Heaven and Hell/33

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Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg
Chapter XXXIII, The Conjunction of Heaven with the Human Race

XXXIII
The Conjunction of Heaven with the Human Race[edit]

291. It is well known in the church that all good is from God, and that nothing of good is from man, consequently that no one ought to ascribe any good to himself as his own. It is also well known that evil is from the devil. Therefore those who speak from the doctrine of the church say of those who behave well, and of those who speak and preach piously, that they are led by God; but the opposite of those who do not behave well and who speak impiously. For this to be true man must have conjunction with heaven and with hell; and this conjunction must be with man's will and with his understanding; for it is from these that the body acts and the mouth speaks. What this conjunction is shall now be told.


292. With every individual there are good spirits and evil spirits. Through good spirits man has conjunction with heaven, and through evil spirits with hell. These spirits are in the world of spirits, which lies midway between heaven and hell. This world will be described particularly hereafter. When these spirits come to a man they enter into his entire memory, and thus into his entire thought, evil spirits into the evil things of his memory and thought, and good spirits into the good things of his memory and thought. These spirits have no knowledge whatever that they are with man; but when they are with him they believe that all things of his memory and thought are their own; neither do they see the man, because nothing that is in our solar world falls into their sight.[1] The Lord exercises the greatest care that spirits may not know that they are with man; for if they knew it they would talk with him, and in that case evil spirits would destroy him; for evil spirits, being joined with hell, desire nothing so much as to destroy man, not alone his soul, that is, his faith and love, but also his body. It is otherwise when spirits do not talk with man, in which case they are not aware that what they are thinking and also what they are saying among themselves is from man; for although it is from man that they talk with one another, they believe that what they are thinking and saying is their own, and everyone esteems and loves what is their own. In this way spirits are constrained to love and esteem man, although they do not know it. That such is the conjunction of spirits with man has become so well known to me from a continual experience of many years that nothing is better known to me.


293. The reason why spirits that communicate with hell are also associated with man is that man is born into evils of every kind, consequently his whole life is wholly from evil; and therefore unless spirits like himself were associated with him he could not live, nor indeed could he be withdrawn from his evils and reformed. He is therefore both held in his own life by means of evil spirits and withheld from it by means of good spirits; and by the two he is kept in equilibrium; and being in equilibrium he is in freedom, and can be drawn away from evils and turned towards good, and thus good can be implanted in him, which would not be possible at all if he were not in freedom; and freedom is possible to man only when the spirits from hell act on one side and spirits from heaven on the other, and man is between the two. Again, it has been shown that so far as a man's life is from what he inherits, and thus from self, if he were not permitted to be in evil he would have no life; also if he were not in freedom he would have no life; also that he cannot be forced to what is good, and that what is forced does not abide; also that the good that man receives in freedom is implanted in his will and becomes as it were his own.[2] These are the reasons why man has communication with hell and communication with heaven.


294. What the communication of heaven is with good spirits, and what the communication of hell is with evil spirits, and the consequent conjunction of heaven and hell with man, shall also be told. All spirits who are in the world of spirits have communication with heaven or with hell, evil spirits with hell, and good spirits with heaven. Heaven is divided into societies, and hell also. Every spirit belongs to some society, and continues to exist by influx from it, thus acting as one with it. Consequently as man is conjoined with spirits so is he conjoined with heaven or with hell, even with the society there to which he is attached by his affection or his love; for the societies of heaven are all distinguished from each other in accordance with their affections for good and truth, and the societies of hell in accordance with their affections for evil and falsity. (As to the societies of heaven see above, n. 41-45 also n. 148-151.)


295. The spirits associated with man are such as he himself is in respect to his affection or love; but the Lord associates good spirits with him, while evil spirits are invited by the man himself. The spirits with man, however, are changed in accordance with the changes of his affections; thus there are some spirits that are with him in early childhood, others in boyhood, others in youth and manhood, and others in old age. In early childhood those spirits are present who are in innocence and who thus communicate with the heaven of innocence, which is the inmost or third heaven; in boyhood those spirits are present who are in affection for knowing, and who thus communicate with the outmost or first heaven; in youth and manhood spirits are present who are in affection for what is true and good, and in consequent intelligence, and who thus communicate with the second or middle heaven; while in old age spirits are present who are in wisdom and innocence, and who thus communicate with the inmost or third heaven. But the Lord maintains this association with such as can be reformed and regenerated. It is otherwise with such as cannot be reformed or regenerated. While with these also good spirits are associated, that they may be thereby withheld from evil as much as possible, they are directly conjoined with evil spirits who communicate with hell, whereby they have such spirits with them as are like themselves. If they are lovers of self or lovers of gain, or lovers of revenge, or lovers of adultery, like spirits are present, and as it were dwell in their evil affections; and man is incited by these, except so far as he can be kept from evil by good spirits, and they cling to him, and do not withdraw, so far as the evil affection prevails. Thus it is that a bad man is conjoined to hell and a good man is conjoined to heaven.


