an external honorable conduct as far as they can. "This
is the plane into which heaven inflows at this day"; but this
plane is not retained in the other life.n
7
The Lord thus rules the thoughts and speech of man
through good spirits, who hold him as it were bound while
he is engaged in thinking about his uses. And in this state
the evil spirits with the man are also held in servitude. It
is related of a preacher who lived a bad life, that while he
was preaching and commending the life of good, the. angels
excited the evil spirits present to think and speak in a similar
vein. ·But when the preacher returned to the state of his
mAC 5851£
m AC 4167, 5145, 8002 : 2,
SD min. 4545£
211 SD 4622, 4611
108
SPIRITS AND MEN
interiors, and his ordinary life, the evil spirits immediately
began to control him.
21
s
By a life of use to society, even an evil man is therefore a
partaker in the benefits of heaven in that he is temporarily
removed from the control of evil spirits, and can therefore be
in .external order. Indeed, all men come by uses into the
stream of Providence. Swedenborg cites the Swedish
proverb, "Idleness is the devil's pillow," as an indication that
when we are no longer in the sphere of the love of uses we
become the prey of disorderly spirits who roam through all
sorts of by-places in the world of spirits seeking rest.
219
It is remarkable that the Writings refer to the corrupt
states of the Christian world, yet refer to each of the nations
as noble, e.g., "the noble French nation," "the noble German
nation." This is because a nation is an organization of uses,
uses so ordered that heaven can be present in them. A .coun-
try is therefore a higher form of the neighbor, inferior only
to the church. When we depart from the spirit of cooperat-
ing in the uses of state; society, or church; or when, in the
execution of our duties, we withdraw into ourselves and turn
away from the common illustration of others who are in the
same use, the protection of ultimate order is no longer over
us. We become like a house, empty, swept, and garnished-
inviting the influx of strange spirits.
220
We become unable to
see things in their true proportions or to see the true relative
significance of things. Our mind comes into various moods,
solicitudes, and fancies ; comes to brood over imagined slights,
to worry about unimportant details or obstacles, or feel frus-
trated because.of certain conditions which are quite outside of
our power or office to alter ; to become despondent about the
state of the people about us ; in short, to come either into
melancholy, pessimism, or sadness, or else into some fanatical
21s SD 4129
220
Matt. 12: 43
m SD 60n, Char. 168, 194
INFLUX AND CUPIDITY
109
zeal or into religious scruples. And in some cases, where
bodily conditions and temperamental tendencies concur, this
may even develop into delirium, self-delusions, and insanities.
Indeed, bodily diseases which intercept the life of use, may
themselves be sufficient to invite such states.
The Causes of Morbid Moods
Swedenborg had experience with a great many of the dif-
ferent groups of spirits who caused these moods to which we
are all so liable. Most of these spirits operate by holding
man in reflection upon a certain object of thought, until the
idea becomes almost an obsession, a "fixed idea" against
which no argument or conscious effort avails. Thus Sweden-
borg found that as often as he was anxious about his garden
and its care, about the probable reception of his Writings, or
about money-matters and other like things, spirits would im-
mediately throw in inconvenient, troublesome and evil sugges-
tions, with confirmations and cupidities. He thus learnt that
the longer a man is held in such thoughts, the more difficult do
spirits make it for man to free himself of them.
221
In the same way, when anyone comes to brood overly
much upon spiritual or abstract things without finding relief
in varieties and social contacts ; or when his thought
on the fear of hell-fire or ruminates some misfortune; the
spirits with him stir up his proprium and draw out from his
memory many related things which thus continually haunt
him so that the subject becomes-sometimes--a form of
 

Those who live a solitary life are especially
prone to melancholy and delirium. But there is particular
danger when a solicitude of self-love, or a love of gain,
prompts a man to be anxious about the future.
Modem psychiatrists indeed recognize the setting of these
22
1 SD 3624 222 SD 3625, HH 299
110
SPIRITS AND MEN
symptoms. They particularly mention the    
hidden among the forgotten things of the memory--0f
thwarted longings, repressed desires, and fears of various sort,
forming "complexes" of subconscious ideas or states which
have their disguised emissaries in the conscious thought.
Mental patients sometimes have unreasonable antipathies or
inhibitions, or fears of some ordinary object, such as a chair
or a street or a certain room or a person, or a dread of heights
or of crowds. Others have an inordinate and irrational de-
light in some color or some thing-which may recur in their
dreams or their day-dreams.
But New Church psychologists know in addition that such
phobias and fixations are organized by the influx of spirits and
must therefore correspond to the lusts of a group of spirits in
the other world. And just as each society sends out emissary
spirits or employs some one spirit as a subject-spirit through
which they can act with man, so these hidden knots of passion
which are called "complexes" have symbolic representatives
in the conscious mind--0bjects of thought, which the spi rits
love to arouse. When man's attention is held fixed on these
objects, which are usually harmless in themselves, he comes
into a certain mood because an influx from these spirits then
takes place. These things occur with perfectly normal people.
A man may be unable to account for his anxiety, his unreason-
able fear or melancholy, or for his excitement and enthusiasm.
His friends may wonder at his depression or elation-wonder
why he is getting so excited or irritated over some triviality.
Often he could not possibly explain. He does not know.
But the spirits with him, they know; although they are not
aware that they are with the man.
All human minds are subject to some of these irrational
moods. Ordinarily their coming and passing is quite normal
-part of the life of the mind. But-we read in the Diary-
"some persons are led by spirits to such an extent that they
INFLUX AND CUPIDITY
111
cannot return into truths. Their fantasies have become so
deeply rooted that whenever they fall into those thoughts, they
are so altogether immersed in them, that they cannot be dis-
lodged even through varieties. They remain persuaded that
the matter is such or that the persons are such." When these
obsessions appear before the world, they are called mono-
mania; for on all other subjects the man is sane.
223
It is obvious that if evil held sway in man's mind, his
reason would soon totter. Passions such as envy distort
man's thought about others. Hatred or revenge fill his
imagination with fantasies. The fear that springs from a sen-
sitive self-love gives birth to hideous suspicions, utterly un-
founded. And in the other world the lust for gain and wealth
turns evil spirits periodically into gloating idiots. Indeed,
hell is insane from no other source. And the Scribe of the
Second Advent consequently writes:
"Therefore the Lord alone makes provision that man may
not come into such insanities, and thence into innumerable
fantasies : in order to prevent this, He commands that we shall
have no care for the morrow; for this is what is meant by
having solicitude for the morrow. Those, therefore, who are
in such conceits, and strongly incline to them, can by no means
be drawn out of them, except by faith in the Lord. Those
who are in faith are liberated by the Lord, however infested by
spirits, and this by innumerable methods, both external and
internal."
224
2211 SD 3626£ 224. SD 3628. See chapters XIV
to XVI.
IX
Enthusiastic Spirits
"Believe not every spirit .. . "
John's First Epistle 4: 1
Emotional Good without Truth
It is a matter of common observation that even good men
are often misled. If we stop to reflect, we find that the im-
pulse which is thus misdirected is usually "good without
truth"; and especially natural good, such as pity or generosity
or "sentimentality."
All men are endowed by nature (or heredity) with inclina-
tions toward certain "goods" or virtues. Some are by nature
brave, others seem to be born cautious and meek. Some are
naturally generous or affectionate, loyal or trusting, apt to be
guided by family feeling, friendship, love of ease, social praise
or pleasure. Various circumstances may also encourage the
development of certain good natural traits. Yet the Writings
teach us to distrust our "natural good." Not only does it hide
the evils of selfishness under a pleasant exterior, but it makes
self-examination difficult. Man is apt to take a good deal of
credit for his "natural good"; when yet he is no more respon-
sible for it than an animal is for its instinctive nature. We
are also warned that natural good is like a reed, on which it is
dangerous to lean. It is fickle, deceptive, easily bent. It lays
a man open to all sorts of influences. It can turn us to defend
evil, it weakens the judgment. It is easily swayed and per-
suaded. It receives the influx of evil spirits, and thus works
harm which we may not intend.
Good, when undisciplined by truth and antagonistic to
instruction, is not really good, but is a mere emotionalism.
It must therefore be tutored, guided, held under control, made
112
ENTHUSIASTIC SPIRITS 113
to serve under rational principles. The doctrine is, that
"those who are not as yet in truths, are not in safety."
225
True faith, faith in true doctrine, gives protection. The
general doctrines of the New Church are compared to the
four. walls of the New Jerusalem, into which there shall not
enter anything that defileth or maketh a lie. Doctrine pro-
tects against evil spirits and their false persuasions. It is
doctrine which leads to salvation, with gentiles and babes as
well as with adult members of the Church.
In the world of spirits, those who are not in any doctrine
but are led hither and thither by their emotions and fantasies
cannot dwell in cities. Cities there impose a certain restric-
tive order. Evil spirits untutored by the self-restraining in-
fluence of doctrines or common principles cannot enter the
cities, or, if they do, can only traverse the public streets. But
in the less inhabited regions around the towns they feel more
free to carry out their impulses. Cities represent doctrines.
Yet cities in the other life may represent doctrines that are
vitiated by falsities. If so, the protection which they give is
only temporary. There is no .permanent safety against in-
festing spirits, no permanent salvation except in trqe doc-
trine. 225
The statement is made that "non-truths communicate with
evil spirits." This seems to mean that falsities and fallacies
are planes into which evil spirits can operate effectively and
conveniently. When a man has fallen into a belief in some
false principle, he opens himself to be led from this error into
a series of other fallacies, and into doubts about truths, and
thus into a negative attitude. Fortunately, if a man is well
disposed, he will-with the aid of good spirits--,-resist follow-
ing the logic of his position if he perceives that it is leading
him into absurdities or into evils. The Writings cite in-
225 SD 5714, AC 6769, DLW 253
114
SPIRITS AND MEN
stances of such a blessed inconsistency. Many who accept
the Lutheran dogma of salvation by faith alone apart from
charity, would be horror-stricken at the idea of Predestination
and "infant damnation"-which yet flows directly from the
premises of their own creed ! Luther himself, being a good
man at heart, did not confirm the dogma of faith alone in his
life, although he preached it and confirmed it intellectually.
He had been fascinated by the principle of "Faith Alone,"
because he saw in it a weapon against some of the abuses of
the Catholic Church. And when it was received with acclaim
by his followers, spirits infused a pride of self-intelligence--
flattering him on his originality and keenness-and induced
him to confirm it. He suffered for centuries in the other life
for this weakness, and not until after the last judgment did he
see his error, and resume his search for the true doctrine of
salvation.
226
Misconceptions about the Holy Spirit
Swedenborg himself confesses that he had formerly enter-
tained- from the universal doctrine of Christendom-the false
persuasion that the Holy Spirit was the third person of the
Divine Trinity. This laid a plane in his external mind for
infestations by spirits who supposed themselves to be the Holy
Spirit and who terrified him. "But afterwards"-he writes-
"I became persuaded that the Lord alone is holy, and that all,
both angels and spirits, are profane in themselves, and are
called 'holy' only from those true and good things which are
from the Lord; so I am no longer infested. . . . " For
spirits are obliged to assume the persuasions of the men with
whom they are.
227
It is of interest to note that clergymen, on their entrance
226
TCR 796 221 SD 2938 (Aug. 26, 1748),
1369, TCR 26
ENTHUSIASTIC SPIRITS
115
into the other life, are straightway instructed that the Holy
Spirit is not a distinct person or separate spirit.
228
For if a
spirit should hold that idea, he is set upon by so-called "en-
thusiastic spirits" who are in the insane fantasy that they are
the Holy Spirit, and who terrify others if they do not obey
them; since many, in the world, were taught that a sin against
the Holy Spirit was unpardonable. "Enthusiastic spirits are
distinguished from other spirits by this, that they believe
themselves to be the Holy Spirit and believe that the things
which they say are Divine.''
229
The word "enthuse" literally
means to "fill with God." Clergymen are especially vulner-
able to these infestations, and also to these fantasies. It is
believed by many ministers that while they are preaching from
zeal, they are "inspired"; so that some even affirm that they
have felt the influx of the Holy Ghost. The fact is-as the
True Christian Religion points out-that they have confused
the zeal they exhibit while preaching, with the Divine opera-
tion in their hearts; when yet zeal is only a violent heating up
of the natural man! And this is just as easily excited with
preachers who are in extreme falsities, and even more so with
enthusiasts, or those who are in the effort to stir up emotions
and external affections and play on the feelings of their
hearers. Revivalists--under the influence of enthusiastic
spirits, the Writings point out---often produce louder shouts
and deeper sighs than is usual with those who are in zeal from
heavenly love !
230
Let us not decry zeal! "If there is within it the love of
truth, then it is like the sacred fire which flowed into the
apostles"-when, on Pentecost, tongues of fire appeared over
their heads.
230
But emotional appeals which are not from a
love of truth, nor directed to stimulate love of truth, are dan-
gerous. For when a person is under the influence of strong
22e TCR 138
230
TCR 146
2 29 Matt. 12: 31, HH 249
116
SPIRITS AND MEN
natural emotions, his rational balance can easily be upset, and
he may be carried in any direction.
There is that in human nature which makes one love to be
stirred by emotion. We enjoy being carried along in mass-
emotions-which is an explanation of certain phases of the
behavior of a mob; or of a people during war, or at election-
time, or at football games. We enjoy being carried off our
feet by thrills of various kinds. There is a delight-a sensual
pleasure-in casting prudence and responsibility aside, at
times, and simply surrendering to the whirl of an emotion.
Some types of people are more than others susceptible to
being led by impulse or to being sphered by eloquence and per-
suasion. Hence religion takes an emotional and fanatical
form with such people. It is not as if the emotions were nec-
essarily evil: the main difficulty being, that in states of high-
strung natural emotion, the good and the evil cannot be dis-
tinguished. Hope and the assurance of faith, high resolve
and deep contrition, mingle with guilt and fear and a lust for
power or repute. It is a common fact, that at every "camp-
meeting" of revivalist sects, there are not only cases of "con-
versions" but cases of "reversions" -in that some are so
moved by the general hysteria that all their moral inhibitions
become loosened. If the desire for an emotional outlet does
not find a sincere religious form, it may seek a satisfaction
in various sensual and sexual excesses.
The pervading idea among the "enthusiastic" sects, is , to.
find salvation by a personal surrender to the Holy .Spirit, until
its leading is felt, sensibly felt, as a bodily reaction. The
"converted soul" is moved by the "Holy Spirit." The
Quakers and the Shakers were so called, because,they actually
began to tremble, twitch and jerk, or rhythmically dance,
under the hypnotic influence of their emotion. The
paroxysms, obsessive convulsions, marchings and shoutings
which often occur at revival meetings" are reminiscent of the
ENTHUSIASTIC SPIRITS
117
corresponding features of other religions, as that of the whirl-
ing dervishes, and of the ritual abandon which marks primi-
tive peoples. In some cases, the religious zealot is apparently
acting in a convulsive trance. The Jewish prophets-and
Saul was also among them-were thus possessed.
It ~ obvious that when emotion is given such free range,
the spirits who are with the man are afforded an unusually
delightful opportunity to take control. And the spirits who
inflow are those who rejoice in the flattery offered by the
deluded human who gives them credit for being "the Holy
Spirit." Indeed, these spirits then come solemnly to believe
-unless challenged-that they are "the Holy Spirit," and
even that they were from eternity !
281
The history of such a type of spirits is interesting. The
hells of the N oahtic or Ancient Church consist for the most
part-we are informed-of "magicians"; spirits who still
practice their arts by the abuse of correspondences, by induc-
ing illusions and fantasies and by persuasive assurances and
prophesying. It is from the influx of these hells that the
various "enthusiastic" movements have arisen in the Christian
world.
282
As a matter of record, the early Christian Church was
very hardly beset by the contagion of old customs and beliefs
from the corrupted religions of the ancient East. The most
developed philosophies of antiquity contained the central con-
cept that the real, inmost self of man, was a spark of God's
life. This had sprung from the persuasion of the ante-
diluvians that God had transfused His Divine into men so that
they were inwardly gods.
233
In time, the Orientals-as for
instance the Hindoos-began to feel that the God they must
seek, was an "inner God." Brahm (God) and Atman (the
soul) were identical. If they could turn their thoughts 111-
2a1 SD 3838ff, 3804e, TCR 138
282
Coro. 45
2as Coro. 38
118
SPIRITS AND MEN
wardly, and know their own souls, they would know God. If
they listened to their souls, they would come to hear the voice
of God! The real source of wisdom was not-they felt-out-
side of them, or from experienced knowledge, but within them,
in an inner light Divine. All the Christian gnostics, mystics
and "Quietists" also sought for illumination from within them-
selves; and when they felt a profound perception, or a vague
"elevation," they were assured that this was the light of "the
Holy Ghost."
The Quaker Movement
The Writings speak of this in connection with the
-Quakers. But there were many enthusiastic spirits in the
other life even before the Quaker movement arose about 1650.
Swedenborg wrote, a century later: "Almost the whole world
of spirits is wicked and enthusiastic, and is sedulously de-
sirous to obsess man."
234
The belief in the falsity that the
Holy Spirit was a separate Divine person laid men particu-
larly open to such infestations. In the spiritual world, such
enthusiastic spirits as believe themselves the Holy Spirit are
held separated from others, and wander about. When
Quakerism commenced, however, there came a powerful call
for such spirits, who then came out of the forest districts
around the world of spirits and obsessed many men. They
infused the persuasion that men were moved by the Holy
Spirit. With some men their influx was sensible, and re-
sulted in a convulsive trembling.
235
For a time, the Quaker
movement went from bad to worse, and the usual effects of
religious hysteria were manifested by secret and hushed up
excesses, into which their "Holy Spirit" led those who gave
no moral resistance.
We know the Quakers as a very peaceful, thrifty people,
23• SD 3781
235
CLJ 83, 84
ENTHUSIASTIC SPIRITS
119
who suffered much unjust persecution in the early periods.
But the Writings give a different side of the picture, a side
which was observable in the other life, where the logic of hu-
man attitudes is finally displayed. George Fox, the founder
of the movement, and William Penn, who settled Pennsyl-
vania, both spoke to Swedenborg in the other world, disavow-
ing such abuses as later occurred.
236
But it is inevitable that
where a conscious leading by spirits is sought by men as the
perfection of life, terrible profanations can arise, in both
worlds, among those who are evil. The description of
Swedenborg's encounter-in the other life--with these ex-
cesses which destroy the sanctity of marriage and abolish the
sacraments and profane them, is such that we cannot even cite
it. What can be stressed, however, is this, that because the
Quakers have no fixed doctrinals of faith, except what they
have confirmed in themselves when the spirits move them,
they have no protection against alien falsities. They read the
Word, and thus accept the Lord about the same as other
Christians. But the Word is subordinated to the interpreta-
tion which is given in their "quiet time" by the private revela-
tion of the "Holy Spirit" within them.
237
Thus they are bound to no doctrine--for what they rely on
finally is "the foner Light." This is clear from their history:
for by degrees the denial of the full Divinity of the Lord Jesus
Christ took a hold on many in the sect, and the movement
called Hicksite Quakers was organized, in 1827; where the
emphasis is laid on Christ only as the chief m e m   e r ~ r head
~ f the spiritual body of the church.
In the spiritual world, no society is formed from Quakers.
They are spiritual nomads. Other spirits cannot explore
them, for they are secretive, reserved in opinion and actions.
They are unwilling to speak of their own doctrinal things, yet
23s CLJ 84 : 2, SD 3814, LJ zs7 CLJ 83ff, SD 375lff, 3762ff,
post. 58 3784£
120
SPIRITS AND MEN
desire to hear the doctrines of others, but as it were surrepti-
tiously, and without either being impressed by them or re-
jecting them. Those not confirmed strongly are brought to-
gether in desert places; but those who are confirmed in the
reliance upon their "Holy Spirits" habitually wander about
in forests in the world of spirits, until judged.
It is the most gross among them who become "enthusiastic
spirits" and are persuaded in the fantasy that they are the
Holy Spirit. These-having no fixed spiritual locality, be-
cause no fixed doctrine-inflow with spirits or with men
wherever there is the awaiting of influx from the Spirit--or
wherever there is a reliance on an "Inner Light." For adop-
tion of this chief principle of the enthusiasts connects man
with enthusiastic spirits, without violating the law that spirits
are attached to man according to his faith.
"Those who are taught by influx what to believe or what
to do, are not taught by the Lord or by any angel of heaven."
"All influx from the Lord takes place by an enlightenment
of the understanding and by an affection of truth, and through
this affection into the understanding."
238
The "Light
Within," about which the Quakers are wont to preach, is not
intellectual light, but a mere obscure luminous something
which does not enlighten at all.
In illustration of the influence of the Quaker principle of
an inner guidance, we may refer to the wide and sudden
spread some decades ago of a non-sectarian movement whose
devotees sit silent, pencil in hand and minds in a blank, wait-
ing for the Holy Spirit to dictate a Divine message as to what
they should do or speak.
Mysticism versus Enlightenment
The New Omrch man knows that there is Divine guid-
ance, or government, in all things of life; and Swedenborg
2as DP 321, SD 3840
ENTHUSIASTIC SPIRITS
121
perceived in a spiritual idea that man "can never be led better
than he is led; so that there are necessities every moment of
his life, and that it was foreseen from eternity and provided
that   and all things tend t_o our_ultimate end, which is to
be parts in the Grand Mat;, that is, in the Lord's kingdom."
2 39
In internals the Lord operates without man's cooperation
-as is plain from the secret processes of bodily growth and
digestion and from the operations of spirits and angels upon
us and the subconscious effects of these in our minds. But
"in externals man is led and taught by the Lord, in all ap-
pearance as if byjlimself." Man is given the rational respon-
sibility of using his best thought and effort to  
in all the circumstances of his life. If he seeks Divine
guidance and Divine light, it is possible for him to find it in
the Word ·of God, and receive it rationally as enlightenment
in the understanding. Man "is led and taught immediately
by the Lord alone when this is done from the Word."
240
Enthusiastic spirits operate very differently with different
men. While clergymen sometimes feel the zeal of their
preaching as Divine inspiration, other men often take a gen-
eral emotional hysteria to be a sign of the stir of the Holy
Spirit. Some again-mostly simple recluses-believe that
any spirit which may address them in the course of their re-
ligious brooding, is the Lord, or the Holy Spirit. To "quiet-
ists," like the Quakers, a bodily trembling and the fancy of an
inner lumen, betokens the presence of the Holy Spirit. And
this is sometimes varied, as in Buchmanism, into the belief
that God indicates to them what to do.
In all these cases, the fact is that spirits operate into man
and persuade him that what is human is Divine. In men who
-by education-are intellectually mature, indoctrinated and
self-disciplined, spirits cannot act so crudely. But if man
believes it possible, spirits are given the power to infuse the
2s9 SD 3114 m DP 174, 172
122
SPIRITS AND MEN
feeling that what he does is from the Holy Spirit or that some
perceptions of his mind are Divine. And Swedenborg re-
cords a meeting-in the other life-with some learned English
priests, who held that faith alone produces good works, man
being devoid of any freedom to do good, except what is meri-
torious.m Faith, they held, produces works through the
Holy Spirit. They believed that "when man feels that opera-
tion, and from a perception of the operation of the Holy Spirit,
does good, then it is good." But if he does not perceive it,
and does good, then, they thought, it is only meritorious, be-
cause man's will is in it.
