Sacred Texts  Swedenborg  Index  Previous 

Earths in the Universe, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758], tr. by John Whitehead [1892] at

Earths in the Universe


They then represented their sanctuaries before the spirits of our earth, who said that they had seen nothing more magnificent; and as I also saw them, I can therefore describe them. They are constructed of trees, not cut down, but growing in their native soil. They said that on their earth there were trees of wonderful growth and height. These from their beginnings they arrange in order, so that they serve for porticos and walks, and by cutting and pruning the branches when they are tender, they fit and prepare them so that while they are growing they may intertwine and unite to make the base and floor of the sanctuary, and rise on the sides for the walls, and bend above into arches for the roof. By these means they construct the sanctuary with admirable art, elevated high above the earth, and they also prepare an ascent into it by successive branches of the trees extending out and firmly connected. Moreover they adorn the sanctuary without and within in various ways, by bending the leafy bows into various forms. Thus they build entire groves. But what these sanctuaries are within, I was not permitted to see. It was only told me that the light of their sun is let into them through apertures between the branches, and is here and there transmitted through crystals, by which the light falling on the walls is variegated into colors like the rainbow, especially the colors blue and orange, which they love more than the rest. Such is their architecture, which they prefer to the most magnificent palaces of our earth.


They said, further, that the inhabitants do not live in high places, but on the earth in low cottages, for the reason that high places are for the Lord, who is in heaven, and low places for men, who are on earth. Their cottages were also shown to me. They were oblong, having within along the walls a continuous couch, on which they lie one after another. On the side opposite the door is a semicircular recess, before which is a table, and behind this a fireplace, by which the whole room is lighted. In the fireplace there is not a burning fire, but luminous wood which gives out as much light as the flame of a wood fire. They said that those pieces of wood appear in the evening like a fire of burning coals.


They said that they do not live in societies, but each house is by itself; and that they are societies when they meet for worship, and that then those who teach walk below the sanctuary, and the rest in the porticos at the sides; and that in those meetings they have interior joys, from the sight of the sanctuary, and from the worship therein.


Respecting Divine worship they said that they acknowledge God under the Human form, thus our Lord; for whoever acknowledge the God of the universe under the Human form, are accepted by our Lord and led by Him. The rest cannot be led, because they think without a form. They added that the inhabitants of their earth are instructed in the things of heaven by a kind of immediate interaction with angels and spirits, into which they can be led by the Lord more easily than others, because they reject what is corporeal from their thought and affection. I asked what becomes of those among them who are evil. They said that on their earth it is not permitted to be wicked; but that if any one thinks and does evil, he is reproved by a certain spirit, who threatens death to him if he persists in so doing; and that when he persists, he dies in a swoon; and that in this way the men of that earth are preserved from the contamination of the evil. One such spirit was also sent to me, and spoke with me as he did with his own people. Moreover he brought something of pain to the region of my abdomen, saying that thus he does to those who think and do evil, and threatens death to them, if they persist. They said that those who profane holy things are severely punished; and that before the punishing spirit comes there appear to them in vision the jaws of a lion, wide open, of a livid color, which seems as if it would swallow their head, and tear it from the body, whereby they are seized with horror. They call the punishing spirit the devil.


As they desired to know how it is with regard to revelation on our earth, I said that it is effected by writing and by preaching from the Word, and not by immediate interaction with spirits and angels; and that what is written can be printed and published, and be read and comprehended by entire communities, and thus the life may be amended. They wondered greatly that such an art, entirely unknown elsewhere, should exist here. But they comprehended that on this earth, where corporeal and earthly things are so much loved, Divine things from heaven cannot flow in and be received in any other way; and that it would be dangerous for them to speak with angels.


The spirits of that earth appear above in the plane of the head, toward the right. All spirits are distinguished by their situation with respect to the human body; and this for the reason that the whole heaven corresponds to all things of man. 156-1 These spirits keep themselves in that plane and at that distance because their correspondence is not with the externals in man, but with the interiors. Their action is into the left knee, above and a little below, with a certain very sensible vibration; which is a sign that they correspond to the conjunction of natural and heavenly things.


A FOURTH EARTH IN THE STARRY HEAVEN, ITS SPIRITS AND INHABITANTS. I was conducted to still another earth in the universe beyond our solar system, which was effected by changes of the state of my mind, and thus as to the spirit. For, as has been sometimes said before, the spirit is conducted from place to place in no other way than by changes of the state of its interiors, which changes appear to it altogether like movements from place to place, or like journeyings. These changes lasted continuously for about ten hours, before from the state of my life I arrived at the state of their life; thus before I was brought thither as to my spirit. I was borne toward the east to the left, and I seemed to be sensibly elevated above the plane of the horizon. It was also given me to observe very clearly the progression and advance from the place where I had been before, until at length those from whom I departed were no longer in sight. Meanwhile I spoke on various subjects with the spirits who went with me. A certain spirit was also with us, who when he lived in the world had been a primate and a preacher, and likewise a very pathetic writer. From my idea of him the accompanying spirits supposed that in heart he must be eminently a Christian. For in the world an idea is received and a judgment formed from one's preaching and writings, and not from his life, unless this is conspicuous; and if there appears anything inconsistent in his life, still it is excused; for the idea, or the thought and perception concerning any one, draws everything to its own side.


