3342. All the speech of spirits and of angels is also effected by means of representatives; for by wonderful variations of light and shade they vividly present before the internal and at the same time before the external sight of him with whom they speak, all they are thinking about, and insinuate it by suitable changes of the state of the affections. The representations that come forth in such speech are not like those before described, but are quick and instantaneous, being simultaneous with the ideas that belong to their speech. They are like something that is described in a long series, while at the same time it is exhibited in an image before the eyes, for, wonderful to say, all spiritual things themselves whatever can be representatively exhibited by forms of imagery that are incomprehensible to man, within which are things of the perception of truth, and still more interiorly those of the perception of good. Such things are also in man (for man is a spirit clothed with a body); as is evident from the fact that all speech perceived by the ear, on ascending toward the interiors, passes into forms [ideas]* not unlike those of sight, and from these into intellectual forms or ideas, and thus becomes a perception of the sense of the expressions. Whoever rightly reflects upon these things may know from them that there is in himself a spirit which is his internal man, and also that after the separation of the body he will possess such a speech, because he is in the very same during his life in the world, although it does not appear to him that he is in it, by reason of the obscurity and darkness which earthly, bodily, and worldly things induce.
* Here Swedenborg uses the term idea in its original Greek sense of form. Compare Doctrine of Faith n. 34 with True Christian Religion n. 2; and see also the note to n. 1013:4 of the present work, and n. 3216.