242
Such was their claim.
If this were true, the Lord could not do good through
man's cooperating will, unless man were conscious of the Holy
Spirit acting through him! Nor could the Lord cause man
to think what is true, except while man felt the Holy Spirit
thinking in his understanding !
The error of the English priests was disturbing to Sweden-
borg, who again and again confutes it. He shows that there
is no reception of good and truth except when man acts and
thinks as of h i m s ~ l   ; yet "the good which is imparted by the
Lord is wrought within him while he does not reflect from
himself upon it; that is, while man remains ignorant of it."
243
This does not mean that man acts from himself or meritori-
ously whenever he acts from the Word. When he obeys the
Lord's commandments he does good from the Lord. And if
all that proceeds from man were to be condemned as meri-
torious, how could the Lord have said that . we would be
judged according to our works ?
244
Through reliance on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
many mystically inclined persons have claimed that their
words are holy and infallible Divine truths, or that their per-
ceptions constitute a private Divine revelation apart from the
2n SD 6002£
242
SD 6104
243
SD 1561
244 TCR 506, 461, comp. 371
ENTHUSIASTIC SPIRITS
123
Word. The German mystic, Jacob Boehme, defined this state
of an inner light which he felt in himself, as "the self-knowl-
edge of God in man." He called the Divine wisdom per-
ceived in such a state, "theosophy." It is the Divinity in man,
not the mortal intellect, he taught, which is in possession of
Divine knowledge.
245
But man cannot rely on any inner light, cannot by any self-
conscious process reach for illustration. Light from the Lord
does not come by making the mind blank or by placing our
God-given faculties at the disposal of nomadic spirits who are
on the look-out for an empty mind. Light comes from truths
-from the Divine truth revealed in the Word.
Therefore we read : "Illustration is from the Lord. Per-
ception is with man according to the state of his mind, formed
by doctrinals; if these are true, the perception becomes clear
from the light which illustrates ; but if they are false, the per-
ception becomes obscure, which, however, may appear as if
clear, from confirmations; but this is from the light of in-
fatuation, which to merely natural sight is like clearness."
246
Illustration is from the Lord alone. Yet it is still effected
by the mediation of spirits and angels, and by the introduction
of man's mind-although he is not sensibly aware of it-into
association with such spiritual societies as are in light.
24 7
For
spiritual light, which in its essence is the Divine wisdom,
enters man's understanding as far as, from knowledges, he
has the faculty of perceiving it. It "does not pass through
spaces, like the light of the world, but through the affections
and perceptions of truth, thus in an instant to the last limit
of the heavens. . . • "
248
And we are now assured that "the
time is coming when there will be enlightenment."
249
20 See Personal Christianity 246 TCR 155
. ... The Doctrines of Jacob 24 7 DLW 150
Boehme. A compilation by Franz 248 CLJ 14
Hartmann {New York: Macoy 249 AC 4402e
Pub!. C.O., 1919)
x
"The very hairs of your
head are all numbered."
Matthew 10 : 30
Spiritual Causes of Fortune
There is No Blind Chance
As was pointed out in another chapter, man is not respon-
sible for all his general states. A child is not responsible for
his childishness, and no adult can be blamed for having passed
into maturity or old age. Neither can any arguments or any
deliberate effort bring a woman into the state of a man or a
wife into the state of her girlhood. Whenever our bodies
grow tired after a day of activity, our minds inevitably come
into new states, less strenuous; until we sink into oblivion of
all cares, and spirits of a celestial type environ us.
How little we are (at least consciously) responsible for
certain of our general states, seems to be clear from that which
is called "fortune" or "luck." Men commonly blame many
of their disappointments on "bad luck," or ascribe their wind-
falls to a lucky chance. But the Writings declare to us that
f
there is no such thing as blind chance. For the Divine pro-
J
vidence operates :_ven in the least and most
stances of our lives, and thus "in the most smgular mgs of
man's actions."
250
It is easy to see that the real causes behind man's general
states lie in the presence with him of spirits of different types,
I { and thus in the   mediations which modif the
influx of the Lord's life into men. e can also see that evil
- -
spirits could lead men into many kinds of accidents and mis-
fortunes. Swedenborg records that such spirits at times
caused his feet to stumble, and that they were responsible for
2so DP 212
124
SPIRITUAL CAUSES OF FORTUNE 125
certain slips and errors in his manuscript. Not that they ac-
tually willed such particular results-a thing which they en-
tirely.denied-but that they in a state of ignorance
and obscurity which led to the errors. The common evil
which flowed from the self-love of these spirits naturally pro-
duced such effects ! Certain spirits, by their arts, have a spe-
cial skill to produce a sphere from which unfortunate circum-
stances naturally flowed in a way which wholly resembled
pure chance. Such spirits do not foresee the misfortunes they
cause with a man, but they are nevertheless punished  
ducin such s heres from an effort to be destructive.
251
"Un-
---------------
foreseen misfortunes are nothing else than _the erpetual en-
deavors of evil spirits . . . and unforeseen goods come forth
from- the LOrd. This appears incredible; but still it is so."
252
"They who trust in the Lord continually receive good from
Him." For whatever happens, whether it appears as pros-
perous or not, is still good for them, conducing to their eternal
happiness. But with the wicked the unforeseen goods which
come from the Lord are turned into an evil effect.
253
Swedenborg comments that it seems in<:iedible that spirits
should be the cause of misfortunes. Yet it may seem still
more incredible that even the course of what is called "a streak
of luck" in cards, dice-games, etc., is interme iate tlirough
the- sirliiial world. "Hardly any thiS.--But
spirits convinced Swedenborg that the turns of fortune in a
game of dice could be predicted by them from the unfailing J
appearance of certain signs-a dark cloud about him if he was
to lose, a white one if he was to win !
254
The "dark cloud"
was of course not the cause of the misfortune ; but it was a
spiritual manifestation or representation of the state in which
he was-a state which because of his own needs permitted him
261 AC 6493, SD 2372, SD min.
258
AC 8480
4784 ( 4758m) (2si)Ac 6493f
252 SD min. 4784, SD 4137f, 456t"""
126
SPIRITS AND MEN
to immerse himself into a natural series of events which in
their very nature would lead to "bad luck."
- Seemingly there i s less determined beforehand
than the outcome of a lottery or the fall of a pair of dice. The
only predictable factor in the fall of the dice seems to be a
definite ratio of probabilities which in the long run is almost
fixed, but which leaves the outcome of each single throw in
uncertainty. There appear to be certain natural laws which
limit the uncertainties and operate to balance the probabilities.
And the more we analyze a situation, the clearer it becomes
(
that to an   but that for the
sake of man's freedom-it is not given him to see all the con-
tributing contingencies or all the operations even of the natu-
ral laws involved. Swedenborg learned things about this
which he was forbidden to make known.
256
Providence in the Ultimate of Order
"Chance" is defined in the Writings as the operation or
influx of the Divine providence into "the ultimate of order,
i;-which illthlngs inconstant."
256
The Lord rules, and has always ruled, human minds, and
thus the heavens and the hells, from primes through ultimates.
In the ultimates of the world we may observe a fixed and con-
stant order founded on space and time. We find orderly
changes and progressions over which man has no power, and
inevitable chains of cause and effect which will and thought
cannot budge. Untold subatomic units moving ceaselessly
at random without any purpose are gathered into great mass-
actions which apparently have both order and use and which
fall under the inexorable cycles of changes and of seasons.
Countless data of knowledge without seeming order or con-
nection are gathered into man's mind. Yet in the view of
255 DP 212 26a AC 6493, comp. DP 212
SPIRITUAL CAUSES OF FORTUNE 127
man's rational mind they may be arranged into categories and
classifications which reveal a purpose or a law. One can ex-
amine the scattered details by themselves, and see only blind
chance and chaos in their "comparative inconstancies." Or
one can behold the ordered movements and groupings as a
whole in their constant recurrence and static presentation, and
see therein an evidence of Divine government and providence
which "by things constant and things inconstant deals-;onacr-
fully with   prudence and yet conceals itself."
257
So
far a;-   see:   and regular effects- of natural
law by which Providence operates in the ultimates of its com-
plex order, are not disturbed in favor of man. Despite the
varied states of the human mind the seasons of summer an,d
winter come and go in their independent and fixed routine.
The sun shines on the evil and on the good. The rain falls
on the just and on the unjust. It is as if the life of man has
been fitted into a set of disciplinary circumstances of external
law or into a general fixed mould of natural routine in time
and space.
If the Lord rules our minds from ultimates, it would seem-
ingly be a contradiction to say that fortune and chance de-
pended on the kind of spirits which are with man. But, ac-
tually, spirits need certain kinds of ultimates, depending on
their states. And in various ways, hidden to man, they lead
him through his own affections to seek such correspondent
ultimates. In the apparent inconstancies and details of nature
there is a profusion of correspondent foci. According as man
places undue value on external objects or objectives,
he becomes a source of delight for either good or evil spirits.
Their sphere affects him. He steps into an unknown and
uncontrollable stream of events. Evil spirits would then dis-
tract his attention from truthful circumstances and would find
a way of avoiding the order and purpose of the whole by tak-
2n DP 212
128
SPIRITS AND MEN
ing the parts and constructing out of them a series or order of
their own-an order conducive to "ill luck" or apparent mis-
fortune.
What we know as the laws of nature are formulations of
the series of physical causes and effects from the cumulative
experience of human observers; although actually natural laws
should be regarded as the effects of spiritual laws. Men are
apt to think of the government of Providence from the picture
which they have of nature, in which one thing occasions an-
other in a chain of fixed "necessities." To counter this view-
point, the Writings record some conversations which Sweden-
borg had with angels and spirits.
258
He tells of certain spirits
who, knowi'ng that the Lord leads men through apparent
necessities,
259
had the idea of a preordained fate or absolute
necessity by which the entire life is necessity, so that even the
Lord was bound by necessity. But since this idea of the Di-
vine was colored by our concepts of human necessities, atten-
tion was called to the fact that man has freedom, and he who
acts from freedom of choice is not under necessity; the very
idea of choice implies this. There converge many circum-
stances-"contingencies" or happenings-which can carry
man in opposite directions. The moments of a man's life are
like pebbles which a man scatters at pleasure, from freedom
rather than from any necessity. Yet the Lord foresees the
form in which man will eventually arrange his life, and His
providence is in every single detail, "but not according to such
an order as man proposes to himself." From the Divine fore-
sight the Lord sees the relationships between the "pebbles"-
as an architect sees the design behind a heap of building mate-
rials-and fills in what is lacking, to provide for consequences
a thousand years later. "All the things which are from the
258 AC 6479-6494, SD min. 4692 25
9
SD 2628--2630
SPIRITUAL CAUSES OF FORTUNE 129
Lord are most essential, but they do not follow in order from
necessity, but in application to the freedom of man."
260
Thus the Lord "foresees with an unceasing accommoda-
tion" how man as it were leads himself.
261
Every change and
variation in the human mind produces a change in the series
of things that follow, and this progressively to eternity. But
the drift of all the sequences of human states which man de-
termines, would go far wide of the goal of creation "if the
Lord did not lead the states of human minds every least
moment"-and this spirits and angels. This leading
is secret and does not interfere with human prudence or
choice, but is "accommodated" to man's free agency. For
each single thing which man does, sees, or thinks, the Lord
does and sees infinite things. On the surface, the history £f
the race and the life of each man and each church seems to be
determined by human decisions. If it were not so, man might
just as well not     would have no sense of accom-
plishment, no incentive either to will or to think, still less to
work or take responsibility. But the Lord acts to correct
human mistakes, through unforeseeable things. He acts
through heaven, mediately, and also immediately from Him-
self, not only into the will and thought of man, with or without
man's consent, "but also at the same time into the many things
which befall him."
262
These "contingent" things, or provi-
dential circumstances, are the means by which the Lord, from
His infinite resources, supplies the links between the moments
of human decision, and by which He fills in the interstices
which man has not thought of !
Yet man speaks of "chance." We do not believe that
spirits have any power over nature or nature's laws. They
did not even know beforehand how the dice would fall at
Swedenborg's backgammon table. But such is the inscrutable
260 AC 6486£, SD min. 4692
261 DP 202e
2
62
AC 6480
130
SPIRITS AND MEN
intricacy and detail of the Providence of God, that the "white
cloud" of good fortune or the "dusky cloud" of warning are
tokens before spirits of His foreknowledge of the chances
which shall befall; unpredictable events into which He permits
a man to be led for eternal reasons which look to the needs of
spirits and also to the needs of the man-lest he should be-
come the prey of morose disappointment, or lest he should
come to rely on his "luck" rather than on his reason and his
labor.
XI
"Love not the world, nor
the things that are in the
world . . . For all that is
in the world-the lust of
the flesh, and the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of
life-is not of the Father
. . . And the world pas-
seth away and the lust
thereof."
John's First Epistle
2: 15-17
rrCuticular Spirits" and rrSirens"
It is impossible even to classify the various spirits who in-
ject evil enticements of different kinds. But two types are
described in the Writings and these may serve as examples.
263
Cuticular Spirits
Swedenborg once became aware of the predominance of
certain spirits from the province in the Grand Man which
answers to the cuticle or the surface of the skin. And it was
then shown him what the state is of a person "who takes an
excessive care of his skin, which is the same as to have his
mind ruled by such spirits." "When a man is in this state,
he is withheld from all useful endeavors (studio), and at the
same there is insinuated into--liim a distaste for doing
anything real, so that there is a certain reaction and- conse-
quent repugnance against any project, whether in civil or
moral life or in matters of faith and and whether in
deed or in thought. For he is held back from these, while at
the same time certain blasphemies against them are insinuated
into him. . . . " There is then a distaste for anything in-
teri_g_r __Q!"  

-
263 SD 1743 2si SD 1744, 1746, AC 4054
131
132
SPIRITS AND MEN
"Cuticular spirits" flock cajolingly around those who place
their delight in the appearance or in the sensations and de-
lights of the skin, and draw them away from any good or es-
sential work. Such people are called "delicate" and "fasti-
dious," placing life in daintiness, culture, refinement, and
judging all things by aesthetic standards rather than by their
morai, civil, and spfritu.tl values. And so naturally their
tendency is also to "place their wisdom . . . in being able
elegantly to vituperate or refute the doctrine of an internal
man .. .. "2as
It is difficult for a man to guess the tremendous forces of
evil that are sometimes present around him, laboring to estab-
lish their power by what appears as relatively innocent habits.
Evil spirits can hide themselves   turn-
ing these goods gradually to a sinful or shameful end; with a
view to exclude spiritual and celestial spheres from the mmd
and to fill it wi th worldliness or with externals. - All of us
find a number of good things to do jus to make life pleasant
and safe for ourselves and our families-e-;u)ugh tofill our day
without taking time out to r-ea.d-Uie Word or to enjoy a while
of worship and meditation before the family shrine. _It is a
question of Martha versus Mary.
The superficial uses of life, which regard the introduction
of grace and beauty and soft comforts into the home and the
society, are in themselves good. But they the
cuticle, t!!._e sca!:f of that eternal body of human uses
which doctrine calls -"the Grand Man." Their proper func-
tion is to introduce, to contain, and to defend interior things.
And when there is an equilibrium with other obligations, and
they are pliably disposed to serve interior uses, then onl are
the enuine and in their place;
2
&a-Tremendoils group°'50f
good and salvable spirits therefore belong to the province of
the skin. And their character varies widely.
2as SD 1746ff
268
SD 1749
CUTICULAR SPIRITS AND SIRENS 133
In relation to heaven as a whole, the spirits who come from
our planet mostly serve the function that is described by that
of the skin, the membranes and external senses of the Grand
Man. Thus their uses have to do with the sciences which are
 
based on sensual observation.
267
Yet this does not mean that
the spirits of our eartncannot "easily come into the interior
and inmost heaven after their exteriors have been devastated."
And some can serve as "ministries for the instruction of others
who have no knowledges from revelation" such as our Word
provides.
268
Among those who come to constitute the skins,
cartilages and bones of the Grand Man are also many gentiles
who while on earth could not be reached by the Gospel. The
modest uses which these perform after death still give them
the highest joy of which they are capable.
269
All spirits of the province of the skin are comparatively
external in type. Since they have no extension of mind, they
are mostly easily deceived. Some are devoid of perception
and only want to argue about everything, and always from the
appearances of the senses.
270
Being in relatively little of spir-
itual life, such spirits dwell in the entrances or fore-courts of
heaven.
271
The "Sirens," and Interior Obsessions
Depraved skin-spirits are all in the desire to possess man's
whole life. If it were possible, such spirits would fain cast
out man's own spirit, and enter instead. But this can, of
course, be done only in fantasy, for man's spirit is his interior
organism which cannot be changed for another.
272
The only type of obsession possible at this day is called
"interior obsession." Bodily obsession of healthy individuals
261 SD 1736ff, 1741, 1531, 4782, 210 AC. 1385, 4046
AC 9107, 9360, 8630 211 AC 6402 5553£
20s SD 1531 212 SD 1750: 4420
269 DP 254: 3, 4
134
SPIRITS AND MEN
by spirits, such as occurred in the time of the Lord, has not
l
been permitted since; although something similar apparently
takes place in insanity (which is a physical disorder) and with
"mediwns" who invite a control by spirits. The things of
the body have been exempted from the particular influx of
spirits and angels and are instead ruled by a general influx.
273
There are indeed spirits (or societies) allotted to the office of
ruling the body, but these-like the man-are unaware that
they do so. But if spirits should inflow to rule man's mem-
bers without such an appointment, and so "that they are quite
aware that they are there," this would constitute a bodily ob-
session. 274 The spirit would then take possession of all man's
senses, speak through his mouth and act through his limbs.
In ancient times there were spirits abroad in the world of
spirits who could in that way actually possess men's bodies,
which took place by an influx which caused not only en-
deavors, but acts. Such spirits are now all confined to their
hells. Yet the desire to obsess men is still present with many
kind_s of evil spirits, especially the cruel, a;d
the     type;
210
-
Among these are the "sirens," so called because they al-
lure the unwary. They obsess man's interiors through his
exteriors.
276
Such sirens are both male and female, but are
mostly women who on earth were distinguished and esteemed,
having lived in fair externals and in elegance--in which alone
they delighted.
277
They are bound by a regard for decorum
and apparent propriety which- had influenced them more than
but wflen acting among themselves, their external
bonds are relaxed. Their influx is especially destructive of
conjugial love and tends to loosen the bonds of marriage and
27SAC 5990
274 SD 2659, 2277ff
215 HH 257, AC 5990, SD 2665,
4668
21e SD 3716
211 AC 1983, SD 3716ff, 4420,
4448£
CUTICULAR SPIRITS AND SIRENS 135
insinuate what is obscene and voluptuous. The main delight
of the sirens is to obsess man and thus as it were return into
the world.
278
With remarkable obstinacy they attempt to in-
sinuate their fantasies even while which
( describes. They present themselves in a beauty
almost angelic, naked (in order to suggest innocence) , and
C2!J.tort like with the view of breaking down
any internal bonds of conscience.
279
They labor to come into
the very senses of man, especially into the sense of taste
(which is however forbidden), and cause an itch in the skin.
280
They try to put on the external memory and imagination of
man, to obsess and hold it for themselves, clothing their de-
signs by whatever of knowledge and cognition they find.
And their power is such that can identify themselves with
good-affections and inflow approvingly into the ideas of wnat
is holy and innocent and even doctrinal. In that way tE_ey
stjm_!!late   is good and true and retain the pretext of what
is honorable, while all the time they strive to obsess man's in-
teriors. They do not so much disturb the exteriors of man's
mind, as his interiors. They of
follow it for a 2"hile, _and then ffiey to iead it.
We cannot refrain from suggesting that it is the hells of
the sirens that are the real source of much of the literature
and drama of today which flood the mind with prurient ·and
profane imagery under the pretense of "realism" or "art" ;
hovering on the brink of the forbidden, making mock of inno-
cence and marriage and the sanctities of human life, or in-
sinuating contempt for the Lord and the Word under the
guise of   This is the modem form or
obsession.
Man is of course ignorant of the interior obsession which
results from such spheres of thought. But Swedenborg testi-
218 SD 4668, AC 5990
210 SD 3717
280 AC 4793£, SD 3567
136
SPIRITS AND MEN
fies, "This is the obsession which exists at this day."
is an "incredible multitude" of obsessing spirits, "mostl from
the church." Their power over other spirits was such, he
writes, that "unless the Lord should deliver the world of
spirits from such, scarcely any good spirits could be inthat
world withoutbeing led captive by them."
them to modern _Ne hilim, becaus_e of the terrible sphere of
  they emit. They could only with difficu it)r
be dislodged from the world of spirits.
with 0r_ough sim le s irits who relate to man's external
thought; and through these tht!y   into man's thoughts
and them, 7so that, bein internal, they the
take y ossession of men ; and men cannot be de-
fended from them at all, except by the Lord."
281
At the last judgment the sirens were confined in their
hells. But continually new spirits of the same type enter the
other life from the earth, and especially from the "civilized"
world. And for our admonition the seer was prompted to
write:
"-Whether mariy persons are at this day thus obsessed may
. . . be inferred from this : Let a man examine himself as to
whether he is in any internal bond so that his thoughts abhor
and turn away with loathing [from evil], and he suffers him-
self- inwardly or as to the thoughts- to abstain in some way
from the most wicked, unmentionable, and obscene things; or
whether it is merely which detain him.'' Man
may then find out whether he is struck with shame and fear
and recoils in horror from the thought of such evil, or whether,
if fear of the law and public opinion were removed, he would
desire to do it. For if the latter is the case, "then he is
inwardly obsessed by such sirens." "Let a man thoroughly
ponder whether he is of such a quality, for he is now able to
know !"
282
251 SD 4594ff, 4573 282 SD 3714, 3716, 3717
CUTICULAR SPIRITS AND SIRENS 137
This is the purpose of these revelations of the Second Ad-
vent. "Man is now able to know." He is able to know that
when his thought is led into evil, this is the direct result of
' sririts who belong in- hell and who must be el_!!ertamedm
( the human mi!J.d. But such though!s-entering as they do
even through innocent channels-are not    
by him if he acknowledges their source and
pra s to t!:ie Lord for deliverance. - - -
XII
Dreams
"So He giveth His be-
loved in sleep."
Psalm 127 : 2
The Blessing of Sleep
The stream of man's conscious life is intermittent, broken
by recurring lapses into the unconscious state of sleep, from
which he wakens with a new vigor of mind and body, in a new
state and with a new start. The state of yesterday is still with
us in the morning, as a memory that calls to us for a resump-
tion of our duties or our routine; but it does not bind us en-
tirely. Much is happily forgotten, and the thought of the
burden and the heat of yesterday is not so oppressively pres-
ent. Gradually we pick up the threads of former thoughts,
discarding much that is unimportant.