After I had observed that as to my spirit I was in the starry heaven far beyond the world of our sun, for this might be observed from the changes of state and from the apparent continual progression thence, which lasted nearly ten hours, I at length heard spirits speaking near some earth, which was afterward also seen by me. When I came near to them, after some conversation, they said that visitors sometimes come to them from elsewhere, who speak with them about God and confuse the ideas of their thought. They also showed the way by which they come, from which it was perceived that they were of the spirits from our earth. Being then asked wherein their thoughts were confused, they answered that it was by those spirits saying that one must believe in the Divine as distinguished into three Persons, which they still call one God. And when they examine the idea of their thoughts, it is presented as a trine not continuous, but discrete; and with some, as three persons speaking together one to another; and with some, as two seated together, and a third hearkening to them, and then going from them; and though they call each Person God, and have a different idea concerning each, they still call them one God. They complained exceedingly that they confuse them by thinking three and saying one, when yet one ought to think as he speaks, and speak as he thinks. The spirit who in the world had been a primate and a preacher, and was with me, was then examined as to what idea he had concerning one God and three Persons. He represented three Gods, but these as one by continuity, but he presented this trinal one as invisible because Divine; and when he presented this, it was perceived that he then thought only of the Father, and not of the Lord; and that his idea of the invisible God was no other than as of nature in its firsts; from which it resulted that to him the inmost of nature was his Divine, and thus that from this he could be easily led to acknowledge nature as God. It is to be known that in the other life the idea of any one upon any subject is presented to the life; and that by this means every one is explored as to what thought and perception he has concerning matters of faith; and that the idea of the thought concerning God is the chief of them all; for by that, if it is genuine, conjunction is effected with the Divine, and thence with heaven. Being then asked what idea they had of God, these spirits answered that they did not conceive of God as invisible, but as visible under the Human form; and that they know this not only from interior perception, but also from His appearing to them as a Man; adding that if according to the idea of some visitors they should conceive of God as invisible, thus without form and quality, they could not think at all of God, since what is thus invisible does not fall into any idea of thought. On hearing this, it was given me to say to them that they do well to think of God under the Human form; and that many from our earth think in like manner, especially when they think of the Lord; and that the ancients thought in no other way. I then told them about Abraham, Lot, Gideon, and Manoah and his wife, and what is related of them in our Word, namely, that they saw God under the Human form and acknowledged Him thus seen as the Creator of the universe, and called Him Jehovah, and this also from interior perception; but that at this day that interior perception has perished in the Christian world, and only remains with the simple who are in faith.


Before this was said, they believed that our company also was of those who wished to confuse them by the idea of three concerning God. When therefore they heard these things, they were affected with joy, and said that some were also sent to them by God, whom they then called the Lord, who teach them concerning Him; and that they were not willing to admit visitors who disturb them, especially by the idea of three Persons in the Divinity, since they know that God is one, consequently that the Divine is one, and not a unanimity of three, unless they would think of God as of an angel, in whom the inmost of life is something invisible, from which he thinks and is wise, and the external of life what is visible under the human form, from which he sees and acts, and the proceeding of life that which is the sphere of love and faith from him, for from every spirit and angel proceeds a sphere of life by which he is known at a distance; and as to the Lord, that the proceeding of life from Him is the Divine Itself which fills and constitutes the heavens, because it proceeds from the esse itself of the life of love and faith. They said that in this and in no other way could they perceive a Trine and a One at the same time. On hearing this, it was given me to say that such an idea of a Trine and a One together agrees with the angelic idea of the Lord; and that it is from the Lord's own teaching concerning Himself; for He teaches that the Father and He are one; that the Father is in Him, and He in the Father; that whoso sees Him, sees the Father; and that He who believes in Him, believes in the Father and knows Him; also that the Comforter, by whom is meant the proceeding Divine, and whom He calls the Spirit of truth, as also the Holy Spirit, proceeds from Him, and speaks not from Himself, but from Him. Moreover, that the idea of a Trine and of One at the same time agrees with the esse and existere of the Lord's life, when He was in the world. The esse of His life was the Divine Itself, for He was conceived of Jehovah, and the esse of any one's life is that from which he is conceived; the existere of life from that esse is the Human in form. The esse of every man's life which he has from his father, is called the soul; and the existere of life therefrom is called the body. The soul and the body constitute one man. The likeness between both is like that between that which is in effort and that which is in the act thence, for the act is the effort acting, and so the two are one. Effort in man is called the will, and effort acting is called action. The body is the instrument, by which the will, which is the principal, acts; and the instrument and the principal in acting are one; thus the soul and the body are one. The angels in heaven have such an idea concerning the soul and the body; and thus they know that the Lord made His Human Divine from the Divine in Himself, which He had as His soul from the Father. The faith also received everywhere in the Christian world does not dissent from this, for it teaches: "Although Christ is God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; yea, He is altogether a one and only Person; for as the body and the soul are one man, so also God and Man is one Christ." 159-1 Because there was such a union, or such a One in the Lord, He therefore, otherwise than any man, rose not only as to the soul, but also as to the body, which He glorified in the world; concerning which He also instructed His disciples, saying: Handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have. 159-2 These things those spirits well understood, for such things fall into the understanding of angelic spirits. They then added that the Lord alone has power in the heavens, and that the heavens are His. To which it was given me to respond that the church on our earth also knows this, from the mouth of the Lord Himself, before He ascended into heaven; for He then said:- All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.