296. Man is governed by the Lord through spirits because he is not in the order of heaven, for he is born into evils which are of hell, thus into the complete opposite of Divine order; consequently he needs to be brought back into order, and this can only be done mediately by means of spirits. It would be otherwise if man were born into the good that is in accord with the order of heaven; then he would be governed by the Lord not through spirits, but by means of the order itself, thus by means of general influx. By means of this influx man is governed in respect to whatever goes forth from his thought and will into act, that is, in respect to speech and acts; for both of these proceed in harmony with natural order, and therefore with these the spirits associated with man have nothing in common. Animals also are governed by means of this general influx from the spiritual world, because they are in the order of their life, and animals have not been able to pervert and destroy that order because they have no rational faculty.[3] What the difference between man and beasts is may be seen above (n. 39).


297. As to what further concerns the conjunction of heaven with the human race, let it be noted that the Lord Himself flows into each man, in accord with the order of heaven, both into his inmosts and into his outmosts, and arranges him for receiving heaven, and governs his outmosts from his inmosts, and at the same time his inmosts from his outmosts, thus holding in connection each thing and all things in man. This influx of the Lord is called direct influx; while the other influx that is effected through spirits is called mediate influx. The latter is maintained by means of the former. Direct influx, which is that of the Lord Himself, is from His Divine Human, and is into man's will and through his will into his understanding, and thus into his good and through his good into his truth, or what is the same thing, into his love and through his love into his faith; and not the reverse, still less is it into faith apart from love or into truth apart from good or into understanding that is not from will. This Divine influx is unceasing, and in the good is received in good, but not in the evil; for in them it is either rejected or suffocated or perverted; and in consequence they have an evil life which in a spiritual sense is death.[4]


298. The spirits who are with man, both those conjoined with heaven and those conjoined with hell, never flow into man from their own memory and its thought, for if they should flow in from their own thought, whatever belonged to them would seem to man to be his (see above n. 256). Nevertheless there flows into man through them out of heaven an affection belonging to the love of good and truth, and out of hell an affection belonging to the love of evil and falsity. Therefore as far as man's affection agrees with the affection that flows in, so far that affection is received by him in his thought, since man's interior thought is wholly in accord with his affection or love; but so far as man's affection does not agree with that affection it is not received. Evidently, then, since thought is not introduced into man through spirits, but only an affection for good and an affection for evil, man has choice, because he has freedom; and is thus able by his thought to receive good and reject evil, since he knows from the Word what is good and what is evil. Moreover, whatever he receives by thought from affection is appropriated to him; but whatever he does not receive by thought from affection is not appropriated to him. All this makes evident the nature of the influx of good out of heaven with man, and the nature of the influx of evil out of hell.


299. I have also been permitted to learn the source of human anxiety, grief of mind, and interior sadness, which is called melancholy. There are spirits not as yet in conjunction with hell, because they are in their first state; these will be described hereafter when treating of the world of spirits. Such spirits love things undigested and pernicious, such as pertain to food becoming foul in the stomach; consequently they are present with man in such things because they find delight in them; and they talk there with one another from their own evil affection. The affection that is in their speech flows in from this source into man; and when this affection is the opposite of man's affection there arises in him sadness and melancholy anxiety; but when it agrees with it it becomes in him gladness and cheerfulness. These spirits appear near to the stomach, some to the left and some to the right of it, and some beneath and some above, also nearer and more remote, thus variously in accordance with their affections. That this is the source of anxiety of mind has been shown and proved to me by much experience. I have seen these spirits, I have heard them, I have felt the anxieties arising from them, and I have talked with them; when they have been driven away the anxiety ceased; when they returned the anxiety returned; and I have noted the increase and decrease of it according to their approach and removal. From this it has been made clear to me why some who do not know what conscience is, because they have no conscience, ascribe its pangs to the stomach.[5]


300. The conjunction of heaven with man is not like the conjunction of one man with another, but the conjunction is with the interiors of man's mind, that is, with his spiritual or internal man; although there is a conjunction with his natural or external man by means of correspondences, which will be described in the next chapter where the conjunction of heaven with man by means of the Word will be treated of.