It might seem as if our life was cut up into disjointed seg-
ments by these periods of sleep. But nothing is lost from our
mind. The stream of consciousness has simply found rest in
a limpid pool where its waters are clarified for its further
progress. It is the conscious mind-the self-directed thought
-that is affected by the apparent death of sleep. "Love does
not sleep," we read in the Arcana Coelestia.
283
The affec-
\ tiO'ns;jhe subconscious yearnings, instincts, and
) will a   of the whole personallty-. - Man
I wakes the same man. And through the miracle of memory
he has still at his disposal all his past experience and knowl-
edge.
The function of sleep is so important that even the angels,
in their evening states, find comfort and refreshment in slum-
25s AC 1983
138
DREAMS
139
her. For their bodies and their minds-though both spiritual
-are yet finite, and all finite things have limits of endurance.
Man's body, during the day, is largely governed by the
caprice of his own will, by his voluntary decisions, which are
not always rational. If man could know the exact degree of
strain which each part of his body could bear without injury,
he might avoid some of the abuses to which he actually ex-
poses his organism. But even so there would be need for re-
laxation of body and brain and for a restoral of equilibrium
after every sustained exertion.
In his philosophical works, Swedenborg offers an explana-
tion of the physiology of sleep. He states that man's con-
scious will (or voluntary) resides in the or anterior
part of the brain, and that deliberate action is initiated from
the "cortical glands" there. These brain-cells, by extending
fibres, govern all the muscles of the limbs and of the skeletal
frame, and force the body into motion and position. The
or hind-brain, on the other hand, has control of all
the viscera and their internal workings, quite independently
of man's will and unbeknown to his consciousness. The
also causes "antagonistic" muscles to counterpoise,
makes smooth the workings of the muscles controlled by the
cerebrum, and restores the natural equilibrium of forces which
the will has disturbed. In wakefulness, the cere-
bellum is relatively overruled and not active to its fullest ex-
tent. But in sleep, which comes over a man when the abused
fibres of body and brain are no longer responsive to his will,
the little cells of the cerebrum become relaxed. They are
then isolated from the contmual stream of subtle nourishment
which is offered them through the arteries ; so that they no
longer receive the     which they otherwise reno-
vate and propel into the fibres. They continue indeed to re-
ceive, for their own future need, constant supplies of
Swedenborg calls "etherial chyle" through the "corporeal
140
SPIRITS AND MEN
fibres" ; and the inmost circulation of the "spirituous fluid" -
the soul's own vice-regent---continues J3Utthe con-
nections between the various glands and between the cortex
and the body, are temporarily broken. And thus there are
but slight muscular motions and no voluntary action. Sensa-
tions cannot reach the seat of consciousness, and the sceptre of
the body is handed over to the

In sleep, therefore, the soul, acting through
restores the order of nature. Acting by involu;;tary fibres it
mends the broken or strained tissues, reestablishes a balance
in the metabolism of the cells of the whole body, and improves
the spontaneity of the various organs.
285
The Arcana states that "the cerebellum is awake in time
of sleep when the cerebrum   "The Lord guards
man with most especial care during his sleep," for without
( sleep "the human race would perish.'' In sleep, the Lord
} Himself watches even over His enemies and does them
) good.
287
He loves all, and "He giveth His beloved in
sleep.''288
Sleep bears a certain likeness to death. In sleep man re-
tires from the world and its anxieties and departs from all his
fellowmen. His senses being inactive, he not only becomes
oblivious to the fixed world about him, but his memory of it
also sinks into quiescence. Up to a certain point, physical
pain and states of emotion which stir up his blood may prevent
such a retirement. But when he finally gives way to sleep, he
enters a world without sense of time and indifferent to space.
Even as the angels of the are celestial in fype,
wf1om tlie a_ppoi_J].ts_ to guard man
284 See especially n. 79 of the
work on The Braiti (London,
1882), which is from Codex 58.
Compare also AC 1977: 2, SD
3183, 4518
285 AC 9683, SD 4237
28a AC 1977, SD 3183
281 AC 959, SD · 3231, 3681,
4420, 4236ff
288 Psalm 127: 2, Jewish Publ.
Society version, 1917 ·
DREAMS 141
in They are in fact angelic spirits of the province of
for perceives the states of the
body by an "involuntary sense." It is their duty to prevent
evil spirits from infesting man during his slumbers-a duty
which they perform with the greatest delight, so that there is a
rivalry among them as to who should be present. Oply
l   lovei
) to make the_ life_ of others ci_e}ightfEl," are
eligible to serve such offices after death.
289
The World of Dreams
Sleep is a state of unconsciousness. Yet there are certain
factors--conditions which we cannot catalogue-which cause
the return of consciousness in a strange and partial way. "To
sleep--perchance to dream." The natural memory may be
aroused in a new manner, and man comes into that state on
the borderland of the unconscious which we call the world of
dreams: a strange world of fancy, built up from the broken
fragments of experience into sequences which defy the logic
by which we discipline our conscious thinking.
The fact of this dream-world has ever fascinated men.
Primitive peoples saw in it a sign that there- existed another
world-a world of "doubles"-which they mostly confused
with the spiritual world itself, but in which they saw them-
selves as actors. For in dreams the spirit of man seems to
be released from the body to wander abroad in wider fields.
The ancients also attached special meanings to their dreams,
seeing obscure warnings and predictions in the jumbled recol-
lections of t11eir nocturnal experiences. Plato believed that
our dreams gave us intimations of the various appetites and
instincts which lay hidden in our nature; including bestial
desires which the self-rebuke of reason kept out of our con-
2s9 AC 1977
142
SPIRITS AND MEN
sciously directed thoughts, but which were given free rein
during sleep.
290
And in these modern days the Platonic view
has again become the vogue. Dr. Sigmund Freud of Vienna
founded upon it a new school of psycho-therapy, by analyzing
the repressed longings and forgotten fears of the "subcon-
scious mind" from the dreams in which these secret emotions
reveal themselves in symbolic forms . The fact that Dr. Freud
cynically traced all such emotions to a sexual origin does not
take away all truth from Plato's sage observations, nor does it
lessen the value of further studies along this line.
Indeed, behind all these traditional views of dreams there
lies a substratum of truth. Dreams do touch the fringe of the
spiritual world. Dreams do at times have a prophetic burden
or some special significance. Dreams occasionally reveal to
man some of the longings and delights that are submerged and
repressed in the depths of his being. Robsahm writes in his
memoirs: "I asked Swedenborg whether, in our times, it was
worth while to pay attention to dreams; upon which he an-
swered that the Lord no longer at the present day makes
revelations by dreams, but that nevertheless it may happen
that one who understands correspondences may derive ad-
vantage from his dreams; just as a person who is awake may
examine his own state by comparing his own will with God's
commandments.''
291
This account by Robsahm cannot be taken as entirely cor-
rect, but is none the less interesting when we consider that in
the period when Swedenborg's spiritual faculties were first
being opened he kept a private record of his dreams and of
the interpretations that he put upon them. He instinctively
felt that his dreams were--like his commencing visions--sig-
nificative and symbolic. In his humility he did not spare
290 See Phaedrus 571-2, cited by Philosophy," New York, 1926, p.
Will Durant in his "Story of 33

1
Docu. n. 5 : 32
DREAMS
143
himself in these interpretations. Yet it may be questioned
whether he as yet knew the science of correspondences suf-
ficiently to make those dreams more than the background for
his own perceptions about his state while he was grasping for
some indications of the work into which the Lord was leading
him. (See his Journal of 1744).
That dreams, whether they are orderly or incoherent, are
significant is as true as that the whole world is a theater rep-
resentative of uses. Everything in both worlds, and in both
body and mind, is symbolic of the forces at work-could we
but know what these are. In the Writings these forces are
described. And it appears from the teachings that no blame
is attached to man for things occurring during sleep. For
then man relinquishes his command. His will, or proprium,
is taken away, and his natural understanding is laid asleep.
292
In dreams, his "spiritual sight" is helpless and irresponsible
and therefore usually quite impersonal, while the contents of
his memory are being reconstructed into vivid imagery and
into situations which symbolize states that are not his own,
but which belong to spirits, and perhaps to angels, who are
with him.
"Such stuff as dreams are made on
11
comes from the man.
Nothing actually new-never before seen or felt-comes
through dreams. But because man's internal sight then is
only a beholder,
292
and man not really a responsible actor, the
most strange and impossible situations usually cause him no
surprise, the most ridiculous happenings cause no amuse-
ment, terrors may cause no fear. His memory may retain the
dream in part, or he may-like Nebuchadnezzar-be unable
to remember it. When an emotion, such as fear or shame, is
felt in a dream, the man on waking need not take any respon-
sibility for it. The thing is a matter of record, but not a part
292 SD 498, comp. AE 706: 3
144
SPIRITS AND MEN
of his nature. In other words, if his external memory retains
an impress of the dream, yet his internal memory, his interior
thought and affection, has felt no influx and received no stain.
Paradisal Dreams
We have been treating of dreams in general. But the
Writings tell us that there are at least three distinct kinds of
dreams, or dreatns from three sources.
293
The first type is a dream which comes from the Lord Him-
self, either immediately or mediately through heaven.
294
Such were the prophetic dreams mentioned in the Word.
This is a form of Divine revelation. Thus an angel was filled
with the Divine to the exclusion of his own proprium and
consciousness, and appeared in a dream to a prophet on earth,
clothing ·himself in the mental imagery of the man's external
memory and, thus seen, impressed the man with a series of
representations which were adopted as t he direct symbols of
the Lord's Divine truth. Such dream-visions sometimes con-
veyed to the prophet's mind an external significance, as for
instance a prediction of some future event. But the spii-itual
meaning of dreams was seen only by internal men such as the
people ·of the most ancient church.
295
One class of dreams stands by itself, although it somewhat
resembles the prophetical. We refer to a dream in which the
Lord was seen by Swedenborg. The actual call to his mission
had occurred in a state of vision.
296
But in the Diary he
jotted down the following remarkable memorandum: "The
Lord was seen by me in a dream with the face and form in
which He was in the world. It was such that it was in-
teriorly full and thus so that He could rule the whole heaven
293 AC 1976, SD 3877
294 SD 3877, AC 1976, 5091,
4682
295 See SD 3382, AC 1745, 6212
296 Jour., Apr. 6-7, July 1-2,
1744; comp. WE 3557 ; SD 397,
Docu. n. 5: 15
DREAMS
145
within. . .. And He often as it were slept with His eyes
when He was inwardly within Himself. . . . And it was said
that such had been His appearance. In a word, He was full
of heaven and the Divine. (The night between Nov. 18 and
19, 1751)."Z9
7
The second kind of dream comes through angelic spirits
who from an ardor·for the happiness of others serve as guard-'
ians over those who sleep. These angels are at the entrance
of those heavenly "paradises" which to the angels represent
only celestial and spiritual things, but which spirits delight in
for their own sake. These paradises appear in the externals
of heaven, or are created there when angels of a superior
heaven converse together intellectually about truths of wisdom
and faith. The angelic spirits in question love to affect a
man who is asleep and thus receptive, with the enjoyable and
delightful things which they see . in his affection and genius.
They arouse from the dreamer's mind beautiful and pleasant
representations which refresh him with tranquil charm. But
Swedenborg observed that they did not themselves know
whence such beautiful presentations came to them "all in a
moment," except that they came "from heaven." Nor is it
orderly that they should know the man whom they are watch-
ing over.
298
Presumably all men, when asleep, have such heavenly
guardians, more or less distantly present. Yet the statement
is that these are "entrusted with the duty of watching over
certain men"-as if all were not equally favored. And this
suggests that the Lord may have a particular concern about
those in this world who perform more eminent or responsible
uses; whose reliance on the spiritual reserves of the ·other
world and of the subconscious processes of the mind must be
greater. Such men, by day, enjoy the illustration of their
201 SD min. 4831 ( 4791m) m AC 1977
146
SPIRITS AND MEN
use, which comes from their being spiritually present in the
societies of such use in the other world. But at night their
reserve powers must be filled up, and this by the angels of
s l ~ e p  
Dreams such as are induced by these angelic spirits ac-
tually originate in angelic discourse-in conversations be-
tween angels on spiritual subjects. The order of the angelic
ideas is at once presented in the world of spirits in representa-
tives of great variety, differently in every group of spirits that
is affected. Thus with Swedenborg and the spirits asso-
ciated with him as a man-spirits who were using his memory
-the forms of the dream which resulted were shaped accord-
ing to his memory and his general affection. From the same
spiritual origin can thus arise dreams totally different, yea,
opposite. For what may cause joy to one man, may to others
call up tedium and nausea, shame or horror.
299
The reason
for this lies in the universal spiritual law that no influx from
spirits or angels can introduce new persuasions or alter the
faith or memory of spirit or man.
On some occasions, Swedenborg related his dreams to the
angelic spirits who caused them, and they recognized in his
mental pictures and states the correspondential representa-
tions of their own conversation.
300
Yet he also saw the di-
versified dreams caused in various spirits from the same
origin, and confessed that it could never be known from the
natural imagery of their dreams what the spiritual influx in-
volved or contained; and he suggests that the influx was not
always strictly "an influx by correspondences." The imagery
was not purely correspondential. Yet it was representative.
Strictly speaking, "correspondences" are true creative rela-
tions of cause and effect, the same everywhere. So for in-
stan<:e, light corresponds to truth and heat to love-always.
But the objects of the dreams represented different things to
299 AC 1980, SD 4151ff
300
AC 1980£
DREAMS
147
different spirits; for every man clothes familiar objects with
a sphere of ideas and a meaning all his own. The things of
man's affection as well as his memory invite dreams of vary-
ing type. But in his dreams the objects are arranged with
reference to the angelic ideas which inflow-thus as symbols
of their corresponding states, symbols which indeed represent,
but do not correspond ; and which mean one thing to the
angels, and quite another to the man. Only the angels could
recognize the relation of the dream to their own ideas.
301
We
may doubt, therefore, whether New Church men will ever
attempt to become interpreters of dreams ; although-strange
to say-one of the very first volumes in the vast collateral
literature of the New Omrch was entitled "Oneiromancy !"
302
But its anonymous author merely used the science of corres-
pondences as a guide for interpreting the bewildering phe-
nomena of the world of dreams.
The dreams introduced by angelic spirits contain within
them the order of heaven, even if man cannot discern it. Nor-
mally the dreams they induce are pleasant, sweet, and peace-
ful; but with the man they may also be turned into warnings,
as is often done on some other planets when men fall into evil.
Such dreams can be induced not only upon men, but even
upon spirits. Swedenborg relates a strange thing-that
while he was among the cerebellar spirits as a spirit, he also
was able, repeatedly, to introduce dreams into a sleeper.
303
He checked the experiment with the man upon whom he had
acted-which spirits can, of course, not do. Yet men also can
impose dreams upon their fellow-men, by using hypnotic
methods.
301 SD 4152, AC 1980
302 Oneiromantien. An anony-
mous work variously attributed to
the Rev. 0. P. Fredell or-from
internal evidence-to C. F. Nor-
denskjold
30s SD 3181
148
SPIRITS AND MEN
Dreams Induced by Spirits
The third type of dreams spoken of in the Writings is not
produced through angels, but through the spirits who are near
man while he sleeps.
304
Such dreams are also significative,
for the influx calls forth from man's memory such things as
have a special significance, but a significance to the spirits, not
to the man.
Angels produce dreams that please, because they take care
that what they draw forth should be associated with delight
in the man's mind. They look for such ultimates in man be-
cause they always consider first the freedom of man, and lead
him only so far as his own affections respond. But spirits in
the world of spirits are not so considerate. Fortunately they
have no power to harm man while he sleeps, although they
use his mind as their own. But if they could, they would ex-
clude everything from a man's waking life which is not in line
with their own delights. They would impose their own will
upon him and sometimes desire to obsess him utterly-:-and if
he should then resist them they would seek to destroy him.
For this reason spirits who are with men are kept quite ig-
norant of the fact. They know not the man, but believe that
they think quite independently of men. Yet they think and
converse among themselves by using the ideas of the men with
whom they are associated; and- as has been pointed out re-
peatedly- the spirits most closely adjoined to a man assume
his whole memory and think themselves to be the man. They
become so' immersed in man's attitudes and meri10ry that they
may even impersonate him in the other world-look like him
in dress and demeanot. Each man has at least one such
"consociate spirit."
805
When a spirit is asleep, good spirits can act through him.
It is therefore provided that when a man falls asleep, his closer
304 AC 1976 ao5 TCR 137
DREAMS
149
attendant spirits will also fall asleep, since the memory of the
man then becomes inactive. If the spirits are evil they are
indeed compelled to sleep, for as long as they are awake, man's
affections are being stimulated.
306
The state of a man's ruling
love would not be disturbed, but he would no longer be recep-
tive of the influx from the society closest to his inner delights,
but would remain conscious of the irritations and anxieties of
his external mind so that sleep would be impossible.
But while the attendant spirits dwelling in his superficial
spheres of thought fall asleep along with the man, other spirits,
more distant from the ordinary states of his life, may still ex-
ert their influence upon him. They have indeed no power to
stir up his interior thought or affection ; for if they did the
man would awake in a moment.
307
But they can use the
memory of man quite freely, although it is the Lord Himself
who gives the final permission and prevents abuses.
And now there commences in man-and somewhat simi-
larly in his consociate spirits-the strange fantasmagoria of
dreams. Each spirit takes on from man's memory whatever
objects or sensory stimuli that agree with his own life. It
is a characteristic of such dreams that, if persons should figure
in the scene, each spirit assumes all that a man knows about
a certain individual, and actually impersonates him and acts
his part in the mental drama. And some may also imperson-·
ate the sleeper himself, and speak to other spirits in his tone
of voice; but the contents of the speech may not at all be what
the man would normally say, but the most stupid nonsense or
the grossest falsehood.
308
At times, actual spirits may themselves, by the Lord's
leave, be seen in a dream under an appearance that is familiar
to the sleeping man. It is told of Louis XIV that he gave
l!OO AC 5988, SD 3231£
so1 Comp. SD 1983, SD min.
4693
so8 SD 180, 3877, AC 1983
150
SPIRITS AND MEN
warnings to one of his descendants in a dream; and Sweden-
borg once saw Peter the Great and spoke to him during a
dream.309
And Spirits who sleep simultaneously with man sometimes
oversleep! Swedenborg found them sleeping, yes, and
dreaming, after he himself had awakened. He compared ex-
periences with them and found that they sometimes dreamt
when man was not dreaming-which no doubt allows man to
change his state.
310
Yet the rule is that their dreams are
mostly garbed in the ideas of man's memory. The dreams
of spirits are generally caused by spirits who are in a more
interior state than they are themselves. But sometimes evil
spirits can induce bad dreams upon spirits that are to be
vastated.
311
Fantastic Dreams
Apart from these three types of dreams-those caused by
the Lord, those induced through angels, and those which
spirits inject-the Arcana Coelestia speaks of "fantastic
dreams."
312
This class is dismissed with a bare mention.
But with us mortals here below, such fantastic dreams may
be quite disturbing. They seem as disordered processions of
fragmentary thoughts, unconnected pictures, ludicrous fig-
ments of a fevered imagination, meaningless, isolated; or per-
haps as images and situations that rise up to strike us with
horror, as in nightmares or in some delirium that attends an
illness. That their origin is from the other world is of course
necessarily true. No emotion or consciousness is possible
with man except from the presence of spirits. Yet these fan-
tastic dreams are, we surmise, not characteristic of the true
300 SD 5980, 5949, CLJ 60, LJ
post. 104
a10 SD 2240ff, 664, 2436, 4284
Sll SD 427, AC 5988
a12Ac 1976
DREAMS 151
sleeping state in which the natural memory is closed from be-
low and is moved only from within. Our nocturnal fancies
may at times be symptomatic of disturbing desires or secret
fears which gnaw the mind in our wakeful state but are not
released in our imagination except in the symbolism of
dreams. But grave injury might be done if man made him-
self responsible for the disorders of his dream-life which after
all occur after he has relinquished his control.
In states of disease or discomfort such as may result from
overstrain or from too rich food or from the use of various
drugs, the senses are sometimes still pounding from below
upon our consciousness even after we have fallen asleep. And
while the state of the blood and the senses is such that the
brain cannot find continual repose, there are countless oppor-
t'i:inities on the part of hordes of wandering spirits-such as
the curious spirits belonging to the "province of the chyle-
duct"-to seek a temporary lodgment in the mind of a man.
But this kind of influx touches closely upon another phase of
our general subject, namely, the connection of spirits with
disease.
The teachings concerning dreams may not appear to be,
by themselves, an important part of the doctrine of the church.
Yet they present another aspect of the marvelous economy of
human life, which is ordered by infinite protective agencies
and is ruled in every detail by the Lord of creation.
XIII
General Influx
"He sendeth ,.ain 11.pon
the just and the 11.njust."
Matthew 5 : 45
Life Inflows
"Life inflows." This statement is a postulate which no
one can refute. For life, wherever it manifests itself, cannot
be proved to be inherent in any natural form or to be identical
with it. The death of the body testifies to the truth that life
is a gift, an "influx" from a realm beyond our sight. Life is
a gift-a loan. Revelation assures us that for men it is a
permanent loan which shall not be taken away from us. And
the further truth is revealed that the life which unfolds its
strange qualities in the tiny organisms, from lichens to men,
which flourish so miraculously on the surface of the planets,
is derived from the Lord God who is infinitely Man-infinite
Love and infinite Wisdom.
The Lord governs the heavens and the galaxies of worlds
by the modes of His influx-by laws according to which He
gives of His life to all finite recipients, just so far as there is
response and reciprocation. The Lord alone is Life. What
appears as life with man is only reception-variable and
limited states of reception. To receive is the esse of man's
life.
313
His body is not his own, but is built tor him out of
the matters of the earth and the atmospheres. His soul is
beyond his control and is eternally under the Lord's care,
being formed from higher spiritual substances as the Lord's
own abode with him.
314
His mind is formed from lower spir-
itual substances, and into it are focussed knowledges and
s1a AC 3938: 2
m Infl. 8, HH 39, LJ 25
152
GENERAL INFLUX
153
thoughts and spheres of affedion from neighboring minds and
spirits; for rto man either wills or thinks · from himself.
Man himself is but a state of reception, a state of response
to the rich gifts of life which press in from within and from
without-"good measure, pressed down and shaken together
and running over." Yet he is the focus, the ultimate upon
which all the influxes of life are centered as upon their final
object in and through which all the ends of creation are to be
fulfilled.
315
The faculty of reception is given to man by the
Lord's life acting both immediately and through diverse in-
strumentalities. The Lord inflows into the interiors of man,
or into his rational thought and will, both immediately from
Himself and mediately through heaven or the spiritual world.
He also inflows into the exteriors of man's natural, both im-
mediately, and mediately through the spiritual world.
316
The Lord's immediate influx is not only into the will and
thought of man "but also at the same time into many things
which befall him"-thus ruling apparent accidents, chance and
fortune ; which (as was shown in a preceding chapter) are
called "Providence in the ultimate of order, in which all things
are relatively inconstant," or wherein no order or necessary
sequence can be discerned, but which are according to Divine
foresight.