I afterward spoke with those spirits concerning their earth; for all spirits know about their earth when their natural or external memory is opened by the Lord; since they have this with them from the world, but it is not opened except by the good pleasure of the Lord. The spirits then said respecting their earth from which they were, that when leave is given them, they appear to the inhabitants of their earth, and speak with them as men; and that this is done by their being let into their natural or external memory, and thus into such thought as they were in when they lived in the world; and that the inhabitants then have their interior sight, or the sight of their spirit, opened, from which they see them. They added that the inhabitants do not know that they are not men of their earth, and first perceive that they are not, when they are suddenly taken away from their sight. I told them that such was the case on our earth in ancient times, as with Abraham, Sarah, Lot, the inhabitants of Sodom, Manoah and his wife, Joshua, Mary, Elizabeth, and the prophets in general; and that the Lord appeared in like manner, and those who saw Him did not know otherwise than that He was a man of the earth, before He revealed Himself. But that this is rarely done at this day, lest by such things men should be compelled to believe; for a compelled faith, such as is that which enters through miracles, does not remain fixed, and would also be hurtful to those with whom faith might be implanted through the Word in a state not compelled.


The spirit who in the world had been a primate and a preacher, did not at all believe that there were any other earths than ours, because he had thought in the world that the Lord was born on this earth only, and that no one has salvation without the Lord. He was therefore reduced to such a state as the spirits are reduced when they appear on their earth as men (see just above), and thus was sent to that earth, so as not only to see it, but also to speak with its inhabitants. When this was done, communication was also thereby granted me, so that I in like manner saw the inhabitants, and some things also upon that earth (see above, n. 135). There then appeared four kinds of men, but one kind after another in succession. First were seen men clothed; next men naked of the color of human flesh; afterward men naked, but with bodies inflamed; and lastly black men.


When the spirit who had been a primate and a preacher was with those who were clothed, there appeared a woman of a very beautiful face, dressed in a simple garment, with a tunic that hung gracefully behind her and was brought up over the arms. She had a beautiful headdress, in the form of a chaplet of flowers. That spirit was greatly delighted at the sight of this virgin, and spoke with her, and also took her hand. But as she perceived that he was a spirit, and not of that earth, she hurried away from him. There afterward appeared to him on the right many other women, who were tending sheep and lambs, which they were then leading to a watering trough that was supplied with water by a small ditch from a lake. They were similarly clothed, and held shepherds' crooks in their hands, by which they guided the sheep and lambs to drink. They said that the sheep went in the way to which they pointed with their crooks. The sheep seen were large, with woolly tails, both broad and long. The faces of the women when seen nearer were full and beautiful. The men were also seen, and their faces were of the color of human flesh, as on our earth; but with the difference, that the lower part of the face, in place of a beard, was black, and the nose more the color of snow than of flesh. Afterward the spirit above mentioned, who had been a preacher in the world, was led on further, but unwillingly, because his thought was still on that woman with whom he was delighted, as was made manifest by somewhat of a shadow from him still appearing in the former place. He then came to those who were naked, and who were seen walking together two and two, being husband and wife, girded with a covering about the loins and a certain covering upon the head. That spirit when with them was led into that state in which he was in the world when he wished to preach, and said that he would preach to them the Lord crucified. But they said that they were not willing to hear any such thing, because they did not know what this meant, but they knew that the Lord lives. He then declared that he wished to preach the Lord living. But this also they refused to hear, saying that they perceived in his speech something not heavenly, because it had much regard to himself, his fame and honor, for they can tell from the very tone of one's voice whether it is from the heart, or not, and because he was such, he could not teach them. On this he was silent, for in the world he had had much pathetic power, so that he could strongly move his hearers to holiness; but this power had been acquired by art, and thus it was from himself and the world, and not from heaven.