301. It will also be shown in the next chapter that the conjunction of heaven with the human race and of the human race with heaven is such that one has its permanent existence with the other.


302. I have talked with angels about the conjunction of heaven with the human race, saying that while the man of the church declares that all good is from God, and that angels are with man, yet few believe that angels are conjoined to man, still less that they are in his thought and affection. The angels replied that they knew that such a belief and such a mode of speaking still exist in the world, and especially, to their surprise, within the church, where the Word is present to teach men about heaven and its conjunction with man; nevertheless, there is such a conjunction that man is unable to think the least thing unless spirits are associated with him, and on this his spiritual life depends. They said that the cause of ignorance in this matter is man's belief that he lives from himself, and that he has no connection with the First Being [Esse] of life; together with his not knowing that this connection exists by means of the heavens; and yet if that connection were broken man would instantly fall dead. If man only believed, as is really true, that all good is from the Lord and all evil from hell, he would neither make the good in him a matter of merit nor would evil be imputed to him; for he would then look to the Lord in all the good he thinks and does, and all the evil that flows in would be cast down to hell from which it comes. But because man does not believe that anything flows into him either from heaven or from hell, and therefore supposes that all things that he thinks and wills are in himself and therefore from himself, he appropriates the evil to himself, and the good that flows in he defiles with merit.


  1. There are angels and spirits with every man, and by means of them man has communication with the spiritual world (n. 697, 2796, 2886, 2887, 4047, 4048, 5846-5866, 5976-5993). Man without spirits attending him cannot live (n. 5993). Man is not seen by spirits, even as spirits are not seen by man (n. 5862). Spirits can see nothing in our solar world pertaining to any man except the one with whom they are speaking (n. 1880).
  2. All freedom pertains to love and affection, since what a man loves, that he does freely (n. 2870, 3158, 8987, 8990, 9585, 9591). As freedom belongs to man's love, so it belongs to man's life (n. 2873). Nothing appears as man's own except what is from freedom (n. 2880). Man must have freedom that he may be reformed (n. 1937, 1947, 2876, 2881, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031, 8700). Otherwise no love of good and truth can be implanted in man and be appropriated seemingly as his own (n. 2877, 2879, 2880, 2883, 8700). Nothing that comes from compulsion is conjoined to man (n. 2875, 8700). If man could be reformed by compulsion everyone would be reformed (n. 2881). Compulsion in reformation is harmful (n. 4031). What states of compulsion are (n. 8392).
  3. The difference between men and beasts is, that men are capable of being raised up by the Lord to Himself, of thinking about the Divine, loving it, and being thereby conjoined to the Lord, from which they have eternal life; but it is otherwise with beasts (n. 4525, 6323, 9231). Beasts are in the order of their life, and are therefore born into things suitable to their nature, but man is not, and he must therefore be led into the order of his life by intellectual means (n. 637, 5850, 6323). According to general influx thought with man falls into speech and will into movements (n. 5862, 5990, 6192, 6211). The general influx of the spiritual world into the lives of beasts (n. 1633, 3646).
  4. There is direct influx from the Lord, and also mediate influx through the spiritual world (n. 6063, 6307, 6472, 9682, 9683). The Lord's direct influx is into the least particulars of all things (n. 6058, 6474-6478, 8717, 8728). The Lord flows in into firsts and at the same time into lasts-in what manner (n. 5147, 5150, 6473, 7004, 7007, 7270). The Lord's influx is into the good in man, and through the good into truth and not the reverse (n. 5482, 5649, 6027, 8685, 8701, 10153). The life that flows in from the Lord varies in accordance with the state of man and in accordance with reception (n. 2069, 5986, 6472, 7343). With the evil the good that flows in from the Lord is turned into evil and the truth into falsity; from experience (n. 3642, 4632). The good and the truth therefrom that continually flow in from the Lord are received just to the extent that evil and falsity therefrom do not obstruct (n. 2411, 3142, 3147, 5828).
  5. Those who have no conscience do not know what conscience is (n. 7490, 9121). There are some who laugh at conscience when they hear what it is (n. 7217). Some believe that conscience is nothing; some that it is something natural that is sad and mournful, arising either from causes in the body or from causes in the world; some that it is something that the common people get from their religion (n. 206, 831, 950; [TCR n. 665]). There is true conscience, spurious conscience, and false conscience (n. 1033). Pain of conscience is an anxiety of mind on account of what is unjust, insincere, or in any respect evil, which man believes to be against God and against the good of the neighbor (n. 7217). Those have conscience who are in love to God and in charity towards the neighbor, but those who are not so have no conscience (n. 831, 965, 2380, 7490).