817
The Lord's mediate influx, or His mediate government of
man's mind and body is effected through the spiritual world-
through the heavens and the hells. We have already stressed
the teaching that all man's states draw their causes from the
spirits and angels who attend him. We are creatures of
c h   n g i ~ g moods. But we are usually able, on reflection, to
account for the states into which we have imperceptibly
drifted, by tracing them to natural causes. To excuse our
frailties or our impatience, we complain that we are tired, are
s15 LJ 9 SIT AC 6493e, 6480, DP 212
316
AC 6472
154
SPIRITS AND MEN
unjustly treated, are bored or homesick, etc. We tend to
blame our rebellious moods, our moral lapses, or our indul-
gence in self-pity upon deficient health or other natural cir-
cumstances.
Yet common experience tells us that the same apparent
natural causes do not always produce the same moods but
serve merely as an occasion favorable to their appearance.
The Writings convert this vague perception into a clear doc-
trine which teaches that there would be no conscious life, no
realized affections or distinct thought with man, except for the
influx of spirits and angels ; and that the real meanings which
we attach to our sensations and experiences in this world are
derived from the moods which spirits instil into us--moods
of delight or aversion.
If we are to pursue the subject further, however, we must
learn to distinguish between "particular influx" and "general
influx"-between two types of influx, both mediated by the
spiritual world, but affecting men in different ways.
318
General Influx and Particular Influx
"There flows from the Lord through the spiritual world
into the subjects of the natural world a general influx and also
a particular influx-a general influx into those things which
are in order, a particular influx into those which are not in
order."
318
Animals are all born into the order of their crea-
tion and are ruled by a general influx, without the mediation
of any spirits and angels; which is of course obvious, since
animals existed before mankind. The first men were also
created into the order of their lives. And before the Fall,
men, like the animals, were no doubt born into similar in-
stinctive grasp of the knowledge needed for their natural life ;
but they were also born with a faculty to develop a perception
318
AC 5850
GENERAL INFLUX
155
of spiritual wisdom which beasts cannot have. The primitive
race would then have been governed, even as to their mind,
by no other than a "general influx."
319
But differently from the beasts, man could change the
original order of his life-although only with reference to his
mental life. With the fall into sin, as hereditary evils began
to multiply among men, man's natural mind became utterly
divorced from heaven. The sensual degree of that mind be-
came by heredity so infected and perverted that the Writings
declare that every tender babe now born is born in "a state
of damnation !"
32
° For an infant feels anything as good if it
favors self. This shocking truth implies first of all that man's
mind cannot any longer be governed by a general influx from
heaven. The only general influx that it could receive would
be a general influx from hell which would flood his unresisting
understanding with fantasies of self-love. All his mental in-
stincts · would then be perverse beyond any possibility of
change, and he would live like a ravening beast without any
restraints of reason.
321
It was therefore provided by the Lord that man's will
should be separated from his understanding so that the ra-
tional part of his mind could be built up in a certain inde-
pendence of the native will. Although he might long for evil,
he could then still learn about truth and good. He could see
truths and reflect upon them, so that a new world could be
created within him in which he becomes more or less detached
from that which was natural and spontaneous to him from
birth. He could then be governed in a new way under the
Lord's auspices-by "particular influx" or by limited influ-
ences through a succession of angels and spirits so counter-
poised that man might be held in a freedom of choice. Two
good spirits and two evil spirits thus become his attendants.
a1e AC 6323, HH 296, 247 a
2
1 SD 2379, AC 5993
s20 DP 83
156
SPIRITS AND MEN
Each spirit could act upon him only by affections aroused one
by one and presented as intentions and perceptions in his
understanding. Good spirits could approach him through the
"remains" of good and truth implanted since infancy; and
evil spirits would excite the hidden states of his evil loves.
Under the ·regime of particular influx man is born into
ignorance, not as a prey to his instincts. His responsibility
is confined to the states which would be gradually aroused
through knowledge and experience. His native will is mere
self-love, with animal appetites capable of incredible ferocity.
But man does not normally realize the character of these dor-
mant loves, for they are mercifully covered over with apparent
goods. The hereditary will is covered over, closed and re-
served, lest it should overwhelm the mind with irresistible
waves of passion. This is the salvation provided for the
"spiritual" race on our earth, and is signified by Noah's re-
treat into the ark, the lowest mansion of which was shut up.
322
Through particular influx man becomes aware of his evil
potentialities by their gradual admission into consciousness,
as intentions; which is permitted only so far as the under-
standing is equipped to analyze, to recognize, and to challenge
them. Man has no power to change the general state of his
natural mind by any sudden exertion of free choice. But he
has the power to act from his understandir.g and judge as to
particular states when they come forth one by one. He can-
not shun all his evil tendencies, but he can resist them one by
one as they appear while he is in free and rational states. By
placing man under the rule of particular influx, the Lord as
it were permits man to break the bundle of sticks one by one.
By placing man's disordered mind under particular influx,
the Lord did not abrogate the general influx of heaven wher-
ever such influx could be received. General influx still rules
322
AC 641
GENERAL INFLUX
157
all things which are in order, and thus governs those things
in body and soul which man does not control. Man has no
command over his inmost soul nor over the secret operations
within his body. Particular spirits attend man and rest upon
his ideas and stir his various emotions, thus affecting his
thought and will. But no individual spirits are appointed
over that in man's life over which he has no real direction.
He is free to think, to decide what to do, and to initiate an
action. But the will flows into act spontaneously, and
thought flows into speech by natural processes according to an
order which man does not understand because it occurs by
general influx in an instinctive manner. It is done by order
itself, and neither man or spirit has any part in it.
323
After
spending many laborious years trying to understand the sub-
ject, Swedenborg concluded that "it is better simply to know"
that the will inflows and moves the body than to attempt to
trace the operations in their intricate fluxions through the
fibres from brain to muscles.
324
The order itself is as it were
implanted in nerves and muscles. Other bodily functions,
like the growth of the embryo during gestation, are performed
without man's real assistance. Similarly, one tastes food and
swallows it; but this being done, the digestive canal acts with-
out the help of man in converting the food into blood.
On' reflection we may see that man's own part in life is
very small, and it is sometimes said that "Nature" carries out
the processes of growth, digestion, etc., with an instinctive
intelligence immeasurably wiser than man's own. But nature
has no intelligence. It is the Creator Himself who inflows
with life immediately into the human soul-the inmost of the
spirit-and operates these miracles. The soul, which is above
the ken or control of both angels and men, is created in the
image and likeness of God and bears within it the cause,
a2s HH 296, AC 5862 324 SD 4010, 4013
158
SPIRITS AND MEN
pattern and conatus by which the body is formed and main-
tained.   ~
The body, as to its essential form, is therefore also under
the Creator's direct rule, so that man cannot by any mental
resolve make a single hair white or black. For it is under a
general influx, not needing the mediation of any particular
spirit.
326
Yet the medium through which the human body is created
and maintained by general_ influx is "the Grand Man, which
corresponds in all its minute details to human bodies."
327
"Bodily things are exempt from the particular influx of spirits
and angels," lest men should suffer bodily obsessions.
328
But
the ordinate flow of the will and the thought into bodily acts
is "by means of a general influx according to the correspond-
ences of the Grand Man."
329
The human form of the body
is indeed modified by parental and environmental factors,
through angels, spirits and men. But this modification is
comparatively slight and superficial. For "what is effected
through mediate influx . . . is relatively very little.''
830
The
image of the whole of the Grand Man dominates every society
of heaven, and the more general societies correspond to the
organs and viscera of the body, and so regard each · other
mutually and make a. one.
331
It is a new truth revealed in the Writings that there is a
general influx from each general society of heaven into the
corresponding part of the human body.
332
Such an influx is
necessary to maintain the uses of these organs. Without it.,
not the smallest part of the body could have any life. We
read that "spirits are appointed to every member of speech
and every member of action; but these spirits do not lrnow it."
s   ~ AC 1999, 3633, 6468: 3,
TCR 166, 103
32s Comp. SD 2591
321 SD 1708--1714, 4064f, 3972,
3148, 11451
32
s AC 5990
329
AC 5862f
330
AC 7004: 3
331 AC 6115: 3
332 AC 3629ff
GENERAL INFLUX
159
In fact, they are apparently not appointed as individual spirits,
but as societies acting by general influx.
333
From all these things the universal law may be seen that
from the Lord through the spiritual world there flows a gen-
eral influx into those things which are of order, and a par-
ticular influx into what is not in spontaneous order, and that
man's mind, being now in a contrary order, could not subsist
without spirits adjoined to him who agree with his life.
334
With the people of the most ancient church the affections,
such as joy, fear, reverence or shame, were involuntarily ex-
pressed in their faces "by a general natural influx."
335
Ani-
mals, whether mild or ferocious, are governed by general in-
flux. Indeed, nature, in whole and in part, is so governed.
But general influx has an even wider range. It may be
compared with the pressure of the atmosphere which holds
all things in their order. The sphere of Divine good, like an
atmosphere, infills the universal heaven and encompasses,
guards and preserves it. Inmostly it acts even upon the hells,
although it is not openly received there and can rule only as
Divine truth.
336
Unless order was so imposed both in heaven
and in hell, the end of creation could never be fulfilled, for
even particular influx through spirits would not be possible.
No freedom can exist except on the basis of order; without
order there can be no clear distinctions, and thus no choice.
337
Swedenborg sensed this general influx as a stream of gen-
eral affections-an invisible stream of providential guidance
which overrules all the conflicting endeavors of spirits and
men and unifies them into forms of uses through laws of
spiritual necessities. It is like an atmospheric current which
holds everything in freedom, yet always within bounds. He
likens the sweep of this river of heaven to the general motions
asa AC 6211, comp. SD 2379
au AC 5850, SD 2379
336
SD 3861
sas AC 10188, 9049: 3
ss1 AC 5703, 6370, 8700, DP
331: 2
160
SPIRITS AND MEN
of the heart and the lungs which dominate the body yet leave
its parts in freedom even to the point of contrariety. He saw
in it a picture of the Divine mercy.
338
Spheres of Universal Loves
All life would perish unless there proceeded from the Lord
certain universal spheres which fill each world, the spiritual
and the natural, and sustain it.
839
One of these Divine
spheres looks to the preservation of tl!e universe by means of
the procreation of successive generations, and with men this
makes one with the sphere of conjugial love. By a general
influx it operates the miracle of propagation in all forms of
life-from the simplest fern to the most perfect tree and from.
the unicellular protozoa to the highest mammalian structure.
This sphere causes the cells to multiply and the sexes to unite
from a spontaneous impulse.
With men, this sphere descends also through the celestial
heaven as a free gift of conjugial love which with its ineffable
delight comes to lovers everywhere as a temporary loan, by
a general influx. But the feeling of selfless surrender which
is instilled by this sphere cannot long remain pure, but van-
ishes like the manna in the desert, leaving life ·bleak and
meaningless unless the minds of the partners are opened, by
their own choice and effort, to the particular influx of celestial
angels. For these inspire a resistance to evils as sins against
God, and a love of the truth which alone can knit the lives of
lovers more and more closely into a union of common uses-
-uses which make marriage the nursery of the human race and
the seminary of heaven.
The second universal influx is the Divine sphere which
looks to the preservation of what has been procreated. Even
in the ultimates of nature we see a distant reflectio.n of this
aas SD 4272ff, TCR 652 as
9
CL 386, 388
GENERAL INFLUX
161
influx in that · gems are found in matrices and seeds in husks.
Animals have protective coloration and by instinct build nests
for their young, which they feed and defend from an inborn
love called "storge." Such a natural love of offspring is im-
planted in all creation. It gives the birds and beasts a herd-
ing instinct that impels an animal to give up its life for the
preservation of its kind; in an unwitting resemblance to mu-
tual love.
34
° Ferocious beasts and evil parents have this love
as part of their love of self. How otlierwise could life in its
many forms be propagated generation after generation?
A reason why the young of every species are so protected
is that a sphere of innocence inflows into the helpless progeny
and thence affects parents. With men, the love of procreating
and the love of infants can become spiritual loves when the
final end regarded is to enrich heaven with as many angels as
there are descendants and when the offspring are loved for
their moral virtues and their spiritual intelligence.
341
Natural
loves are provided as free gifts by the Lord's general influx,
to sustain His creation. But spiritual loves can be received
only through the man's own selection of associate spirits, or
by particular influx.
Social Order
General influx is described in the Arcana as "a continuous
endeavor from the Lord through the whole heaven into every-
thing pertaining to the life of man."
342
It presses continually
for the maintenance of external order and connection and
health, so far as man's freedom will allow it. Evil spirits
also are brought into order, within "generals" which govern
their particular forms of spiritual rebellion.
843
Indeed, there
are no hells which are not opposites or perversions of some
340 AC 2738, CL 222
sn CL 394ff
842
AC 6211
3
43
AC 1322
162
SPIRITS AND MEN
general good of heaven. And upon these opposites a certain
general form of order is externally superimposed, by general
influx.
How the general influx of heaven as a whole--all its
provinces and societies-maintains order, is seen illustrated in
human society. For in a city or commonwealth "every use
derives its life from the general" or from the community.
Each use depends on the common good (Char., chap. vi).
And the uses spring from the natural loves which are
implanted in all men. All rewards of use, all wealth, all
knowledge, comes to each man from the community, which
is therefore likened to a lake from which each man derives
his necessities, utilities, and delights; even as the organs of
the body derive their nourishment from the common blood-
stream. Because of a general influx into the "common good"
there can be order in society in spite of the prevalence of evil
and selfishness among individuals. There is a general influx
of the whole into all the parts, holding them in form. The
social instinct comes from a general influx, like the herding
instinct with animals. Particular influx through specific
spirits who are ever changing, makes for individuality and
freedom for both the evil and the good. But general influx
protects the state as a whole and causes the common good to
be regarded. It causes a nation to unify in face of common
dangers, to harbor common ideals and common delusions and
to be moved by prejudices and passions peculiar to itself.
General influx maintains cooperative order. But it does
not reform the spirit of man. Only by the repentance and
regeneration of its citizens can the spiritual state of a nation
be changed for the better. Order and legislation can never
regenerate society. They merely facilitate the mutual uses of
the people. And by this they furnish a neutral plane in which
both good and evil men seek their individual ends. It is a
common plane for many individual states and particular atti-
GENERAL INFLUX
163
tudes, a plane of automatic procedures which cannot be essen-
tially changed or upset by any single person. Yet there might
arise a state of disorder, a break-down of civic responsibility
and national consciousness on the part of individuals, a state
in which the means for the proper performance of uses are
lacking and the sphere of genera,! influx can no longer operate.
Such a condition brings disease and sometimes death to the
commonwealth. This principle has a tremendously important
bearing on national and social issues. Totalitarian govern-
ment while man is evil means a surrender of that particular
influx which gives freedom to repent.
Habit and General Influx
It is the Lord who rules . our spirit-associations in corre-
spondence with our states and needs. Yet man can select the
spirits who rule him. Doctrine states that there is no physical
influx- no influx from men to spirits or from this- world into
the spiritual world. We can therefore not alter the character
of the spirits who are with us. They do indeed adopt our
natural memory and along with it our beliefs and ideas; and
they are held in these ideas as long as they are with us. But
we cannot transfer to them the changes of heart which we may
experience. If we from free choice shun an evil, the spirits
who induced that evil are simply compelled to retire, and are
separated.
Students of the Spiritual Diary have marked with surprise
that the world of spirits seemed to show no effect of the strong
sphere of spiritual interest and exaltation which is apparently
present among Christians on the occasions of festival seasons
such as Christmas and Easter. To judge from Swedenborg's
entries on such days, the spiritual world was utterly unaffected
by the holiday moods of men. Yet we seem to feel a stronger
sphere from the spiritual world on such days; as we also do
164
SPIRITS AND MEN
at church gatherings and at the death of a friend. Such is the
relation of the two worlds that what we do on earth--our
direction and concentration of thought and affection--does no
more than invite an influx from such spirits and angels as are
already in the loves and thoughts which we on earth wish to
entertain. They enjoy the internal sense of the things which
we then read about in the Word, for in such ultimates they find
their delight. And we may be allowed to hope that the spirits
of evil do at least retreat somewhat when the spirit of
Christmas or Easter seizes hold of men.
What men do-their habits and their reflections-invites
the corresponding types of spirits. This is indeed how habits
are formed. For usually a habit is of the mind before it is
of the body. Our states of mind mould our habits; which is
the same thing as to say that we make our own habits quite
freely, by repeating the same decision again and again, thus
acting in the same way under similar circumstances. We
thus become less and less conscious of our habit. It becomes
"second nature," and thus almost automatic. We add it to
our life, and the control of it is as it were elevated into our
subconscious memory. We give up controlling the habit. It
controls us.
344
Viewed from the spiritual world, the establishment of a
certain habit actually means that we have placed ourselves
under the rule of a special kind of spirits who delight in that
routine. We no longer bother to spend any thought upon it.
The question whether it is right or wrong no longer comes up.
This is for us a great saving of mental labor and even of
physical energy. Human life would be most arduous, if not
impossible, if whatever a man learned to do would have to be
reasoned out again whenever he wished to repeat it. Man
could then never acquire skill or facility in anything. No
matter how often he had convinced himself of some truth, he
S« AC 3108: 2, 3161 : 2, 3843 : 2
GENERAL INFLUX
165
would still have recurrent doubts until he worked it all out
in his mind again. Under such conditions there could be no
progress. Therefore we are allowed to relegate what we have
once approved to the interior or subconscious memory; or
what is the same, to the spontaneous working of an accepted
influx from the spiritual world. And when after death we
enter that world, the roads we will see and wish to travel will
correspond in general to the habits of thought which we have
established in this world.
845
When we exercise our freedom of thought in the course of
our earthly life we are, from time to time, making decisions
as to what particular spirits we desire to receive; for choice
has to do with "particular influx." As long as we are in the
life of the body there will be repeated opportunities for such
choice. Yet it seems likely, that when we are being carried
along in a confirmed habit, which has established an uncon-
scious plane of order or second natute, individual spirits are
not so much in question as whole groups of spirits-a selected
group of societies through whom life is channelled into our
minds.
A man must therefore take thought and explore his habits
of mind and body, before they are confirmed beyond the point
of no return. In our habits we can recognize the workings
of our self-love, our lack of consideration and charity, our
impiety, brutality, conceit, or vanity. Our habits will reveal
to us our ruling loves, our besetting sins and temptations.
External habits which are in themselves good may because of
their obsession over us indicate that we place overmuch value
on external things.
We can imagine an evil man, a slave to his passions, with-
out restraints or shame, who by his habits has abandoned
himself to the general influx from an infernal society. His
love has been fixed to the degree that he no longer desires to
8   ~ HH 534: 3, SD 5986, AE 206, DP 60, LJ 48e
166
SPIRITS AND MEN
exercise his freedom of choice, but has surrendered to evil
openly and irrevocably, so that his rational mind no longer
resists. His spirit is immersed into the hell of his delight.
Particular influx is then renounced, and a general influx from
hell takes over the government of his mind.
Yet if this be true of an evil man, it must also be true that
a regenerating man-after his work of reformation, with its
cultivation of good habits, has been completed-will thereafter
be upheld in the spontaneous sphere of a more general influx
from heaven.
General States and General Influx
A man has freedom and choice in the particular states of
his life. But general states are outside of his control. It is
from a "general influx" that infants grow up in an unvarying
order of development, year by year. Common ages imply
common states, with only slight variations. In later life there
is very much more differentiation between individuals of the
same ages, because as to particular states, self-chosen, men
are quite unlike each other in thought and affection.
Even so, there are general or common states among adults.
Those in the same use or profession are also in a common state.
We often speak of the illustration of a man's use, a peculiar
attitude, light, inspiration, or wisdom, which dignifies an of-
fice. The Writings indicate that this is based on general in-
flux, which is given where there is the order of some use.
This general influx is not based on man's regeneration, but
on his devotion to the use. An unregenerate man is of course
constantly tending to break down the order of his use through
dishonesty or indolence and is thus in danger of losing his
professional illustration. But a faithful worker-although
moved by selfish interests- is externally associated with soci-
eties of that use in the other world, and is restrained by their
general influx from injuring his use.
GENERAL INFLUX
167
That this is so is clear from the appointed rite of priestly
ordination. The use of the priesthood being essential to the
welfare of mankind, the entrance into this use must be orderly,
and is solemnly marked by the laying on of hands (which
represents the communication of the powers of illustration)
and by "the promise of the Holy Spirit." In effect the candi-
date accepts the order and responsibility which open him to
a general influx from societies of the priestly use in the other
world. But his own personal and inward repentance and
regeneration can alone open his heart to the reception of the
Holy Spirit. Such internal reception must come by way of
particular influx.
With respect to the general environment in which man's
spirit is, order requires that the spirits normally around a man
should be those of his own religious persuasion. Without this
order-which implies also a general influx to maintain it-
there could be no true freedom or normal progress, but man
would become an easy prey to fickle states of doubt and spir-
itual indecision.
Generals come first, particulars come later. We know
that as an infant grows up, he enters first into concepts of
most general truths and that particulars are later given to in-
fill them. The generals of childish thought are such that they
may be accepted from natural affections which are full of
hereditary evils as yet hidden. It is not to be doubted that
these basic orders of generals from natural experience and
from the natural sense of the Word, are maintained by general
influxes from the other world. And even with adults, the
literal sense of the Scriptures is delightful because the things
therein can be explained to favor their own states and opin-
ions, until these generals are qualified by an understanding of
particulars and these by a perception of singt.tlars.
846
It is the same with generals of doctrine which are taught
us AC 4345, 5620: 13
168
SPIRITS AND MEN
in the church. These call forth a general influx-which is
very vital for preserving the church. If generals of doctrine
are denied or contradicted or called into question, the general
influx of heaven fails to hold the thought of the church to-
gether, and a temptation arises, the outcome of which depends
on the individual choice and illustration of each man of the
church ; for the battle must be decided in the field of par-
ticular influx. The prayer, "Lead us not into temptation,"
is a prayer for the continuance of general influx whereby men
are held in a general sphere of faith and charity, the protecting
sphere of heaven and of the church as a whole. We are not
to seek temptation, nor introduce temptation to others. Yet
it is true that general influx by itself cannot at this day pre-
serve the church. Advance can only come if there is indi-
vidual study of the doctrine and an interior entrance into
truths. Generals of doctrine are protective, and must be
maintained as basic. But they may easily become· lightly and
thoughtlessly accepted-intoned as empty ritual and vain
repetition.
The Invitation to the New Church-a work which records
the results, in past churches, of relying on the momentum of
a merely historical faith-therefore contains the following
statement: "Unless the present little work be added to the
preceding one [the True Christian Religion], the church can-
not be healed. For it would be a merely palliative cure. . . .
The doctrine of the New Church indeed furnishes the medi-
cine, but only exteriorly" (Inv. 25). The little work referred
to was therefore added; for it contained certain particulars of
utmost importance for the establishment and survival of the
church.