They said further, that they have a perception whether the conjugial exists with those of their nation who are naked; and it was shown that they perceive this from a spiritual idea of marriage, which was communicated to me, to the effect that a similarity of interiors is formed by the conjunction of good and truth, thus of love and faith, and from that conjunction flowing down into the body conjugial love exists. For all things of the mind are presented in a certain natural appearance in the body, thus in the appearance of conjugial love, when the interiors of two mutually love each other, and from that love desire also to will and to think the one like the other, and so to be together and to be conjoined as to the interiors which are of the mind. Thus spiritual affection, which is of the minds, becomes natural affection in the body, and clothes itself with the sense of conjugial love. The spiritual affection which is of their minds is the affection of good and truth, and their conjunction; for all things of the mind, or of the thought and will, have relation to truth and good. They said also that what is given between one man and several wives is not at all conjugial, since the marriage of good and truth, which is of the minds, can be given only between two.


The spirit mentioned above then came to those who were naked, but with bodies inflamed, and at last to those that were black, of whom some were naked, and some clothed; but these different people dwelt in different places on the same earth, for a spirit can be led in a moment to remote parts of an earth, since he does not proceed and is not borne, as a man is, through spaces, but through changes of state (see above, n. 125, 127). 164-1


At length I spoke with the spirits of that earth about the belief of the inhabitants of our earth concerning the resurrection, that they cannot conceive of men's coming into the other life immediately after death, and then appearing like men as to face, body, arms, feet, and all the senses, both external and internal; and still less of their being then clothed with garments and having mansions and dwellings. And the reason is that most of them there think from the sensual things which are of the body, and therefore believe in the existence of nothing which they do not see and touch. And few of them can be drawn away from external sensual things to what is interior, and so be elevated into the light of heaven in which such interior things are perceived. Hence it is, that in regard to their soul or spirit they cannot have any idea of it as a man, but as of wind, air, or breath, without form, in which there is yet something vital. This is why they do not believe they are to rise until the end of the world, which they call the Last Judgment; when they believe the body, though fallen into dust and dissipated to all the winds, will be brought back and joined to its soul and spirit. I added that they are permitted to believe this, for the reason that those who think from what is external and sensual, as has been said, can form no other idea than that one's soul or spirit can live as a man in the human form, only by regaining the body which it bore about in the world. And therefore, unless it were said that this would rise again, they would reject in heart the doctrine of a resurrection and eternal life, as incomprehensible. But still that thought about the resurrection has this use in it, that they believe in a life after death, from which belief it follows that when they lie sick in bed and do not think as before from what is worldly and corporeal, thus not from things sensual, they then believe that they shall live immediately after death. They also speak then about heaven, and about the hope of living there immediately after death, laying aside their doctrine about the Last Judgment. I told these spirits further, that I sometimes wondered that when those who are in faith speak of the life after death, and of their friends who are dying or who have died, and do not at the same time think of the Last Judgment, they believe that they will live as men immediately after death. But this idea, as soon as the thought of the Last Judgment flows in, is changed into a material idea about their earthly body, that it is to be again joined to its soul. For they do not know that every man is a spirit as to his interiors, and that it is the spirit which lives in the body and in all its parts, and not the body of itself; and that it is from the spirit of every one that the body has its human form, and thus it is the spirit which is chiefly the man, and in a similar form, but invisible to the eyes of the body, yet visible to the eyes of spirits. Hence also when the sight of a man's spirit is opened, which takes place by the removal of the sight of the body, angels appear as men. Thus did the angels appear to the ancients, as related in the Word. I have also spoken sometimes with spirits whom I knew when they lived as men in the world, and have asked them whether they wished to be clothed again with their earthly body, as they had once thought. On hearing which, at the mere idea of conjunction with the body they fled away, being struck with amazement that in the world they should have thus thought from blind faith without any understanding.


Moreover, their dwellings on that earth were seen by me, and were long low houses, with windows on the sides according to the number of rooms or chambers into which they were divided. The roof was arched, and there was a door on each side at the end. They said that they were built of earth and roofed with sods, and the windows of threads of grass, so woven together that the light shone through. Children were also seen. And they said that their neighbors visited them, especially for the sake of their children, that they might be in company with other children, under the sight and auspices of their parents. There also appeared fields then whitening with the nearly ripened harvest. The seeds or grains of this harvest were shown, and they were like the grains of Chinese wheat. We were shown also loaves made of the grain, which were small in size and square in form. Moreover there also appeared grassy plains, with flowers therein, and trees with fruits similar to pomegranates; also shrubs, which were not vines, yet bearing berries from which wine is prepared.


