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Spirit of Swedenborg Emanuel Swedenborg

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Spirit of Swedenborg

by Emanuel Swedenborg

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Communication With the Spiritual World

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night."

-- Psalm, I, 1, 2

One's Spiritual Company

The mind of a man is his spirit which lives after death; and a man's spirit is constantly in company with spirits like himself in the spiritual world. Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits because the spirits with whom he is in company in that world, think and speak spiritually. The spirit of man, however, while in the material body, thinks and speaks naturally; and spiritual thought and speech cannot be understood, nor perceived, by the natural human being; nor the reverse. Hence, too, it is that spirits cannot be seen. Yet when a man's spirit is in society with spirits in their world, then he is in spiritual thought and speech with them, too, because his inner mind is spiritual, but the outer natural; wherefore by his inner nature he communicates with them, and by his outer being with men. By this communication a man perceives and thinks analytically. If there were no such communication, man would no more think than a beast, nor any differently from a beast. Indeed, were all commerce with spirits cut off, a man would instantly die.

-- True Christian Religion, n. 475

"Ministers of His, That Do His Pleasure"

Man is quite ignorant that he is governed by the Lord through angels and spirits, and that there are at least two spirits with a man and two angels. Through the spirits a communication of the man with the world of spirits is effected; and through the angels, with heaven. As long as a man is not regenerated, he is governed quite otherwise than when he is regenerated. While unregenerated, there are evil spirits with him, who dominate him so fully that the angels, though present, can scarcely do more than guide him, so that he shall not hurl himself into the lowest evil, and bend him to some good -- to some good by means of his own desires, indeed, and to some truth through even fallacies of sense. Then, through the spirits who are with him, he has communication with the world of spirits, but not so much with heaven, for the evil spirits rule with him, and the angels only avert their rule. When, however, a man is regenerated, then the angels rule and inspire in him all good and truth, and a horror and dread of evil and falsity. The angels lead the man indeed, but serve only as ministers, for it is the Lord alone, Who, by angels and spirits, governs man.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 50

It is an office of the angels to inspire charity and faith in a man, to observe the direction his enjoyments take, and to restrain and bend them to good, as far as they can in man's free choice. They are forbidden to act violently, and so to break a man's cupidities and principles; but are bidden to act gently. It is also an office of theirs to govern evil spirits who are from hell. When evil spirits infuse evils and what is false, the angels instill what is true and good, by which they at least temper an evil. Infernal spirits are continually assaulting, and angels constantly giving protection. Especially do the angels call forth goods and truths which are with a man, and oppose them to the evils and falsities which the evil spirits excite. Hence a man is in the midst, nor does he apperceive the evil or the good; and being in the midst, is free to turn himself to the one or to the other. By such means angels from the Lord lead and protect a man, and this every moment, and every moment of a moment. For, should the angels intermit their care a single instant, man would be plunged into evil from which he could never afterward be led forth. These offices the angels do from a love which they have from the Lord; for they know nothing pleasanter and happier than to remove evils from a man, and to lead him to heaven. That this is their joy, see Luke, XV, 7. Scarcely any man believes that the Lord has such a care for man, and this continually, from the first thread of his life to the last, and on to eternity.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 5992

Wholeome and Unwholesome Communication

Many believe that a man can be taught by the Lord through spirits who speak with him. They who believe so, and will this communication, do not know, however, that it is attended with danger to their souls. While a man is living in the world, he is in the midst of spirits as to his spirit; nevertheless spirits do not know they are with man, nor a man that he is with spirits. But as soon as spirits begin to speak with a man, they come out of their spiritual state into the man's natural state; and then they know that they are with man, and they unite themselves to the thoughts of his affection, and they speak with him from those thoughts. Thence it is that the spirit speaking is in the same principles as the man, whether these be true or false. These he stirs up, and through his affection, united to the man's, strongly confirms them. All this shows the danger in which a man is who speaks with spirits, or who manifestly perceives their operation. Of the nature of his affection, good or bad, a man is ignorant, also with what others he is associated. If his is a pride of self-intelligence, the spirit favors every thought from that source. Likewise there is the favoring of principles which are inflamed from the fire which those have who are not in truths from any genuine affection for them. Whenever from a like affection a spirit favors a man's thoughts or principles, then the former leads the latter, as the blind lead the blind, until both fall into the ditch.

It is otherwise with those whom the Lord leads. He leads those who love and will truths from Him. Such are enlightened when they read the Word, for there the Lord is, and He speaks with every one according to the latter's apprehension. When these hear speech from spirits, as they do sometimes, they are not taught, but are led, and this so prudently that the man is still left to himself. For every man is led through the affections by the Lord, and he thinks from these freely as if of himself. Were it otherwise, a man could not be reformed, nor could he be enlightened.

-- Apocalypse Explained, nn. 1182, 1183

An Unbroken Association

Married partners, who have lived in truly conjugial love, are not separated in the death of one of them. For the spirit of the deceased partner lives continually with the spirit of the other, not yet deceased, and this even to the death of the other, when they meet again and reunite, and love each other more tenderly than before; for now they are in the spiritual world.

-- Conjugial Love, n. 321


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