General Influx into the Mind
The body is held by the Lord under general influx, as an
instrument for man's mind. The externals of human society
GENERAL INFLUX 169
are also held in order by general influx. But the mind is
attended by particular spirits, good and evil, which grant to
men freedom of choice in matters of thought and will. Yet
even within the mind general influx dominates. It is only in
the thin conscious fringes of the mind that man's own choice
is actually operating. In the unplumbed depths of the mind
and in the surrounding spiritual world general influxes order
thi!lgs, and endow man with the power of reasoning, anal-
ysis, and logic. General influx must flow into the minds of
    it is mentioned that "there is a universal
flux" into the souls of all men predisposing them to perceive
"that there is a God and that He is one."
347
No man is taught
by influx ; but the gyre and flux imposed upon the mind are
especially attuned to accept such truths. There is also a gen-
eral influx out of heaven as a whole which disposes the minds
of men to think of God in terms of the human form, but
variously according to their states of perception and provided
!!_ia_t o_f order in the mind by the
of evils as sins. The perception of immortality is also men-
tioned as universal.
848
Such general concepts are indeed said
to be "implanted" in the mind, or to be "intuitive." B_11t
is meant is that they come from a general influx.
Indeed, faeu!_ty_ could not operate
certain "generals" were so implanted in our minds that we
are not aware of them. Animals, of course, are wholly led
by a connate disposition and order which automatically re-
sponds to specific general influxes of their predestined natural
affections. It is from an ordering by general influx that both
men and animals instinctively learn to judge distances and
without reflection learn to avoid objects. And man learns
to order all that he knows into general categories, arranging
u1 TCR 8 s•s AE 955e, 954: 2, SD 2148,
comp. 2001ff, 2174, SD rnitL 4644;
Char. 123
170
SPIRITS AND MEN
his knowledge into series and orders according to general
qualities, classing particular ideas under general heads, and
thus marking out limits and protective bounds within his
thoughts.
349
But, finally, general influx is also   for that gi_!_t
which is common ·with the simple but often lacking among
tho;re of the learned" who cannot think from general principles.
This is "common sense'',..-thought that is not the product of
learned arguments or preconceived logical formulas, but comes
from seeing truth in its own light. Common perception is the
great preservative of mankind.
350
It can in a mo-;;ent explode
the most elaborate structure of fallacy. I t spans our practical
difficulties. I teuts the Gordianknot 0£ seemingly hopeless
dilemmas. It nullifies theological doubts. As .a fresh breeze
it clears the smoke clouds from the scene of our intellectual
battles; and remains usually the sole victor. And upon it
rest the blessings of heaven. Yet    
cannot regenerate or even reform. It can but preserve the
remnants of order in the mind. - -
Whatever comes from general_ depends on a rem-
nant 0£ order, on the health of the body or the mind. -Where
evil steps in or disease enters this order is disturbed, and
heaven reluctantly withdraws her wings somewhat,
with the distressing result that individual spirits of hell begin
to inflow.
a40 SD 3666, 4190 aso Comp. SD min. 4644, DP
317, CL 28
XIV
Influx and Disease
"ls it easier to say to one
sick of the palsy, Thy
sins are forgiven thee; or
to say, Arise, take up thy
bed, and walk T"
Mark 2: 9
Order, Freedom, and the Permission of Evil
"Heaven keeps all things in connection and safety." But
"hell destroys and rends all things asunder."
3
n This is the
general truth from which the Arcana Coelestia proceeds to its
teaching about the origin and nature of disease.
The societies of heaven receive from the Lord an influx of
mutual love, which seeks to give happiness to others and al-
lows freedom for the uses of others. Therefore there is a
general influx from the Lord through the societies of heaven
which maintains the order and health of human society and
of the human body. By influx, the human body is
moulded into an organism which corresponds to all the uses
of the Grand Man of heaven. Similarly, by general influx, a
society is moulded into a replica of the human     far
as a society is performing the uses of communal life, it is in
the order of heaven, and in a noble form. So far <_LS the hu-
man body is functioning, it has beauty and grace and nobility,
even if man's mind be perverted. For Lord spreads the
sunshine of health upon the evil and upon the good. Only
upon the l:lasis of a sound body can a sound   built.
Only in states of health and rationality can man's spiritual
reformation proceed. The Lord exerts His providence to pro-
vide these ultimates of order for all men, because His primary
mAC 5713
171
172
SPIRITS AND MEN
gift to man-.:.the freedom which makes of man a responsible
human soul--can be exercised only where order exists.
But freedom would be but a name, if man could not at all
reject or disturb the order which the Lord provides for him.
Freedom implies that man can, if he will, disturb that order
not only for himself, but -for others! Freeda;; impliesthat
man should be free not only tOthink and will against the £!"der
of God, but that he shall also feel able to carry his purposes
into act and set up a plane of disorder in the world. In no
other way could his free will be conveyed to the comprehen-
sion of others; in no other way could he iIJ.voke the coopera-
tion or opposition of others, who, in their tum, are free to
respond. Life wouid not be free if it were confined within
the airtight space of one's own intentions! Man must be free
to commit mistakes, to do actual evil, to spoil the handiwork
-0f the Creator, and abuse His agencies.
When this occurs, and order h_as been disrupted, 1;!:!e g<:!_l-
eral inf!...ux from heaven gives way so far as man insists.
Fundamentally, and as to all His final purposes, the Y>rd
alorie rules the     which cannot be upset by fickle man.
It is legitimate to inquire, how far evil can derange the ulti-
mate order of life.
That it can do so in the realm of the mind, is of course
plain to see. The two higher degrees of the mind of which
we are not cognizant in this life, are indeed in the order of
heaven.
8
G
2
But the -natural degr_!e, or the "natural mind" in
\ which man is conscious on earth, becomes perverted as to its
thoughts and affections, as to its organic habits, its spon-
taneous reactions, and its reasonings. Indeed, by birth, or
froni heredity, the natural mfod of present day man is utterly
opposed to the gyre and flow of heaven. It fs- withfo the
various degrees of that natural mind that the hells are
m DLW 432, 238, 252
INFLUX AND DISEASE
173
formed.
353
And for one's salvation, that mind must be re-
formed and reconstructed into the order of heaven.
But perversions go further than the mind. The brain and
the rest of the body can become disordered, and after death
( they actually disintegrate in the grave. Not only disease, but
) "death," comes from "no other source than sin."
354
But let
) us here pause a moment to free our minds of several possible
misunderstandings.
The Actuality of Evil and the Necessity of Death
Swedenborg did not belong to that school of so-called
"idealists" which regards the body and the world of matter
as me;e projections of the mind. He believed in the reality
of the natural world which he describes as existing inde-
pendently of man or man's thought. He states that man was
created last of all-as the culmination of the organic king-
doms. There is therefore no kinship between the teaching of
the Writings and that of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy (the founder
of "Christian Science"). It has rec11rrently been stated that
"Christian Science" was partly derived from Swedenborg.
And on the surface, we find a great many phrases and ideas in
Science and Health which are obviously borrowed from the
{ Writings. "The three great pioneers of mental-healing, Dr.
Quimby, Dr. Evans, and Mrs. Eddy, were readers and stu-
dents [ ?] of Swedenborg . . . but they were more influenced
by Berkeley .... "
355
As the late Rev. John Whitehead put
it: "Many flowers have been culled from Swedenborg's gar-
den, but they have been transplanted without roots." Both
Swedenborg and Mrs. Eddy teach that the natural mind (or
what she called the "mortal mind") is the seat of evil and the
origin of disease. But Swedenborg shows that the mind· is a
s1111 DLW 275, 269, 345
354 AC 5726, cp SD 4592
B55 Jolm Whitehead, Illusions of
Christian Science, Boston, 1907
174
SPIRITS AND MEN
real organism of finite substances, both spiritual and natural,
while Mrs. Eddy regarded her "mortal mind" as an illusion
-as "nothing claiming to be something." The body, to her,
was merely an offspring of the delusions of mortal mind !
When the Writings state that death has no other origin
than sin, the reference is presumably to death from disease.
The language of Scripture alludes to the life of sin as the
death of the soul. In the symbolic story of Genesis, death.is
said to have come upon man because of his eating of "the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil"; which made him feel like
a god who could decide for himself what was good and evil.
This was the spiritual death which overcame the first race--
those signified by "Adam"-who were of a "celestial" genius.
And the Arcana C oelestia explains that the "antediluvians"
who perished in the "Flood" meant some of their descendants
who could not rpaster their evil passions--with the physical
result that they   a species a"f suffocation.
356
Thus the symbolic prediction became literally fulfilled.
And the same still holds of death from disease. But in a
wider sense, death antedates both disease and sin. Death, so
regarded, is but a part of finite life. Our blood dies and is
restored with each breath of the lungs. The cycles of finite
things all end in a death of passivity. Endless successions of
plants and animals lived and propagated and died before man's
advent on earth. And mankind, before its fall into sin, was
not immune to bodily death. Eternally to live on earth could
be no reward for virtue. The statement that death is from no
other source than from sin, is therefore qualified by the ex-
planation that "if man had lived the life of good . . . he
would be without disease, and would ofiiYdeclinet o extreme
old age, even until he became a child again, but a wise child ;
and when the body could no longer minister to his internal
m AC 5725
INFLUX AND DISEASE
175
man or spirit, he would pass without disease out of his earthly
body into a body such as the angels have. . . . "
357
From
this we judge that the <!bsence of evil-actual or hereditary-
creates a pre-disposition to health. It does not prevent physi-
rat death or the wear and- tear upon bodily tissues. But it
prevents what the Writings call "disease"-a word which we
associate with a destructive   with statesof pain and
mental anguish.
A further word might be premised about the reason why
evil, which is a mental state, is permitted to extend its influ-
ence into the body and the natural world. Evil that is hidden
cannot be examined, shunned, and removed. Evil i!).
mind exists as a desire not only to think and intend, but also
to do and spe.ak. It goes out to change the state of others-
forcibly the world more nearly to one's advantage,
and to profit despite another's hurt! Unless it be that
indeed is the effect of the evil state of mind, evil could
never be recognized. Evil in a man harms uses-his own and
those of others-_!iarms his body and the bodies of others.
In an orderly life we see a balance of good uses--such as
we observe in a healthy organism. But when evil and its
bodily effects came into existence, one evil is used to counter-
balance another. We see this in the constant warfare of in-
sect-pests, in the neutralization of extremes, in the balanced
germ-life of our own bodies. It is even suggested that evil
do not defeat the Div!n.!:. since "one is the
remedy of the other, for evil is cured by evil."
358
On earth there is much grumbling against the Divine
Providence because evils and bodily sufferings are permitted.
r Yet_ bo2ily _§ufferings
when the of a man is at stake. use of
paiE-l!§.._a si_gnal to man that his body is fu }isorder-is in-
m AC 5726, SD 4592
sss SD 2874
176
SPIRI TS AND MEN
dispensable. Without pain, man could not be warned of his
mistakes or recognize his dangers. Pain and disease are thus
necessary as long as man governs himself by his fallible pru-
dence. If one still led a spontaneous life in the order of his
creation, and-were governed by general influx, and thus lived
a life of wise instinct0e W"ould be less liable to
mistakes and abuses, less liable to pain and disease; and the
fulfilment of his goals might be far easier than today.
The general effect of the teachings of the Writings seems
to be that the real origin of disease was evil and self-will.
The insistence on the rules of rational moderation,
th_e   exce-;s, ;ef usal to cur ·itlle appetites, have
caused men to turn aside from the "tree of life" and to eat
gluttonously of the fruit of knowledge which would make men
as gods who determined for themselves what was good or evil
for them.
We_ rightly call disease and its consequent pains be-
th;y y a partial defeat of the ends of life, for they
disturb the uses of society. They pull the mip.d down and
make one conscious of his body, which should it did
in most times-merely as an instrument whereby the
soul may perform uses for the minds of others.
Evil spirits love material things and attach material values,
material meanings, even to spiritual things. Therefore they
seek to immerse man's mind into his bodily life. They re-
joice and are in their delights when they can induce man to
reflect on his sensual pleasures or pains. Some spirits would
indeed obsess man, if they could, and return into the body
through men. Such, however, are now confined in their hells,
i.e., they are not permitted near men. To cure them of their
d.esire, certain punishing spirits are permitted to induce upon
them the feeling that they, too, actually have a material body.
And to spirits it is an inconceivable torture to feel themselves
2.-
INFLUX AND DISEASE
177
bound within an earthly body, for thus they can be subjected
to all manner of tormenting fantasies.
359
* * *
To assert that "every one draws disease upon himself from
the evil of life" may seem a hard saying.
360
We may readily
admit that many diseases are obviously traceable to
or a _ _usele§S, life. But there is
some comfort in the further teaching of the Writings which
shows that tbe real cause of disease lies in the wo;-ld-
thus not necessarily in man's own evils, but in the influx of the
hells. "All the infernals induce diseases. . .. If infernals
apply themselves, they induce diseases, and at last death."
361
The idea that illnesses come from the influence of evil
spirits is regarded in the world as a superstition. And yet it
must be admitted that all man's passions and lusts are nothing
but effects of the spirits whose invisible presence .fee s our
contrary _!llOOds. If disease from such asource, it can
readily be understood why the miracles which the Lord per-
formed on earth were chiefly works of healing. His mission
was to restore order in the spiritual wor_ld. What He did on
earth corresponded to His of   manki_!_ld.-irQ_m
\   s>J evil spj[!_ts-:-
362
- He did not come to take away
all sickness ; but each of His miraculous cures marked a step
in the battle against the hells-representing on earth what He
was doing in the spiritual world. There were many sick and
blind in those days, but only a relatively few were healed.
363
Many of the early Christians believed that the Lord came
to establish a kingdom of God on earth, in which evil would
have' no place, nor disease or death. Yet after nearly two
359 SD 4207
SD 2439, 4592, AC 5715
301 AC 5713, SD min. 4733
(4731m)
362
AC 7337
369
AC 8364
178
SPIRITS AND MEN
thousand years have passed, illness and evil persist. But
what the Lord came to 90 was done. This was the ordering
of the spiritual world so that men might be free to choose
between good and evil, and progress into heaven if they willed.
A spiritual judgment was performed, and certain restraints
were imposed on the hells. One of the results was, that the
obsessing of man's body by evil spirits was henceforth made
impossible.
364
Yet disease, and the consequences of disease,
were not removed.
The spiritual law now operating is, that selected good
spirits and evil spirits are allowed to inflow into men's minds.
The evil spirits thus stir up lusts and falsities, by particular
influx, and man" feels these states as his own. But,
as was shown in chapter XIII, the body is governed by a
general influx through the societies of the Grand Man of
heaven. So far as spirits are performing uses in the Grand
Man, so far their societies are assigned as media for the gen-
of life into the various corresponding and
parts of the human body. The influx takes place "into the
use of the organ" and so into the organ itself.
365
So far as
man's body is in functional order, so far it mirrors and
ceives the flux of corresponding spiritual uses which make
up the Grand Man; and then evil spirits are entirely unable
to cause any disorders in the body. "They are not permitted
to inflow as far as into the solid things of the body," thus not
into tissues or organs. But if for any reason the order of the
body is disturbed, then   are not within the
Grand Man, but together compo;e an opposite spiritual form
which might rather be called "the Grand Monstrosity"-are
permitted to inflow into the disorder, or "into the unclean
things which belong to disease."
366
364 HH 257 SD 2659
365 SD 46.io. But note AC
5862
a6e AC 5713, SD 4585, cp 2659
INFLUX AND DISEASE
179
(The precise meaning of these teachings may be somewhat
debatable. In discussing the subject of disease, we are con-
scious of the imprudence of trespassing on alien ground ; for
it belongs to the medical profession to form a philosophy of
disease and cure. Yet the doctrinal   will pro-
vide the principles for such a philosophy must be cited, since
we set out to treat of the influence of spirits upon human
states. Admittedly, in drawing out these statements, a cer-
tain personal perspective cannot be avoided).
Causes and Cures, Natural and Spiritual
"Only when a man falls into disease" can spirits inflow
into his body, and then only "into those things in the man
where the disease is" or "into such unclean things as belong
to the disease."
366
What are these unclean things? And
how does a man "fall into disease" ?
That illnesses exist directly !!"om lusts and
of the mind has already been mentioned.
3117
But we
are also assured that "diseases do indeed exist from natural
causes among men . . . but as soon as they exist, spirits flow
which to that disease."- Swedenborg con-
tinues : "For SQirits who are in evil and falsity, produce pre-
cisely such things-;; semibly sicknesses, as
I have plainly experienced . . . beyond all mistake. . . .
Hence it is·, since such spirits apply themselves there and
agITT:avate the disease by their that il they should
be removed by the Lord:Inan would at once be restored; for
evil an9. false spirits to whom correspond
and ailments of every kind."
368
We presume that such a sud-
den restoral is possible only where no member is actually cut
off.
Swedenborg himself seems to have been immune to any
367 SD 4592, AC 5712 SD min. 4648, cp. SD 4585
180
SPIRITS AND MEN
diseases which came from natural causes. For he adds: "But
such a one who is as to the spirit in the other life, is immune
so long as the Lord permits him to live in the world."
869
Cer-
tainly, his biographers agree that his health in later days was
remarkable.
Why was this? Perhaps because natural causes do not
appear as natural to one who is sensible of the spiritual realm!
At any rate, he continues: "But, because we do no_! believe
spi!i!.s to be about us, all these things are ascribed to natural
causes. Medicines help! But still more the Lord's Provi-
dence--as people do confess. And, strange to say, sufferers
pray to God that they may be restored, and declare that God
has restored them ; but still, wl:!_eQ_ that  
every one of them ascribes [his cure] to nature !"
370
If we analyze natural causes, they are bound to resolve into
spiritual causes. Even an earthquake could not affect any-
one unless a spiritual cause--a mental state-has led him to
abide in the zone of danger. And in the spiritual world those
causes which on earth seem utterly disconnected and beyond
any visible law, may be seen to be marvelously dependent on
spiritual laws of Divine foresight and permission.
Yet man on ea!!h, not knowing these spiritual connections
and interior causes, must act according to his own
and For Providence, in His leading of man, uses
also man's prudence. Disasters that appear to have natural
causes, can be ameliorated-at least for the time--by natural
remedies. "Medicines help!" "Diseases"-we read-"can
  also ought to be cured by natural means, for tl_ie
Provislence of the Lord concurs with such me.ans ; and thus
also is the longer from faith in a Divip.e Providence
most particular thiJ._?.gs : for if man should believe this, and
so9 SD min. 4649 a10 SD min. 4650, 4657
INFLUX AND DISEASE
181
then deny it, he would profane a most sacred truth, which
profanation is itself a most dreadful hell."
311
The fact that there are spiritual causes operating within
disease, "does not prevent man's -being healed
theDivine Providence concurs with such means."
372
Even
the Lord Himself, in one instance, used an external means of
cure, when He made clay of His spittle and laid it on the blind
man's eyes. There is power in ultimates. For influx is ac-
cording to the vessel that receives. A 4isorderly lane at-
tracts evil influx. If the disorder is corrected, forces of
the influx   operate in
with the soul's healing power and creative, formative influx
into the body-will again take charge and restore the broken
tissues so far as is posSible. -
It is important to distinguish between a disorder in the
r body and the disease which may follow it. A small wound,
accidentally incurred, will he!J.l without difficulty if it be kept
clean. It is only a wear in the tissues-such as occur5,' in
different fashion, again and again in normal life; and the
formative powers of the soul immediately begin to weave new
fibres, new cell-structures, to repair the damage. For the
soul is as it were omniscient as to all that hapi:>ens in its body,
continually new cells, and the func-
tions of the body most wisely while healing -is on. The
soul also unifies   all the cells and fibres and organs
1
into a single whole. There is no break in what we have called
"general influx." But when decay and infecti on then
the .. 'unclean things of the disease" also- attract
ing influx from the spiritual world. For life is constantly
present-it is never absent, knows no limitations of time or
space. "The Q!_ Ii e . . .- is not an extense, but is
yet within the extense of the natural sun, wi__t:Ii_fuing
sn SD 4585, cp 4571e m AC 5713
2
182
SPIRITS AND MEN
there according to   and reception is accord-
ing to forms and states."
373
According to the quality of the
natural vessel, such is the quality of the influx. Heaven can-
not inflow into the unclean things of disease. But the life-
spheres of hell can and do, and they act
to _ _£PpOs!! ftie human form, is in the order of  
and to shatter theliarmony of its uses.
What occurs in man's body in illness resembles what takes
place in a man's mind, which is subject to spiritual diseases.
"The sins retained in an imi:>enitent man may be compared to
various diseases in him: a-;.e brought to bear
on them, and the -maJignities are thereby removed, the man
dies."
574
This is more than a comparison. For the mind also is in
the human form, and has its ailments, each of which corre-
sponds to some bodily disease. The mind-we must remem-
ber-is a spiritual organism. And while we  
our mind is enclosed within the tissues of our material body,
so intimately that every state of the mind 9n the
interiors of the body; and in tum the mind accommodates
itself so closely to the state of the body, that it appears as if the
body had an effect upon the mind.
Spiritual states-mental states-are actuated from the
presence of sp!!'JJ:s. These spirits do not see or oWthe
man. They only see the knowledges of man's memory, and
think by their means just as if they were man. And when we
say that evil spirits inflow or act upon the diseased things of
the body, this is said according to the appearance. Spirits
cannot "ent;;" man's body, they seemtothemselves to
do so. But when they act spiritually into evil ideas, fantasies,
and emotj.!Jns, and follow the "ways" of spiritual
correspond to opposites of the human body, then the sphere of
these spirits causes a maladjustment of the currents regulating
878 TCR 35: 11, CL 380 BHTCR 524
INFLUX AND DISEASE
183
growth in the body.
375
Swedenborg notes that with one like
himself whose interiors were open to sense the spiritual en-
vironment, who ac-
tually produced-in different parts of his body-the symp-
toms and sensations of these diseases, and this on their first
approach.
376
He felt their operation within him in that
r way,
377
yet his bod apparently not affected, for
he_w<l:§. by the Lord.
378
Until he- becameaccus-
tomed to it, the pain was often almost unbearable.
379
At the
same time the spiritual character and function of the spirits
were manifested, and Swedenborg spoke to them and felt how
they affected his thought and emotion.
It belongs to the various departments of medicine to de-
termine the inflJ!X bodi_es of men
during disease. Some of these effects are well known.
There be a sudden multiplication of bacterial colonies.
may be the engendering of poisons .that infect the fluids
and_retard or disturb the tissue processes. There may be
misdirected or cancerous growths of certain tissues. There
may be upsets of the body-tone and of the harmonious vibra-
by which life in the body is   ·Th;re
may be deficiencies of some of the simple elements or of the
complex organic chemicals which food must contain to supply
the cells and tissues with the means of growth and renewal.
In many cases there occurs an abnormal rise . or fall of the
vital upon which the chemistry of the body depends for
its balance.
Diseases are sometimes attended by the presem;e
teria--germs which multiply with incredible speed to generate
p°9isons ancf to clog the tissues. The nature of such disease
germs was not known in Swedenborg's day and is therefore
s1n Compare AC 5717e
876 AC 5713
877 AC 5717
878 AC 5863, SD min. 4648, cp
AR 531
819 AC 5180
184
SPIRITS AND MEN
not directly discussed in the Writings. But it is clear that
these invading micro-organisms are to be included with the
' "unclean things" of disease.