Their sun which to us is a star, appears flaming there, and about one-fourth as large as our own sun. In their year are about two hundred days, and the days of fifteen hours length, as compared with the days on our earth. The earth itself is among the smallest in the starry heavens, being scarcely five hundred German miles* in circumference. This I learned from angels by comparison with such things as they saw in me, or in my memory, in relation to our earth. They formed these conclusions by angelic ideas, by which the measures of spaces and times are immediately known in their just relation to the spaces and times elsewhere. In such comparisons angelic ideas, which are spiritual, immensely exceed human idea which are natural. * Or two thousand English geographical miles.


A FIFTH EARTH IN THE STARRY HEAVEN, ITS SPIRITS AND INHABITANTS. I was led again to another earth which is in the universe out of our solar system, and this also by changes of state, continued for nearly twelve hours. There were in company with me several spirits and angels from our earth, with whom I discoursed in the way or in that progression. I was carried at times obliquely upwards and obliquely downwards, continually towards the right, which in the other life is towards the south. In only two places I saw spirits, and in one I spoke with them. In the way or progression I was enabled to observe how immense is the Lord's heaven, which is for angels and spirits; for from the parts uninhabited I was led to conclude that it was so immense, that if there were many myriads of earths, and on each earth a multitude of men as great as in ours, there would still be a place of abode for them to eternity, and it would never be filled. This I was enabled to conclude from a comparison made with the extent of the heaven which is about our earth and designed for it, which extent was respectively so small, that it did not equal a hundred millionth part of the extent uninhabited.


When the angelic spirits who were from that earth came into view, they accosted us, asking who we were, and what we wanted. We said that we came for the sake of journeying, that we were directed thither, and that they had nothing to fear from us; for they were afraid we were of those who disturb them in regard to God, to faith, and things of a like nature, on account of whom they had betaken themselves to that quarter of their earth, shunning them as much as possible. We asked them by what they were disturbed. They replied, by an idea of three, and by an idea of the Divine without the Human, in God, when yet they know and perceive that God is one, and that He is Man. It was then perceived that they who disturbed them, and whom they shunned, were from our earth. This was manifest also from this, that there are from our earth those who thus wander about in the other life in consequence of their fondness for and delight in travelling, which they have contracted in the world; for on other earths there is no such custom of travelling as on ours. It was then discovered that they were monks, who had traveled on our globe from the zeal of converting the Gentiles; wherefore we told them they did well to shun them, because their intention was not to teach, but to secure gain and dominion; and that they study by various arts first to captivate men's minds, but afterwards to subject them to themselves as slaves. Moreover, that they did well in not suffering their ideas concerning God to be disturbed by such. They said further, that the above spirits confuse them by asserting that they ought to have faith and to believe the things they say; but they replied to them, that they know not what faith is nor what is meant by believing, since they perceive in themselves whether a thing be true or not. They were of the Lord's celestial kingdom, where all know from an interior perception the truths which with us are called the truths of faith, for they are in enlightenment from the Lord; but it is otherwise with those who are in the spiritual kingdom. That the angelic spirits of that earth were of the Lord's celestial kingdom, it was granted me to see from the flaming light whence their ideas flowed; for the light in the celestial kingdom is flaming, and in the spiritual kingdom it is white. They who are of the celestial kingdom, when the discourse is about truths, say no more than yea, yea, or nay, nay, and never reason about truths whether they be so or not so. These are they of whom the Lord speaks: Let your discourse be yea, yea, and nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than this is from evil. Hence it was that those spirits said that they did not know what is meant by having faith or believing. They consider this, like a person's saying to his companion who sees houses or trees with his own eyes, that he ought to have faith or to believe that they are houses and trees, when he sees clearly that they are so. Such are they who are of the Lord's celestial kingdom, and such were these angelic spirits. 169-1 We told them that there are few on our earth who have interior perception, because in their youth they learn truths and do not do them. For man has two faculties, which are called the understanding and the will; they who admit truths no further than into the memory, and thence in some small degree into the understanding, and not into the life, that is, into the will, these, inasmuch as they are not capable of any enlightenment or interior sight from the Lord, say that those truths are to be believed, or that they are objects of faith, and also reason concerning them whether they be truths or not; yea, they are not willing that they should be perceived by any interior sight, or by any enlightenment in the understanding. They say this, because truths with them are without light from heaven, and to those who see without light from heaven, falsities may appear like truths, and truths like falsities; hence so great blindness has seized many there, that although they do not do truths or live according to them, still they say that they can be saved by faith alone, as if it were the knowledge of the things of faith which constitutes man, and not the life according to that knowledge. We afterwards discoursed with them concerning the Lord, concerning love to Him, concerning love toward the neighbor, and concerning regeneration; saying that to love the Lord is to love the commandments which are from Him, which is to live according to them from love. 169-2 That love toward the neighbor is to will good and thence do good to a fellow-citizen, to one's country, to the church, and to the Lord's kingdom, not for the sake of self, to be seen, or to merit, but from the affection of good. 169-3 Concerning regeneration, we observed that they who are regenerated by the Lord, and commit truths immediately to life, come into an interior perception concerning them; but that they who receive truths first in the memory, and afterwards will them and do them, are they who are in faith; for they act from faith, which is then called conscience. They said that they perceived these things to be so, and thus perceived also what faith is. I discoursed with them by spiritual ideas, whereby such things may be exhibited and comprehended in light.


