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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
Links to Additional Media for Spirit of Swedenborg by Emanuel Swedenborg such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.