38
° For evil spirits can inflow
only into organic receptacles which, while in the body, are-in
some way isolated from the souTs control. It is important
to note the teaching that medicines wisely administered can
serve in the Divine providence as an effective means by which
the ultimates of evil influx can be weakened, counteracted, or
removed, so that the influx is diverted from the body. In ex-
treme cases the surgeon's scalpel must remove the disordered
clss!:!_e to spread of the malignity. But such ex-
ternal remedies do not reach the inner causes .of disease which
will be further considered in our next chapter.
That the inmost soul has at its disposal many marvelous
agencies in tl1e body is obvious in all stages of the formation
of the embryo and the growth of the body. The strange ap-
pearance of "anti-bodies" to counter disease germs in the
blood stream is an example of how ilie balance of orga!!if life
is g l>Y. an omniscient   as is also
the dominant role played by the secretions of the endocrine
glands. That this government is mediated by the spiritual
world has been the theme of book. Biit manrs mTndis
own special spiritual world. And health and disease may
both depend on his psychical states. -Ti1e philosophy of dis-
ease and cure which wllr event ually take form among the
people of the New Church must account first of all for the
relation of the body to the mind, and thus to the spiritual
world.
sso SD 4585, AC 5713
xv
"A cheerful heart is a
good medicine, but a
downcast spirit dries up
the bones."
A Hebrew Proverb
Mental Causes of Disease
Is Illness the Fault of Man?
Many Christians believe that all accidents and diseases are
retributions of Providence for personal sins. This idea was
common among the Jews, who conceived of no higher good
than health and prosperity, nor any higher destiny than a long
life on earth. The Lord sought to disabuse the minds of the
disciples of this fallacy when he said concerning the man who
had been born blind, "Neither hath this man sinned nor his
parents : but that the works of God should be made manifest
in him"; and when He said that the eighteen killed by the fall
of the tower in Siloam were not sinners above others in
Jerusalem.
881
Men-from no individual fault of their own-may fall sick
from natural causes which in turn come from spiritual causes
hidden from man's understanding. Arufby natural
he may be restored. But while the disease lasts, evil spirits
are able to extend their operations frorri-the- realm of the mind
- the bo4y, working agajnst by   the
unclean- things which belong to the disease, which they ag-
gravate. The stress of the Writings is laid upon the fact that
without the influx from the hells there would be no actual
disease. "Eve_ry disease in the huma_n race" comes from sin,
disease.
382
We   ·this to mean
that it is always a man's fault if he is sick, any more than it is
as1 John 9: 3, Luke 13 : 4
185
186
SPIRITS AND MEN
his fault that he has hereditary tendencies to evil. But even
as sin bred disease in the human race as a whole, so it is the
tendency of a tp.an's own in.dividual tC? lead_ into
( corresponding diseases of the body. "If his s iritual life sick-
)     evii is -derived therefrom into the natural life
becomes there a disease."
383
It does not follow that an evil man is always, or neces-
sarily, sick, or cannot remain in what appears as perfect bodily
health. But actually, the things that come to belong to man's
life are not only of his mind but of his whole body, from head
to foot.
384
And therefore it is disclosed in the Writings that
the blood in the lungs purifies and nourishes itself corre-
to the affections of the mind, and that in evil
it ;bsorbs a subtle food of unwholesC:me quality, unsuitable to
serve the soul in its impartial and wise economy. Yet no one
can ascertain tli.i_s . quality of the blood by any qualitative
chemical analysis since "it is a purer blood, called by some
'the animal spirit,' . which is purified" with the
man.sss
Certain "lusts and passions of the mind" are more prone
than others to "destroy man's interiors," and thus to "drag"
1
man into disease and death.
386
Such passions may be classed
as breaches of the moral law.
Intemperance, drunkenness, gluttony, luxuries of various
kinds, and that cater to bodily alone,
head the list. For these upset the routine of use and the
balance of the body functions; denying to the body the proper
exercise or the proper sleep; or compelling the to
useless food or drink, for the sake of the transient
pleasures of the senses. Dnmkenness causes a man to lose
his manhood, since it is his intellectual faculty that marks him
a man. It not only brings damage body and so
383 AC 8364: 2
ss4 DLW 268
as5 DLW 420, 423
386 AC 5712, SD 459'2
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
187
his death, but it wastes in extravagance what might be of use
to many.
887
Envies, fears, and a;;xieties-;;:-bout
without proper trust in Divine provision, keep the nerves
taut by a constant reliance upon prudence. It is a remark-
able thing that the human body and brain can rise to emer-
gencies and prolonged strain, and that men in executive posi-
tions can do work which even in amount shames others; but
this only so long as states of frustration and personal anxiety
do not affect them. For gene!a!ly it is not work but fretting
worry vexati.Qn which cause_ health to break down.
f Hatred and revenge also visibly poison the body and heat
the blood, as well as warping the judgments of the mind.
of bitterness an_d brutality have always been compared
to gall-the bile rejected from the liver and longing to punish
the stubborn food in the intestinal tract. Lasciviousness-
when given rein-leads to sexual diseases of varied types, af-
fecting the glands, tissues, and nerves, and even infecting the
blood itself. Hypocrisy and deception tax the nervous sys-
tem by inducing constant fear of detection.
Mental states can so influence the body as to create organic
disorders therein into which the hells can operate because the
mind or spirit while man lives on earth is not apart from his
body nor present only in the brain, but is within the whole
body and animates it with life. "The spiritual," we read,
"accompanies every stamen [of the viscera, organs, and mem-
bers of man] from outmost to inmost, and therefore all the
minute structures and fibres of the heart and lungs." This is
the reason given for the fact that the spiritual body, which is
formed within the natural body, rises at death in a similar
form. Death "is merely the separation of the spiritual sub-
stance from the material."
388
The spiritual which is present
in the body and its brain, and thus acts nature, -iscalled,
-.____ ·- --- --- ..
in the Writings,       and also the "spir-
as
7
SD 2422
3
8
8
Wis. vii. 2 : 4
188
SPIRITS AND MEN
  for it is the ultimate degree of the spir-
itual. 389 In the inm9st_pf the brain and body of this
·ultimate spiritual is clothed with naturaf substances from the
very inmost of nature,
390
and thereby is given the power to
separate itself from the higher spiritual degrees and to act
against them. When such a perversion sets in it becomes
evil.
391
By paternal heredity, this lowest degree of the spir-
itual is now from birth contrary to the order -of heaven- and
open to the influx of hell.
392
It is the natural mind that is formed in direct contact with
the natural substances of the body. And although the natu-
,. ral mind or tht:_   is perverted by
heredity, yet it is none the less ruled by the superior spiritual
degrees in such a way that these can act by it in creating the
body into the general image of the soul and usually maintain-
ing it in seeming health. The perversion of the substance of
t!ie "ultima_!t:_spii:.itual" is thus of such a nature that its essen-
tial function of conveying life is outwardly unimpaired.
This ultimate spiritual degree with man unfolds itself as
the natural mind-which is itself of three sensual,
natural and rational. There is need in the body, then, for
various planes of organics which shall serve to express the
powers of that mind. For no life, no thought or affection,
could possibly manifest itself in the realm of nature, unless
nature furnished a receptive vessel, responsive to its influx.
Swedenborg's Early Views on Diseases
In the Writings, little is said of these body-planes which
display the powers of the spirit. But in his philosophical
works, Swedenborg gives much thoughtful attention to
What he says therein can; ot)be taken as revealed doctrine and
a s9 DL W 345 3
91
DL W 345, 270
390 DLW 257, Wis. viii. 5, AE s9
2
DLW 260, 263, 269, 432
1222: 3
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
189
is (not' binding on our minds. But what served. him for a ra-
tional ultimate in receiving the inspired doctrine, might help
us to understand its meaning more fully.
His general theory was that there are, in the body, three
vital fluids. Each builds for itself a center, or principal court.
The grossest of the vital fluids we call "the red blood," and its
i. center is the heart. The flaj4 of middle_jegree Swedenborg
calls by various names-the "animal.spirit," the "purer blood"
-.and for its centers are prepared U!!£Q!I.!?ted millions of cor-
tical "glands" in the brain. Thence it flows at incredible
speed through the nervous system and also enters into the
composition of blood and tissues 1n various ways. The
  "spirituoJ.!s_ flJ1i,d" or "purest
blood"-has innumerable centers in each cortical gland-cen-
ters which are called "simple corteces," and thenceit
of force through the simplest invtsib]J! _fibres, and
through nerve fibres and blood vessels into the entire body.
( Indeed, is the product solery of the ineffable forma-
tive activities of these simplest fibrillae. For this "spirituous
fluid" is the servant of the soul itself, and may indeed be
called "the soul of the body."*
Into this framework of vital fluids and fibres, formed by
the soul itself out of the best of nature's gifts, Swedenborg
then places the degrees of that mind which man employs in
the world. serves as the plane of the vegetative
z and most sensuous life of the mind. The cortical glands, with
their vital nerve juices, are made the plane for the animus, its
3 sensations, imaginations and passions. The simple and
simplest fibre and thus the highest vital substances of the
body, .are cited as the organic instruments of the rational
mind and the pure natural intellect.
Diseases are affections of the various natural organics
* NQ!_only_ does it form the
org;giics oLhs body oufltcon-
tinually heals, repairs, and reno-
vates them. - (I Econ. 253-255)
190
SPIRITS AND MEN
mentioned above. But the spiritual soul itself, which is the
immaterial essence of man's immortal spirit and is above these
natural forms, can also _suffer a vitiation or a perverse change
of state-as to the reception of llfe. This cannot be counted
as a disease, but as "guilt" ( reatus).
393
Yet the afflictions of the blood" cause a sickness
which affects the workings of man'sintellectual mind: it
shows itself, not as a disease, but as a perversity in will and
judgment-as vain ambition, and a banishing of con-
science. Thus insanities and vices result.
894
The cure for
such irrational states, Swedenborg suggests, is to gain health
of body and animus, and then to enlighten one's mind through
masters who have saner judgment; but also to learn from re-
vealed and rational theology, and to exercise freedom of
thought and especially self-control !.
3 9 5
(And in the Writings
it is addec;i that   who love uses think sanely in their spirit,
and their spirit thinks sanely in their body) ."
396
If the "purer blpod," which runs through the cortical
glands and the nervous fibres, becomes vitiated, there arises
not disease as such, but "passions of the animus," such as
moody anger, jealousy, foolish prides or fears, melancholy,
fickleness, weakness of the imagination, loss of memory, and
many other ills which depend on the the brain and its
various parts.
397
- -
All the natural affections or the mediate loves of the
animus are in themselves healthy instincts.
898
But when
taken as ends-in-themselves, and indulged not for the sake of ,
uses or for the sake of higher ends, but only for selfish satis-
faction, then some of them become intemperate and urge us to
excesses. We may call these natural affections, "natural
398 Fibre. 376, 488. In the theo-
logical Writings the word "guilt"
is used in a more restricted sense,
not as hereditary evil, as here
B94 Fibre 374, 2 Econ. 315
a95 Fibre 374
896 Love xv
89
7 Fibre 373
s9s R. Psych., chapter beginning
with n. 197
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
191
goods," because they are implanted in the natural mind from
birth. Each love finds its own expression under the form of
some virtue. Some individuals inherit prominent qualities
of pity or generosity or courage, or on the other hand, their
complements, prudence, thrift, or caution. Curiosity, hope,
zeal, the love of the sex, are other examples of natural affec-
tions. Within such tendencies there lies hidden hereditary
evil, which tends to upset that delicate balance of judgment
which should make out of them all a harmonious and perfect
  moral life _ From hereditary evil, the
tions of the animus awake gradually into a mutual conflict.
If-through intemperance--some of these loves of the animus
are given loose rein, they tum from apparent goods into vices
or grave faults, into searing passions which disturb the mind.
But so long as man keeps them in balance and due proportion
the mind is normal, and its natural affections do not then bring
about any disease in the body, or ·any poisoning of the nervous
fluid or the organics of the brain.
Swedenborg also suggests remedies for the sicknesses and
L- upsets of the animus. he says, may be employed
to purify and restore the red blood; for it may be some ex-
ternal condition of the body and its blood that accounts for
the mental state. Yet if the cause is not in the body, state
,. might be amended by an improvement of the mental environ-
"- ment : agreeable feasts, convivial companionshipS,-atidbrOader
sodal   may put one hi a n;;-rmal frame of !
( If this does not help, let the sufferer seek recourse to moral
philosophy and in a bit of practical self-analysis: so thathe
rectifies the mistakes into which he has drifted.
899
On the
other hand, the trouble may be from perversities of
  and rational mind-and then
called for!
a9o Fibre 373
192
SPIRITS AND MEN
Health cannot truly exist, unless all the planes of the body
and mind are in harmony and cooperation ! If the inner mind
is cheated of its ends, the animus may become angered, the
blood hot, and a bilious fever may seize the viscera !
400
Lack QLha!:mony wl_th_l!iterior plan_es is therefore a cause
of bodily disease-disease "properly so called." But not the
only cause; for the body is affected by any deterio_:a-
tion of blood, serum, or  

And the principal and most
common cause of bodily disease has to do with the lac:k <?_f
proper nourishment or with the food that :!!._e ; and also
with the subtle food which we draw in by breathing the air,
and even the still more subtle nourishment which ·the "purer
blood" drinks in from the ether.
402
For the blooc:Cmustbe
provided with of sufficient quantity and the right
quality. Our philosopher therefore classes-among the
remedies for the body-not only various drugs, drawn from
the three kingdoms of nature, and moderate -diet, exercise,
rest, sleep, moderatetewWature ; but also mental cilrll.And
heleaves the field open discoveries of w.cy;-by which
the blood may be purified, amended and renewed.
403
The Theological Writings on the Causes of
Organic Disease
We have cited these observations which Swedenborg made
before he was called to his religious mission, in the hope that
they might help us to understand more clearly certain state-
ments made in the Arcana, the Spiritual Diary and the other
theological works. ·
In the Arcana Coelestia we read that evils "close the small-
est and altogether invisible vessels of which the next larger,
invisible, are woven; for the vessels :which are smallest of
4oo Fibre 377
401
Fibre 375
402 Fibre 381a et seq.
408
Fibre 372, 387
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
193
all and_wholly are continued from man's
Thence comes the first and inmost obstruction and thence the
first and inmost vitiation of the blood. Thls vitiation, when
it increases, causes disease and at length death .•.. "
404
It is difficult to ascertain whether the ipmost vessels which
evil closes are to be conceived as physical or as spiritual sub-
stances, for they seem to be combinations of both. They are
called vessels "on account of the correspondence,".i:os and in-
deed "vessels in man's rational and in his natural," and are
said to be in "contrary position" within him relatively to the
inflowing_life which none the less still can dispose them. Man
perceiv es the variations of their form as truths.
406
And a
cross-reference suggests that it is in these "substances which
are the beginnings of the fibres" that the objects of sense are
organized as memory. They might perhaps be identified with
the twists of the spiritual and natural substances of the natural
mind which are turned in a sinister order before reformation
has occurred.
407
The evil heredity of the race is carried over
from generation to generation by such correspondent disorders
in the lowest spiritual degree present in the germ-plasm.
408
And there must be a natural basis for such hereditary evils,
since it is only in conjunction with natural substance-thus
only in the natural mind while on earth-that evils can
arise.4°
9
The reason for this is that it is the very nature of
  S?bsta_!lce to resist and react against spiritual sub-
stances.410 And owing to this resistance the lowest spiritual
ca n there be separate from its higher degrees, and become
perverted into "spiritual substances such as are in hell."
411
404 AC 5726, cp 4227 : 3, SD
1801
405 AC 5726, 3318
4oa AC 2487
401 DLW 263, 270, 254, CL
203: 2, DP 319: 3, AE 1168: 3
408 TCR 103, DL W 432
40
9
DLW 345
4
10 DL W 260, 263
m TCR 38, DLW 345
194
SPIRITS AND MEN
Hereditary evils, it is well to note, are "guilt" or "sin"
or "original sin," but only tendencies or inclinations to evil.
It would seem to follow, that with the newborn infant
  and invisible vessels" which are re_ceptive of the
spirit and undoubtedly carry the marks of heredity, are not
closed but have the tendency to close themselves against the
spiritual mind; nor is there as yet any "inmost vitiation of
the blood." So far as the child, and later the man, does not
prevent, the Lord continues to hold him in innocence and
mental health, by a general influx. With infants and well-
disposed children, even the worst spirits, if present, would be
compelled to serve the Lord's will and cannot introduce any
evil. It is when the child begins to
that the inmost vessels are "closed" to the influx of the un-
i ?Qiptual
4 12
and opened to an influx of
cupidity from evil spirits ; and then the "animal spirit" begins
to absorb the malignities to which it had formerly been im-
mune.
While an evil inheritance may thus give a predisposition
to certain diseases, most babes are born healthy ; unless some
deficiency in maternal nourishment or some accident ill the
womb has interfered with the execution of the soul's pattern
of the embryonic body-that marvelous four-dimensional pat-
tern which is latent in the germ-cells and which Dr. Schroe-
dinger has described as a code-script for the individual's en-
tire future development.
413
Hereditary evil does not affect
the physiological functions of the soul in the body, for the in-
most natural vessels are utterly obsequious to the soul in its
general influx. Swedenborg therefore stated in. the Economy
of the Animal Kingdom that the spirituous fluid which is
present as a formative substance in the parental seed cannot
m AC 1667, DLW 261 413 Erwin Schroedinger, What
is Life? (New York-: Macmil-
lan, 1946), pp. 19, 20
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
195
be perverted or injured or essentially changed in its form ex-
cept with reference to a variant reception of life and wis-
dom.4H
If this be so, it may be surprising that any one could be
born an idiot. Yet even if the "spirituous fluid" is perfect
in its physiological action there can be congenital defects in
the derivative organisms or injuries to the nervous tissues due
to malnutrition or to some trauma experienced either before
or after birth. There are no doubt special reasons in the
Divine providence why idiots should remain in the state of
innocence for their entire life time, or why those who lose
their rational balance through disease should be arrested for a
time in their mental development. But the law is that "life
. . . acts according to the ultimate determinations, but not
from them."
415
The internal man may be quite rational even when the
mind cannot be rightly channelled into corresponding imagina-
tions, words, or acts. In a private letter, Swedenborg ob-
served that "real madness and insanity resides in the external
or natural, not in the internal or spiritual man." There are
________,
no natural diseases among spirits in the otI-!er life, nor any
hospitals; although there are spiritual asylums ;-ho
insane and idiotic from a denial of God. Nat ural dis-
\ eases, blindness, lameness, insanity, etc., are _cUI_ed when man
l
his externals and his internals are in the other
life.
416
Yet natural insanity may be caused or abetted by unwhole-
f and by the leading of evil   if
\ rationa! _mind is not i_n <:9!:t r:ol, spirits will man and
l cause mental fixations and monomanias.n
7
n4 2 Econ. 314-316
410DLW 259
no Docu. n. 243
41T SD 3624-3628
196
SPIRITS AND MEN
Nerves, Glands, and Spirits
There are two general ways by which mental and emo-
tional states can affect the body. One is through the nervous
system, the other is through the secretions which the glands
communicate to the blood. Both originate in the brain.
Swedenborg explained that the brain is not only a common
sensory and a common body, but is also a com-
plex gland which acts as a chemical laboratory. And the
soul and the speciaTfunctions, both con-
scious and unconscious, through the brain. The influence of
our affects us first of all through
the brain. And even as speech corresponds to the thought of
the mind, so the in_!!ux Qf the mind intq always ex-
presses itself according to laws of correspondence.
It is a particular influx from hells attracted by our chosen
states that stirs up partiality and dissension among the affec-
tions of the natural mind, causes mental symptoms, emotional
moods, psychic disturbances and disorders in the functions of
the braincells, and upsets the bafance in the products of the
endocrine glands.
The conscious part of the mind, or the voluntary, by its
deliberate or at least perceptible decisions moves the body by
means of the central nervous system. Our errors of judg-
ment or intent may thus cause injury to the body by over-
straining it or leading it into perils with which it is not
equipped to cope. But emotional states may cause illness
even when man is   of them except as a frame
of mind; and they may affect the body through the autonomic
system in_fue hypothala!Jlus   midbraln,
causing unwanted muscle tensions and pains in theoesophagus
and stomach and in various parts of the alimentary callal, re-
sulting in symptoms like th-ose-;;f ukrn or gas or ap-
pendicitis. The breathing may be affected and cause undesir-
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
197
able changes in the blood. The blood vessels· are most sensi-
tive to emotions, as in blushing or in headaches, and the heart
beats faster when one is deeply moved.
r
i!"ritations may cause outbreaks on the skin or rheu-
matic ailments. may explode in hysterical
weeping or laughter, or in violent actions not intended.
may lead to_   on the brain and possible
tllrOugh coronary occlusions.
The second bodily agency to respond to our mental states
is the glandular system. In his physiological works and later
in the Writings Swedenborg called attention to the important
functions of what is now called the endocrine glands-antici-
pating many discoveries by more than a century. In fact he
noted that there is no viscus which does not contribute a secre-
tion to the bloodstream.
418
Chief of all the glands
si e brain 'Y!!h its <_:£!1stituent some
of the products of which were strained through the region of
the hypothalamus into the pituitary gland at the base of the
brain and in various ways-into the jugular
vein, thereby vivifying the blood with "animal spirit."
Health depends on the proper balance and purity of these
fluids, and many diseases result from their deficiency or wrong
distribution.
419
Swedenborg concluded that the "animal spirit" which is so
essential for the balance of all body functions contains within
it a life-carryin "spirituous fluid" which is generated in the
------ - -
inmost of the cells. All the ductless glands
in the body are regulated through the pituitary gland which is
the outlet for this     roduct. In his various
treatises he points especially to the uses of the thymus, the
adrenals, the spleen, the pancreas, the liver and the testicles ;
which all aid in modifying, tempering, and salvaging the ani-
m SD 925 m SD 1801, 1812
198
SPIRITS AND MEN
mal spirit. And in the Diary he says of the learned of his
time:· "So long as they dispute whether_ !here an_ ani-
mal spirit in the fibres, which they may still do for a thousand
years,they can never come to the courtyard of knowledge, but
will stand far away."
42
0
It can hardly be doubted that what Swedenborg called
"animal spirit" is closely related to what medical science in
this century refers to as hormones produced by internal secre-
tory glands. The pituitary is now acknowledged as the mas-
ter gland and the source for a number of hormones which
regulate almost every process in the body and condition the
various organs to avert any threats to bodily well-being.
Most important, however, is the finding that these glaudu!:e
r to       psychic stat:s (such as
mental blocks and aversions) that they can cause correspond-
ing illnesses and symptoms in the body. The relation of the
endocrine glands to our inner states is so close that some have
named them "the glands of personality." The accumulating
evidence of symbolic symptoms in psychosomatic diseases is
not surprising to Church man who is familiar with
the universal of the n atural to tllespiritW.l
an·d knows the body-;_;- the instrumenta nd clothing orthe
mind. Yet we may sometimes forget the further truth--that
our inner life does not originate with ourselves but is induced
by the spirits who are attracted by the contents of our mind.