The spirits with whom I now discoursed were from the northern part of their earth. I was afterwards led to others who were on the western part. These also, wishing to discover who and what I was, immediately said that there was nothing in me but evil, thinking thus to deter me from approaching nearer. It was perceived that this was their manner of accosting all who came to them; but it was granted me to reply that I well knew it to be so, and that with them also there was nothing but evil, by reason that every one is born in evil, and therefore whatever comes from man, spirit, and angel, as from what is his own, or his proprium, is nothing but evil, inasmuch as all good with every one is from the Lord. Hence they perceived that I was in the truth, and I was admitted to speak with them. They then showed me their idea concerning evil with man, and concerning good from the Lord, how they are separated from each other. They placed one near the other, almost contiguous, but still distinct, yet as it were bound together in a manner inexpressible, so that the good led the evil, and restrained it, insomuch that it was not allowed it to act at pleasure; and thus the good bent the evil in whatever direction desired, without the evil knowing it. In this manner they exhibited the dominion of good over evil, and at the same time a state of freedom. They then asked how the Lord appeared with the angels from our earth. I said that He appears in the sun as Man, encompassed therein with solar fire, whence the angels in the heavens have all light; and that the heat which proceeds thence is the Divine good, and that the light which proceeds thence is the Divine truth, each from the Divine love, which is the fire appearing around the Lord in that sun. That sun, however, appears only to the angels in heaven, and not to the spirits who are beneath, since they are more removed from the reception of the good of love and of the truth of faith, than the angels who are in the heavens (see above, n. 40). It was granted them thus to inquire concerning the Lord, and concerning His appearance before the angels from our earth, because it then pleased the Lord to present Himself before them, and to reduce into order the things which had been disturbed by the evil spirits of whom they complained. This also was the reason why I was led thither, that I might see these things.


There was then seen a dark cloud toward the east, descending from on high, which in descending gradually appeared bright and in the human form; and this form at length appeared in a flaming radiance, around which were little stars of the same color. In this manner the Lord presented Himself before the spirits with whom I was speaking. To this Presence were then gathered together from every side all the spirits who were there; and when they came, the good were separated from the evil, the good to the right and the evil to the left, and this at once, as of their own accord. And those on the right were arranged according to the quality of their good, and those on the left according to the quality of their evil. The good were then left to form a heavenly society among themselves; but the evil were cast into the hells. I saw afterward that this flaming radiance descended quite deep into the lower parts of the earth there; and then it appeared, now flamy verging to brightness, now bright verging to obscurity, and now in obscurity. And I was told by angels that the appearance is according to the reception of truth from good, and of falsity from evil, with those who inhabit the lower parts of that earth; and that the flamy radiance itself did not at all undergo such variations. They said also that the lower parts of that earth were inhabited as well by the good as by the evil; but well separated, in order that the evil might be ruled through the good by the Lord. They added that the good were by turns taken up thence into heaven by the Lord, and others succeed in their place, and so on continually. In that descent the good were in like manner separated from the evil, and all things were reduced into order. For the evil, by various arts and crafty devices, had introduced themselves into the dwellings of the good there, and infested them; and this was the cause of that visitation. That cloud, which in descending gradually appeared bright and in the human form, and then as a flamy radiance, was an angelic society, in the midst of which was the Lord, From this it wan given to know what is meant by the Lord's words in the Evangelists, where He speaks of the Last Judgment: That He will come with the angel in the clouds of heaven with glory and power.


Afterward some monkish spirits were seen, namely, those who had been travelling monks or missionaries in the world, and who have been spoken of above; and a crowd of spirits was also seen, who were from that earth, most of them evil, whom they had drawn over and seduced to their side. These were seen at the eastern quarter of that earth, from which they drove away the good, who betook themselves to the northern side of that earth, and have been spoken of above. That crowd, together with their seducers was collected into one body, to the number of some thousands, and was separated when the evil were cast into the hells. I was granted to speak with one spirit who was a monk, and to ask what he did there. He replied that he taught them concerning the Lord. I asked, what besides. He said, concerning heaven and hell. I asked, what further. He said, concerning a belief in all that he should say. I asked, what further. He said, concerning the power of remitting sins, and of opening and shutting heaven. He was then examined as to what he knew concerning the Lord, concerning the truths of faith, concerning the remission of sins, concerning man's salvation, and concerning heaven and hell; and it was discovered that he knew scarcely anything, and that he was in obscurity and falsity concerning all and each of them, and that he was possessed solely by the lust of gain and dominion which he had contracted in the world and brought with him thence. Wherefore he was told that, because he had traveled so far led by that lust, and was such as to doctrine, he must needs deprive the spirits of that earth of celestial light, and bring in the darkness of hell, and thus bring them under the dominion of hell, and not of the Lord. Moreover he was cunning in seducing, but stupid as to those things which are of heaven. Because he was such he was then cast thence into hell. Thus the spirits of that earth were liberated from them.