Correspondential Symptoms
Our morbid psychic states need not at once, nor neces-
sarily, cause disease in the body. But when a disorder exists
in the body itself, the sphere of evil spirits acts spontaneously
by a law of correspondence. In certain cases, they can cause
disease only when men invite the evil th_ese spirits
4
20 SD 3459
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
199
and in such cases the Lord cannot avert their
sphere.
01
We read strange things in the Writings about this corre-
spondent influx-things which can be appreciated only after
reflection and a study of the doctrine of the Grand Man.
Thus hypocritical spirits--who wish to evade judgment-
tend to inflow to produce toothache and what appears to be
neuralgia.n
2
Certain dominating, pompous and impatient
spirits induce great pain and weakness and weariness of mind
and body.
423
The sphere of selfish and slothfui spirits pro-
duce numbness and oppressiqn in the stomach. Spirits who
have been in much solicitude or are inclined to avarice and
are unwilling to leave "the state of externals" in which new-
comers are 'in the other life, affect the stomach with nervous
indigestion.
4
u Revengeful spirits aggravate superacidity in
the- stomach.4
25
Those who make everything a matter of con-
science also induce abdominal anxieties.
426
In each instance
there are profound correspondential reasons for such influxes.
Anxieties of a different kind are due to the presence of
unworldly female spirits of the province of the adrenal glands
who are in solicitude from a life lacking in variety. But
these spirits, who also act on newly born infants, are merely
concerned to hold the mind in some line of thought that ex-
cludes what is worldly. Certain other spirits, who in the
Grand Man relate to the infundibulum, are-like the fluids
in the ventricles-inconstant and undetermined, and cause in
man states of impatience and suspicion.4
21
Those wl}_o.__£0
not like work but ·seek social prominence and pleasures as
their sole   to in the brain,
and their presence causes stupidity, dullness and loss of affec-
421 AC 5719
422 AC 5720, 4348, AE 556: 9
na AC 5720£
m AC 5177£, 6202, HH 299
m SD 1272£
oa SD 1241
m SD 915,
200
SPIRITS AND MEN
tion.
428
Those who relate to the viscid humors of the brain
with which vital fluids are mixed, love to incite scruples of
conscience in trivial matters. Such rather narrowminded
spirits induce a sensible anxiety in the upper abdomen; and
they are also wont to come to a man during temptations and
make them unbearable.
429
When sickness coincides with temptation, man's lot is un-
enviable. "Temptations," we read, "are most grievous when
they are accompanied with bodily pains, and still more so
when those pains continue for a long time and no deliverance
is granted even though the Divine mercy is implored."
430
Yet
illness itself, even when the mind is anxious and moody, is
very different from spiritual temptation. Real temptations
have a spiritual issue involved-a stru gle to rebin spiritual
health and faith and charity. Still, moods Of sadness
break like a flood upon a man who has lived in good when he
relapses into the sphere of his proprium; and then he may be-
come indignant and angry. He thinks restlessly and his de-
sires become impetuous; although when this flood is lifted, he
returns to a serene and cheerful state. Such temptations
affect the animus and perhaps the body. In the case of the
last posterity of the Most Ancient Church, such a profane
flood of evil and insanity was let loose that people perished
physically, by a species of suffocation. This, therefore, was
actually a death of sill, and-as was shown above-was de-
scribed by the great Deluge.
431
The indications are that diseases are usually ri:_ceptive _<?.£
an influx from     spirits, who then inflow by their
sphere into a particular part of man's body. But a localized
disease may become general, or may attract a more general
influx.
428
AC 4054
429 AC 5724, SD 1239ff
4so HH 196
481
AC 5725
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
201
This is noted in the case of fevers. Many places in the
hells, among obstinate and pernicious spirits, exude an ex-
cessive heat, impure and corporeal. This sphere inflows
partly into the mind of man, by means of particular spirits, to
inflame him with cruelty or adulterous lust; but partly also
it may, by a "general sphere or a general influx," produce a
febrile heat in the diseased parts of the body as well as a de-
lirium in the mind.
432
Indeed it is stated that "the sick man
summons" those who infuse such heat, and that spirits most
marvelously -know how to determine .their sphere into the
body, and this despite the fact that spirits do not know the
man ·with whom they are. Fortunately the Lord controls
them under laws of order, withdrawing them periodically;
"wherefore several fevers have stated alternations."
4 33
It is
generally admitted that the rise of body temperature into fever
heat is a defensive reaction of the .body in its resistance to
disease.
Spiritual Uses of Sickness
Disease and melancholic anxiety may be classed among
"natural temptations."
4 34
But the difference between an ill-
ness and a state of spiritual temptation is well illustrated in
the case of certain spirits who relate to the province of the
stomach and especially to the undigested things therein. The
general action of these spirits is to instill feelings of oppressive
sadness and uncomfortable melancholy for which no percepti-
ble cause or occasion can be recognized. - The spirits who
thus inflow are not the spirits who are with man as his at-
tendants and who resemble him as to affections; but they are
f strange spirits who have been sen!_iorth from some int;;a1
~ soc1et 2E_ o tlie s p ~ r   of his life. TI1ey ow in ·by a more
4a2 SD 4590£, HH 571£
433
SD 4571£
4
H AC 8164
202
SPIRITS AND MEN
general influx to produce these effects, which are contrary to
man's own affections. Such spirits may also infest man   u r ~
ing a spiritual temptation; but t en ey would not only inflow
r
"in general," for the temptations themselves are produced by
particular spirits who excite certain evils that man has done
and put a wrong interpretation on the good things in his mind.
Only by such a "particular" influx can the man be placed in
J
freedom to resist, and his guardian angels then engage in
combat on his behalf.
435
What has been said may aid us to understand the teaching
that a man cannot be reformed--or he cannot change his rul-
ing love-while in states of sickness of mind or body.
436
While ill, the mind is not always rational, and if rational yet
is not free. Man then lives apart from his world of uses and
duties and is withdrawn in his spirit. The Writings liken
such a man to a religious recluse, a hermit bent on thoughts
about his own salvation ; and the same is the state of one who
is in some extreme danger or in sudden misfortune. Besides,
the sick man may be oppressed by moods beyond his control,
and is released from his usual responsibilities and from the
pressure of many of the affections that normally wage their
silent warfare for predominance.
So far as a man can carry on his uses, he cannot be called
sick in the above sense. Nor does illness prevent a person
already on the road of reformation from being strengthened
in his good resolutions by the reflections on his sick-bed.
There is therefore room for the further teaching that a very
large class of men (who are represented in the Word by the
Hebrew manservant) "cannot be reformed otherwise" than
through the hardships of life, such as anxieties, misfortunes,
and even sicknesses ! These are they who from infancy have
given little thought to anything but worldly life and success,
435 AC 6202 4aa DP 141, 142
MENTAL CAUSES OF DISEASE
203
yet have lived morally and accepted the doctrine of their
church on hearsay. With them, sickness is turned into an
oportuni _.!2.. review !ife's real u ses, and something of
spiritual good may then adjoin itself to their thought. They
may tum again to the consolation offered by their church,
and confirm their faith more deeply while their worldly loves
lie dormant for a while.
437
Even like gifts of wealth and peace, the gift of health is
happily in the Lord's hands to dispense-for those to whom
health may be a blessing. In our hearts we all pray for health
when it eludes us. Yet it is the Lord's admonition that we
should seek first the kingdom of God and His justice. "He
who is in faith from the Lord asks for nothing but what con-
tributes to the Lord's kingdom and to himself for salvation."
The angels told Swedenborg that if they should pray for any-
thing else, they could have no faith that they would receive
it.488
Sickness is not a total waste in the Lord's sight. We are
encouraged to practice foresight and to seek to maintain our
health by prudence as well as by medicine. But to be brood-
ing constantly upon the possible ailments of our body and to
delve intently into anatomical details all one's life, is not in
itself an aid to health.
439
"Sufficient unto the day is the evil
thereof." The regenerating man, even in his pastimes, looks
to uses as an end. He loves the things of his body for the
sake of having a healthy mind, and consults for his body as
the first requirement for usefulness ; and he "loves his mind
and its health for Jhe s ~ k e of an n   still more interior-that
h ~ !!_!ay have a relish for good and may understand truth."4
40
This is further explained as follows :
4s1 AC 8980, 8981, Exod. 21 :
1-6
4.8& AE 815: 10
489
SD 2736
440 AC 6936, 5159, 4459 : 6
204
SPIRITS AND MEN
"He who is in merely external pleasures makes much
of himself, indulges his stomach, loves to live sumptuously,
and makes the height of pleasure to consist in things to
eat and drink. One who is in internal things also finds
pleasure in these things, but his ruling affection is to
nourish his body with food pleasurably for the sake of its
health, to the end_ that he may have a sound mind in a
sound body ; thus chiefly for the sake of the health oi" the
mind, to which the health of the body serves as a means.
One who is a spiritual man does not rest here, but regards
the health the mind or soul as a means for   in-
telligence and wisdom-not for the sake of reputation,
honors, and gain, 'liut for the sake of the life after dea_!h.
One who is in a more interior degree   in-
telligence and wisdom as a mediate end having fori ts
l
object that he may .serve as a useful member in the Lord
1
s
kingdom; and one who is a celestiaf man, -that -he- may
serve the Lord. To such a one bodily food is the means
for the enjoyment of spiritual food, and spiritual food is a
means for the enjoyment of celestial food; and as they
ought to serve in this manner, these foods also correspond,
and are therefore called 'foods' " (AC 4459 : 6).
XVI
"Unto you that fear My
name shall the Sun of
righteousness arise with
healing in His wings."
Malachi 4: 2
Spiritual Sources of Health
The causes of emotionally induced diseases may be traced
from the aufonomic nerves to their cortical origins and from
the secretions of the endocrine glands to their source in the
inmost organic structures which Swedenborg called the "sim-
ple cortex." But-     way to spirit. For the
brain-cells absorb their subtle material aliments from earth
and atmosphere and produce their complex chemical carriers
of life according to the states of a man's affections.
441
And
man's affections are derived from the spirits who are with him.
only l1.ealth is froJE tilt:_ !,-o_!d. A wicked man
may seemingly have a strong and healthy body. But in-
\ wardly there is no soundness in him. His "purer blood" or
animal spirit is not being purged from those malign substances
which attract the influx from the hells. He carries with him
the poison of deceit, the seeds of insanity, and the latent causes
of disease.
( Just as anger and cankering emotions make for illness,
love and faith are the fountainhead of health and an important
\ element it1 cures. It is patient must have
an incentive to recover and a faith in its possibility. But-to
avert illness a man must at all times keep his mind free from
morbid states of self-pity, anger, pessimism, suspicion, im-
patience and intemperance, and from all other moods or emo'-
tions which seem to brood below the level of his thoughtSbut
wjiich from evil He should be coura-
441 DLW 423
205
206
SPIRITS AND MEN
geous in facing adversities, reasonable and prudent in his re-
lation with other men. He should keep busy in some useful
work and lead an orderly life. should defend his
and his own use while respecting the same
o_Qi ers. In short, he should be rational and moral. He
should cultivate the moral virtues, learn to appreciate them
in others, patiently try to see the point of view of those who
criticize him, and see himself objectively, as others see him.
An inoffensive sense of humor which allows him to smile at
irritations and laugh at his own errors, can often prevent a
nervous breakdown. Modem doctors prescribe a happy
mood as the best medicine.
Moral virtues do not suffice to combat evil spirits. Evils
must be shunned as sins against God if the angels are to
) banish the unclean spirit that with seven others
to the house of the garnished mind. The protection of heaven
comes to the just man who loves mercy and walks humbly
before his God. And the promise is, "Unto you who fear
My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in
His wings."
442
Interior   comes from       by
knowing its own weaknesses and strong by putting trust in
the Divine providence. The hectic pursuit fame
or persoru;:-1 powe; luxury is responsible for much illness.
Uses are provided us as a means to forget ourselves, not as a
path to selfish pleasures or personal vanity. The true way to
happiness and health is to find our place of use in society, to
our talents with a cheerful heart to mitigate the mis-
fortunes OfOthers, to sustain their good efforts, to contribute
of our best illustratiovJ o their spiritual welfare. A
attract good spirits of moreva ue to his fellowmen than
the inventor of atomic engines or the most brilliant of secular
thinkers-if the latter do not first seek the kingdom of God.
442 Matt. 12; 43, Mic. 6: 8, Mal. 4: 2
SPIRITUAL SOURCES OF HEALTH 207
Protection in Uses
A most powerful protection against evil and disease is to
be found in tpe love of being useful-the zeal for work from
an interest in the needs of others. This love conquers many
illnesses and delays the inroads of old age. Indeed even an
evil man or spirit is to a certain point protected by society and
by heaven so long as he performs a use. The people of Israel
were under a Divine protection from pestilences and disasters
so long as they were faithful to their covenant, even though
their function was one of merel "representing" a church.
  never used would weaken not
tend to disappear. The Writings urge us to temper our uses
with a due of rest and proper recreation. But "they
who more than use gatherevilsin°to their spirit,"
for they turn to things filthy and evil, vain and frivolous, until
their mind grows stupid and their body torpid. On the other
hand, "while a. man is in some study and business or is in a
use, his mind is limited and circumscribed as by a circle within
which it is coordinated by stages into a form truly human."
443
"Use is to discharge the works of our employment sin-
cerely and industriously." The love of use and the deriva-
tive application prevent the mind from wandering in idle day-
dreams and from drinking in the allurements of sensual lusts
which scatter all thoughts of religion and morality to the
winds.
444
Hence it is that the delight of heavenly life, as well
as its wisdom, revolves about uses to be done. The angels
know that to love the Lord as a person and not to love uses,
is to love Him from self; but use in itself is Divine, and to do
uses is to love the Lord and to be in Him- in the very current
of His sustaining life, or in that kingdom of uses which is
described as the Grand Man of heaven. And through the
ordered uses of the home, society, and the church, this king-
dom extends its protection over men on earth also.
443 SD 5839, CL 249
'44 CL 16, Love xiii
208
SPIRITS AND MEN
Love, the Key to Health
·Love is the key to health as well as to happiness. Even
the food we eat has a different effect when it is eaten with
thankfulness and delight, than when it is gulped in a state of
anxiety. Delight aids the secretion of digestive j uices and
enzymes allif''opens the chyle-ducts" so that the nourishment
can be rightly absorbed.
445
Food and drink nourish the body
better and more suitably when a man, at dinner or supper, is
cheerful in s i!:it and is at the same titrie "in the delight of
conversin with others qbout J:he things .heJQ-yes, than when
he sits at table alone."
446
Indeed, man shall not live by bread
only. Among the proper "diversions of charity" are dinners,
or parties "with those who are in mutual
a similar faith"; where the conversation turns on various civic
and domestic topics, but the chief interest centers on the
[
church. _ _   on such occasions
exhilarates every mind, softens every voice, and brings festive
feelings into all the senses.
447
All of which confirms the
proverb, "Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled
ox and hatred therewith."
448
It is really love to the Lord and charity towards the neigh-
bor which invite the wholesome spheres of heaven. And no
\J love ea . n give a more complete the hells or
) offer more support to heaven than a love truly conju ·al such
as exists with two married partners who together look to the
Lord in their common uses.
449
For was instituted
by the Lord to be the norm of human life in which all the
needs of soul and mind and body find their fulfilment and
through which the Divine uses of creation are to be accom-
plished. It is to the state of marriage i:.ve!Y E UII13:!:_ in-
445 AC 5147 : 3
448 AC 5576 : 3, 8352: 3, 6078
441 TCR 433
44
8 Prov. 15 : 17
449 AE 999 : 2, 1002e
SPIRITUAL SOURCES OF HEALTH 209
dividual must look for the final balance of life's many uses
an de 1ghts. And if a true marriage is not achieved on
earth, a man or a woman can still livf of_!.he
conjugial union o_f _sP__arity and faith which fosters all the
sp!rltuil-and natural uses of society and begets the wisdom of
life.
J
\
uro_n.agating and the love of protecting the off-
spring comes to all men as a sphere out of heaven and as a
general influx. In the natural man, as in animals, it is re-
ceived as a love of the sex. This is a natural instinct, and if
1
\ it is not tern i:red b   or it becomes
{ stresses and social problems. But it is in-
tended as the womb of conjugial love; And conjugial love
can be received only according to the states of the church with
man, or according as man, as of himself, orders his life by
revealed Doctrine to recognize the_pUIJ20ses of creation. It
is given to those who shun their evils as sins, approaching the
Lord Jesus Christ as the one God of heaven and of earth, and
who thus can sustain the particular influx of the angelic guard-
ians which come from the celestial heavens with innocence
and peace. Under such angelic auspices the conflicts of one's
natural affections are easily resolved and the disturbing under-
currents of fretting emotions are frankly analyzed and their
stress weakened.
The states of a truly conjugial life are described as "inno-
cence, tranquillity, inmost friendship, full confidence, a mu-
tual desire of mind and heart to do the other every good ; and
from all these, blessedness, happi ness, delight, pleasure; and
from the eternal fruition of these, heavenly felicity."
4
uo This
is not a cloudy ideal impossible of fulfilment in our day and
age. It wherever for the water \
and the New Jerusalem cari be planted in their hearts.
450 CL 180
210
SPIRITS AND MEN
Heaven comes to earth as a gift from the Lord-bringing the
first conditions for happiness and for health-just so far as
sins and t_hus jnvite gQQi   to:itlend
It comes "when a man, with his wife whom he loves
most tenderly and with his children, lives contented in the
Lord. From this he has in the world interior delight, and in
the other life heavenly joy."•
51
The Heavenly Doctrine was not given in order to restore
to men the means of procuring physical health. It extends
no hope for miraculous cures by prayer or by faith alone.
Yet beside the pure river of water of life which flows crystal
clear from the throne of God, there grows the tree of life
whose fruits shall be for meat and whose leaves are for medi-
cine--for the healing of the nations.4
52
These curative leaves
signify the rational truths now revealed in the Writings,
which can restore sound to those who have been
infested by evils and falsities, and may lead them to live be-
comingly and eventually to receive spiritual truths.4
53
451 AC 5051
45
3 AR 936
45 2 Rev. 22: 2, comp. Ezek. 47 : 9
XVII
Angelic lntermediacy
"And when I had heard
and seen, I fell down to
worship before the feet of
the angel which showed
me these things. Then
saith he unto me, See
thou do it not; for I am
thy fellow servant and of
thy brethren the proph-
ets. Worship God."
Revelation 22: 8, 9
in Divine Revelation
The Need for Divine Revelation
Wherever a true religion has existed among men, its inner
goal has been to seek a conjunction, not with spirits or even
angels, but with God. But since man cannot of himself know
God, the first requisite for such a conjunction had to be a self-
revelation by the Creator.
Nature exerts so hypnotic an attraction for us that our
attention is largely focussed upon its material objects and ob-
jectives. We may admit that other men help to form our
opinions and excite our moods and motives through actions
and words conveyed to our senses. But we are slow to be-
lieve that all our shifting mental states, as well as our deeper
loves and convictions, have a spiritual origin. Yet physical
sensation, and the words of other men, would cause no feeling
and have no meaning unless there inflowed from the spiritual
world the light of understanding. And this is mediated by
the societies of spirits in whose midst our own mind or spirit
unconsciously dwells-spirits closely kindred to our own per-
sonality. By their imperceptible influx such spirits actually
211
212
SPIRITS AND MEN
enable our thinking. They utilize the knowledge in our
minds, and in so doing they impart to us a sense of its im-
plication and significance.
454
But when mankind invites the presence of evil spirits, the
conversion of sensory knowledge into perceptions of truth be-
comes more difficult. The Lord has therefore provided us
with a unique opportunity especially adapted to the needs and
peculiar genius of our race: He has given a series of Divine
revelations of spiritual truth in the form of a written Word of
God-as a means by which we may be led into conjunction
with heaven and Himself.
Such written revelation was unnecessary in the primeval
age symbolized by "Adam" in paradise-when the race had
not as yet become infected with hereditary inclinations to evil,
and could even enjoy an open intercourse with angelic
spirits.
455
Towards the end of the Most Ancient Church
open communion with spirits became most dangerous.
456
And then_ whom He in-
spired to write sacred scriptures   the
truths copcei:._ning Go_d, charity, and eternal life.
Man cannot think up a knowledge of God or of heaven
from rational thought alone.
457
Although there is "an influx
into the souls of men" predisposing them to accept the truth
that God is and that He is one,
458
yet whatever religious
knowledge mankind possesses was handed down as traditions
stemming from primeval revelations. The reason why many
pagan religions show a fundamental similarit is tlu:itthey
preserve, in variously "Perverted fo;ms, such common tridi-
The acimistic, Idolatrous, and magical features which
they present are contorted race memories of th_e sci-
m AC 6200, SD 2174, 2728,
2254£, cp 5094, 5716
455 AC 125, 1121, 3432: 2, DV
'l.7 .
456 See above, pp. 34£, 37ff, 41
m AC 8944, SD 4757ff, DV 16,
SS 115e
458
TCR 8
ANGELIC INTERMEDIACY
213
ence of the correspondences between natural and spiritual
  For the oCthe ancients
mostly in correspondences, symbolic stories, or ritual forms.
The Sacred Scripture was inspired by the Lord ·in order
to preserve the truth in its purity, stripped of polytheistic
imagery yet deeply veiled in symbolic language that would
hide its inner message from the worldly-wise and prudent
while revealing it "unto babes," that is, to those who are
humble and poor in spirit.4
59
The Angel of Jehovah
The question arises, whether the Lord in revealing Him-
self by Scripture would need to employ the agency of spirits
and angels. A written Word of God is provided especially
to prevent the deceptions that corporeal and evil spirits might
impose upon men if spirits were permitted to speak to men
openly. But can God reveal Himself without the inter-
mediacy of spirits or angels?
It is an ancient saying that "no man can see God and live."
Seemingly this would effectively prevent any revelation of the
Divine Being as He is in His infinite Esse. But the Being
(Esse) of God is revealed in His forthstanding form as Divine
Man, and as such He has been worshipped in all ages ; even
before He descended to become incarnate in an earthly body
and by degrees manifested His Divine qualities of love and
wisdom.. For prior to His advent He had revealed Himself
both in the heavens and before appointed prophets. Yet this
theophany could not be effected except by means of angels
who thus for the occasion entered into the most sublime func-
tion which any finite being could serve.
The Word of the Old Testament often relates how patri-
archs and prophets in vision saw the glorious form of a man,
4
su Matt. 11 : 25
214
SPIRITS AND MEN
or "one resembling the son of man," who proved to be an
angel, yet who spoke as if he was the Lord Himself. Such
an angel was called "Jehovah" or "the angel of Jehovah."
460
How this angelic mediation took place is described in the
Arcana Coelestia:
" . . . It was an angel who appeared to Moses as a flame
in the bush, and he spoke as Jehovah 15ecause the Lord or
Jehovah spoke through him. For in order tl:iat the speech
may come to man by words of articulate sound and in ultimate
nature, the Lord makes use of the ministry of angels, filling
them with the Divine and lulling the things which are their
own. . . . "•
51
"Sometimes an angel does not speak from
himself, but . from the Lord, and he then does not know but
that he is the Lord ; but then his externals are quiescent. It
( is otherwise when his externals are active. The reason is that
the internal man of the angels is the Lord's possession ; and so
l far then as their own things do not impede, it is the Lord's
and even is the Lord."