The spirits of that earth mentioned also, among other things, that those strangers, who, as has been said, were monkish spirits, used all their endeavors to persuade them to live together in society, and not separate and solitary; for spirits and angels dwell and associate in like manner as in the world; they who have dwelt in communities in the world, dwell also in a similar state in the other life; and they who have dwelt in a separate state, divided into houses and families, dwell also in a separate state in another life. These spirits on their earth, while they lived there as men, had dwelt in a separate state, house and house, families and families, and thus nation and nation apart, and hence they knew not what it was to dwell together in society. Wherefore when it was told them that those strangers wished to persuade them to dwell in society, to the intent that they might rule and have dominion over them, and that they could not otherwise subject them to themselves and make them slaves, they replied that they were totally ignorant what was meant by ruling and domineering. That they flee away at the very idea of rule and dominion, was made manifest to me from this, that one of them, who accompanied us back again, when I showed him the city in which I dwelt, at the first sight of it fled away, and was no more seen.


I then spoke with the angels who were with me concerning dominion, saying that there are two kinds of dominion, one of love towards the neighbor, and the other of self-love; and that the dominion of love towards the neighbor is among those who dwell separated into houses, families, and nations; whereas the dominion of self-love is among those who dwell together in society. Among those who live separated into houses, families, and nations, he has dominion who is the father of the nation, and under him the father of families, and under these the father of each house. He is called the father of the nation from whom the families originate, from which families the houses are derived; but all these exercise dominion from love, like that of a father towards his children, who teaches them how they ought to live, does good to them, and as far as he can, gives them of his own. It never enters into his mind to subject them to himself, as subjects or as servants, but he loves that they should obey him as sons obey their father. And because this love increases in descending, as is known, therefore the father of the nation acts from a more interior love than the father himself from whom the sons are next descended. Such also is the dominion in the heavens, inasmuch as such is the Lord's dominion; for His dominion is from the Divine love towards the whole human race. But the dominion of self-love, which is opposite to the dominion of love towards the neighbor, began when man alienated himself from the Lord; for in proportion as man does not love and worship the Lord, in the same proportion he loves and worships himself, and so far also he loves the world. Then from necessity that they might be safe, the nations with their families and houses, formed themselves into one body, and established governments under various forms. For in proportion as self-love increased, in the same proportion all kinds of evil, as enmity, envy, hatred, revenge, cruelty and deceit, increased with it, being exercised against all who opposed them. For from the proprium in which they are who are in self-love, nothing but evil springs, inasmuch its man's proprium is nothing but evil, and because the proprium is evil, it does not receive good from heaven. Hence self-love, while it has dominion, is the father of all such evils. 174-1 And that love is also of such a nature that as far as the reins are relaxed it rushes on, until at length every one possessed by it wishes to domineer over all others in the whole world, and to possess all the goods of others. Yea, even this is not enough, but he wishes to have dominion over the whole heaven, as may be evident from the Babylon of this day. This then is the rule of self-love, from which the rule of the love of the neighbor differs as much as heaven does from hell. But however great such dominion of self-love is in societies or in kingdoms and empires, still even in these is found also the dominion of love towards the neighbor among those who are wise from faith in and love to God; for these love the neighbor. That these also dwell in the heavens distinguished into nations, families, and houses, although in societies together, but according to spiritual affinities, which are those of the good of love and the truth of faith, will by the Divine mercy of the Lord be told elsewhere.


I afterward questioned those spirits about various things on the earth from which they were, and first about their Divine worship and revelation. In regard to worship they said that the nations with their families assemble at one place every thirtieth day, and hear preaching; and that the preacher then, from a pulpit raised a little above the earth, teaches them Divine truths, which lead to the good of life. Concerning revelation they said that it came in the early morning, in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, when they are in interior light not yet interrupted by the bodily senses and by worldly things. And that they then hear angels of heaven speaking of Divine truths, and of a life according to them; that when they awaken, an angel in a white garment appears to them by the bed, who then suddenly disappears from their sight; and that from this they know that what they have heard is from heaven. In this way Divine vision is distinguished from vision not Divine; for in vision not Divine no angel appears. They added that revelations are made in this manner to their preachers, also sometimes to others.


To an inquiry concerning their houses, they said that they are low, of wood, with a flat roof, around which project caves sloping downward; and that in the front part dwell the husband and wife, in the next adjoining part the children, and after them the maid-servants and men-servants. Of their food they said that they drink milk with water, and that they have the milk from cows, which are woolly like sheep. Of their life they said that they walk naked, and that to them nakedness is not a cause of shame; also that their social interaction is with those who are within their families.