462
It is also said that in such a case the Lord fills or infills the
angel with His Divine aspect so that he does not speak at all
from himself but hears the words inspired from the Divine.
Yet as soon as such angels are addressed by the man to whom
they appear they would become aware of their own distinct
individuality and avert any attempt of man to worship them.
463
In the ages before the Advent the Lord's appearance to
the prophets through some angel whom He infilled with His
Divine Spirit was called His "representative· Human." Each
angel portrayed some aspect of the Divine. But such a rep-
resentative Human borrowed from the heavens could not be
fully efficacious for it could not spiritually enlighten the
400 Gen. 18: 1, 14, 33; Exod.
3: 2, 6; Judg. 6 : 12, 16, 22, 23

61
AC 1925
462 AC 1745, cp 1594: 5
4 63 J udg. 13 : 16, Rev. 19 : 10,
22: 8, 9 ; HH 254
ANGELIC INTERMEDIACY
215
natural minds of men; it could convey no rational idea of the
Lord, but only a , symbolic picture.
464
The "angel of Jehovah" served-as a medium in the inspira-
tion of the Word of the Old Testament.
The ancients received the Divine influx into their in-
teriors; but the prophets of Israel simply felt it as a dictation
by a living voice, and sometimes as audible sound which they
perceived as coming from an angel appearing before them.
"They heard a voice, they saw a vision, and they dreamed a
dream; but as they had no perception these were merely verbal
or visual revelations, without any perception of what they
signified."
465
It is essential to note that although angels served as the
instruments by which the Holy Scriptures were dictated, not
a single word came from the angels nor was it selected by
them. And "as the words came forth immediately from the
Lord, each of them was infilled with the Divine" and thus they
conceal within them the infinite wisdom of God, as an internal
sense of which the biblical writers were unaware.4
66
The
angelic intermediacy did not prevent the Old Testament from
being Divine as to the very text and syllables. But it did
prevent the heavenly truth from appearing except in repre-
sentative forms and clothed in dark symbols; even as Isaiah
suggests when he says, "Verily Thou art a God that hidest
Thyself, 0 God of Israel, the Savior."
467
Revelations after the Advent
The Divinely inspired books of the New Testament-the
four Gospels and the Apocalypse-contain some of the words
which "the Lord spoke from the Divine itself" in parables
4<149Q vi, ii; AC 6371, TCR
109
468 AC 5121, 6000, AE 624 : 15
466
HH 254
4<17 Isa. 45: 15
216
SPIRITS AND MEN
and other types of spiritual teaching. His words were indeed
pure correspondences, representative and significative of Di-
vine things, yet they referred openly to the things of heaven
and the church.
468
The entire biography of the Lord, includ-
ing His own discourses, was also written down by the evange-
lists under immediate Divine inspiration. The Lord pre-
dicted this when He made the promise that the Paraclete, the
Holy Spirit, would come : "He shall teach you all things and.
bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said
to you."•es
No mention is here made of any angel mediating the
apostolic inspiration. When in the world the Lord appeared
to men's physical sight in His own assumed human. After
this had been glorified and after His ascension into heaven
He appeared in person to men only when their spiritual eyes
( were opened.
470
It is related in the Writings that the Lord
\ manifested Himself "in person," that is, in His glorified Hu-
man, before Swedenborg's spiritual sight and filled him with
} His _   that the doctrines of the
I in the and "teach them through
the Word from Him." In the course of this his mission
Swedenborg was introduced into the spiritual world and spoke
continually with spirits and angels. Yet, he adds, "I have
not received anything that pertains to the doctrine of that
church from any angel, but from the Lord while read-
ing the Word."
471
Yet the mediation of angels in the giving of Divine reve-
lation had not <:eased with the Lord's ascension into heaven.
In the last chapters of the Apocalypse it is plainly shown how
John was instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ through an
angel filled with the Divine who declared "the true sayings
4es AC 2900, AE 405 : 24, SS
20
469 John 14: 26, cp SD 1509
410 TCR 777, Lu. 24: 31
411 TCR 779, Inv. 43, DP 135
ANGELIC INTERMEDIACY
217
of God." The angel was not speaking from himself and
therefore explained to John that he was only serving as a
prophet and was not to be worshipped ; but immediately after
this he resumes his message : "I am Alpha and Omega the
beginning and the end, the first and the last. . . . I Jesus
send My angel to testify unto you these things in the
churches. . . . "
472
While the Lord, in His person or as to His Divine Hu-
man, is constantly encompassed by the heavenly sun, He often
presents Himself "by aspect" in and below heaven and
among the angels. This is effected through some angel whom
He fills "from afar" with His Divine.
473
On a number of
occasions the Lord so appeared before Swedenborg. The an-
cient mode has not been abrogated, but is utilized when the
states of the angels so require. Yet there is an important
difference. For it is the Lord in His glorified Human-"the
Divine Natural"-which is now revealed when it pleases the
Lord to appear in a borrowed angelic form.
474
Swedenborg and the AngelS
The inspired writing of the Heavenly Doctrine and the
revelation of the spiritual sense of the Word was not accom-
plished by any dictation by the Lord through angels. To
stress this important fact is not to deny that Swedenborg's
mission would have failed unless the Lord had · provided for
him a constant and open companionship with spirits and
angels.
It should be observed that the prophets of old had two
specific states which must be well distinguished. While in
vision they saw various representations in the other world
472 Rev. 22: 9, 13, 16; 19: 9,
10; AR 945£
m AR 465, 938, AE 412: 16,
HH 52, 55, 121, SD 2990
4
a9Q ii
218
SPIRITS AND MEN
with the eyes of their spirit, their body being in a passive state
of trance. On the other hand, while writing the Scriptures
they were "in the body" and enjoyed a Divine inspiration and
a dictate by which the words were selected from their mem-
ories, in such a way that each writer retained his own peculiar
style.
475
Their occasional introduction into spiritual vision
was necessary to furnish their memory with a field of sym-
bols and correspondences wider than that which their earthly
experience and their narrow knowledge of human history
could provide.
Swedenborg, for the writing of the Heavenly Doctrine,
had to be given a far wider, more prolonged and profound
experience of the spiritual world and all its phenomena. Dif-
ferent from any of the prophets, he was to grasp the laws of
that world with a rational understanding and, as an official
observer, report what he had been "led to perceive." His
memorable narrations of his spiritual experiences therefore
occupy a considerable portion of the inspired Writings. He
became familiar, in his daily intercourse with spirits, with all
manner of spiritual states, those of the angels and also those
of the infernals. Even his contact with the most repulsive
spirits could add to his knowledge of the truth.
f Thus he notes in his journal, "Even those things which I
\ have learned by of evil spirits, I have learned from the
Lord alone, although the spirits spoke."
476
He was forbidden
( to believe anything that they said, and w;is held in an inmost
) reflection on whatever was represented before him, and at the
)
same time interE_al from_ the  
was the truth.
477
He perceived distinctly what came from
angels and spirits and what from the Lord. "What has come
from the Lord has been written," he testified; "what has come
from angels has not been written."
478
His spiritual cxpe-
m AR 36, 945, AC 6212e
ns SD 4034, cp DP 340: 6
477
SD 1647
4•8 AE 1183: 2
ANGELIC INTERMEDIACY
219
riences were sometimes recalled to his memory by an angel
when he returned into the state of the body and began to
write.
479
In order to be informed about the way the prophets
were inspired, he was brought into certain experimental states
when spirits led his pen and dictated the words.
480
But he
did not write down the doctrine from any verbal dictation by
any "angel of Jehovah," but from an immediate inspiration,
or "from the mouth of the Lord alone." His inspiration came
"while reading the Word."
481
Not only was he then given to
see the internal sense of the Scriptures which is the doctrine
of heaven, but by the same means he was able to recognize and
formulate those of    
-as an interpretative philosophy-are applied in the Writ-
ings to ou.i:..h_uman situations and as relate to
social uses, government, marriage, education, or to our con-
cepts of creation and the cosmic whole.
482
Revelation through the Word
The reason why the written Word was given is that man
can no longer profit from immediate or conscious intercourse
with the inhabitants of the spiritual world. Since the Old
Testament Scriptures, and also the Apocalypse, were clothed
in heavy veils of correspondences and sensuous imagery, an
'angel of Jehovah' served to convey them to their inspired
writers. But in the Gospels and in the Writings, wherein the
correspondential and prophetic Word is fulfiiled and ex-
plained, the Lord speaks directly and more plainly, as the
Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the glorified Human, the Spirit of
Truth which shall lead men into all truth.
TE,e goal of all religion is a conjunction of
4 1 0 CL 73e, 81 : 5, 329
WE 6884, 7006, SD 2270
4 81 DV 29e, TCR 779
482 Note "Angelic Wisdom"
used in the titles of DL W, DP,
etc.
220
SPIRITS AND MEN
Not with spirits or angels, however necessary these
are as associates and guardians of our souls. And to the New
Christian Church the Lord is at last openly manifested in His
a{) the one   visibleto
men and angels even without the mediation of any borrowed
angelic form.
483
In the literal sense of the Word, when this is understood
from the Heavenly Doctrine which is its internal sense, the
Lord is present with men and speaks to them directly, and
enlightens their rational minds.
484
This enlightenment is
brought about only when man's spirit is environed by
sI!_heres which hold hill!__i_!l a oi spiti!!!.a.-1 truth.
485
But it
is the Lord, not the angels, who is the source of the light.
And it is taught that after the Advent this enlightenment is
not, as theretofore, "mediate through the angelic heaven," but
"immediate" from the Lord's Divine Natural.
486
The only
"mediation" is now the Word itself. The Lord now mani-
fests Himself to men "only" through the Word in its internal
sense, for the Word, which is the Divine truth, is the Lord
Himself in heaven and in the church.
487
The general teaching points out that representatives
ceased when the Lord rose from the sepulchre and entered
into the power of His Divine Natural, by which He could
become visible and "immediately present" with man. For
thus He could illustrate man's natural mind with heavenly
light and operate "perceptively" in man by Bis Holy Spirit,
so that man "can comprehend spiritual truths naturally."
488
To see God means to see the truth concerning . Him.
"They who in enlightenment When tf1ey read the Word,
see the Lord ; and this takes place from faith and from love.
This is effected in the Word only, and not in any other writ-
483 TCR 786£
484 SS 41, TCR 780
485 DLW 150
486 DL W 233, SS 99
487
AE 594: 3
488 Coro. 51, TCR 109, 9Q v
ANGELIC INTERMEDIACY 221
ing whatsoever."
480
"It has been believed that man might be
more enlightened and wise if he should have an immediate
revelation through speech with spirits and with angels. But
the .contrary is the case." Enlightenment by means of the
Word is effected by an interior way-through the will into the
understanding; while enlightenment from speech with spirits
is effected by an exterior way-through the hearing into the
understanding. If spirits were permitted to instruct any man
they could in any case only speak according to the man's own
religious ideas and could tell him nothing new. This was
the reason why the Scribe of the Second Advent-although
informed through daily intercourse with spiritual beings-was
"not allowed to take anything from the mouth of any spirit,
nor from the mouth of any angel, but from the mouth of the
Lord alone."
490
And this was the reason why the Lord in
His parable cites Abraham as saying, "If they hear not Moses
and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one
rose from the dead."
491
It is therefore to the Word in all its forms of Scripture
and Doctrine that man must turn for Divine instruction and
leading. Through that which the Lord reveals man can be
separated from the spheres of evil spirits and introduced as to
his affections into a secret yet effective bond with angelic
societies. This consociation is brought to pass through the
sense of the letter of the Word when this is understood from
the doctrine of genuine truth; which is now operily disclosed
by the Lord in His second advent-not by any "immediate
revelation from spirits or angels" but by an "immediate reve-
lation" "from the mouth of the Lord alone."
492
The new doctrine not only opens the internal depths of
Divine wisdom within the inspired Scriptures and displays the
4se SS 50, 53, 62
•00 DV 29
491
Lu. 16: 31
492 Compare DV 29 and HH le
222
SPIRITS AND MEN
arcana of the Lord's glorification and the provisions for man's
regeneration, but it also discloses the secrets of the afterlife
and the relations of spirits and men. It unfolds the mind of
God and the ends of His creation. By this doctrine
ine truth the Lord stands revealed in the very literal sense of
His Word. For "the Lord is present" with man and en-
lightens him, and teaches the truths of the church, there and
nowhere else."
493
The Word in _a!l   whether given through an
"angel of Jehovah" or inspired directly by the Lord in His
Divine Human, is the sole means whereby an errant race may
find its way back_!o conjunction with
4sa SS 53, 62
SUBJECT INDEX
Afterlife, Knowledge of, 1-6;
from revelation, 8. Errors
about, 22f
Ages of man, 65, 79. See also
Infancy
Ancient Church, 117
Angel of Jehovah, 213ff
Angels. Ministry, 42. Influx
of, 43, 96; in dreams, 14Sff.
Were men, 4. See also
Guardiq,n angels
Anger, 105
Animal spirit, 186, 189ff, 197f
Animals, 154£, 159, 161, 169
Antediluvians, 103, 174, 200
Anxieties, 187, 199
Associated ideas, 56
Associations, Spiritual, 75-ati
Attendant spirits, 11, 13, et
passim. Number of, SO, 53.
Change of, 52, 65. State of,
48
Bacteria, 183
Baptism, 83-86, 54£
Barrett, W. F., 27
Belief. See Faith
Block, Marguerite B., 39
Blood, Purer, 139, 186
Body, under general influx, 43,
157, 171, 178. Influx of
spirits into, 178ff
Boehme, Jacob, 123
Cerebellum, 139£
Chance, 70, 124
Choice, 64ff, 100. Dist. from
freedom, 16ff
223
Christendom, State of, 87ff
"Christian Science," 173f
Churches, Successive, 80
Cities, in spiritual world, 94f,
113
Clairvoyance, 32
Clergymen, 114£, 122, 167
Common good, 162
Common perception, 170
Confirmation of evils, 106
Conjugial love, 160, 208ff
Conjugial partners, 52
Conjunction with the Lord,
219£, 222. By the Word, 58,
62, 74
Consciousness, Cause of, 56
Consociate spirits, 52, 149
Correspondences in diseases,
177, 196, 198ff
Cortical glands, 139, 189, 197
Crookes, Sir William, 27
Cupidities, Influx of, 101-111.
Control of, 104
Cures, Natural and spiritual,
179. By the Lord, 177
Cuticular spirits, 131-133
Death, 21, 173f, 187
Disease, and · influx, 171-184,
185-204. Spiritual causes
of, 177ff, 185ff, 192ff. Na-
tural causes, 179ff, 192ff
Divine Natural, The, 217, 220
Divine Providence, 107, 124ff,
159, 171, 180£
Doubts, 99
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, cited,
30f
224
SUBJECT INDEX
Dreams, 13S-151. Interpreta-
tions of, 142, 147
Drunkenness, 186
Earth, Spirits from our, 133
"Ectoplasm," 27
Eddy, Mrs. Mary Baker, 173f
Elohim, 42
Emotionalism, 112, 115£
Emotionally induced illness,
186--204, 196f, 205
Endocrine glands, 184, 196ff
Enlightenment, 18, 38, 120-
123, 220
Enthusiastic spirits; 38f, 112-
123
Evil, Permission of, 171ff. Ef-
fect on body, l92f, see Dis-
ease. See Hereditary evils
Faith, 7, 20, 99, 113
Falsities, Effect of, 89 .
Fantasies, 35; in dreams, 150£
Fastidiousness, 132 ·
Festivals, 163f
Fevers, 201
Fixations, 72, 110, 195
Foresight, Divine, 128f. See
Divine Providence.
Food, 186, 204, 208
Fortune, 124-130
Fox, George, 119
Freedom, lOff, 64ff, 171f. Dist.
from choice, 16ff. See also
J:J ecessity
Freud, Sigmund, 142
General influx, 50, 152-171, et
passim. Into mind, 168ff
Generals of truth, ·167ff ·
Genius, 75
Germcells, 194
Guardian angels, 42-62, 59f,
73. Number of, 44. Uses of,
45
Habits, 163ff
Hallucinations, 35
Happiness, 206
Harris, Thomas Lake, 40
Health, 192, 205-210. Prayers
for, 203
Herding instinct, 161
Hereditary evils, lOlff, 155,
193f
Heredities, 75. Types of, 75,
112
Hofaker, Ludwig, 40
Holy Spirit, The, 114, 116f,
216, 219
Homesickness, 53, 69
Idiots, 195
Idleness, 207
Immediate influx, 153
Immortality, 2, 20
Imputation of evil and disease,
14, 104, 185 .
Inconsistency, 114
Industry, 207. See Use
Infancy, 102£, 155, 167, 194
Influx. Creative, 32. Media-
tions, 101. Influx, and per-
suasion, 87-100. . See also
General influx, Particular in-
flux, Mediate influX,   m m e d ~
.at(! influx, Diseases
Insanity, 195
"Inner light," 118f
Intemperance, 186, 191
Jews, 59. See also Prophets
Johnston, James, 40
Jones, Silas, 40
SUBJECT INDEX
225
Last judgment, 4, 17, 18, 26,
63, 87
Life inflows, 8, 152
Light, Spiritual, 18, 81
Lodge, Sir Oliver, 27
Lord, The. How visible, 217,
220. Seen in dream, 144.
Cures by, 177. See also s.v.
Divine Natural, Representa-
tive Human, Redemption, etc.
Lotteries, 125
Love and health, 208ff
Love of the sex, 209. See also
C 011 j1tgid love
Loves, Sphere of, 160ff
Luck, 124
Man, common basis for spirits,
57, 60. See also Memory,
Earth, Nothing
Marriage, 208f. See Conjugiat
love
Material ideas, 69ff, 71, 94
Matter, 8. See Nature
Mediate influx, 153
Mediation of angels, 42; in
revelation, 211-222, 217
Medicines, 180, 182, 191£
Melancholy, 109
Memory, Man's, 55; used by
spirits, 51, 91, 93, 145ff, 148f,
72. Corporeal memory closed
after death, 92
Merit, Evil of, 15, 122
Mind, how formed, 70; com-
plexity, 98. See Natural
mind
Misfortune, Cause of, 125
Modem sorcery, 135; spiritism,
24ff
Moods, 65, 108ff, 190
Morbidity, 109
Most Ancient Church, 34£, 36,
46, 154f, 212
Mysticism, 118, 120ff
Nations, 108
Natural good, 107, 112, 132,
190
Natural mind, 10, 172, 188, 193
Nature, 9, 126
Necessity vs. freedom, 128£
Nerves, 196
New Church, The. Doctrine
of afterlife, 3ff. Growth, 90.
Universality of, 79. Spirit-
ism within, 39f
New heaven, 82ff, 97
Nightmares, 150
Noah, 156
Non-appropriation of evil, 14f
Nothing, Man as, 13- 16
Objects, 72£. See Material
ideas
Obsessions, 25. Bodily, 134.
Interior, 133ff
Odhner, C. Th., 39
Order, and general influx,
16lff, 171. Social order,
16lff
Ordinations, 167
Pain, 175
Parapsychology, 27
Particular influx, 11, 154ff
Penn. William, 119
Pernety, Abbe, 39
Persuasion, 87-100, 97
Pituitary gland, 197f
Plane, Man a plane for spirits,
57, 60. See Memory
Plato, 141
Prayers, 68, 203
Predestination, 114
226
SUBJECT INDEX
Prophets, 29f, 36, 46, 144, 213,
215, 217
Providence. See Divine Provi-
dence
Psychiatry, 110
Psychic phenomena, 2, 26ff
Psychic research, 27ff
Psychosomatic illness, 197ff.
See Emotionally induced ill-
ness
Purer Blood, 139. See Animal
spirit
Quakers, 116, 118f
Race, 75£
Recreations, 207, 191
Redemption, 18
Reformation, and illness, 201f
Reincarnation, 93
Religions, 83, 90. In U.S.A.,
78
Representative Human of the
Lord, 214
Responsibility, 12, 156, 185.
See Imputation
Revelation, Divine, 2f, 211-222.
See Sacred Scripture, Writ-
ings
Richet, Charles, 27
Rituals, 54f, 83ff, 167
Robsahm, Carl, 142
Sacraments, 54, 83-86
Sacred Scripture, 213ff
Seed, 194
Shakers, 116
Sin, Origin of disease, 174, 177,
185
Sirens, 133-137
- Skin-spirits, 131ff
Skepticism, 7f, 20£
Sleep, 138ff
Social order, 161ff
Society and general influx, 162f
Soul or inmost, 42, 181, 184
Solicitude, 111, 199, 187
Speech with spirits, 37ff, 221,
20-41
Spheres, of words, 73. Uni-
versal spheres, 160ff
Spirit, Man's seen in spir.
world, 46
Spirits, and men, 7-19, 56, et
passim. Speech with spirits,
37ff, 221 ; danger of, 20-41,
37, 32
Spirits. Cause diseases, 198ff,
misfortunes, 124ff. Confirm
man's opinions, 97. In
dreams, 148ff. Asleep, 149.
Influx into body, 178ff.
Spirits and human states, 63-
74. Abodes of, 94£. Su-
perior state of, 93, 96. "Ma-
terialization" of, 33. Two
lives of, 97. See also At-
tendant spirits
Spiritism, 24ff
Spiritual body, 33
Spiritual, The, vs. the natural,
8
Spiritual light, 63f, 18, 81
Spiritual sight, 34
Spiritual world, 4, 9. Evidence
of, 2. Substantial, 95, 193.
Revelation_ of, 2. See also
World of spirits, Last judg-
ment
"Spirituous fluid," 140, 194ff.
See also Animal spirit
States. Progressive, 65.
Changes of, 69, 73ff. Gen-
eral, 77, 166ff
Storge, 160f
Subconscious, 138, 142
Subject-spirits, 49
SUBJECT INDEX
227
Superstition, 7
Swedenborg, Emanuel, 12f,
30ff, 32, 34, 36, 47, 69, 71,
74, 124, 142, 144, 157, 173,
179f, 183, 188, 216-219. See
also W rilings
Symbolism, in Scripture, 213,
215, 219
Symbols, Effect of, on spirits,
54, 71
Symptoms of diseases, 183, 198
Telepathy, 32
Temptations, 66ff, 104, 200f
Ultimates, 54ff, of order, 126f
Ultimate spiritual, 187f, 193
Uses, 108, 202f. Need of, 74.
Protection in, 207f. Illustra-
tion in, 166
Visions, 35f. See Prophets
Vital fluids. See Animal spirit,
Spirituous fluid
White, William, 4-0
Whitehead, John, 173
Wilkinson, J. ]. Garth, 4-0
Witchcraft, 7, 24
Word, The. Revelation
through, 219. Conjunction
through, 58, 62, 74. Angelic
perception of, 58
World of spirits, 4, 63, 113.
Length of sojourn in, 113.
See Last judgment
Writings, The, 88, 210, 217ff,
221£. See also Swedenborg
Zeal, 115