In regard to the sun of that earth they related that to the inhabitants it has a flamy appearance; that the length of their years is two hundred days, and that a day equals nine hours of our time, which they could conclude from the length of the days of our earth perceived in me. And further, that they have perpetual spring and summer, and consequently that the fields are ever green, and the trees ever bearing fruit. The reason of this is, because their year is so short, being equal only to seventy-five days of our year; and when the years are so short, the cold does not continue long in winter nor the heat in summer, whence the ground is continually verdant.


Concerning betrothals and marriages in that earth, they related that a daughter, when she arrives at a marriageable age, is kept at home, nor is she allowed to leave the house till the day she is to be married; that then she is conducted to a certain connubial house, where there are also many other young women of marriageable age brought together, and there they are placed behind a screen, which reaches to the middle of the body, so that they appear naked as to the breast and face: and that then the young men come thither to choose for themselves a wife. And when a young man sees one that seems suited to him, and to whom his mind draws him, he takes her by the hand; and if she then follows him, he leads her to a house prepared, and she becomes his wife. For they see from the face whether they agree in mind, inasmuch as there every one's face is an index of the mind, and in nothing does it dissemble and deceive. That all things may be done decently and without lasciviousness, an old man is seated behind the virgins, and an old woman at the side of them, to make their observations. There are many such places to which the young women are conducted: and also stated times for the young men to make their choice. For if they do not find a maid to suit them in one place, they go to another; and if not at one time, they return again at a future time. They said further, that a husband has only one wife, and never more than one, because this is contrary to Divine order.


156-1 Heaven corresponds to the Lord, and man as to each and all things corresponds to heaven, and hence heaven, before the Lord, is a man in a large effigy, and may be called the Greatest Man (n. 2996, 2998, 3624-3649, 3636-3643, 3741-3745, 4625) Concerning the correspondence of man, and of all things pertaining to him, with the Greatest Man, which is heaven, in general, from experience (n. 3021, 3624-3649, 3741-3751, 3883-3896, 4039-4051, 4215-4228, 4318-4331, 4403-4421, 4527-4533, 4622-4633, 4652-4660, 4791-4805, 4931-4953, 5050-5061, 5171-5189, 5377-5396, 5552-5573, 5711-5727, 10,030).

159-1 From the Athanasian Creed.

159-2 Man rises again as to his spirit immediately after death, and he is the human form, and that as to each and every particular he is a man (n. 4527, 5006, 5078, 8939, 8991, 10,594, 10,597, 10,758). Man rises again only as to his spirit, and not as to his body (n. 10,593, 10,594). The Lord alone rose again as to the body also (n. 1729, 2083, 5078, 10,825).

164-1 Movements, progressions, and changes of place in the other life are changes of state of the interiors of the life, and still they appear to spirits and angels as real changes of place (n. 1273-1277, 1377, 3356, 5605, 10,734).

169-1 Heaven is distinguished into two kingdoms, one of which is called the celestial kingdom, the other the spiritual kingdom (n. 3887, 4138). The angels in the celestial kingdom know innumerable things and are immensely more wise than the angels in the spiritual kingdom (n. 2718). The celestial angels do not think and speak from faith, like the spiritual angels, but from an internal perception that a thing is so (n. 202, 597, 607, 784, 1121, 1387, 1398, 1442, 1919, 7680, 7877, 8780). The celestial angels say only concerning the truths of faith, yea, yea, or nay, nay, but the spiritual angels reason whether it be so or not so (n. 202, 337, 2715, 3246, 4448, 9196).

169-2 To love the Lord is to live according to His commandments (n. 10,143, 10,153, 10,310, 10,578, 10,648).

169-3 To love the neighbor is to do what is good, just, and right, in every work and in every function, from the affection of what is good, just, and right (n. 8120-8122, 10,310, 10,336). A life of love towards the neighbor is a life according to the Lord's commandments (n. 3249).

174-1 Man's proprium, which he derives from his parents, is nothing but dense evil (n. 210, 215, 731, 874, 876, 987, 1047, 2307, 2318, 3518, 3701, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10,283, 10,284, 10,286, 10,731). Man's proprium consists in loving himself more than God, and the world more than heaven, and in making light of his neighbor in respect to himself, except it be for the sake of himself, and thus from motives of self-love and the love of the world (n. 694, 731, 4317, 5660). All evils flow from self-love and the love of the world, when they have dominion (n. 1307, 1308, 1321, 1594, 1691, 3413, 7255, 7376, 7480, 7488, 8318, 9335, 9348, 10,038, 10,742). These evils are contempt of others, enmity, hatred, revenge, cruelty, and deceit (n. 6667, 7372-7374, 9348, 10,038, 10,742). And that from these evils every falsity flows (n. 1047, 10,283, 10,284, 10,286).